Tuesday, September 20, 2011

About School

Well, I know I haven't posted much about school, because honestly it's not a big part of my life here. Yes, I go almost every day of the week, yes I meet people through there, but it doesn't feel like a big part of my life like it did in the states.

I don't have much homework, which will probably change. Maybe. I'm only taking 7 classes, two of which are Dance and Gym, only once a week and only 40 minutes long. That makes about 5 real classes.

Oh whatever, I guess I'll give you a picture of my schedule. When there are two classes at the same time, that means I can go to one or the other, or half and half.
Needless to say, I hate Wednesdays and love Fridays.

Most of my time is not spent even thinking about school. I keep forgetting I need to write a paper on the settlement of Iceland. 2 weeks ago. 

But about school: there are 7 classrooms, one auditorium, a dance hall, cafeteria, and a huge lounge for students (which I think is open on weekends? Never really wanted to go on weekends, to be honest). The entire school is covered in copper, so in about 2 years it'll be green.
If you're feeling daring you can go to the website http://menntaborg.is/



So I've been here one day past a month, and I must say, I'm having an excellent time. Of course I have my downs, but I've had significantly less downs than when I was in Texas, to say the least. The scenery is beautiful, I go out on the rocks almost every day and go watch the sea as the sun is setting or in the middle of the day.

I've met some really cool people, people who like actually like me. I have a place to hang out when I just want to hangout somewhere that isn't home, and of course I can just walk home afterwards at 2 in the morning or at 5 in the afternoon if I feel like. I'm given so much freedom, and I'm using it to enjoy Iceland to the fullest. I find myself going out in the cold and the rain and taking the longer routes because I'll never be in Iceland like this again. I'll always have more time to sit inside, get on the computer, check facebook, play a game, read a book, but I won't ever have the same opportunity to stare out at the tide coming in, to talk to the girl sitting next to you, or walk on the black sand. Every opportunity is made up of fleeting moments brought mysteriously together to create something truly magnificent that can never be gained back again. Take advantage of the conglomeration and coming together of the universe that gathered to create wherever and whatever you are right now.

Enough of that. It's time for pictures.

Today I went to a rétt, which is a coming together of sheep and people. It usually ends in singing and teetering, but we didn't stay that long. I only heard a few people singing when we left. Anyways, Réttir is when a bunch of people go into the mountains, gather the sheep that have wandered the mountains all Summer (which I learned is Icelandic law -- it is required to let your sheep wander during the Summer), and bring them back to be sorted into their individual farms.
Essentially, hundreds of sheep are herded into a single pen with however many people who grab them by the horns and throw them into pens to be taken away to their farms. This isn't an arbitrary "throw 12 sheep in a pen and take them away" thing, every single sheep is tagged.

These réttir take place all around the country, usually for 4 or 5 days. Beep boop.

4 Horns

Intereting fact: the Icelandic sheep gene pool has been undisturbed for over 1000 years, so weird anomalies show up and you get mutant sheep every once in a while with 2 heads or 4 horns, sometimes both. I saw two sheep with 4 horns.

Rounding Up

Fly My Pretty
Icelandic sheep like to jump. I don't know.

Lots of sheep.


My host sister, Eyrún! And on the left, slightly visisble, my host newphew Baldur.

And of course, more pictures are available on my Flickr!

More observations! 

Me and a few other exchange students have noticed a very peculiar thing about Icelandic buildings: they're largely very modern and have the latest X and Y, but only half of it is finished. Most, and I mean almost all, houses are in some kind of renovation that doesn't seem to be progressing in any direction at all. Take our house for instance, our bathroom is being redone, meaning the concrete floor was ripped up, new piping and everything, and thus we do not have a shower/bath in my house. In downtown Borgarnes there are a bunch of modern apartments that still have the window tags on them, uninhabited for, most likely, years. How long? Probably since 2007, the economic crash.

When the economic crash happened, Icelanders as a whole were undertaking huge building projects -- people were building museums, houses, and moving out of apartments. Then the crash. Most houses remained unfinished or finished without anyone to move into them because suddenly their dollar went from 66 kr to 1 USD to cerca 300 kr to 1 USD. Therefore, half finished houses, expensive walls juxtaposed against cheap counters. Tile floors and leather couches with stairs made out of 2x4s to the second story. It's a little strange to say the least, but albeit with a reasonable and understandable explanation.

No, I have not had hákarl (rotting shark), skata (rotting skate), or svið (also known as Satan's face on a plate). I have had the dried fish. I was not too fond of it. It was more smell than substance.

I could keep writing forever, but no one would read it ;D
If you have any questions leave a comment or email me! AaronDOTwillisDOTtalleyATgmailDOTcom

That's all for now!

Monday, September 5, 2011


Because I don't know what's going on here and I can't think of anything to write.

My Flickr (Photos)

Select photos (larger versions are on the flickr page):

Hope you enjoyed them! More are to come, for sure!

Bless bless.