30 June 2006


I am about to embark on a totally new chapter of my Ice-life. As of this week, J and I are no longer J and I. It's just him, it's just me, and I'll be moving out to find my own place soon. I knew it was a risk that this would happen when I came here, but I somehow still kind of thought that given the effort of coming, given that we'd met in such a romantic way, that there was something extraspecial about us. Don't we all think that about relationships, just as they're somehow crumbling from the inside?

I'm not excited about being alone here, carless in a country and society that thrives on its big vehicles, having to restart everything again, less than a year after the LAST time I did it. I don't even own any spoons, or pots and pans of my own, having left them behind in my naive "he has them and everything will be perfect when we live together" assumptions. I know these are all details in the grand scheme of things, but when you're staring at the rubble of what you thought you'd built up it all seems like too much to do, especially when I have to negotiate everything with my crappy Icelandic plus English crutch. I also feel so strange having to rely on these few friends I have that were not first J's friends. I don't know how that works here. Do I stop seeing any of them since they were his first? There are only so many people to go around here.

Of course, the first thing my friends and family have asked is if I plan to leave now. First of all, in the grand irony of the world, the day that he finally said it was done with us was the same day I'd turned in my paperwork for my next year's visa extension. I've signed on the dotted line for the next year and damned if I'm taking that back. Furthermore, my move here was not just about him, so I guess it's my opportunity now to find out what all that other stuff was supposed to be. Finally, it was a lot of effort from me, my whole family, and many friends that got me here. I owe it to them to stay longer, and in its own strange way, Iceland HAS become familiar in a way that Boston or the US probably wouldn't be right now. Not to mention the money invested in coming here, which I am still trying to make up for. I can't afford to move back, for financial reasons, for gotta-be-tough reasons, and because I told myself I came here for more than a relationship. Now is the time to prove it, I guess. Expat life wasn't supposed to be easy, but that's what is supposed to make it worthwhile. Maybe I will learn something amazing about myself in these next months.

As for posting this all here, I know it is a departure from the normal news-from-Iceland, but I needed to say it somewhere, write down my intentions to stick it out so that I keep my word. I am honestly doubting my ability to do it, so new is the realization I'm on my own, and so overwhelmed I feel when I think about it all. Also, for those who move abroad partly for love, I hope for your sakes that there is more to the move than that. I can't believe I am the only person to experience this, so make sure you have a plan B, and as a friend said yesterday, maybe even a plan C.

Still, it is quite shocking to think: I am in Iceland, and I am alone.

Ship sighting: This part of the ol' blog is going to have to change a bit, since I doubt I'll have the same oceanfront view wherever I live next. Still, the boats continue to come and go. Today is a pretty light day, but we do have a fishing boat called Sebastes M coming. The name only turns up that it's the Latin name of Redfish in google search, so I guess they've got a good load from the primary distribution area, located just south of us.


sb said...

Dear E,
my intuition told me a while ago, that something was going on. I didn't say a thing, because there are times, when I really don't want to hear my inner voice and I pull out that thing called Nah, can't be true optimism.
I've been where you are, you have all my sympathy and empathy, and I'll send you some positive energy and vibes as much as I can.
In this coming year, don't look at this as the closing of doors, rather opening of doors. Where can you go, what could you do.....You've got the world at your feet!
You have my heart behind yours, I've been there too. It'll be very hard and trying, but my dearest E even though you don't believe it now, this is an enormous learning experience.
I'm behind you, sending you good positive thoughts of strenth and vitality!

same as above said...

just to add, isn't it sad how we young people today don't seem to want to invest the time to mend relationships rather to take the easy way out?
Thought I should add this too my previous comment.
Fight for what you believe in, if there is any platform for negotiation

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear it did not work out for you guys. But I'm glad to see that you are going to stick to staying in Iceland. Just remember being "ein" is not the same as being "einmana".
If there is anything I can help you with, just ask.
Best wishes, Guðrún.

Jen said...

It's time to buy your own spoons. And forks. And plates that you love. And noisy pots and pans. And all those other things that are necessary to make our own home in this world, be it utensils or otherwise.

"A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for," by John A. Shedd. Have courage.

jessica said...

i'm sorry E. I feel for you. I used to have a J also. but it will turn out alright, from all that i've read it is obvious that your strong enough to make it in Iceland alone. you have many friends.

Professor Batty said...

...the currents in the river of life are strong, it is nearly impossible to swim against them, but by swimming with them they can take you to places you didn't know existed...good luck.

cK said...

