Dear Iceland

Its a love hate relationship, this thing we´ve got, a thing I can´t ever fully commit to and never completely break up with. The summers are always summer loving, and when there´s fall, if fall ever comes, the colours of birch trees reddening and hay fields yellowing is glorious. Then our sun has begun its slow decent, and your light is always dramatic after the sheep have come down from the mountains. Things glow gold during the day and northern lights show up at night, and then the nights persistently grow until the autumn equinox when they´re triumphantly longer than the days.

Its your darkness that first pushes me away. The mornings when I wake up in pitch blackness and I´m not sure if its 9 am or 9pm because I swear I just fell asleep, but realize I´ve been unconscious for 12 full hours and still feel tired. 13 hours of sleep a night become normal by the end of November, as all my energy evaporates with the lack of light and vitamin D.

Christmas is a jolly old time each time, and I love the cosiness Reykjavik offers during the holiday season. Ice skating, shopping for pine trees and gifts to put under them, and drinking Swiss miss and Stroh with friends at café´s. New Years eve is a spectacular show, with all the explosives and parties, even during covid, and I thank you for giving me 26 days of Christmas to survive the first week of January.

Then its the cold that drives me away. The orange weather warnings and hurricane winds, the wind chills and white-out snow storms, the frozen roads and my car buried in cold snow. I can´t bear it – even my skin cries out as white, flaky, patches break out on my face and random places on my body. The allergies, the eczema, and the shut-in and shut-out feeling of society begins to grow as everyone else slowly winds down into hibernation mode.

Finally, its your people, our people rather, that destroy you. I can’t fit in anymore – just a little too brown, a bit too cheap, and too much of an accent standing between me and being Icelandic. I should be bitching about taxes and minimum wage, holding out my hands for free benefits like the rest. The jobless say no to job offers, preferring unemployment insurance to working for a living, and some only accept money under the table, just to make sure our ‘kreppa’ recession lasts a little longer. Privileged white men find ways to keep shitting on single, independent, young women, asking us passively-aggressively to shut up and accept their definition of gender equality. The married men keep cheating on their wifes and the ex-wife’s keep gold digging and fighting with baby daddies. The countryside people are tired of living in the country and Reykjavik people are tired of living in the city – the grass is always cleaner on the other side.

This year I made it to April, I´m not sure how, but February and March were abnormally kind. The volcano beginning March 19th was timely – may Mother Earth continue to rage and burn you beautifully. This April´s been a bitch, so I´m out. I´m sorry I couldn´t stay longer, the third covid wave was the last incentive I needed to bounce. Ill come back when the grass starts to green and the sun starts to warm, when more than 10 people can gather again, both in bars and public pools. Perhaps vaccinations will actually start helping people younger than 70 by then.

Im sorry but now I’ve got to go. I´ve always said that I learn to love you more each time I leave you, but I´ve still got to leave you long enough to get homesick. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months, for me to miss you, but somehow I always come back. I can´t promise this time, but I´ll try my best.

love,

the one who always gets away

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