Missing you

The worst thing about working somewhere where there are a lot of foreigners is that at some point they all go back. The go back to their countries, back to their families and back to a life you are not a part of. Today I had to say good bye to someone who I for some bizarre reason had grown very much attached to. This unlikely friendship, if you can call it that, that we had developed over the past months mattered to me even though we didn’t really talk to each other that much. From the very first day I met him I instantly liked him and he kept surprising me with a new language he could speak or country that he’d live in every time we did talk. This middle-aged Swedish man who’s been there in his white painter’s overalls for months, always with a cup of coffee, never failed to give me a smile when I saw him. He may have had some dirty secrets in his past but while he was with us he was one of the nicest people there. When I hugged him good bye tonight and told him to take good care of himself I ment it from the bottom of my heart. It’s very sad to see him go, I sure am going to miss seeing him in the morning.

I feel like I’m always saying good bye to people that I like or love. I know I should be grateful for the time I do get to spend with them but I really am selfish and I want them for myself.

Not that I would have time to see them though, as crazy as my life is right now. Which reminds me: I need to get back to work. I just realized that the summer semester is two months shorter than the other two semesters so things are going to be hectic. School only just started this week and already I’m behind on my work. What the hell was I thinking signing up for this? If I will not be moved to mental hospital by the end of this summer I deserve such a pat on the back that it sends me flying somewhere far. Maybe even over an ocean or two.

Add comment June 13th, 2006

Little slice of heaven.

Friday night. 19:00. Somewhere outside of Reykjavik.

The bus is headed south. I feel like I’m on the suicide bus from one of my favorite novels: A wonderful mass suicide by Arto Paasilinna. There too the bus was filled with strangers not knowing what was ahead of them except these people are not strangers. They are old friends and family members but just not mine. Four generations of the same family are scattered around and then there’s us. My traveling companions; random as can be; consist of a moody Spaniard, a twenty year old Dutch bloke wise beyond his years and last but not least a middle aged Swedish man who’s seen it all. They know each other. I know of them. We sit and chat and eat the baby carrots I stole from the fruitbasket in my office.

On the way to Žórsmörk

6 hours later in a cabin in Žórsmörk

I’m tired and I’ve just fallen asleep when the young and wise Dutchman rises up in his sleep on the matress next to me. He says something to me in Dutch in a demanding voice and he looks like he’s waiting for an answer. Since I don’t speak Dutch I just turn to the other side and carry on sleeping. This happens a few more times and every time I’m as shocked. He is still fast asleep. When he finally stops and I fly into dreamstate again he has managed to squeeze himself into my dreams as well. He’s not yelling at me in Dutch in my dream though and gently takes my hand. We get a little naughty and when I wake up I’m so embarrased that I can hardly look at him. It’s his fault, his presence is very demanding.

Žórsmörk

Žórsmörk

Žórsmörk

Saturday. 11:00. Alone on a hill.

We’ve come here to work. The aim is to help the nature. My job is to plant trees. It was a 3 kilometer trek to get there and then they had me walk up and down high and steep hill with 40 baby trees in each hand. I loose the women who are supposed to supervise me and ask someone for advice. I’m told to head on up so that is what I do. After climbing to the top with the plants I’m even more lost than before. I don’t know where to plant the trees or how to do it. I sit back and listen to the silence hoping to hear women voices brake it. Nothing happens. Stubborn as a mule I refuse to go down again and decide to plant where I’m sitting. The women soon find me and we plant over 1000 trees. It feels good knowing that you’ve done your part even though the part is just a few plants.

Valahnjśkur

A few hours later. Christmas is here.

Boys and their toys, the old ladies say, referring to a couple of guys with chainsaws who are cutting down pine trees that have gotten in the way. No one yells timber but it’s my job to get the trees the chop down from the hills. All that is missing is a red velure hat and a group of people singing jingle bells. They are making a bonfire to get rid of all the excess wood and it will be lit later in the evening. I play the part of the lumber jack until it’s decided that my companions and I should go on a hike. That we do and after a long and somewhat hard walk we are on the top of the world. The feeling is great. I take a deep breath and make a promise to myself that I’ll never forget it.

Harmonica

Icelandic lamb

Bonfire

Saturday. 20:30. Dancing like the vikings did.

After a hard day’s work the work ants deserve a treat. A hole is dug in the ground and the lamb’s leg slowly cookes down there. The bonfire is lit and the spirits are up. A fierce little old lady demands everyone to gather around her. She makes us dance the vikivaki dances and everyone is smiling from ear to ear. We sing along to the old Icelandic folk songs, all except the foreign trio who enjoy it none the less. Later the Dutch explains to me just how surreal it is for him to dance old Icelandic ring dances by a bonfire under the glacier. I believe him.

Very close

Sunday. 12:30. With the heart in the trousers.

