Monday, June 29, 2009

Introduction to " Ísland "

It went something like this....arrived at JFK, slowly got through security, made sure 3 little men had all 6 little shoes on, looked up and saw hundreds of people staring at the t.v. with their mouths open. Michael Jackson had died. A terrible beginning to a long journey. R.I.P. <3

However, the flight with three boys was nice and smooth. They are so well behaved and little guy held my hand when we took off (my least favorite part of a flight) so that was sweet. ;-) 

Iceland is beautiful!! When we were landing I looked out the window of the plane and saw fields of purple “Alaskan lupine” everywhere! Thankfully I brought a “heat wave” with me and 60 degrees is treating me very nicely. I’ve been to the original Geysir and the very active Strokkur geyser. We went to Gulfoss which is a very strong, very beautiful waterfall. Thankfully there were signs everywhere that they were conducting a rescue training* mission, not a rescue mission. I’ve also climbed down into Kerið crater.  Such a cool surreal feeling standing in the middle of a volcanic crater! Iceland has every single color of the crayon box splattered around! It is overwhelmingly beautiful here! This country has more water than they know what to do with! Heated pools and hot tubs everywhere! And I am allowed to take the longest and hottest showers and baths I want! Apart from the smell of sulfur in the hot water, I am loving the abundance of agua. 

Along with the plentiful water situation there is also more sweets than I can even think about eating. Ice cream shops everywhere. Dessert after meals. Candy snacks. Brownies. You name it. Within the first 3 days I have had my fill of sweets for the month! 

Saturday night out on the town was interesting to say the least! In a country of only 300,000 people, I  think most of them where downtown at the bars! It was packed! I was shocked! Along with Miss. Iceland 2006 and her gorgeous friends we were invited to the national handball team’s party. It is strange getting ready to go out for an evening and seeing the party you will be attending in the news paper, and then the next day on the news. Fun time but I was mostly hanging on to people for dear life, probably 3 times more pushy and bumpy than any NYC venue. I wore my drink instead of sipping it, but it was a blast. The more surreal part of the evening was bar hopping at 3 a.m. and it being as bright outside as 3 p.m. Ladies be warned: If you find yourself in Iceland mid summer, you must look as great coming out of a club as you did going in because the midnight sun here is not forgiving! ;-) 

Another brilliant idea the Icelanders have is their movie process. You buy popcorn and candy pre movie - sit and watch half of it - then the movie pauses for 15 minutes - potty break and more candy - and then the rest of the movie is shown. And let me throw in there, everyone took the same seats after the break, there were no arguments over seat snatching! Brilliant. The U.S. should definitely follow this example!

And now it is Monday and my week of being a foreign “Au pair” with the boys has commenced. This morning I brought the youngest boy to his preschool for the first time. Your heart has not been broken until you see how scared a four year old is on his first day in a new school. Bless his heart! 

Im adjusting wonderfully here. I love sharing my Icelandic vocabulary with natives and seeing them giggle at my pronunciation. I love eating delicious Icelandic lamb for dinner.  I love going to bed and waking up and always seeing the sun shining. I love the sulfur smell of the hot water, the beautiful home I get to live in for a month, the really cool dishwasher, and the european plug outlets. I love the serenity of this island and knowing my "summer of a lifetime" has begun.

26 more days to enjoy this country...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The preparation...

There are four days before I embark on what I believe will be the summer of a life time. I have always been fascinated with other cultures; the excitement of traveling, the thrill of an unknown destination, the smell of unique cuisines, the conversations with the stranger sitting next to me on a plane, the pleasing discomfort of a new pillow to rest upon, the confusion of public transportation systems worldwide, even the way the sun and moon always look the same when they rise and fall over whatever country I find myself in. It is no secret I have a love affair with my passport. This love affair started not with my foreign exchange boyfriend when I was 19 who invited me to Sweden, my first European excursion. But it started with that first feeling of terror, when the jet engines began to roar, and I was 30,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean completely content and petrified with mini juice cans, pretzels, and a microwaved airline dinner. This adoration of travel was only further brewed once I landed back in the United States; I felt like I could take on the world. I realized that I had gone someplace and gotten myself back home, safely. Since then I have been to only a couple of other countries, Spain and Jordan. However my dreams have taken me all over the world. 

In four days I take off to Reykjavik, Iceland. I'll spend four weeks amongst one of the most physically fascinating countries I may ever see. I am thrilled to spend time bundled up in my fleece sitting in their lovely parks, swimming in heated swimming pools, trekking across chilled glaciers, and invigorating blue lagoon. I am excited to stare in awe at the waterfalls, natural springs, lava landscapes, and midnight sun. Years ago, if anyone had told me that I would have the opportunity to see one of the most geographically beautiful countries in the World, I wouldn't have believed them. Under the circumstances of which I will be visiting are surreal. For two years, an Icelandic family has basically adopted a young all-american-puerto-rican lady and taught me everything about their culture. I will spend my days with three of the most handsome young boys I will ever meet and their beautiful Scandinavian mother. I get to experience this exotic land with my own personal little viking tour guides. Everyday I realize, I may be the luckiest nanny in the world. 

After 4 sunny weeks in Iceland I travel to Sardegna, Italia. The circumstances of which I have been invited seem to be out of a novel. A sweet friend of mine (a true Italian gentleman) is waiting to introduce me to troves of people, show me the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, stuff me with the most delicious pastas of Italy, share with me bottles of native "vino", and teach me one of the most melodic languages ever spoken. I have nothing to complain about!

When four weeks of bliss in Italy ends, I will be happily on my way back to the United States. Myself, my mother, 4 aunts, 2 cousins, and a best friend will be ready to take a much anticipated vacation to Puerto Rico. My family's island. After two days of touring where my grandparents lived, we all board ship and will indulge ourselves aboard the Royal Caribbean for 7 days. I am so thankful that my first cruise will be shared with people I love and people I will have missed dearly. 

When I say out loud (or quietly type) my planned summer, I can't help but pinch myself. Every day of this summer has fallen into place almost effortlessly. I am truly blessed and immensely thankful. When I wake up to reality and float back down from the clouds, I will find myself terrified of the future. Economic stress has made job searching more difficult than normal. An exotic summer abroad doesn't come cheap and I will most likely be feeling the strings tighten financially. Although I am terrified of what the fall brings, and how little control I know I have over it, there is a part of me, deep inside that is serene in knowing - it will all come together. For now, I will continue to thank the Lord daily for the opportunities, soak them all up, remember each kind (and unkind) face I'll meet, enjoy when I am lost and lonely, laugh at my foreign language blunders, and remind myself this is going to be one of the best summers of my life. 

I love you all and I can't wait to share all my experiences with you through this screen.