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Icelanders

August 26, 2014

Dear Derrick,

How did you find Icelanders to be?  I know you spent time in Reykjavik, and likely got a much better taste of the city and the people than I did.  I only got into the city once for an afternoon.

My first exposure to the people was a unique new friend on the airplane who talked adamantly at the pace of an eager teacher with too much brain for the present moment about the land and the language and the history and the people.  We covered a great deal in our flight from Hamburg.

My main taste was the family that Hope and I stayed with – friends of hers from school.  They were a kind, fastidious, welcoming group with an unexpected amount of Midwestern-ness I found surprisingly familiar.  We had many family meals crammed with helping hands around the kitchen table in the farmhouse where we stayed in the Western Fjords.  They were active – organizing each day with excursions to give us visitors a good sampling.  The father, Ari, had a constant, warm grin.  Sigrún, the mother, was an avid and guiding host, who accepted help but only if you beat her to the dishes.  What the folks I encountered – from the airplane to the family to the owners of the many coffee shops we stopped at – seemed to share was a humble, responsible, working pace and quiet, small town life acceptance, replete with all of them being quite progressive, trilingual (or quad-lingual), and holding a fully integrated knowledge of the country’s recent and ancient history and place in the world, from their gaining of independence during one world war then the next, to the first democratic meeting of the nation in 1000AD, to the forming of the rocks themselves tens, thousands or millions of years ago.  So they were a dynamic but steady folk from my perspective.

The main reason I noted this, is that the setting in which they lived was so dramatic, the rocks and moss and sky and cliffs and weather so extreme and produced so much feeling in me, it all stood in fantastic contrast.

I’m curious how you found it.

Thanks for the support and the inspiration, through example, of being out in the world.

Let’s do more of that.

Tim

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