Whether I'm trying my best to not fall off an Icelandic glacier, or standing in an ice-cold stream in Austria, or watching a lioness snack on a zebra on the African plains, or (more often) just sitting at my desk overhearing 16-year-old girl gossip, every day's a holly-day for me.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day 13: Bless, Iceland

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”  Gustave Flaubert

"Bless" means "goodbye" in Icelandic, which I think is really cool. And  appropriate.

We left Akureyri today and are back in Reykjavik. Erika and Peter took us to a really nice farewell dinner at a restaurant on top of the performing arts center...white tablecloth kind of place. Had some great conversation with Erika and the kids at our table. A great way to end the trip. Now I have to figure out how to get 60 pounds of stuff into a bag and convince the airlines that it's actually only 50 pounds.

It's been a GREAT trip! The kids have been the most polite, helpful, kind group of kids I've ever traveled with.  I'm so grateful to everyone involved in this trip, especially Cathy. What an amazing thing she has done by starting this program for SBISD. Cathy is retiring and will be missed more than she will ever know...especially by me. I've learned so much from her about being a great teacher and a great human being.

Top 5 Things I Will Miss About Iceland:

1. Its landscape. I loved riding in the bus because around every bend was something more impressive than the last impressive site.
2. The people...they're beautiful inside and out and seem to be a laid-back, friendly, accepting bunch.
3. Clean air, clean water, the bluest sky I've ever seen.
4. The Blue Lagoon. I'd go there once a week if I lived here.
5. Peter and Erika and Tota (and her dinners!) and Runnar...they made the trip.

Top 5 Things (in no particular order) I've Missed While We Were Gone:

1. Darkness...I'm a night owl by nature. The perpetual daylight has its perks, but it definitely threw me.
2. My bed and sleeping in real sheets, not a sleeping bag.
3. Everyday luxuries that we take for granted...plenty of electrical outlets, Netflix (they don't have Netflix in Europe...well, not legally), grocery stores that have every possible item imaginable all in one place, reasonably priced goods and services (have I mentioned that Iceland is expensive?!)...
4. Ice! The irony!! No place in Europe (or any foreign country that I've visited) uses ice the way we do. And certainly not "Sonic ice!" I realize this seems ridiculous, but for an ice addict like me, it's an issue.
5. Being able to talk to family or friends anytime I want to.

The reason I love to travel so much is because I get to learn so many new things, see things in a new light, hear perspectives different than mine, meet new and interesting people, and be reminded that although we may live our daily lives in very different ways and speak different languages, we are really not that different when it comes down to it. Most importantly, traveling makes me appreciate home and makes me realize how very fortunate I am.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”  Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

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