Hello to you who are still following. Sorry I haven´t posted in a very long time! It´s been very crazy lately because we moved from Holt (up in the north part of the Island in the Westfjords) to Reykjavík down in the south. That day was 11 hours of travel and then we just rested that weekend basically. Through all of this week we´ve had class from 9-4 or 5 every day and its a 20 minute walk to and from class. So we´ve had some very long days. Not to mention a project we had to do for one of our classes this week and our individual research projects which are due next Friday. Now that we´ve had a lot of craziness, its starting to slow down.
HopefullyI will obtain the rest of my interviews this weekend. In case I didn´t describe it before, my independent research project is a sociological analysis of public opinion regarding the future of Iceland´s energy system. I´ve interviewed five people who are educated and or familiar with the energy system and only one so far who is not familiar. (It´s important for my study to see what people who are not educated in this field think as well). So my plan this weekend is to go to coffee shops and happy hours to see who will talk to me. Buying coffee and beer in the name of science? Gosh this is tough work…
A small group of us have been going to this noodle place for dinner for most of the days last week. It´s super tasty and it fits under the budget that we were allowed for dinner. Thing is, though – they add spice to the noodles too. Like chili pepper and garlic and vinegar. I don´t actually know much what the vinegar does to the spice, but it was spicy. I´m not one for spice, but I was really digging the heat, so one day I decided to add some more chili pepper. And that´s when I realized spice needs to be a gradual indulgence. I think I drank an entire pitcher of water throughout that one bowl of noodles and, of course, there came a point where all of the noodles and meat was gone. Only. Super. Spicy. Broth. Was. Left. And I certainly could have given up. I could have returned the bowl to the staff and been on my way. But no. I was not about to be defeated by the noodles. I put my big boy pants on and chugged the rest of it. Clumps of chili pepper and all.
I panted like a dog for the next two hours. I can do without chili pepper for a while.
So remember how I said Holt has been rainy and nasty outside? There is actually a name for that weather in Icelandic. You can say Það er skitaveður í dag which means “it is shitty weather today.” However, the rain and clouds cleared up and it is magnificent outside. My buddy Jesse and I went for a run this morning. There were many different possible directions, so we essentially flipped a coin to figure out where to go. We ended up on the road to Flateyri, which is a town 7km away (though we didn’t go the whole way). Absolutely gorgeous running alongside the fjords. And dodging tour busses on the narrow road. The sheep didn’t seem to understand our calls, also. Pity.
When we got back, a lot of people were up and enjoying the sun by eating breakfast outside. As I went upstairs I was met by several of the guys doing pushups and lifting a big rock they had found to get some exercise. It was a pretty funny sight, but it was simply a result of the sunshine. Everyone is happy. A bunch of us went for a hike around eleven, but I decided to stay back and enjoy the quiet here. (Plus blog, eat, and get some work done). Jesse lives in CA, and he is not far from a lot of climbing/hiking places. I do like to stay fit, and I would really really like to have those opportunities readily available wherever I live in the future. I just want to be able to be outside, not on a flat road, and moving my body. Whatever it takes. Biking, climbing, hiking, paddling, I just want a place to explore. Don’t know where its going to be, but I think there are a ton of places that have those things.
Just enjoying the day. It’s beautiful Iceland!
I spend a lot of time thinking about how I feel, much of that has gone into thinking if I am free or not, but this ¨free¨is a different kind. My mind just feels clearer, less muddled. I think of it is just that I have been focusing on a lot of new things lately: being away from home, living in a host family, learning a new language, basically everything that is NOT what I was doing before. My mind is free to just enjoy learning languages, I am free to pursue this research project, and I am free to interact with people as I please. There is no mental baggage with me right now – at least a lot less than before. I don‘t feel as though I have to act a certain way around people. It is not that I feel like I have to act a certain way around people back home, but who I am to them is defined by a certain set of habits. Here I don´t have those. So people aren´t surprised when I am actually trying something new or different. It´s quite refreshing, liberating.
We´ve just arrived at Hollt. We are all living in one house for the week, so it may be interesting, but it is magnificent here. We are in a valley of sorts with bounding mountains encircling us with a fluffy, yet persistent, mist hovering above them. My roommate, Jesse, and I are planning on running, hiking, and exploring them when the bad weather passes. I have no idea what academics are in front of us this weekend, but I think everyone is ready for a break. We´ve had class from 9-4 every single day last week. Usually engineering in the morning and Icelandic in the afternoon. Ég kann að segir hvað ég heiti, hvaða ég er frá, og hvadan talar ég skil. It´s really, really cool. I´ll write about the language more another time, but I am really diggin it. I hear it is pretty hot back in NY right now – so it must be a fantastic Independence Day which I am, once again, missing. Wish yall the best. Please have a drink and a song for me. Plus some kickass food. Wish I could be at the lake!!! Much love, everyone