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Our Life in Iceland – Month 1

How has it already been a month?!

I guess time flies when you are adapting to life in a new country.

The last 30 days have definitely been a whirlwind of excitement, fun, confusion, and frustration. Mostly good things, but other things maybe just the nuances of settling in.

8/19: Today we landed in Iceland – aka our new home. If I had a theme song that I wanted playing when I walked off the plane, it would be “Welcome to Iceland…it’s been waiting for you” (to the tune of the T. Swift song, ya know?) Like I said in the last post, there is just something I identify with here, and it already feels like home. Thankfully our new bosses are the most amazing life-saving people on the planet, as they pick us up from the airport and help us load our 7 suitcases into their vehicles. I bought this homeopathic remedy called “No Jet- Lag” specifically so we wouldn’t be out of commission for the whole day, but I think my adrenals were too fried from the move to care about that. Hence, I was in a complete fog and don’t remember much of that first day.

8/20: Remember when I told you that Bobby bought us FIFTH ROW Of Monsters and Men tickets back in March? Well by now we were celebrating what a good decision that was. Let me tell you, this concert was ahhhmazing. Since they were the soundtrack to our ring road trip, they have a special place in our hearts. And they put on a mean concert. In the beautiful Harpa concert hall. It was fantastic.

Of Monsters and Men in concert at the Harpa | Life With a View

Of Monsters and Men – live at the Harpa
8/21: By now I’m really excited that I get to wear my warm weather clothes that have been hiding in totes while we lived in Houston. Those of you that know me well know that autumn is my favorite season and that I adore scarves, boots, and anything that has pumpkin spice in it.

On our way to OMAM at the Harpa! | Life With a View

Fall attire in full swing…boots not pictured 😉

8/22:  Looks like we arrived in Iceland at the right time, as this weekend is the Culture festival, or “Menningarnótt” in downtown Reykjavik. This is a day when thousands of people get together to celebrate Iceland’s diverse artistic culture. We walked around for hours discovering talented live music, dancing, and galleries.

8/23:  We decide to drive the short trip out of the city to hike Glymur – one of the stops we missed on our itinerary last year. This hike was ridiculously beautiful. An easy 45 minute walk and you’re looking at Iceland’s highest waterfall. The views of Hvalfjördur on the hike up are absolutely breathtaking.

8/24-28:  This week was spent running around everywhere: getting our national ID card, cell phones and internet (what a pain!) and countless trips to Rúmfatalagerinn (aka my new favorite store, basically an Icelandic style Bed Bath and Beyond) to re-buy our entire life. I’m not kidding, I’ve been there so many times that the employees know me!

This week we also got to move into our NEW APARTMENT which is wonderful. We live on the 8th floor which overlooks Reykjavik and have views of the mountains from our balcony and of the ocean from our living room. One of our first nights, we saw the northern lights which I interpreted as Iceland giving us a big beautiful welcome hug. (Unfortunately I had to keep the star jumps to a minimum as to not upset the neighbors, but gasps and squeals of excitement did occur!)

Northern lights + the big dipper in Reykjavik, Iceland | Life With a View

Northern lights + Big dipper = SO much happiness.

8/29: Day trip! Vestmannajaer is another place I have been wanting to see for a while, so we took the ferry ride to the cutest island I have ever seen. Included was a hike to the top of a mountain with breathtaking views. (More about this fantastic place in a future post!)

Hiking Heimaklettur in Vestmannajaer, Iceland | Life With a View

The top of Heimaklettur – incredible views!
8/31-9/4: This week we started seeing our own patients at the clinic – woo hoo! We absolutely love our new job, and thankfully patients don’t mind speaking in English until we learn more Icelandic!

9/4: I picked up our second european plug in – a crock pot! Aren’t they the best invention ever?! I can’t live without one. I have already made 3 batches of bone broth 🙂

9/1: Celebrated our 2 year anniversary. Bobby surprised me with a brand new espresso machine! Now we can make that delicious Icelandic coffee at home all.day.long 🙂


9/6: Wild blueberries grow everywhere here – just have to drive out of the city a bit and stop on the side of the road. We picked about a half gallon in an hour!

9/10: I joined a Facebook group called Girls Gone International – Reykjavik. It’s a group of expat women living in Reykjavik who get together every month for drinks or a social outing. I went to my first event at a bar downtown and it was so great to meet some ladies living in the area!
9/12: When we were here last year, we didn’t spend much time in Reykjavik proper. So since the weather was great, we headed downtown to explore more of the city. Like a tourist, I had to get my photo at the Sun Voyager…naturally pretending like I’m a Viking rowing the ship.
9/15: I started my first week of Icelandic lessons and WHEW let me tell you. Not only is this language crazy hard, the instructor speaks ONLY in Icelandic during the entire 2 hour session. And she forces everyone to speak out loud. We all sound ridiculous. I feel like a child learning to ride a bike for the first time, and just repeatedly falling on my face and crying from failure. Seriously, I’m trying to use stick people to help me learn. Sigh…maybe one day.

9/16: I also attended my first Crossfit class in over a month – yikes, a little rough getting back! And thank goodness for gesturing because I couldn’t understand a word they were saying! I just look like a lost puppy trying to listen intently and then secretly follow people around.

A couple of things that have been tough/I have been a baby about:

-We have converters EVERYWHERE in our house. Ok, so we couldn’t buy all new electronics, so simple things like charging our phones and computer, running the essential oil diffuser, etc all need a converter. And of course I blew one of them out our first week here with my hair dryer. And killed the power in our apartment a couple times. It’s fine.

-The first time I tried to do laundry I had no idea what to do. I mean look at this display! What do these images mean?! And how am I supposed to know what temperature is in Celsius?! (Same difficulty applied when trying to use the oven for the first time.)

 

-When we were walking through Ikea the first week buying essentials like bedding, towels, etc. I had a minor breakdown when I realized that I already had all this stuff and now I’m just buying it again AND its twice the price! It was a low point.

-Another low point was the first time I went to the grocery store to do a major pantry re-stock. It was pretty easy to grab the basics like chicken and vegetables.  But when I’m trying to read labels for ingredients that fit my specific eating qualifications and I can’t understand a single word and every item I pick up requires at least 5 minutes to use Google Translate…by the time I got home I was exhausted.

-Lastly, obviously the language is difficult to understand. Like, I can’t follow at all. It’s really weird to be in the same room as two Icelandic people having a conversation. I’m constantly trying to pick up on the few words that I do know. Do I watch them as they talk back and forth and laugh when they laugh? Or do I just sit there by myself and ignore them? Super awkward. The good news is I can at least make it through the checkout at the grocery store! REALLY faking it obviously, but it’s still a victory.

Considering those are the only hard things, it’s really not bad. And lets not forget about this view, which is where I spend most of my evenings taking in the beautiful sunsets. Life is good 🙂
Question: What have you tried lately that challenged you?
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  • Elizabeth
    May 24, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Hi Jeannie, we’re from the UK, about 20 miles from London. I’m so glad that you still think Iceland’s an amazing place to live even after almost a year there, and that the magic doesn’t wear-off. Would love to meet-up and exchange stories (although I don’t like coffee(!!), so it’ll stereotypical tea for me)!

    • Jeannie
      June 7, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Definitely, I will send you an email!

  • Elizabeth
    May 16, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Jeannie,

    I’ve just spent the last hour (or two) devouring your blog, and thought I’d send you a quick message to say thank you for sharing your adventures on here. My boyfriend and I are heading-out to live in Reykjavík from August, and even though it’s something that we’ve been dreaming about for aaages, it’s massively nerve-wracking. So hearing about your own (mostly positive!) experiences has been really helpful getting me back from being daunted to ridiculously excited! So thank you again 🙂

    • Jeannie
      May 21, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Elizabeth thank you for your sweet note! How exciting that you will be living in Reykjavik, what an amazing place to live. Where are you coming from? So glad I could help by making you more comfortable about the move. Let me know when you get settled and we can grab coffee!

  • Amy Dullere
    September 27, 2015 at 3:58 am

    wow and wow!!! So excited for you and so very fun to read the experiences that you are having. Living vicariously through you as I would have loved to move somewhere like that!! Keep it coming please. Love and hugs

    • Jeannie
      October 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks Amy, we are loving our new country and decision to move! Keep watching out for lots more posts to come 🙂

  • Dad
    September 26, 2015 at 3:05 am

    It truly sounds amazing keep enjoying every moment. Love ya
    Dad

    • Jeannie
      October 6, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you dad, we definitely will! And Iceland is waiting for you 😉
      Love you!

  • Buckson
    September 25, 2015 at 3:09 am

    Looks good sister! Very detailed and WOW!

    • Jeannie
      October 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks brother! P.s. love the name! 🙂

  • Kristy Logan
    September 19, 2015 at 4:21 am

    Ummm I’m pretty sure the “washing machine” buttons are actually spaceship controls. And now you are in a spaceship. In space. And that’s why the big dipper is so clear.
    But really, loved this post!

    • Jeannie
      September 19, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      My life makes so much more sense now!!!

  • Aubrey Bagley
    September 18, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    The joy I feel from your writing almost makes me want to cry! Totally can picture you in the grocery store though. Ha. Keep up the posts! I am loving them!

    • Jeannie
      September 19, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      Aww thanks girl, that means a lot to me! Yeah I really look ridiculous in the grocery store. I don’t even dare to ask for strange things that I used to buy at specialty sores…I’m sure I’d get some crazy looks!

  • Kyna
    September 18, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    I will be commenting lots because I will be following you intently! I’m so insanely jealous of this adventure of yours!!!!!

    • Jeannie
      September 19, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Yay, I love comments! So far its just been really fun to share with everyone 🙂