November is the most difficult month for me here- the shrinking daylight, the chaos and lights of Christmas not yet begun, the drenchery, the wind, the interesting colds and flus brought from abroad. I've made an effort to only write when I'm on the more upbeat side so that's partly why I sometimes go stretches of time without saying much here.
Thing is though, when I really look at how daily life feels different, it's just in the prices. Everything's gone up, perhaps with the exception of Icelandic wool, but the things I'd normally buy are still all available. As for all that talk about anarchy settling in, chaos ruling, and people gone nuts rioting in the streets, it's kind of like the food crisis that hit the wires a few weeks ago-blown out of proportion for the sake of a juicier story. I've gotten several emails from would-be tourists asking if they'll be safe or if they should really just give up on the plans to visit altogether. Fact is, what's happening here is a big deal relative to how the population is in general, but the protests as they've been happening so far are not something that's caused massive general disruption citywide. If you're not downtown near the parliament building on Saturday afternoons, you'd never know it was happening, save for a few "out with Davið!" signs that remain leaning on buildings and statues after the fact. I'd honestly say I'd fear for my safety more at 3:30a.m. on weekend nights when the bar crowds have gotten extra rowdy and want their sandwiches and hotdogs.
And so life continues here, one day at a time. Given the prices of things, and given my amount of nervous energy that needs burning off, I've resorted to knitting and weaving all my Christmas gifts this year. I'm obviously not the only person who's doing this, as was evidenced by my last visit to Handprjónasambandið (the Icelandic knitting association) downtown. I'm used to it being full of tourists, caught up in the novelty of the weird materials here and stocking up on the sweaters and mittens. This time the supply corner was jammed and the language was all Icelandic. But, at about 200isk per "cheese" of the unspun lopi (enough for a hat), that's a bargain. So I'm supporting the "veljum Íslenskt" (choose Icelandic!) cause and my family and friends will all be cozy during our upcoming in-a-cold-place holiday gathering. Everybody wins!