Monday, August 31, 2015

Como Se Dice A Great Weekend in Iceland?

Hello again!
It is Monday morning, and my first class begins in about two hours. It is very exciting!

I finally got my own room, and although it's much needed, I will miss my Spanish roommates who will all be up on the 3rd floor.  Here is an idea of what my tiny world looks like:

Not a lot of room, but enough! 

On Friday we had a meeting for our program. It was amazing to meet so many people from all over the world who is interested in the Vikings, medieval manuscripts, language, and religious studies. I also met a terrific group of Americans (some even from the mid-west!) who finally were able to understand and groan at my jokes! 

On Saturday, the Spanish crew took me along to one of the outdoor swimming pools. Yes it was cold outside. But the pools are heated and it felt great. Afterwards we grabbed an Icelandic hot dog and I eventually found my way into a bar with some new Norwegian friends and Judith from Germany. I stayed up so late! Like 1:30 in the morning!

Sunday was by far the best day I've had in Iceland. Judith, the Norwegians, Ramon and I caught a bus  out to Mount Esja just outside of the city. A lot of the people from my program were also hiking out there so it was quite a group! Ramon had never climbed a mountain before and yours truly is incredibly out of shape, so we didn't make it all the way to the top, but it was a beautiful day with an amazing view as the clouds rolled in and smothered out the sun.

Though I was exhausted on returning home, not to mention irritated by the bus being nearly an hour late in picking us up in the cold and rain, I was invited to Manuel's house to enjoy a traditional Spanish dinner. So Ramon and I showered then walked a few blocks and enjoyed an amazing night to top off a great day. 

The real work begins today, so hopefully I'll have some time to update this before too long!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

With the Spaniards in Iceland

Greetings from Reykjavik!

It has been a wild few days. I left Indianapolis around 6:00am after a teary goodbye to my parents. I landed in Toronto after a quick flight where I spent the next 12 hours wandering around the airport, eating Wendy's behind the Saudi Arabia airline counter, and listening to Harry Potter audio books.

There was only one flight to Reykjavik, and it left at 9:00pm so the Iceland Air employees weren't even there until around 5:30! Finally I got my bags checked and eventually boarded the plane. Thankfully they offered your own little television and The Jungle Book was on the list of movies so of course I celebrated the victory of boarded the plane with Man Cub.

I arrived at the Keflavik Airport around 7:00am. After receiving only a couple hours of sleep on the plane, I was very much looking forward to getting a nap in at the guesthouse where I was staying. I didn't arrive to the guesthouse until around 9:30, where they had two surprises for me: 1. My room was not ready. 2. I would be staying with 5 other guys until school started. So I walked around the city, walked to the university and found where my classes will be held. And walked. And walked.

Across the pond

I went to an orientation meeting where I met my first group of international friends, who then accompanied me to an introductory meeting at the library and to a quick lunch. I then returned to my guesthouse to see if my room was ready yet. It was! I walked in and met Ramon, Martin, Alessandro, and Niels (he's from Denmark). And one other guy whose name I forget. They immediately handed me a beer so naturally we became best friends. We all walked down to the University together for the Orientation Party for international students. 

University of Iceland 

At the party, I met a couple people from my program and finally a couple of Americans! They gave me plenty of warnings and advice. It's a little overwhelming to be here. Not quite culture shock but just kind of....what the heck am I doing?!

But the city is great. I have walked around a lot and have kind of figured out how to get from place to place. I have another meeting today for the School of Humanities, a crash course in Icelandic on Friday, and a program meeting for the Viking and Old Norse students. 

I am getting more comfortable as I settle in, and the Spanish friends I have made certainly help! 

Hasta luego!

Oh, here are some more photos from my wandering:

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Last Day on Earth

Hello, history fans. We have some grave news here at History Books. Starting today, this blog will become more of a personal account as I venture to Iceland and study Vikings! Oh, sure we will be updating things as we go, maybe post a couple papers here and there. But it will be much too exhausting to tell each and every loved one (and not so-loved one) what life is like in Iceland!
So, here we go:

I fly out tomorrow morning with everything that I own, except my records and books which have been graciously stored at different family members houses. Please take care of my babies!
I have quite a layover in Toronto so don't be surprised if I update this again because I'll be bored out of my mind!

Here is where I will be staying:
Not quite Hogwarts but it will do

For those of you thinking about mailing me sweets and encouragement notes and suggestive photos, the address is:

Salvation Army Guesthouse
Kirkjustraeti 2
Reykjavik 101

I'll double check when I arrive to see if I need a room number or PO Box attached.

Tonight I say goodbye to my folks, my sister and my brother-in-law Erik. It won't be easy! I got pretty teary eyed saying goodbye to Annie and Benji yesterday. And I won't even tell you how much Pat cried!

Anyway, check back for regular updates. I'll be posting on here and trying to stay in touch on Facebook. I'll have the Internet at the guesthouse, so hopefully I'll be able to stream some Colts games!
Goodbye, United States! I'll miss you terribly!
-Z. Melton