Nature reminds us what it is capable of. When crossing one of the rivers it takes the jeep with the most precious cargo: the children. It happens so quickly but yet it is as it’s going in slow motion. A little old lady is in the bus and she sees her son in law, her grandson and her great grandchildren in the water. Helplessly we watch the men battle the river. The first priority is to save the kids. They are rescued to the other side and almost instantly the jeeps goes further into the water. The reaction is quick and before it goes completely under it is towed out of the river. The water flows out of the jeep when it’s on dry land. The kids are shaken but completely dry and quite alright. This time we won. Thankfully.

Sunday afternoon. In awe.

We make a few stops on the way home for our foreign friends. They appriciate it and so do I. The glacier is magnificent. The waterfall roaring with power. My new Dutch friend has just had the weekend of his life and announces that he’s never seen anything as beautiful. I think I may have to agree with him. The very least it’s the best weekend I’ve had in a very very long time.

2 comments June 12th, 2006

Moonlight in the middle of the day

It’s a bittersweet feeling when you realize that your clothes are hanging a little more loose than usual. You are happy with the fact that your efforts are showing results but at the same time you are kind of sad that all your pretty clothes are getting too big. You don’t run out and buy new clothes as you are only starting a longer process and buying clothes that fit now is throwing the money away as hopefully they too will be too big soon. So while you are in this transitional phase you look like an idiot with your butt showing because the trousers don’t stay up and there are no more holes on your belt.

I’m kind of having a bad trousers day.

Add comment June 9th, 2006

Thursday, 21:17, just over 12 hours down, less than one to go

This is ridiculous. I’m having a trouble working because the SUN is shining straight into my eyes.

1 comment June 8th, 2006

Thursday, 15:33, 6 1/2 hours down, many more to go

Nobody loves me and I’m hungry.

1 comment June 8th, 2006

Tree hugger

I want to do good for humanity and stuff so instead of sterilization I’m going with a bunch of people to Žórsmörk to plant some trees. The oppertunity was too good to pass on as it’s completely free in trade for my labor towards the enviroment. It’s a brilliant way to meet new people, get to know better people that I already know a little and to be outside the whole weekend. There will be Icelandic lamb (Bezt in the world) cooked in a hole in the ground, folk dances and a bonfire. Sounds mighty good to me. I leave Friday and come back on Sunday. The only downside is that I’ll miss Gebbs birthday which is an obvious disadvantage. I hope she can forgive me. I also miss my date with my new Dutch friend and the salsa lesson.

Life is all about choices and I believe this is a good one. I can’t wait. My Dutch friend and I will just have to dance salsa at the hostel and get the Spanish chef to teach us. Or Flamingo, he’s from Andalucia after all.

Add comment June 7th, 2006

I know what you mean, my calves totally hurt…

They say there is an international language of love. I think the original meaning would have been something cheesy like that love conquers everything but lately I’ve mostly heard it used to describe how two people who don’t speak the same language get it on regardless. A little less universal, due to some linguistic restrictions, is the widly spoken language of complaints. The language of complaints unites sworn enemies, strengthens the bonds of friends and family and makes everyone feel a part of the same bigger picture.

You see, everyone has something to complain about; back pains, work troubles, school matters, boyfriends and mothers. We let off steam by going on endlessly about how bad we have it and there is abseloutly no point to this yapping if no one is listening. It is also a standard practice when someone speaks complainia to listen carefully, nod understandingly and then add something to show that you have it much worse. Depending on the competitiveness of the participants this may lead to a bloody battle over who is the biggest looser but usually they part with better understanding of each others existence.

Using a complaint in a proper manner can be a highly efficient strategy. For some reason us men are built in a way that we don’t want to know about our neighbor’s good fortune. Those who are too happy are suspicious and if they talk to much about their happiness we quickly cover our ears. We accuse them of being conspicious and frown up on their exhibitionst behaviour. Those who complain, on the other hand, they are our friends. They have faults, problems, and most importantly: their lives are not better than ours. Nothing fixes a quarrel like a complaint about something you know your opponent dislikes.

As I see it, as tedious as they seem, complaints play an important role in our lives. Even though we live in two different continents we all get rain which ruins our laundry day, we all have mothers that drive us nuts with their overbearing concerns and we all like to talk about ourselves.

PS. If you haven’t already downloaded the Answers.com extension to firefox I do recoomend you do so instantly. It’s pure genious. I know it has nothing to do with my point but I just had to mention it. Keep your focus on the complaints.

Add comment June 7th, 2006

Holiday

It’s always better on holiday
So much better on holiday
That’s why we only work when
We need the money

These were the first words I heard from the radio when I arrived at work. I think the cosmic forces are trying to tell me something.

