05 October 2006


Today I'm leaving Iceland again, and for the first time in over a year, I'm flying west. I don't have to pack my plug adaptors for the computer for once, because I'm going back to the States. I haven't been in an English-speaking country, save a layover in Heathrow, for that whole time. I'm both curious and nervous about what it'll be like- will I realize I miss everything tremendously and want to move back? Or, will it remind me of why Iceland is where my future lies, at least for now?

I've heard from several long-term expats that going back is a bit of sensory overload, since every single conversation is a comprehendible chance to eavesdrop, whether you want to or not. The few English conversations I hear, even if it's two people in a crowded bar of Icelanders, will rise above the rest of the buzz, ripe for picking. Now it's going to be whole stores, streets, towns of people speaking English. Cacophony! I'm sure I'll forget though and try to throw in a "herna" or two when in a shop.

The ol' US of A is going to have to try pretty hard to woo me back though, I thought as I walked home last night. After a convivial evening with A, a friend who'd moved from Iceland in August, and a crowd of other friends, I walked home under the nearly-full moon along the edge of the pond, my ears ringing with the safe-travel wishes from everyone. A light wash of northern lights splashed across the clear sky above the mountains northward, and under my feet I scuffed yellow birch leaves on the lava sidewalk. The air was still and fragrant with the autumnal leaves, the last blooms on the rosebushes, and that smell of Iceland- harbor, moss, sulphur. Wherever else I go, and wherever else I may live in the future, I will always have this little piece of the country tucked away inside me. It may be frustrating sometimes but when the rewards pay out, they pay out huge.

Ship sighting: In a more general harbor-report, yesterday I noticed the first snow atop Esja. Just a thin coverlet of a skin on the highest part, but winter is certainly creeping down from the mountains. This morning is one of those great fall mornings, with the bright clear sun working to banish the overnight frost from the lawns- lovely weather for those guys on the fishing boat I can see twinkling on the horizon to my left (apparently I CAN see ships from where I live now, just not as many).


Sarah said...

Good luck in the US, and have a safe trip!


Liz said...

Have a safe flight!

Enjoy playing tourist in your home country and if you get out to DC, look me up :)

becca said...

Have a great time, and a safe journey.
I can't wait to hear how it all went.

Anonymous said...

Stay in ICELAND! you might get stuck and not be able to come back

J said...

New reader here from Mausi's blog.
Have a great time in the US.

I rarely visit English speaking countries (I visit the US only ever 3 or 4 years and don't visit the UK because of how expensive it is), and can tell you that it is very strange to be in a country in which your language is spoken.