Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hide and Go Seek in a Cave!

For a combined young single adult and youth activity, we all went out about 20 min. from the church and played hide and go seek in a cave. Yeah. It was awesome!

It was pitch black in the cave and was about the size of a normal BYU classroom (not the auditoriums) or maybe slightly bigger. The leaders broke open some glow sticks and splashed glowing paint spots all over the walls. Then, one by one, we all got splashed ourselves. The idea is that we blend into the environment so the seeker has to wonder around the cave carefully searching among the rocks and walls to find people. The cave sort of looked like this picture below only there were no spots on the ceiling.

Sofia, here, is holding up one of the glow sticks we used to light up the tunnel to the main part of the cave. It is identical to the ones that we broke open to splatter ourselves.

Here's a picture of the area the cave was located. It wasn't too far outside the city.

We had to crawl down a narrow hole and through a short tunnel first. Here is a picture of Xan climbing out.

Followed by Unni.

This is a picture of Unndis. She had just gotten baptized an hour or two before the activity. :)

Here is Johannes and Oscar. Oscar is an investigator. He also plays soccer with us on Saturdays.

The missionaries were excited that they got to participate.

I was hoping to get a picture of all of us splashed in paint but it was colorless in the daylight. You can't even tell it is on my clothes at all! You'll just have to trust me that we looked cool. :)

Above is Unni, Rebekka, and me. Below is Malianna and me.

Here is Gunnar in his car.

And Kiddý. She had been abroad while I was here in Iceland the first time.

I really hope I get to do this kind of activity again. Xan and I both really loved it! I wasn't very good cause I was a little cold so I shivered a bit. It's easy to detect moving spots. ;) But, I was never the first found... so I am okay with that. LOL

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cornell University

Xan and I have finally made our decision. It took a lot of thinking and prayer. Our conclusion was the Cornell University in Ithaca, New York would be the best place for us. It is warmer than Iceland except for January and February when it gets significantly colder than Iceland. It snows A LOT. But, its a lot cheaper than either Iceland or California and has the best program for Xan's specific studies. :) Here's a picture I found of the campus.

The scenery is absolutely gorgeous with tons of outdoor activities and lakes and hikes and...

Xan and I have true BYU blue blood flowing through our veins. But, for a few years, we are going to have to accept the color red. Not the Utah red, mind you! But the Red Bear Red!

I'm looking into apartments and such now. It's kind of fun but also very time consuming. It would be really nice if I could go there myself and look at all the places. But, the internet makes things a lot easier and most places will send pictures to view. If anyone out there has advice or recommendations on Ithaca NY living, send me a line! :)

I added a map for all of those wondering exactly where Ithaca is located. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Walking out to the Lighthouse

I got a bit creative this time around and altered a map so you could see the geography of where we live a bit better. Also, this is Reykjavik City and more. The city may be the capital but it is still pretty small! Okay. The red dot at the hub of the blue, purple and green is where our apartment is. We can see the ocean if we stand on the sidewalk in front of the house. The blue route is my walk to the grocery store. It's probably a bit over a mile round trip. So, not very far. The green route is Xan's walk to the University. The purple walk is what we did today. :) Xan guessed it was 4 miles. I think it was 4-5.
These first pictures are off of the coast that we can see from our house. So, we went counter clockwise on our route.

We crawled down the rocks and walked along the beach for part of the way since the tide was down.

It was still pretty cold, though.

I think this anchor was around the place on the map where it is a one way there and back. It was just out there by itself and was crying for its photo to be taken. LOL

You can see the lighthouse off into the distance.

If you look on the map, there is a narrow channel of land before it gets wider again where the lighthouse sits. Oh my! It is so cold to walk there because you get the ocean wind from BOTH sides of you.

The view made it totally worth it, though!

This is just north of the lighthouse. Xan went off to see if there were any live creatures in all the water puddles. He found two dead crabs and a crab shell. No live things. We did find some pretty sea shells, though.

This is on our way back along the other side of the coast... so the southwest. I thought it was an interesting statue. There are all sorts of statues everywhere!

This is farther out than I normally run but its the same coastline that I love to run. It's so pretty and the wind is usually fairly tame. It's not as cold as the north coast, either.

Haha! I got a shot of him smiling!

It was a lot of fun to go out that way. I got really cold up by the lighthouse as we played along the coast. I had warmer expectations of what our activities would be and was caught unprepared. But, it was still really pretty and worth it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gleðilega Páska! (Happy Easter)

Happy Easter, everyone! Yesterday, I bought an Icelandic Easter Egg at the store for Xan and I to have this morning. This year, we are doing Easter the Icelandic way. There are Easter egg hunts here but there is less of the Easter bunny dropping off baskets of jellybeans and marshmallow chicks. Here, you wake up and get an Easter egg made of DELICIOUS chocolate! Down below is our egg. I put a computer mouse in the picture to give you some sort of scale of how big these really are.

After admiring the pretty egg, you break it to find all the goodies inside. Gummy bears, chocolate covered raisins, caramel sucker, black licorace, chocolate covered lots of things, ect. There is also a little piece of folded paper that has a proverb on it. I gave it to Xan to translate and he either hasn't looked it up yet or just hasn't told me. :)

And, on a completely different tangent, this is my plant. I figured since we eat a lot of lamb, and mint goes really well with lamb but is expensive to buy fresh for each use, that I could buy a mint plant! Actually, I just saw it at the store, put the logic together, and bought it. LOL!

