I am happy to report that our transition to Iceland has been one of the best that we’ve had in the Foreign Service! We had been dreading the 18-hour flight (with layovers) from Tucson to Reykjavik with the four-year-old, but he was a peach the entire trip. No fits, no accidents. He ate his snacks, played his games and slept the entire overnight flight from JFK to Keflavik.

And our sponsor also has been the single best sponsor we’ve ever had. Our sponsor in Belize was great, the one in London non-existent. But this awesome guy not only met us at the airport and took us grocery shopping, but he’s also picked me up and dropped me off every day for work, organized a playdate this weekend so all our kids could meet, and checked on us over the weekend to see if we needed anything. If only they were all so thoughtful!

We’ve been in temporary quarters for the first week, so we haven’t really had the chance to settle in yet. But we should be moving into our “permanent” house AND getting our car on Monday. And we’ve also managed to spring the cat from the cat hotel, and get out and about a bit.

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The view from our temp housing with the Hallgrímskirkja on the hill.

On Friday, I joined a group from the embassy and met up with more volunteers from the Blue Army (a local environmental NGO), Landvernd (Iceland Environment Association), and the Icelandic Nature Conservation Association (INCA) for an Environmental Clean-Up Day on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

We spent about five hours wandering the lava fields and cleaning up debris along the rocky beach…enough to fill two trailers! It was a great way to get out and about, do something good for the community, and get to know our staff a little more. One of them even said something quite memorable as we were walking along: “It’s healthy to clean the earth. It’s good for the soul.”

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Pretty little beach house.

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Me and the beach-cleaning crew getting organized.

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One of the trailers that we filled with rubbish (the small one).

On Saturday we did something a little less healthy, we briefly attended the third annual Reykjavik Bacon Festival. We are all bacon lovers and were actually looking forward to it. But when we arrived we were shocked to discover a ridiculously dense London-style crowd with massive queues for the half-dozen food tents that were set up.

We finally just picked a queue only to find out when we finally arrived at the front of the line that they didn’t accept cash, and we needed to back a few blocks to the longest line we’d seen and get tickets. At that point we were pretty much done. So we just continued on a little walk through town to the famous hot dog stand.

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Bacon banner.

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Bacon brownies.

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The rainbow road recently painted for the Gay Pride celebrations.

The hot dog stand was supposedly built in 1937 and has served visiting celebrities and dignitaries equally. I like a good hot dog, so I guess I had rather high expectations. Unfortunately, it didn’t do that much for me. Maybe I’ll come around eventually, but I guess I’m too much of a fan of the American variety. The hot dogs in Iceland are mostly lamb with a bit of pork and beef thrown in. And they top them with crispy fried onions, sweet brown mustard and spiced mayonnaise.

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Famous Icelandic hot dog.

After the dog, we stopped at a playground, walked along the sea, checked out the big steel Viking ship sculpture by Jon Gunnar Arnason that looks a bit like a scorpion, and A got to throw a few rocks in the water. That and the aforementioned playdate on Sunday, and it’s been a pretty great first week!

I think the only downside is that none of us grown-ups have been sleeping well in the temp housing, and I’ve been rather warn out from the trip and the first week of work, and managed to come down with a cold. But I’m sure it’ll sort itself out soon enough.

Daddy and A throwing rocks in the sea.

Daddy and A throwing rocks in the sea.

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