Another year on

A lot has happened since last August when I wrote my last post about a year since I moved to Iceland:

https://georgiasadventures.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/a-year-on/

Since August I have gotten engaged, moved back to England and moved out of my parents house to start my first full time job in the real world!

Me and Chris spent our second winter in Iceland living together in his apartment. We went sledging, swimming and hot tubbing a lot! We went for our 10 month anniversary meal and Chris proposed to me. We have started planning our wedding, settled on a venue and date and now just planning all the finer details. I’ve been for a few dress fittings and can’t wait to get married next year.

We moved back from Iceland just before Christmas. It was weird leaving and knowing we would not be living there again. It was also nice to get back to normal and actually be able to go shopping and for ‘normal’ dates. We spent Christmas at my parents and New Year at Chris’ and then settled into living at my parents house. Chris started working at a computer company and then later on Tesco whilst I finished my thesis and worked part time at a coffee shop.

In February we went on a mini break to Ascot for Valentines day and went  on a horse drawn carriage ride.

We celebrated our birthdays in April by a weekend trip to Norwich for mine and mini golf and a meal for Chris’ which was fun. Next year we will be on our honeymoon for our birthdays.

During this time I started applying for jobs and gained an interview with Mars Petcare based at Waltham on the wolds near Leicester. A month or two later I received a phone call being offered a job as a Unit specialist on one of the dog units.

It was a while until my references came back so we had a while to search for a house in Melton Mowbray and for Chris to get a transfer with Tesco. We moved the beginning of June and we really like living here and I really enjoy my job.

We went back to Iceland for my graduation in June and it was nice to see everyone from my course again but the graduation was a little odd. We got funny wooly graduation hats though!

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During the next few months we are continuing to plan our wedding including going to our venue for some menu and wine tasting. We also have booked a short break to the coast for September as our summer holiday this year.

Iceland was a life changing experience and I do miss it but I know that it had to come to an end so I could move onto the next chapter.

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A year on….

So today marks a year since I moved to Iceland. It’s been such an amazing year. Not only have I been doing a masters in coastal and marine management, I feel like I have been gaining other skills alongside it (mainly learning how to clear snow as fast as possible!).

My year in Iceland started with a few sunny weeks as I settled into living in Isafjordur. Meeting my classmates as well as some locals in the first few weeks really helped me feel less homesick. I skyped my friends a lot in the first few weeks to help feel that I was still connected to my life back in the UK. I have continued to do this throughout the year by keeping in contact through postcards, skype and facebook. I miss my university in Falmouth, especially when we look out of the window here you cannot even see the house across the road because of a snow storm, but I mainly miss all the friends I made during my time there. It was an amazing experience not just being able to live next to the sea but also being able to participate in weekly sea swims as well as volunteer with a wildlife cruise company.

In the months leading up to Christmas it was hard to stay as positive about living in Iceland. The boat tour to see seals and go to a hot pot with the university we went on in august seemed like a world away when the snow started to hit. Luckily my friend from high school came to visit at the end of October and I had a few days in Reykjavik with a visit to the blue lagoon too.

This really helped, because although Isafjordur is a really nice town it can be isolating especially when I didn’t have a car. The northern lights made an appearance as early as August, though they were very faint. We saw them a bit clearer in September and they just kept on getting better and better until December when the clouds covered the sky most nights as snow was a common occurrence.

We went to a barn party in the middle of nowhere in October which was pretty amazing as we cooked all our food on an open fire and had music playing while we all sat around and talked. We also had a halloween party at the end of October which gave us something to plan. Being in the student association helped as we organised karaoke events and parties and a winter dinner which gave us something other than our masters and the dreadful weather to focus on.

In the background of my masters and planning events with the student association I had started spending a lot of time with Chris, who had moved here to work for Kerecis, a medical company. We spent a lot of our lunch times in Husid, a little cafe/restaurant and most of our nights watching Downton Abbey, building snowmen and talking for hours. We got closer and started properly dating. It was strange but brilliant having someone who I clicked with and who understood me so well.

Towards December the snow was getting really bad, we woke up one day and had to dig our way out of the house as the snow was past our knees. I knew Iceland had bad weather but I never knew it could get this bad. Apparently it was the worst winter in about 40 years so no wonder! We had a really good lecturer for our last module and we had a winter dinner, potluck style which was a really nice way to end the year.

Going home for Christmas was an odd experience. Not only because it looked like we might not get out of Isafjordur, since the flights were cancelled for 3 days before our flight, but because it felt odd leaving a place which seemed like home now.

Arriving back home to my family was brilliant and seeing my dog again was definitely a highlight. However not having to trudge through 2/3 foot of snow just to walk anywhere felt odd and not normal! Christmas was really good though and it was nice to be back home for a while. For new year I flew up to Scotland to see Chris and meet his family which was slightly nerve wracking but I think it went ok!

