It’s been four weeks since I left my Icelandic home. Twenty-eight days without my fellow Snorris, twenty-eight days without a sip of kókómjólk, twenty-eight days without a glimpse of the Reykjavík skyline or the sparkling waters of Patreksfjörður. In some ways it’s hard to believe so much time has passed, and in other ways it seems like it was another lifetime. What I know for sure is that I have missed Iceland every single one of those 28 days, and here, in no particular order, are…
28 reasons why
1. Ásta Sól and my Snorri family. I think a certain amount of loneliness is inevitable when you’ve spent 6 weeks with a group of people, but there’s also a sense of loneliness because I’m no longer surrounded by people who understand (and share) my Iceland obsession.
2. Skyr. Apparently they import Skyr.is to a number of Whole Foods stores across the country, but they don’t carry it at my local store (although they do carry Nói Síríus chocolate!).
3. The starkly beautiful landscape. As a lifelong Northwest girl, I was skeptical when an Icelandic friend told me that tall trees make him feel claustrophobic, but now I understand. I suppose I’ve gotten used to the trees again, but I understand the longing for open spaces and far-away views.
4. Being surrounded by the beautiful rhythms of the Icelandic language, and being able to practice and learn more every day.
5. Stúkuhúsið – My home away from home in Patró. A quaint, cosy, kaffihús with delicious Swiss mochas and a beautiful view of the fjord. The lovely owner, Steina, spoke to me in Icelandic to help me learn.
6. Learning Canadianisms from my fellow Snorris. What can I say, I’m such a keener!
7. My host families, and their incredible kindness and generosity in accepting me as family and taking good care of me.
8. Listening to Of Monsters and Men on my iPod while packing cod at the fish factory (seriously, I do kind of miss this, although I don’t miss being yelled at by the Polish lady…).
9. Watching American and English TV shows with Icelandic subtitles (I do not, however, miss watching Danish TV shows with Icelandic subtitles… too much brain hurt there!)
10. Guesthouse Óðinn – Our very beloved first home in Iceland. I miss our little closet of a room, the midnight sun streaming in the window, the sulfurous hot water, the comfortingly predictable (and yummy) breakfast.
11. Háskóli Íslands. Learning new words like Leðurblökumaðurinn, following Sigurborg to Háma like little ducklings during kaffi time, buying lunch from the mean lady who absolutely refused to speak English.
12. Nature. Whales and puffins, purple lupine, fjords, waterfalls around every bend. The color palette of Icelandic nature is magical… shades of blue and green I’ve never seen in the Northwest.
13. The water. I used to think the tap water here was great, but it tastes stale and mucky compared to Icelandic glacial water.
14. The midnight sun. The first night I was home, the darkness really freaked me out. I’ve gotten used to it again, but it still makes me feel a bit trapped.
15. Bónus – Oh, that dorky little pig logo! Oh, the wall of skinka and pepperoni! Oh, the entire shelf of sósa!
16. C is for Cookie. I only went there a couple times, but so far it’s my favorite kaffihús in the city. Mmm gulrótarkaka…
17. Sitting around the dinner table with Hrafnhildur and Sæmundur and making conversation with the help of the ever-present orðabók.
18. The weather. I know we were blessed with unusually warm and dry weather, but I’ll take 60 degrees (or even 50) over 90 any day.
19. Sjóræningjahúsið – I never got to spend much time there, but I love the cozy atmosphere and the book exchange, and besides, it was always fun to say, hey I’m going to the Pirate House, see you later!
20. The colors and textures of Reykjavík. Brightly-colored roofs, cobblestone streets, artwork on the sides of buildings, that one neon green house on Frakkastigur.
21. The ever-present steeple of Hallgrímskirkja in the skyline.
22. Going for a walk and seeing where the city might take me. Knowing that even a directionally-challenged person like myself can’t really get lost.
23. Strong kaffi, always.
24. Kókómjólk, Prince Polo bars, Daim, those weirdly delicious chocolate-covered rice cakes, waffles from the cart in Austurvöllur, and other tasty foodstuffs.
25. Working at Albína. Learning the Icelandic words for all the bakery goods, meeting tourists from all over the place, chatting with my German friend every day, talking to the locals, becoming an expert at saying, ‘Ég veit ekki, en ég má að spyrja.’
26. Going for walks in the late-night sun.
27. My future husband, Helgi. I will return to be with you soon, my love! 😉
28. A sense of belonging. Knowing I was exactly where I was supposed to be at that moment. A feeling of being completely at home.