Add comment June 6th, 2006

There was something in the air that night…

Last night I went out with four English lads that knew little about me and I nothing about them. I met them at Barinn, a new hip and trendy place, where everyone who’s anyone danced in a coke high till morning. I’m not saying everyone in there was on cocaine but it’s always a bit dodgy when men go in pairs to the toilet and that we did see. Barinn became a bit too hip and trendy for my new English friends around 1am so we moved to a more cheesier location. Hressó was the cheese of choice and there we danced our asses off to badly smelling Eurovision hits.

I’ve often been called impulsive and sometimes I have a hard time keeping my trap shut. The fantastic four got a little taste of that last night. I began with speaking about the menstrual cycle with one of them in respect to how much alcohol women can handle. For some reason he found that very improper of me and kept mentioning it all night like I had been giving him a detailed status check on my own cycle and not just mentioned something very generally speaking. I would understand this sensativity if I had been discussing bowel movement but I was not aware that hormones were a taboo. Hormones are a facinating thing and the role they play in our lives is great. Then later in the evening I told one of them he was lousy with girls as he had not given me any feedback on my attempts to pull him. This I told him infront of his friends which is about the time when I became a tad bit improper I believe. In retrospect I wasn’t really hitting on him but more like giving him an opening with subtle hints. I keep forgetting that men don’t have subtle hints receiver and they tend to bounce off them. I also fought with him about the bible and when exactly Jesus went up to heaven in the kebab line. I was right though, I googled it. I also paid attention in Sunday school. Poor guy. He was such a sweetheart and was totally not ready for an Audi attack. I hope he will recover. They were all great though and I hope they didn’t have a terrible time with me.

Outside the kebab house, in the climax of my bible argument, I noticed a guy in the line who was giving me the eye. Being the flirt that I am I kind of smiled at him just to see his reaction. His reaction was that he started a staring competition and then when he had long ago finished his kebab he was still standing there with a cheeky grin like he was waiting for the guys to leave so he could swoop in. Finally the lads said good bye to the Icelandic lunatic with no shame and I started walking towards my home. My kebab friend had obviously been waiting for the guys to leave as he started walking as well in the same direction. Just my luck that a not so innocent smile leads to some creepy guy thinking I’m an easy tart and starts following me home. After a while I was kind of worried about this and suspected that it would be hard to get rid of him if I allowed him to follow me all the way home. Thankfully nature took matters into it’s own hands and he stopped to pee. He signaled me, probably so I would wait, but I used the oppertunity and ran out of sight. I’ll think twice before I smile at someone in the kebab line again.

You would think that the night ended there but think again. When I came home I got a phonecall from the bartender I was dating months back and apparently he had seen me down town. When I asked why the hell he hadn’t said hi to me he told me I had been talking to boys. He demanded answers who the boys were and then we somehow got into an argument over why I never call him. I reminded him that it was he who stopped talking to me but somehow he managed to turn that over on me. I don’t know where he got the idea that he could play the jealous boyfriend when I’ve not seen him since December but he was playing the part well. Then the weirdest part of this call came when he was saying good bye and he said he’d talk to me in the morning. Are we all of a sudden dating again? Someone failed to give me that memo.

As I was about to pass out I got a very surprising text message from one of the Brits where he told me that he would have responded better to my pulling attempts if they had been pointed at him. This I did not see coming.

If I thought I didn’t understand men before I now know that I don’t.

2 comments June 4th, 2006

Gay pride

At five o’clock this morning I came into Umbs room and announced to her and the girl sleeping next to her that I love gay men. I was so overjoyed by this discovery that I didn’t even get mad that Umb was technically speaking cheating on me with the girl. Last night I went to a housewarming party where three strange but mostly great Dutch guys and one Spaniard were celebrating their newfound privacy. Up to that point they had been living in the hostel with all sorts of strangers, badly smelling and what not. The party was very mellow and around midnight all the guests decided to go home and the Spaniard left for bed. One of the Dutch guys wanted to go down town but the others had to be up early. Out of my famous kindness I offered to accompany said Dutch down town and off we went.

What a fabulous night. We met up with one of our Icelandic co-workers down town and his girlfriend and went bar hopping around town. Finally late in the night the couple decided to go home so the Dutch guy and I decided that we needed to go to a gay bar and find him a man. Which we did. In the only gay bar in Reykjavķk, a tiny little place called Cafe Cozy, I did my best to introduce my new Dutch friend to people I had never seen before. In my efforts I sat down at a table with two guys who turned out to be a couple from Keflavķk. Unfortunately for my friend I was the one who got a phonenumber that night while he was not as successful. The phonenumber came from a 40 year old Puerto Rican who I danced salsa with to non-salsa songs and laughed so hard that my stomach hurt. I don’t think his boyfriend liked me as much as I kind of monopolized his man but when I left they both hugged me and kissed.

I used to be a fag hag but my fag moved away to Sweden. I remembered last night why it was that I loved going out with him and his friends. It’s so liberating to be able to have fun with people without it having to lead to something else. I had a fantastic time and made a couple of new friends. Which is never bad.

2 comments June 3rd, 2006

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