The past three months have been an abrupt shift in quite a lot of my life parameters, and although late November was a rather rough phase, the outcome so far has been far better than I could have imagined. I'm working for a new company now, with people I've known almost as long as my time in Iceland, and I'm pretty sure a better group of colleagues can't possibly exist. They're smart, reliable, funny, interesting people whom I've seen through many thrilling years are completely trustworthy as well. I feel extremely lucky to be part of this group and doing such interesting projects.
New job also means new office, and also more frequent trips to Akureyri to sync with the team up there. The office in Akureyri was previously occupied by an investment firm, and although the entire building is now empty, it feels more like they're just out at lunch than they moved out. The company letterhead and official stamps are still in the supply closet, the firm's name is on the wall, and the ladies room is better stocked than at a fancy hotel. Perfume, makeup remover, hand cream, hair pins, and hairspray are all neatly lined up on a glass table beside a fancy lamp. I'm the only woman who occasions the place so it's a very luxurious experience.
The building is a lovely old one with thick walls, a huge brick chimney in the center, and an elegant pre-2008 renovation inside with frosted glass walls etched with the names of the now-disappeared banking divisions. From the windows the view is pure Akureyri- a vast sweep of fjord and in the darkness, the pulsing heart of lights someone put on the opposite side of the water. Mornings there have been my favorite, especially the day I arrived this week. The fjord was hung about with clouds, but as the sun rose, the undersides shown rosily, and a beatific light poured in the windows and shone on our development manager.
Lunch there is rather fun, since there are only a few frequented spots among the working crowd of the north. The daily menu at Strikið is usually good value, and I'm sure to run into a few of my former colleagues who've found work at other nearby places. After lunch we can stop by and visit some others who set up shop together and inherited the famous foosball table.
The post-work time's also as cozy as I've come to expect from visits to Akureyri. My new boss's wife works in tourism, so she recommended a guesthouse as a possible home-away-from-home, and she didn't steer me wrong. The place feels like being at home, with a dining room stocked with all the necessary crockery, free use of the kitchen, tea supplies, and even candles and a lighter so your room is properly home-like. With the wooden floors and furnishings typical of Icelandic homes, it's no hardship to spend a night or two here.
In the mornings I can just cross through the center of town to get to work, along a route where people leave their cars unlocked, idling, and empty while they pop into the bank, or dash into the bakery for their morning cinnamon bun. It's that kind of town, Akureyri is, and visiting it always reminds me of why it's so good to live in Iceland- the views, the air, the cozy feeling, the people I've been so fortunate to have in my life.