Flying back in January was really great, most of my classmates seemed to be on the same flight back to Isafjordur. We hadn’t had much time off from our masters and getting back into it in January was quite tough. We had to start thinking about our thesis and start finding supervisors.

We participated in the solarkaffi near the end of January, which is where pancakes are eaten and coffee is drunk to welcome the sun back as we hadn’t seen the sun in town since November as it does not rise above the mountains.

I had some friends from my old university visit in January which was really fun and involved us getting a little hire car stuck in the really deep snow along a small fjord road which was a once in a lifetime experience (well hopefully!) It was pretty scary as we got towed and were very near the edge of the cliff leading down to the water! Their visit was followed by my sister visiting which was great, but she did get stuck for a few extra days because of bad snow which messed up her other flights!

Valentine’s day we went out for a meal at the fancier of the 3 restaurants and I got spoiled with lots of red roses! We were spending most of our time with each other by February which was really good and it already felt like we had known each other forever.

In March we got to see the solar eclipse from the top of the town at the cross country ski hill. It was pretty amazing as the sun was only just above the mountains. At the end of March my parents came up to visit and we all went down to Reykjavik to spend my birthday in the blue lagoon and Chris’ driving around the golden circle. It was a really good week having my parents and sister visit and seeing more of Reykjavik.

I also bought a car which was quite a big step! Driving on the other side of the road on the other side of the car has been a challenge but I have got used to it now. It also meant we could go to IKEA on our way back to Isafjordur. Having a car has greatly increased what we can do, as we can drive to neighbouring towns to the swimming pools and it has enabled me to drive down to Hvammstangi this summer where I am working.

I had some more friends visit the end of April which was really fun, we went sledging and swimming a lot! I also flew to Glasgow for Chris’ sisters wedding which was a really fun few days as we stayed in a nice hotel after it and it was my first experience of a scottish wedding. I really enjoyed the ceilidh dancing. We did end up getting stuck in Reykjavik on the way home though for a few days and when we arrived back in Isafjordur it was the first official day of summer and guess what? It was snowing!

We had a 90s party in late April which was the last party we organised as the student association. The beginning of May was mine and Chris’ 6 month anniversary so we went out to Edinborg again for dinner. We also went to the hot pot we were trying to get to when we got stuck last time. May was not a particularly fun month as we had a long economics module but one of the last weekends in May we got to go to Hornstrandir. We got to see Arctic foxes up close which was amazing and I never thought I would get to see one so close!

In June I got to go whale watching during a module in Husavik as well as visit many hot pots along the way! Seeing a whale in the wild has been on my bucket list for many years and it was just amazing. We even saw blue whales! On the way back I stopped at Hvammstangi where I am doing my thesis research.

I was very lucky with my thesis topic as I had planned to do studies on seal behaviour around the Westfjords in relation to tourism but I had received an email from the seal centre offering me a summer job to write a report on the use of a thermal camera on a drone that would be flown over the seals and I could then do my thesis research alongside this using the wildlife watching boat that was based here. It is a brilliant oppourtunity to get to work with seals, which are my favourite animal, and also get lots of research for my thesis.

I was back home for a week or two before I came to Hvammstangi for the summer. Chris’ parents came to visit so we went on a boat trip to Vigur island. One of the weekends me and Chris also went on a little camping road trip around the south of the Westfjords.

I have another month down here in Hvammstangi and then I am back in Isafjordur until January/February time when I hopefully will have finished my thesis write up! Then it’s time to look for a proper job, no more being a student, which is actually quite scary to think about!

The winter will hit us again in a few months which I am not particularly looking forward to. Since we survived this past winter the next winter will hopefully (fingers crossed) seem a lot better!

This year has been incredible. I have learnt how to knit (not just scarfs but Icelandic jumpers too which I am pretty proud of), I have seen spectacular northern lights, I have spent many many hours in natural hot pots in many locations, I have swum in the sea more than once without a wetsuit, I have helped organise many student association events, I have finished the taught part of my masters and as an added bonus I fell in love.

I am so happy I chose to move to Iceland to study my masters and I cannot even express how much I have enjoyed my time here. Not only have I really enjoyed the masters but I have managed to spend my summer working with seals which is my dream job! I know the next few months are going to be really hard work as I have a report to write and my thesis to write but I have some nice breaks planned in between, including going back to the UK for 2 weeks to visit friends and family and an anniversary meal in November with Chris.

Back to Iceland!

6-10th August

On thursday we had to get up at 4.30am to go to luton airport as my flight was at 7.30. I got to Reykjavik domestic airport around 11 and then I walked into town for lunch. I also went to the Iceland food store to get some frozen quorn as they only sell it there. It was really sunny too which was nice

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I didn’t do much the rest of the day as I was really tired so I just sat watching TV in the airport. I got back to Isafjordur at around 7.30 and quickly went to get some fresh vegetables to make a nice quorn caesar salad.

