For the past several months, I have been trying to find my footing in Iceland. It’s not a matter of falling in love with the country or failing to, rather it is a case of trying to find my place here. Though the things that are keeping me here are temporary, I want to make the reasons for staying for any length of time clear and plausible, and to make the stay itself enjoyable. What am I doing here, and what does it mean to me? Doesn’t everyone ask that?
I’ve been pondering the question, but coming to the same lack of an answer all this semester. The returning daylight notwithstanding, I have been discontent, even morose, about it all. Taking a weekend to visit a friend who runs the Icelandic Emigration Center in Hofsos was a much needed break, but also a necessary change of perspective.
Hofsos, a tiny town, houses a proportionally immense museum. I spent two days just wandering through its buildings, and I could have gone back and seen more, or at least read it over again the better to remember it. Larger than expected, as well, are the mountains, the views unobstructed for miles and miles as the sun turns the snow pink, gold, or blue. Every morning, I went for a walk before devoting myself to the Center for the rest of the day, or to reading, as it really was cold and I could have read by the window with a hot drink for longer than I care to admit. The colours and the purity of the light were unlike what I have seen here, and it was quiet, but for the waves and the birds!
Though I still can hardly call myself at home in Reykjavik, there was something about the north, and the hospitality of its people, the clear lines of the mountains against a starry sky, and the morning sun on the black beach, that served as a reminder. This place is beautiful, and rich in stories. There is so much to see, and to learn, beyond the daily rounds of campus.