Published July 4, 2014
Anna's 44th Editorial
Every once in a while I come across a story in the local media that strikes me as being wonderfully Icelandic and worth sharing in this space.
In December of 2012, for instance, there was the story of the twenty-four-year-old who escaped from Iceland’s maximum-security prison and evaded every single police officer in the country for an entire week. Long story short, the hunt came to an end on Christmas Eve when the fugitive knocked on a farmer’s door in Ásólfsstaðir and asked to be turned in to the authorities. Despite the fact that he had been booked for the attempted murder of his stepmother and was reportedly “equipped like Rambo,” the farmer told the media that he found him easy to talk to and invited him inside to wait for the police. And so this Icelandic family came to spend the holidays enjoying cake and coffee with an armed fugitive.
It was a true Icelandic Christmas story.
This week, I thought another story was especially worth sharing. Once again, the police were involved and, although their mission was an altogether different one this time, the events unfolded in an equally wonderful way.
Having been notified that something, perhaps a paraglider, had fallen into the ocean off the Álftanes coast, the police hurried to the scene with the fire department, rescue team and coast guard in tow. “…A major search was launched involving boats and a helicopter that searched the ocean,” the Reykjavík police posted on their Facebook page on June 26. “After an hour-long search, the coast guard spotted the likely victim. It appeared that Hello Kitty had planned to fly off into the open arms of the unknown along with Nemo, the goldfish. Two helium balloon versions of these well known characters had become entangled and caught a pair of sunglasses in their strings as they flew off into the sunset.”
Although the rescue team reportedly lost Nemo out to sea, it did recover the Hello Kitty balloon, as the accompanying photo of a police officer holding the balloon attests. Thus, the police concluded in their post that this had been one of the most extensive searches ever conducted for this particular goldfish.
The story didn’t end there, though. Upon seeing the police’s Facebook post (they have nearly 60,000 followers, which is erhm, twice as many followers as we have), the balloon owner’s mom contacted the police to apologise.
“…The owner of the balloons was a three-year-old girl from Álftanes. She had received the Hello Kitty balloon on the 17th of June and it had lived a good life until Thursday. The Nemo balloon had been hung to her sister’s grave that day. At the end of the day the family thought it would be a great idea to unite the balloons, and they used their sunglasses to temporarily hold them down,” the police posted in a new Facebook status titled ‘Finding Nemo. Sequel.’
“However, on this fateful Thursday, the balcony door was open and Kitty and Nemo decided to fly off into the sunset. The Álftanes family then watched rescue workers stream in from all directions, but it didn’t cross their mind that the two runaways were responsible for all of the commotion.”
After apologising on the phone, mom and daughter showed up to the Hafnafjörður headquarters with a bouquet of flowers for the police, and the police returned to them the Hello Kitty balloon and sunglasses that they had so valiantly rescued.
“…They were very apologetic, but that was completely unnecessary. It wasn’t their fault. We feel worse that we lost Nemo, and this was actually just great practice for all of us,” their Facebook post continued. “As far as the police are concerned, this investigation is now closed. Hello Kitty has returned home and hopefully Nemo has finally found his father.”
While living in a small country like Iceland certainly has its cons, it’s stories like these that remind me of its pros, which ultimately make life on this island so great.