Though I recognize that we came to Iceland only a few days after they celebrated the beginning of summer, we were quite taken aback by the low temperatures. It literally took my breath away. Granted it was the "coldest winter in 60 years" according to several locals and the temperatures were still lower than normal. Needless to say this is not the spring or summer I had been seeking to start our journey. To add insult to freezingness I was pretty sick during our stay here. Sore throat, coughing, raspy voice, and an endless need for tissue in the form of "softy" and "Lambi" brands (neither of which are soft, just to be clear) greeted the initial part of my journey, creating a definite longing for home and a comfortable bed.
The hostels we stayed in were really fantastic but moving from place to place every night was strenuous. Driving 3-5 hours each day further created a weariness that was mind numbing. I was homesick no doubt and began to worry I had made the wrong choice to leave my job and travel for a few years.
In these moments and during the darkest times of my need for rest, something brilliant would always happen to keep me afloat. A new sight such as a steaming geothermal pool whose sulfurous gas would cut through my stuffy nose and warm my hands and soul, a glacier filled beach on black sand with sun bathing our laughing wide-eyed faces, or a hilarious interaction in the most rural of places in Iceland trying to convey what a cough drop is. (I'm thankful they didn't try to give me the Heimlich maneuver since my gestures could have been conveyed as choking.) All of these moments helped keep me in check for the adventure, beauty, and memories that I will make. The laughter and camaraderie from the three of us at the gas station when they figured out what my gestures meant and lead me to a big bag of Hal's is a moment I hope never to forget.
Additionally, Brent was a great caretaker. He was patient when I was not and cared for me and kept me going when I just didn't feel like moving forward. THIS is what I had been really looking for in our lives, time for Brent and I to be our best selves and care for one another in the most meaningful way. I hate that when we are working we are unable to care for one another when needed and have to squeeze this in between emails and meetings. When I am home and back on the "real" world I'm always rushing around. Have to get to another meeting, have to read more for work or to learn something, have to go go go. That is the pace of life.
There has been a change in me that has allowed me to adapt to a slower pace quite easily. Now, instead of hurrying Brent along to our next social or work engagement I can patiently wait for him to take his time to get ready. He's a little slower than me (most people are actually). I walk fast, eat fast, talk fast. But now, now I 'm able to take that space and time and get lost in my thoughts or observe my surroundings. I mean, I still pack faster than him, but now I don't have to rush him. That's nice and it feels good. I'm so thankful that we are being given this opportunity to care for one another in a most meaningful way during this journey we have together. I do not take for granted that this is a special gift we have been given.
Though Iceland has been beautiful I'm ready to move on to the next place as I'm looking forward to staying in the same place for FIVE days! The move to Amsterdam promises three wonderful things: warmer weather, a change of clothes, and a little stability in this constantly changing new life we have chosen.