Hey, E: All best to both of you. And please keep blogging. While most of us pop between your blogs, it isn't the former J & E thing that kept us reading but nice writing, photograph, adventures, etc.

I've updated my bookmark. Happy days to you,

Sarah said...

Although I found your blog through J's blog, your blog is the one I come back to the most. There is so much about you that inspires and delights so many other people, I know you will find your way no matter where you go. I'll be sending happy thoughts your way.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about you and J. On the other hand, I was so glad to see that you recognize the wonderful opportunities ahead for you. I wish you all the very best life can offer you. And yes, it is ironic that you signed your paperwork the day before, but like we love to say in our home, "there is no such thing as coincidence." Looking forward to updates on how you're doing. Take care. -Bon

ECS said...

Hi everyone. Thank you THANK YOU for all your wonderful, supportive comments. This past week, whenever I've felt low, I've come and read them again. Even though I've never met most of you, it's been a great source of comfort for me.

Jen- I hope you don't mind I put the quote on my blog. It seemed perfect for the theme as well as the situation, and it makes me happy to read it.

I do intend to keep writing, since this is not a blog about a relationship, but a blog about being an expat. It's part of the experience now!

tsduff said...

I've been following your story for quite some time, as it parallels mine in the embryotic stages... I have as you know, an Icelander boyfriend. We have considered moving to Iceland, but face certain challenges because although he holds his citizenship in both countries, I don't. He is also not employed in Iceland. We are both Enskar speaking only, although he understands much more than I due to his being raised by an Icelandic Mother here in the US. It is he that has family there, not me. He belongs to them. I don't.

Anyway, I'm saddened by the turn of your events. When we were on the outskirts of Reykjavik I found myself looking up at the apts and houses on the way out to the lighthouse, wondering which window was yours. I will miss your inside scoop on the harbor.

My trip to Iceland caused me to have an epiphany of sorts. I learned that even though I may love an Icelander, I am NOT an Icelander. It doesn't rub off on me, even though I love the country and its people. My own roots lie somewhere else, no matter how much I admire Iceland and wish I was a native. I am a foreigner. My boyfriend said at one point during our trip, that he thinks I'm only enchanted with the country, and would fall "out of love with it" if having to deal with the reality of living there rather than being a tourist. I have that dark fear of exactly what is happening to you - without him, what on earth reason do I have for making a life there? What makes me special? Perhaps he is right. My hat is off to you, and I too am behind you 100% as you sort out the overwhelming tasks ahead. Just keep swimming... and hold your head up. You are one tough cookie, and still a great inspiration to me.

Anonymous said...

Stay in Iceland! You're in the best place in the world. Also, if half the population is male, and 30% of them are single, thats over 22,000 fellas for when you're ready.

carmen said...

I have been away from my Internet habits for a month due to assorted Life Busyness and just checked in and am shocked and so very sorry to read this news. I too had a J (literally) that I partly moved to Europe for. It didn't work out for us either. But in the end I am so glad for that, because I was able to make that place my very own. Without him. And I love that. Separating was incredibly hard and bad and painful, until I decided to make it all about being good to myself to ease the pain. I hope you're doing lots of that.

As someone else wrote, buy the spoons and the pans, exactly how you like them. You will then have Icelandic items to make your own and take with you wherever else you land that will remind you of this place. Stay and do everything you want until you feel Iceland is yours. Then move on the next place. Or stay a little longer. But whatever you do, promise you'll blog about it! :)

Many hugs.

Anonymous said...

I'm really glad a certain person notified me of this site.

I've been in a similar type of situation. For better or worse I learned one thing "Home is where the heart is" it always will be. That is the only thing that matters.

Jen said...

I also found your site through J's, which I found by accident after meeting him at an Embassy Happy Hour. As a fellow U.S. Expat (but only here for two more years), I have enjoyed your stories and adventures.

Anyway, I am sorry for your current circumstances but hope you are doing well. Keep up the blogging as I believe you do have quite the captive audience!


Anonymous said...


I have been reading your blog. While I'm sorry to hear about J, things happen for the best. It may not seem like that now. Just take one day at a time.

Now here is your opportunity to get the silverware you love, furniture and whatever else that you love. I hope you find a wonderful flat that has even better views of the harbor than the one you just had.

I had a fiance that left me less than a month before the wedding. While it broke my heart at the time, I am so grateful now we are not together. I deserve better, and so do you! Better will come.

Good for you in staying in Iceland. I think you were meant to be in Iceland, even without J. It could be that J was sent into your life to bring you to Iceland, and once that was done, you are meant to be in Iceland for other reasons or other people.

Stor klem