Back to a Good Start

Well, halló again, internet. After a whirlwind couple of weeks—a whirlwind summer, when you get right down to it—Mark and I have made it back to Iceland. That Gortex rain slicker I acquired this summer came in handy immediately—it was rainy and a bit nippy when we left the airport. But, although I may seriously regret saying this later, I can tell you now that I am full up on sunshine for awhile (you can remind me that I said this in February). I got enough 100+ weather and more than my fair share of sunburns over the last few months and so cloudy weather, sweaters, and rain seem like just what I need right now.

We flew in Saturday night/Sunday morning (got in right around midnight), had a day to stock up on groceries, run errands, and unpack most of our stuff, and then bam: it all started today. But before I get to “It All,” let me just take a pause to share the epically awesome triumph I experienced at the airport.

Picture Mark and I at the very end of a long, but quickly moving line at Passport Control. It has been, of course, about three months since I have had a spoken conversation with anyone in Icelandic, and while I have been trying to practice as much as I have been able to, one worries that all one’s language skills have dribbled out of one’s ears. But, as King Henry Shakespeare my mother would say, “once more unto the breach!” And so, when it came our turn at the window, I presented our passports and documentation to the policeman and greeted him with a chipper “Góða kvölðið!”

And wouldn’t you know it? He answered me in Icelandic! And gee golly, I answered him back. And whoopitee doo, we had a whole blinking conversation.

(In Icelandic)

Him: Are you Icelandic?

Me: No. (Thinking: “Huzzah! My accent is not atrocious!”)

Him: You are American?

Me: Yes.

Him: How long will you be in Iceland?

Me: Nine months–I will be at the university.

Him: You are a teacher?

Me: No–I’m a student.

Him: But you are learning Icelandic?

Me: Yes.

Him: (Pointing to Mark) You as well?

Me: He is studying English. He doesn’t speak Icelandic.

Him: Okay. (Stamps passports.) Thank you.

Me: Thank you.

Before we fade out, just know that I very literally leapt into the air for joy following this interaction. Small triumphs = great confidence boosters. Every. Single. Time. It also bears noting that so replete was I with confidence after this conversation that I proceeded to have a series of not entirely straightforward exchanges with the woman at the bus station in order to first buy some temporary bus passes (I wanted to buy one for a week, turns out they only sell them for one day, three days, one month, three months, and one year), and then to change the start date on the three day passes we bought, since we wouldn’t be using them on the day we bought them (we had a rental car). I won’t say that I spoke awesome Icelandic in this go-round, but I did get my point across and that is the important part.

Anyway, back to the present. For me, today’s “All” included:

  • The obligatory trip to ÚTL to get my photo taken for my residence permit renewal (this was a remarkably pain-free experience, thank you oh, útlendingar gods)
  • My first class in the Icelandic as a Second Language BA Program (Icelandic 1), which furnished me with the new vocab word, vinnufríður, as in “the ability to work in peace.”
  • My first day starting my first real job here in Iceland—at least, my first part time job. That is, I am now officially a part-time journalist at The Reykjavík Grapevine. (Whoot!)

And while I am not yet a seasoned reporter and the whole getting-into-the-swing-of-things process is not without its bumps, things went pretty darn smoothly. Fingers crossed for the rest of the week now. I’ll report back as I am able/as things are of interest.



5 thoughts on “Back to a Good Start

    • Hi, Brittany!

      I’ll be writing for the paper in English (it is an English-language paper), but part of the job is going through Icelandic news sources and looking for articles to reblog in English on the website. Also, I’ve been corresponding with people in Icelandic. So I will get a lot of practice in Icelandic, I think.

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