This almost-year has gone by quickly. Or so it seems. I have just over a week left in Iceland and still there's a list of things I wanted to do and see, but many of those things will have to wait until next time. Small attempts at staying longer in Iceland didn't pan out this time, but there are now good connections made that make me think I'll be back again!
I wanted to write a few posts that summed up some of the things I've noticed over the past year, but that's sort of hard to do. Describing what it's like to live in a place for a longer period of time is difficult to encapsulate in a few sentences. And that's a good thing- I prefer thinking of a place in all its complexity, rather than getting the sugary tourist version of only a few days of all the best parts.
One of the biggest things that the Fulbright Fellowship stresses is about making connections between the US and other nations. I think one of the things I contemplate most is the comparisons and contrasts between the United States and Iceland, and what I admire (and then also perhaps find disturbing) about both nations. I came to Iceland thinking it would basically be everything good about life and culture (music! nature! universal health care!), but there are things that I end up appreciating about America that I never thought I would (fresh produce! cheap stuff! ethnic diversity!). Perhaps more on that later.
I'm particularly proud of my accomplishments in learning Icelandic and trying to use it frequently. I think I gained a respect for learning languages and now hope to brush up on those years of French that have gotten dusty! And I hope to somehow use Icelandic in the States...maybe it will work into some doctoral dissertation, or count as my second-language requirement for doctoral studies. I should be so lucky.