Okay, so I had Xan read over what I had written about his education and it turns out that I made lots of mistakes. It probably has to do with the fact that I have a 5 sec. working memory and I don’t remember very much very well. 🙂 So, I am going to mark the changes in red. Some of the changes are poor sentence structure on my part that gave a different meaning than I intended. Oh, life is great for the learning disabled. LOL!
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is why Xan speaks Icelandic. It is not exactly a common language for a non-Icelander to speak and is incredibly difficult, let alone rarely used outside of Iceland. Since this blog is supposed to be about the two of us, I think it is about time I give Xan some more devoted posting time. Here is some insight into my husband’s educational decisions. 🙂 It is pretty unique…
Xan initially intended to attend the Air Force Academy and had a really tough time picking between that and BYU. For whatever reasons in the end, he chose BYU and started his first semester in 1998. (I was just starting 9th grade. LOL). He was originally declared an electronics engineering major but had switched over to physics during his second semester.
After his freshman year, Xan served a mission in Madrid, Spain. While he was there, he and another missionary swapped locations. This other missionary’s new location was the largest university city. He found a Danish student there who lived in his old area (Xan’s new area). He asked Xan to track her down with a Danish Book of Mormon. But, it was summer vacation and it took him some time before he was able to find her and give her the book. So, that is why he had the book for while and picked a bit of Danish up in his spare time. Why not, right?
Sopmore to Senion Year:
Returning to school, he decided to start taking Danish classes on the side of his physics. Keep in mind that he is incredibly smart and usually took at least 18 credits if not 21 each semester. He was planning on getting a double major in both physics and European Studies. He started taking Italian and other European languages, including Icelandic. Me: “Why did you decide to learn Icelandic?” Xan: “Cause it was a unique opportunity and I decided to jump on it.” This led to learning Old Norse, Latin and such so that he could read all the old European literature. Unfortunately, BYU discontinued their European Studies major. So, his new plan was to double major in Physics and Italian.
At this point, Xan was wanting to get into a PHD program for Medieval Studies. To get the double major, he was going to graduate in December 2005. He talked with his professors and knew that his physics degree would in some ways distract many schools from accepting him. He decided to apply to BYU’s Comparative Literature Masters program for Fall 2005 since he would be able to complete his physics degree by then if need be. If he got in, he would drop the Italian major. If not, he would finish the double major and take his chances for Fall 2006 with all the other grad schools. Well, he was accepted back into BYU. So, Xan graduated with a BS in astro-physics. Yes, my husband is a certified rocket-scientist. 🙂
Xan continued to focus on Medieval literature and the Viking Sagas and shipbuilding. His thesis was on the usage of ship words used in Old Norse and Old English Poetry. He looked in every poem written in Old Norse before 1100 AD and every poem written in Old English. He would study the cognates of the Old English and Old Norse words to define exactly what they meant (design, purpose, how they moved in the water). Then he made a cultural comparison between the two. His conclusion was that the Scandinavians were much more precise in how they used words to describe ships. It is much deeper than my simple explanation… but it is along these lines. In summer 2006, Xan did a 6 week intensive Icelandic study here in Iceland. He really enjoyed it and planned to come back for the Masters program he is in now for Fall 2007. The program here was going to be part of his BYU masters degree. Unfortunately, finances fell through and he wasn’t able to attend. So, he graduated from BYU and was re accepted to the program here in Iceland for Fall 2008. He actually applied for several graduate programs in Medieval Studies before applying to Iceland but didn’t get into anything. His professors were floored and we really don’t know how he was accepted into some of the schools he applied to. As you graduate students know, many times there is no rhyme or reason to getting accepted. It is just applying at the right time and to the right place.
After finishing this degree, Xan will have a solid background that will be hard to refute and will hopefully get accepted to a good program. He is covering all his bases this time.
Medieval Studies: Cornell, Sydney, and Yale
Comparative Literature (to later get into the medieval program that you can’t apply directly to): University of Indianna, Bloomington
Celtic Studies: Harvard
Scandinavian Studies: Berkley and UCLA
Nautical Archeology (underwater):Texas A&M.
Physics: University of Hawaii (Manao) and BYU-Provo.
I hope this answers many of the questions some of you have. I actually learned a few things writing this. Xan was happy to answer any questions ’cause now when people ask him, he can just refer them to the blog. 🙂 He’s funny. Hope you enjoyed!