Okay, let’s be honest, this list could be WAY longer than 8 things. Yet as we are settling into our new country, there are things that are new that I notice and love. In no particular order, 8 things that I am loving about Iceland (right now).
1. Iceland does not have a military. That’s right! No multi-million spending on armed forces. Iceland has in fact been named the most peaceful country in the world! However, they do have 2 coast guard vessels, you know, because it’s an island.
2. The neighborhood naming system is genius. Streets that end in -lind or -kór for example, are grouped together. The other day someone asked where I live and when I told them, they knew immediately because of the ending of the name.
3. Your identity number is really helpful for everything. Your kennitala is essentially your social security number and it is used to book appointments, pay bills, and anything in between. You know when you want to return something at Ikea but you lost your receipt? Just give them your kennitala. Take notes, America.
4. There are no trees. Ok so I don’t LOVE this, and also “no” trees is a stretch, but in general Iceland isn’t a land of a lot of trees. The harsh volcanic soil makes growing big beautiful trees pretty difficult. However, Iceland plants more trees per capita than anywhere else in the world! The benefit to the no tree thing (and why it made this list) is because you can see SO far without trees! All the better to take in the incredible landscapes 🙂
5. Icelanders don’t complain about the weather. They don’t let things like 65 mph winds or rain for 2 weeks straight get them down. Yeah, I’m sure there are days that they’re thinking, “seriously, weather?” but then they just go take a vacation in Spain or something. The strange weather doesn’t stop them from going for a run or taking their babies outside for a stroll. Icelanders have a saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!” Brilliant.
6. Safety is a given. Every day I pass by kids walking home from school alone. Moms leave babies outside in their strollers while they run into the store or cafe. (This is actually a thing! I didn’t believe it until I saw it!) With virtually zero crime, the police are really bored. They even have an Instagram account where they post hilarious pictures posing with locals or feeding the ducks!
7. Work-home balance. The workday for most businesses and even some shopping centers ends at 5pm sharp. This allows people to go home, cook dinner, and spend time with their families rather than working late and rushing to 3 different sports practices. Even my usual grocery store closes at 6:30! One Sunday Bobby and I went to the mall, and we had to wait in the parking lot because it didn’t open until 1pm!
8. The Icelandic language. Ok, let me clarify that this is a love-hate relationship, with the current feeling more towards hate as I am very early in learning. Icelandic is known as one of the hardest languages in the world to learn. It is similar to other Scandinavian dialects, but is most similar to the original viking tongue. And with its non-versatility (Iceland is the only place that speaks Icelandic!) it seems impractical at times. However, if you sit back and listen in on a conversation, you might agree that it is a beautiful language. Some of the things they say are so sweet and delicate. For example, they like to say things in two’s, “takk takk!” which means thanks, twice. Also, direct translation of some words often has me laughing out loud at how clever it is. Check out the Instagram account Every Single Word In Icelandic which offers insights in understanding how they came up with some of those crazy words. It is often times the highlight of my day. Here is one of my favorites:
Question: What is one of your favorite things about where you live?