In the past week, at least 4 nights, I've gone to bed just after midnight. And each night, as I look out my window before pulling down the blind, a soft yellow blush sighs on the horizon. Yes, the days are long again, but spring comes with such slow effort to Iceland! Only now, at the start of May, is green showing, and the tree outside my window is feverisly clenching its buds, ready to burst with new fragrance at the first sign of warm rain. However, the bird that sings proudly from its branches has been building a nest in the opposite house for a while now...
The sunsets are extraordinary too! :
I went out at 5.30am one day, unable to sleep, and walked around in plain daylight as if it were a spring afternoon.
I've been on more trips than you can shake a stick at. Not least because I've had a feast of visitors! Took a simillar trip with both sets - South Coast - but each had a different character, thanks to the company.
Had to pause just then and read my last entry - couldn't remember if I mentioned when Eemeli's friend Niku came. I didn't. He did. We piled up a car with 2 Finnish boys and 2 English girls (a dangerous cocktail), and headed off for a fun-packed road trip. Made most interesting for me as I did probably one of the craziest things I've done since I got here - stripped off to my bikini and went for a swim in a stream. While it was snowing, really quite hard. Luckily it was a geothermally heated stream... but all the same, getting out and getting changed wasn't so agreeable!
But anyway, back to the South Coast road trips with friends. First with my brother, his friend, Laura and Dave...all in one Corolla, half-driven by me. Its amazing how quickly you get used to driving on the other side of the road, and reaching down with the other hand to change gears and pull the handbrake etc...
I'm such a bad environmentalist - I love driving!
The oddest thing: driving a long straight road by the coast and wondering why I couldn't keep the car in a straight line. Eventually I figured out the answer - it was incredibly windy! With no trees to show you the ambient air movement, how do you tell?? Unnerving to say the least!
The best thing: driving with bright sun, clear blue skies thrown open above you, and the dazling glacier of Skaftafell national park in front of you. The stuff car commercials are made of!
I infused both groups with my feverish love of Jeff Who? (http://www.myspace.com/jeffwhoband) , the most fun, energetic, and entertaining band I've found while exploring the Icelandic music scene. If I knew a DJ in england I would make him play Barfly until clubs of people were screaming 'la la la laaa laa LA LA' like they are here. I love it. That song is my Icleand.
So we created the Concientious Killers (with their debut album Vandalism), were chased by evil ducks, ate Polo biscuits and Skyr until half-dead and had a good time.
Then dear Ria came, and we acquired Emma and Christien for a girlie version of the trip, full of admitting we were knackered after 10 minutes ascent of the mountain, talking about boys and all manner of rude things, and eating enough crisps to fill an Olympic swimming pool (but not out bellies!) :-D Having Ree made me realise how much I miss having her (and everyone else) around to just talk to. I can talk to people here, I have friends, but of course they don't know me so well.
I've also been to the Blue Lagoon 3 times this term! It's not that great - I probably wouldn't have been so many times if I didn't get student discount. Peronally, I think the Laugardalur complex in Reykjavik is better and much better value for money. I mean, it has a slide!
Finally, I've just come back from Vestmannaejar, or the Westmann Islands - volcanic islands just off the south coast of the mainland. Only one is inhabited, and there was a sudden volcanic eruption in 1973 that buried 400 homes and built a whole new mountain, the appropriately named Eldfell ('Fire Mountain' - the general Icelandic word for volcano):
It makes for an impressive sight, the cone still rabid red, and its lava outpourings black all the way to the subdued blue sea. But it's a small island, so leisurely walks were taken around it, until here I am, back in Reykjavik.
Soon to be gone. Leaving here is a feeling more than melancholy, a sacred saddness that rises up in me when I'm alone and taunts me: 'shed a tear, little girl'.
I've learnt a lifetime's lessons here. When I come back, you can talk to me as before and you might never realise how much I've changed. But believe me, I'm not the person I was when I left you behind, when last I held you and smiled at you.
The sun is setting again, the burning sky is sheltered by wise, calm grey streaks and my heart lives in the song of the little bird outside my window, calling until the buds burst beneath his feet.