In my last post, I shared some of the more stressful happenings I’ve experienced in the last five weeks. Thankfully, life hasn’t been all stress and worry, though. We’ve been enjoying a perfect warm, dry, sunny Northwest summer, which I am trying to relish, knowing that I will dearly miss such weather over the next nine months.
At the end of June, my brother Scott and his wife Gloria came to visit from Texas and brought their friend Laura with them to explore the Northwest. It was the first time I’d seen them in almost two years, I think, so of course it was great to have them here. We all drove up to the Seattle area for a family wedding and then continued on to Lopez Island for the week of July 4.
It was the first time I’d been there since November, and the first time my family had been up in probably two or three years. It was wonderful to reconnect with my dear island friends and my beloved island locales. Lattés were enjoyed at Robert’s café and almond butterhorns from Holly B’s satisfied my tummy and left my fingers wonderfully sticky. We went to Odlin one evening and watched the sun set while we toasted marshmallows over the fire. Scott and I hiked at Iceberg and Chadwick Hill. I enjoyed a couple evening walks along the spit just like I used to. We meandered around the Farmer’s Market two days in a row.
On July 4th, we sought treasures at the library book sale; watched the parade with amusement and delight (the parade is so much more fun now that I know at least half the people in it); and watched from the Whiskey Hill Dock as fireworks burst over the bay late that evening.
And of course everywhere I went that week, I had to stop and talk to at least one person, more often three or four or five. In fact, it started even before we got to Lopez. I spent the entire ferry ride from Anacortes talking to Jeanna, who I used to work with at the school up there. She was so excited to hear my news, and having grown up on the East Coast, had plenty of advice about dressing for cold winters. On island, I caught up with Celia, Patsy, Steph and Tessa at the LIFRC; dropped in on Georgeana at the LIPC; picked up some gossip from Robert at the café; ran into church friends at the library and the parade; stood outside talking to the neighbors while Zorro the cat roamed around seeking birds and attention; hung out with Hannah and saw Gretchen and Björn. Even if I never again live on Lopez full time (but I certainly hope I will!), it will always feel like home.
Last weekend, I enjoyed a lovely Icelandic-Portlandian barbecue with my friends Andrea, Viðar, Þorsteinn, Edda, Vanessa, Ken, Brynya, and Lilia. We had authentic Icelandic lamb, pylsur, hjónabandssæla, and more, and enjoyed a relaxing evening outdoors eating and chatting and watching the kiddos play.
When I haven’t been vacationing, socializing, or working, I’ve been shopping. I wear pretty much the same clothes year-round here in the Northwest, give or take a pair of leggings and a jacket, and after I finally tossed all my worn-out pairs (including some black sandals I wore at my high school graduation 9 years ago), my shoe collection has dwindled to a couple pairs of sandals and ballet flats that simply will not suffice for an Icelandic autumn and winter. And spring. And summer, for that matter.
The good news is that despite the back-to-school displays that went up around July 4, most people are still buying warm-weather clothes, so just about everything I’ve been buying for Iceland has been on sale.
One thing I was thrilled to not have to buy was luggage. I’ve never had my own set, and I wasn’t looking forward to spending a couple hundred dollars on two big suitcases. I posted a plea on Facebook to see if anyone had a suitcase or two that they wanted to sell, and I was blessed to be given two big, like-new suitcases for free!
I still have quite a few things on my to-do and to-buy lists, but I am slowly getting there…