Where am I? You know that question you ask yourself when you wake up totally lost and in a moment of total and utter confusion you try to remember whose house and what country you are currently in? That question has frantically entered my mind one too many times ever since school got out mid May.
Its not the same kind of “where am I” that you ask yourself after a night of too much drinking or too little sleep, but the kind of lost feeling when you’ve been moving to too many different places without enough time to readjust to any of them. I’m not complaining by any means, since I’ve been dreaming of the summer and all the travel to be had since last September, and actually, I’m certainly getting used to waking up in Montréal after 10 consecutive nights in the same place.
Before I got here, there was Boston, and before that, any and every city with more than 30 inhabitants in Iceland since me and my best friend took 2 weeks to drive 3700kms around Iceland, including the west fjords and any part of the highland we managed to drag his Toyota corolla into, neglecting the many “impassable” signs we later learned were always posted for a reason.
Sleeping in an assortment of tents, hostels, couches, floors and even a hammock over the past 3 and a half weeks has taught me to appreciate the single bed I now have in downtown Montréal. Even more gratifying is the fact that my dorm residence is totally free, thanks to an amazing Canadian scholarship that covers your living expenses, tuition, AND food costs for an entire 5 weeks to learn french in Quebec! At least those tax dollars are being put to good use…
I have to admit the “travelling” feeling is slowly phasing out, since 10 days in the same place starts to make things feel like home. Although, the efficiency of student housing at the University of Quebec at Montréal somehow justifies having 8 people living in one apartment, and lucky me – sharing the kitchen and bathrooms with only guys, so getting totally comfortable in my temporary house won’t be possible. My best friend lives in Montréal, so she’s my go-to person when the testosterone gets too much too handle, and the perfect tour guide of the city and all its local charms as I try my best to fit in as a “local.”
Even so, the travel bug still reigns, since summertime is the epitome of perfect travel climate. I got my first tan back in Iceland after lazing in the many natural, outdoor hot pots spotting the countryside, and reconfirmed another brown layer lazing on a friends yacht off the coast of Boston 2 weekends ago. There is a park for beach volleyball players in the centre of Montréal city, so that excuse to wear a bikini in-town has also done great things for my summer bod.
You also know you’re travelling when you get the first pangs of home sickness. Iceland is great, and its even nicer in the summer, but of course I lasted the 8 darkest, coldest months, cursing the ice I walked on daily, and left just when things started to get green, warm, and bright. I got a tease of the Icelandic summer before leaving, as the trees bloomed and around-the-clock daylight was almost in full force mid May.
The sun is different here in Canada, cool in the mornings and evenings, cooking you at midday, and setting a lot earlier. The city scene here really dwarfs Reykjavik, but the Icelandic nature is what I miss most. I love bathing in geothermal pools, drinking water straight from a free-flowing river, and having enough free, open space to drive for hours in any direction without seeing a soul… except for maybe a few sheep. Homesickness aside, it’s been an amazing start to the summer, and it’s true what they say, you don´t truly appreciate something until it’s taken away from you, so Iceland, I’m sorry for cursing your winters, I miss you and I’ll love you unconditionally when I return.