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Learning the Icelandic way!

I have only been in Iceland a couple of days – and I have clearly become an expert in the Viking way already!  I know crazy right? 🙂

What I have learned so far!  (in no apparent order – and perhaps slightly exaggerated)

1) It’s Dark a lot! You get up and its thinking about being light. You go for a drive and it takes the sun about 1 hour to get out of bed – and never really gets up!  It stays so low on the horizon – its like someone trying to sleep; opens their eyes; sits up to see the clock – and promptly goes back to bed.  By 4 it’s getting dark and by 5 its really dark!

2) Wind is a thing!  I keep being told that the weather outside is frightful.  But it has been basically clear, sunny, calm.  Today I experienced my first bit of wind.   It was cold – but Pastor Armann assures me that this is ‘nothing’!

3) Icelanders have a natural ability to see the cup half empty :).  They call it being a realist.  Donavan says ‘wow the wind sure makes plus 3 feel chilly’, and all Icelanders respond in unison with ‘This is nothing, wind kills people in Iceland’.  I am pretty sure they are trained to speak this way – to keep tourists from moving here! They want to preserve the culture.  So lets make money on tourists – but lets convince them to not live here – I must be just a way of speaking, right? :).  I doubt anyone has died from wind and I don’t think it really gets windy here!   I guess entering into day 3 could really change the entirety of this post (ps. The people are actually awesome – there is quite a lot of tongue in my cheek)

4) Every sign is unintelligible!  However, it is a fun game when you guess what it is saying assuming that every sign is likely a funny language like ‘pig-latin’.   I ask Armann to repeat things to me all the time – and I translate everything to English to help me remember – it is really funny.  I will try to get a video of this at some point before we come home.

5) Iceland does not seem to care about health food as much as Canada.  The hipsters need to immigrate here – but I don’t think they can hack the wind :).  Icelanders seem to love their Candy, Coke and alcoholic beverages!

6) There are oddly places fences everywhere!!   We went to the harbour the other day.  There were fences in place to ensure that you didn’t enter the harbour with your vehicle. So we drove a little further, found another spot (perhaps less popular) and we could drive in.  Before we knew it we had driven (without being illegal) to the other side of the fences that wouldn’t let us in :).  On the same excursion we saw this massive ocean liner on land getting worked on.  It was fenced off – but we didn’t see the fence.  Why?  Good question.  We took a scenic route and ended up by the boat.  And then while leaving we realized we were fenced in.   Today we went to several tourist locations.  There were fences everywhere.  But have no fear – I translated the signs into English – lets just say the translation allowed us to go places that others felt they couldn’t:). ex. We saw a sign that had two boot tracks on the ground with a line through the tracks.  Translation:  you can’t hike here with boots – shoes and flip flops only!   

7) It’s a lot more fun to travel with a companion then alone!  Especially if the common thread of the relationship is one that pushes each other into new ideas and taking gentle risks!  Today we saw an old geyser – we did the tourist think and took video.  But we had to experience another eruption and stand on the side where it was going to blow to –  and it drenched us!

8) ‘Sorry’ is not a word spoken here!   I was in the mall picking up a cable for the internet and as i was leaving I didn’t look behind me and another lady and I ran into each other.  I immediately responded with Sorry.  She looked at me like something was wrong with me – and in that moment I remembered that I was not in Kansas (winnipeg) anymore.  And promptly apologized for apologizing :).  And then walked away laughing at what she was now thinking 🙂

9) Beards of substance are supposed to be an immediate bond upon eye contact!   We walked into a coffee shop downtown and sat down after getting our Kafe (Side note: i have now seen about 12 different ways to spell coffee – Aslaug I need help to understand why:)).  Across the way i saw a young hipster dad with a great beard (not a real man beard yet – but no longer a child beard).  He made eye contact and gave me NO EMOTION, not even an eye brow lift.  I tried for the next 45 min to get a response.  Nothing!!   We timed our exit perfectly – right when he was leaving.  We got to the door – I held it open for him and made a comment about his beard.  He responded with a Viking grunt like he didn’t know any English (Armann promised me that 99.9% of all Icelanders under the age of 50 speak English).   Then I repeated in slow speech so he was sure to understand (i….like…beard…das…es…gout…ya?).  He then turned and spoke perfect English with a German/danish/Italian/Greek/Icelandic/russian accent (i don’t know the difference) and we laughed and smiled about the beards.  He just didn’t know the brotherhood existed on Islands as well.  Have no fear, Iceland will know all about this before I am home!

10) People are people!  We all want to be cared for, loved, understood, treated kindly etc.  People want to meet genuine people!  I am likely annoying brother Armann because I try talking with everyone – and he goes along with it.  So I will keep assuming that he loves it:).  I like to think I am a novelty that everyone should experience!   I have a beard and I speak English really gooder!!  

Anyway, we are loving our time together here in this great land.  It has been great to know Pastor Armann and Aslaug’s previous life.  Where they lived, went to school, where they played as kids etc.   We have seen where their family members live, the cities they grew up in, the places that they have worked and the type of fuel that they use!  We have seen the church they called home, met the worship team Armann used to play with and met several pastors and leaders!   Armann and Aslaug are missed here!   And we are glad to have them ministering together with us at Anchor Point. 

Well, If you made it to the end of this blog – well done!  That’s all for today.  Stay tuned for a few awesome stories and encounters I had while traveling!!

Look forward to seeing you on the weekend and finishing off our series on the journey!

Love you all,
Pastor Donavan

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