Church today was nice and short. The buses don't run and most people go out of town for the break so we simply had sacrament meeting and left it at that. The poor missionary couple spent all morning picking people up and then had to drop us all off after it was over. Well, Sister Koyle enjoyed the chance to actually get to drive herself since they borrowed a second vehicle. She got to drive one and Elder Koyle drove the other. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

veðrið er mjög flott! (The weather is fantastic!)

Today is the start of the Easter Holidays. School is out. Most people are getting the whole Thursday through Monday off of work. And, to top things off, the weather has been wonderful. I've never seen so many Icelanders walking, sitting, talking, mingling, lounging, and playing outside. We're still in Iceland, so good weather in the Spring is sunny, little wind, and a temperature of 4 or 5 degrees C. Let's see... what is that in Fahrenheit... around 37 degrees. :) Xan had some problems with Iceland Air and ticketing so unfortunately, he is unable to make the trip to Cornell. But, he is out of class until next Wednesday so he gets to take some days off to relax.

I couldn't resist taking the coastline on the way to the store today. I brought my camera to get the ocean in warmer weather. Easter Holiday is apparently a lot like Christmas Holiday in that all the stores shut down for 4 or 5 days. We stocked up today on lots of food because we aren't sure if the stores will be open until Tuesday.

Here's the ocean. Look at that blue sky!

There's the entrance to the center of the Earth. That's Mount Snæfellsness.

That face is usually what he gives me when I say, "smile!" and have a camera. LOL

I was even able to let my hair stay half down since it wasn't crazy windy. I hope this weekend means that Spring is on its way and that the icey sidewalks are history!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Icelandic Numbers

My quest to learn Icelandic continues. I know I am capable of learning a fairly decent chunk by the end of my three months here... the question is WILL I actually put forth the effort to do it. (Jeopardy music in the background...)

My lesson I'm concentrating on this week is the Icelandic number system. It is complex, unfortunately, and is taking a lot of practice just to figure it all out. Here's a break down of 1-4

Masculine: einn, tveir, þrír, fjórir
Feminine: ein, tvær, þrjár, fjórar
Neuter: eitt, tvö, þrjú, fjögur

After the first four, the numbers all stay the same: 5-20

fimm, sex, sjö, átta, níu, tíu, ellefu, tólf, þrettán, fjórtán, fimmtán, sextján, sautján, áttján, níután, tuttugu

Then, the fun part begins when you decide which gender for the 1,2,3,4 needs to be used. Time is always neuter. Counting non specific things... just counting... uses masculine. And, the word kronur (dollars) is feminine so you use feminine when describing how much something costs.

I could easily take up a whole nother page to continue the lesson but I'll spare you the details. In some ways the system is rather entertaining. It creates a game to try to figure it all out and use the right combinations and say the right genders.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Changes in Iceland

Oh man. Life has been pretty crazy since being back. Xan and I have been really busy with various events such as sport playing, church activities/meetings, and meeting up with friends I haven't seen for a while. There have been a few changes since I left. The first obvious one is that there is so much more daylight now! The sun rises around six in the morning and starts setting around nine in the evening. It's been so different to be able to see Iceland in the daylight and eat/clean up dinner with daylight to spare. I've loved it. The other difference is the temperature is a bit warmer. It's still pretty cold and rainy but I've found that I'll survive outside with just a hoodie on and some occasional mitten wearage. I'm loving it!


1. I played in a soccer game on Saturday with some of the members of the branch, missionaries, and investigators. I haven't played a game of soccer since the 7th grade. I was relieved to find that I wasn't terrible, although... I'm still not very good. Then, I woke up the next day (this morning), and I don't want to move! I am so sore! My legs feel bruised all over inside and out! Despite the soreness, I am so excited to play again next week. :)

2. Today was the longest General Conference day of my life. Don't get me wrong - it was fantastic messages, but I have a hard time doing them back to back. Saturday night from 4-6 pm, everyone met at the chapel to watch the Saturday morning session live. Sunday morning from 9-10:30 was the Priesthood session that had been taped. 12-2 pm was the Saturday afternoon session taped. Then we had a potluck dinner. 4-6 pm was the Sunday morning live and then 8-10 pm was Sunday afternoon live. I about died with my attention span. I'm pretty sure I prefer watching conference in my pj's on the couch at home. LOL

3. Xan has been invited by Cornell University to come visit campus. They are paying for the majority of the trip. He'll most likely leave for New York this Wednesday and get back on Monday. We're really excited about this chance. The correspondents he has been dealing with have been fantastic with him. I'll be staying here in Iceland keeping myself busy with learning this blasted language. I only have 3 months to get it all down!

4. We now have 4 schools in the consideration pile. BYU offered a decent finance package with some interesting research projects he's been invited to participate in. UCLA also bumped up their financial offer making it tie with Cornell. And then, Berkeley, still is decent but still at the bottom of the four. In ranking order of our current preference: 1) Cornell 2) UCLA 3) BYU 4) Berkeley

Summing things up, I love being back in Iceland. It's so good to be home and to be with Xan again. I've loved doing my running along the coast line. I've even ventured so far as to take Sylvia's dog with me once. I also learned that running with the wind is significantly easier than running against it. LOL.

Things will probably settle into more of a routine in the next few days and I should get my bloggin habits back soon. I have so many blogs to read! It's going to be an entire day's project.