I first heard of The Reykjavík Grapevine in 2009 when my significant other returned from a 10-day trip to Iceland and gave me a vinyl LP of the newest múm album ‘Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know.’ I had fallen in love with múm that summer after seeing them live in Luxembourg City. Now you are probably wondering what múm has to do with my discovery of The Reykjavík Grapevine, right? Well, my boyfriend, creative as he is, had wrapped the LP in a copy of The Grapevine. So naturally I googled it, and started to read the paper regularly.
I would be exaggerating if I said that I was immediately fascinated with Iceland. I knew and liked bands like múm, Sigur Rós, and FM Belfast, but I didn’t associate much with the island. However, after my boyfriend’s trip, I could tell that I wanted to get to know the island better, and I started to pay more attention to this small nation (although this wasn’t difficult with the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, for instance), and my wish to come here grew over the years.
Finally, I thought, what better time to do this than a half-year break from university? I decided to ask the lovely people at Grapevine if they were looking for interns, and a couple of days later, Haukur confirmed that I could come for February, March, and April. Awesome!
Having lived in a tiny country with few inhabitants almost all my life, I figured there wouldn’t be that many differences in daily life. Boy, was I wrong. First of all, it’s always annoying to live in a place where you don’t understand the language. I always feel so bad when I have to tell people who ask me something on the street (which happens quite often here, unlike in Luxembourg) that I don’t understand them and probably can’t help them.
Then, there is a huge difference in climate. Now you are probably thinking ‘Of course there is, what did you expect?’ but actually I’m referring to the fact that my home country is landlocked, which means that it’s mellow (not only wind-wise), and as you know, Iceland is an island, which means that things are more exciting. The weather changes from one minute to the next, and you might be blown away when you leave the house in the morning. Still, it is liberating (now isn’t that corny) to live by the sea. The fresh air is so much better here.
But what’s up with the hot water? Wasn’t Icelandic water supposed to be some of the freshest? It smells like rotten eggs. Technically, I know why it smells so foul; there’s a high content of sulfur given its geothermal source, but when does one get used to it? Be advised, you don’t want to use the hot water to pour yourself a cup of tea. Stick with the cold water; it’s exceptional.
Well, that’s that for first impressions. So far, I very much enjoy Iceland and I’m looking forward to discovering more of it.