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I got a fairly early night as I had been up since 4.30am! On friday I went to get my hair cut and then went to bonus to get food for a BBQ for when chris got home. I went to pick him up at the airport at 7.30 and then we had a BBQ and even made s’mores after which were really good.

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On saturday we went to Husid for dinner and then had some friends round for drinks. Chris bought me some more flowers which are a really pretty.

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On sunday it was our 9 month anniversary together so we had a nice candlelit dinner at night.

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On monday I went to get my new spare tyre put on my car and packed as I am going back to Hvammstangi on wednesday to carry on with my thesis research. I am going to be there for another 5 weeks but hoping to make it home 1 weekend too.

It’s nice to be back in Iceland but I am missing cookie already! Hopefully these next few weeks are going to go by fast because it isn’t long until I am going home again!

(Written 11th August 2015)

Home

2-5th August

 

On sunday morning I went round to get cookie and she was very excited to see me!

Reunited <3

Reunited ❤

We went for a carvery sunday and I unpacked from jersey. I also had a lot of presents from holidays my mum and sisters had been on including a big mickey shaped crispy.

Carvery time!

Carvery time!

Mickey mouse crispy!

Mickey mouse crispy!

On sunday night we had prosecco and cake as my sister is leaving to move to america on monday.

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Monday I sorted out my entire wardrobe and also went to the opticians. Chris arrived monday evening for the next few days. He got me a dachshund mug which is really cute

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On tuesday we went on a bike ride in the morning and took a picnic to the park with cookie.

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We went shopping to stevenage in the afternoon and also went bowling. Tuesday night we went to neem tree, an indian restaurant in welwyn garden city. It was really tasty, and was very filling!

On wednesday we packed in the morning and then went shopping and for fish and chips in welwyn garden city. Cookie got used to chris a little and even sat between us having a cuddle!

11807376_10154088598518452_4719736673794108589_oIt was really nice being home for a few days and getting to see cookie again. It was brilliant having chris come and visit me too as we got to go bowling and shopping, things we don’t get to usually do as we have no shops and no bowling alley in Isafjordur! I fly back thursday but I am back in england again for 2 weeks in October so looking forward to that!

(Written 6th August 2015)

 

Jersey

30th July -1st August

We went to Reykjavik airport thursday morning ready for Chris’ flight but it was delayed by about an hour and a half so we had some breakfast together.

I got back to Luton at 2pm and then my dad drove us down to southampton to meet my sisters and mum to fly to Jersey. We collected the car when we arrived in Jersey and then drove to the hotel. It was a posh hotel fairly near the centre of town and the breakfast was really nice as well.

On friday we went to a castle and got the amphibious vehicle to the castle and looked round. It was really warm and I am really not used to it anymore. We then went to a little attraction that had a creperie so we got crepes!

Amphibious vehicle

Amphibious vehicle

View from the castle

View from the castle

The castle

The castle

Afterwards we went to a vineyard and did some wine tasting as well as chocolate and fudge tasting, and I bought some fudge and some apple brandy liqueur.

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The vineyard

The vineyard

In the evening we went to a restaurant and had dinner, which was very filling but very nice.

Saturday we went to the train and went to a little craft market where I bought some salted caramel sauce and then we went to the boathouse restaurant for lunch.We then drove round the island and took some photos at a few places along the way.

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We went back to the airport to get our flight back to southampton but it had been cancelled so we had to fly to bournemouth a few hours later and then get a coach to pick up the cars at southampton. We didn’t get home until about 4am. But I get to see Cookie once I have been to pick her up on sunday so I cannot wait for that!

(Written 2nd August 2015)

Isafjordur and Reykjavik

27-29th July

Monday we drove back to Isafjordur after I had been working and stopped to get some fresh homemade local pesto at the market in Laugarbakki.

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We got back around midnight and there was a rainbow sunset on our drive back.

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We had a day in Isafjordur on Tuesday so we unpacked and got everything done we needed to in town and repacked for flying back to Reykjavik on Wednesday.

Wednesday we flew to Reykjavik in the morning and went to smaralind for a dominoes and went round the shops. Chris bought me a fish pillow and a necklace and ring.

We went to the geothermal beach in the afternoon as it was a really nice day. We went in the hot tub near the beach as well as in the sea.

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We went to Ikea for dinner and I had vegetarian meatballs. We then went to out hotel in Keflavik, the Airport Inn which was a really nice hotel.

It was nice being back in Isafjordur even though it was only for a day and it was nice being in a city again even if its not that big!

(Written 30th July 2015)

Festival in Hvammstangi

25-26th July

On saturday we went on the boat trip at 1 and saw lots of seals. It was one of many boat trips I have been on this week but it was the best weather I have had. It was really sunny, and not too windy which is unusual!

In the evening we went to a dance at the local community centre as part of the festival here in Hvammstangi. It was really fun, they played abba and lots of other music.

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Sunday we didn’t really do much, we watched some TV and then we got a takeaway pizza and fries. We also packed up as we are travelling back to Isafjordur on monday.

(Written 27th July 2015)