Salvation and returning ‘heim’

Once again I made it through the night with very little sleep, interrupted umpteen times by my own snoring. The next morning, I was in such a state of emotional stress from lack of sleep and personal space that I was nearly to tears on my way out the door to return the rental car. I decided to call on Kristín again to see if she needed any help back at the house, because I couldn’t mentally handle going back to Sveinn’s home with the birds and the crazy. Ten minutes later, she called me to schedule a pickup time and a location.  It felt like I was on my way to heaven. 

  

Home is where the heart is, period. And I leave a piece of my heart with everyone I have a positive experience with. I do have a tattoo, which says “Friends are of one heart. Without a friend, without a heart.”

  

Excuse the mushiness, but it’s difficult to deal with homesickness when you’re in a bad mood. Sometimes it just takes remembering the positive things to keep you sane long enough for things to get better. Other things include calling your amazing boyfriend (friends work too) for support and eating 500g of pure Icelandic chocolate. 

Kristín picked me up from town and we spent another two days together. The family welcomed me back with smiles on their faces and arms open wide, and for that I will be forever grateful. It was like coming home after a short vacation.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder?

None of the family were feeling good the next day because of a cold that was going around Iceland, so we took the day off. But due to a fun error in my travel plans (staying in Akureyri instead of hitching a ride to the eastern coast), I got to attend an experimental art exhibit and see a band I’d been waiting seven years to see live: Rökkurró. AND I MET THE LEAD SINGER.

The art exhibit was quite strange and I don’t think I’ll be attending anything like it again willingly. One performance was a woman in a black dress who read a short poem about life being short and unpredictable, after which she began singing and babbling like an infant, tearing the paper on which the poem was written and dancing around as another person  poured dirt around her feet in a circle, ending with her in the fetal position on a canvas of dirt.

   

  

There was one worthwhile exhibit, which was watching a video of a girl eat Nutella in the fjords while talking about how Nutella made her feel safe and happy, and you were provided with your own Nutella to eat while you watched the video.

Anyway…

Græni hatturinn (The Green Hat) is a cafe/bar/concert venue where most of the musical performances that are not classical in nature take place in Akureyri.  It’s right off the single main street on the bottom floor of a building, right beneath a chic piano bar.

 

Before the concert, I had time to mingle with the few other people that were there for this obscure Icelandic band. There were three women from upstate New York on a yoga retreat who wanted to get in contact with Kristín and let me hang out with them most of the night, and a guy from Australia who was high out of his mind (he must have asked me how I got to Akureyri a dozen times at LEAST) and wouldn’t leave me or the band alone. But when the band was getting ready to play, I was fed up enough that I didn’t feel bad just getting up and moving to the front row to get away. He’d probably forget he talking to me in a few minutes.

The show was PERFECT.

with lead vocalist of Rökkurró!

 

After the concert, I was lucky enough to run into Marieke and Laura again. I had so much more fun with them around than I did with the girls from New York, who  who seemed to be trying to use me as a wingman or something. I’ve decided I am not a fan of New York in general. 

Jeijong and I had a plan the next morning to hitchhike to Reykjavík, so at 2pm (only four hours behind schedule) we got a ride from Grettir out to the middle of nowhere, threw our thumbs out, and ten minutes later were picked up by a Korean couple on their honeymoon going all the way to Reykjavík!

 

We made a couple stops along the way, including the world’s largest hot spring (in terms of volume output), Deildarstunguhver:

   

  

…and made it back just in time for homemade pizza dinner with Ágúst and Sæþór! It was like going home… Again! It’s nice to have many homes/families around the world.  I also met David, an Irish expat who is here looking for work and housesitting for a month while Ágúst and Sæþór visit the states. He has a degree in engineering, but has a passion for linguistics. Hallelujah, finally someone who knows what I’m talking about (in multiple languages)!

The following morning I met their other CouchSurfer guest, Kostas. Kostas is from Athens and is working on his dissertation in immunology. Since everyone else had plans, Kostas and I spent the whole day exploring Reykjavík, from the national museum to the old harbor to the cemetery.

   

Typical 1950s living room in Iceland

Runes for protection

 

        

Everyone else was tired that night, but the skies were clear and the forecast for the northern lights was quite good, so I walked all the way to a golf course or park or something (Nesvöllur) at the end of the peninsula we’re on, and was rewarded with almost two hours of uninterrupted auroral activity. Unfortunately the second hour I did not catch on film because my camera was being stupid, but the initial video is taken from the seaside where the tide had gone out. I was so mesmerized by the lights that I didn’t notice the tide coming in all around me, so I had to jump across rocks to get back to dry land.

 

  

    

It was then that I ran into a nice little German family saw me shivering and walking back along the side road and offered me a lift. In exchange, they just wanted me to send along my photos. Thank goodness too, because it was a 7km walk back and it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside with a strong wind…

Monday was my second to last day in Reykjavík but was mostly spent writing and backing up data and otherwise had a normal person day for the first time in a while.

Took the dog for a walk.

 

Made crêpes.

Worked.

Made dinner. Saw things.

 

Kostas and David and I went to see the northern lights but there was too much cloud cover. Iceland, I love you, but your climate could use some work…

The last day in Reykjavík I spent a lot of time hanging out with the new CouchSurfer, Michael, who had replaced Kostas after he returned to England. We hit up the hot spring pool (there’s a boiling hot sauna, different temperature pools, and a jacuzzi where everyone hangs out on their lunch break), got icelandic hotdogs (which are amazing, if you’ll remember), and spent the whole day doing touristy things. Another attempt at northern lights watching failed.

   

  Here we explored Harpa, which is a giant rehearsal hall and performance house near downtown Reykjavik.

  

And then… I changed my flight from Braunschweig to Geneva because of a dumb mistake on my part. It was gonna be a bumpy ride.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *