takk fyrir… everything

The past couple of days back home have been nice, but also a little weird for the fact that I feel both like I have just come home but also like I never left. We haven’t done too too much, been watching a lot of Olympics and just catching up on everything in general. I’m heading to Calgary tonight to visit my family with grandpa when he flies through Toronto on his way home from Iceland. I’m super keen for the visit and excited to see my little cousins!

Anyways! Did you know that the Faeroe Islands are a thing, people actually live in Greenland and that you can in fact get a sunburn in Iceland? Yupp, wasn’t exactly aware of these things beforehand but now I have left much wiser and feeling like I should have spent more time procrastinating with sporcle during my undergrad years. But in all seriousness, I learnt a lot during my 8 weeks. A lot about the country, people, culture, food, nature, my family, and probably most importantly myself. I had been planning on writing a blog post about some of the lessons I felt I learned during my trip, reflections, thoughts etc. La tee dah. Here we go.

I’ve never been too keen on writing and to be honest I’ve never liked having people read what I write. I think I’m a tad bit too critical of myself when it comes to writing, but I decided to do this for myself and my family. Each post took me a while to write, but I’m so glad that I did it. I’ve always had a difficult time remembering things that I have done but I have found that the act of writing down what has happened and things that I have learnt has really helped to cement things in my mind. It has allowed me the ability to look back on different moments during this trip and realize that “oh yes, that really did happen”. This is a habit I’d love to hold on to for a while and am going to try to maintain. Oh also in regards to writing, sorry for when I used their when I meant to use there and other silly mistakes like that.

I haven’t always had an appreciation for nature, but I think it is something that has been instilled into me from my parents. My parents used to take Anders and I for a walks all the time growing up, in our pre/early teens we weren’t the biggest fans of it but now I can’t get enough and I think Anders is very similar. I love getting away from stores, roads, houses and finding myself along the water and around trees. This was one of the most enjoyable parts of my trip in Iceland, being able to experience the nature, a different nature then I get to see here in Canada. I feel like my appreciation for trees has grown since being back home though, I didn’t realize how comforting the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves was. I also have a new appreciation for bare land. It is pretty incredible to be able to see everything in front of you and to witness waterfalls just by moving your head – not as easy to find those things back here in Canada, at least where I am!

I suppose going along with the nature aspect I felt pretty safe doing things in Iceland. Sure there aren’t safety lines or trails marking your way but when you are making your way up a mountain you can see where you are going and don’t have to fight through a forest or high bushes only to find out that you have gone the wrong way. You also don’t have to really worry about animals or bugs… maybe the odd rogue sheep or horse but then again you can generally see them coming from a kilometre away. I also had the wonderful midnight sun out all the time to help guide me around so those 1 am walks weren’t too eerie. I almost always feel safe in Canada but its just a little different in Iceland.

During the program I realized just how important the qualities of leadership and organization are to me. I’ve noticed this before with past jobs or positions that I have held, but it was highlighted to me even more during this trip. I know now more then ever that leadership is a quality that I value in other people and need to see from people in leadership positions. Through this realization I also came to understand that I need to be able to separate myself from situations in order to maintain patience. Travelling is a great way to learn things about yourself, and I feel that this specific revelation will be very helpful for me in future careers.

When it comes to language on the one hand I feel very lucky and fortunate to have English as my first language as so many people speak and understand it, but on the other I feel like it allows me to have a crutch of sorts. Its pretty easy to communicate with English all the time and stay in your comfort zone. Even though Icelandic was being spoken around me all the time and I started to understand more and more I never really tried to communicate with Icelandic myself. I don’t believe in regrets, but I would suggest that if you are planning on travelling anywhere, try and learn some of the language beforehand and then use it while you are there. It is pretty neat to be surrounded by another language completely. I remember the first day at the farm and realizing that I knew nothing, absolutely nothing, as odd as it was, I really enjoyed it. It was great to sit around and just listen to this foreign language, picking up little by little, however being asked questions and feeling like there is an expectation you will answer is quite intimidating. I hope to bring a better approach next time. Darn that comfort zone!

I was fortunate enough to interact with some very positive, open minded, strong willed and wonderful women during my time in Iceland. They have definitely highlighted some very important qualities and attributes that I hope to attain and develop as I mature. This isn’t to say that I didn’t learn from the men as well, there was just something so powerful coming from these women that made a substantial impact on myself as a woman and I can’t deny it.

I learnt a lot during my time with the family at Brekkukot but one of the biggest lessons and one I hope to take with me forever is in regards to family. It’s difficult for me to try and put into words what I have learnt exactly and I know I will never be able to thank them all enough for what they have taught me (without even knowing it). I’ll simply say that I have a new found appreciation for family and a new understanding of what family is.

I think I’ll leave it here, but I also want to say thank you to everyone who has been a part of this experience with me. When I started writing this blog I was only thinking that some of my family and a couple of friends would be following along and reading but it appears as though I’ve had a lot more people following along then I expected. I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my experience and if you ever want to take a trip to Iceland yourself – lets talk! To everyone I met in Iceland, thank you all so much. You made my experience what it was and I can’t thank you enough for that and I’ll see you soon!

And now… its time to pack for Calgary! – maybe I’ll just keep blogging!

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