You have been close to our hearts for a long time now, as the first time Eric came here, for 9 whole months just after we started dating, served as a crucially formative period in our relationship. I visited you then, in the dark, windy 1st week of December 2005. We came again in 2009, a remarkably gorgeous summer, just a year before we had our first child. We saw some amazing bits of your countryside on two road trips, and I soaked up every inch of Reykjavik that I could. Once more, last spring, with our boy just 7 months old, you greeted us with snow on the 1st of May. We stayed in the city then, laying low as Everett battled a fever.
And then this year, deep in the middle of February, we returned, in the dark, in the snow. Everett now 16 months, and a baby girl growing within me. We settled in, we hibernated as our active toddler would allow. Eric set to work on some of your manuscripts, working on a writing project and exploring the history of your fascinating people. I set to work exploring the walkable radius of our apartment in the snow, meeting other mothers and knitters, and growing this baby.
Then she came. Helped along, no doubt, by the many kilometers I must have walked through your streets as she grew, she made her entrance swiftly. Aided and welcomed by two of your own daughters who comforted and encouraged me through the labor; your naturally heated spring water as the first element to touch her fresh new skin, she arrived. Bryndís Ann, bearing a name that is part of your beautiful language, and who I hope will always be proud to claim you as the land of her birth. You are now an indelible part of our family.
We say farewell, or “Bless bless,” to you now, but it is not forever. We will be back, it feels inevitable, even necessary.
Eric, Emily, Everett, and Bryndís
This chapter in the Bryan Family Adventure was made possible by: Icelandair, The Missouri Research Board, the American Scandinavian Foundation, The Arni Magnusson Institute, and the Missouri University of Science and Technology. We would also like to thank Jóhanna Bogdottir, Hanna og Elvar Ingolfer for their lovely apartments; Magnea and Helga at Hallgrimskirkja, Bergdís Rosantsdottir and Hrafnhildur at the Red Cross; Jenny, Torril, Kassia, Renee, Jana, Colleen, Amanda, Sonja, Johanna, Sandra, Anna, Dawn, Angela, and all the other wonderful mothers I had the pleasure of sharing playtime with (no doubt I’m leaving someone important out); Hrafnhildur at Bjorkin Midwives, and Soffía of Hönd í Hönd for making Bryndís’ birth possible at home, and a peaceful, joyful experience; Kara Payne for coming to take care of us for awhile; Diane, Mike, Kaitlin, and Freya Wilson, for being the difference between surviving and enjoying this visit; and of course our families, for showering us with love and encouragement, spending a fortune to send us the things we couldn’t buy here, and another fortune on coming to visit, serving as glorified babysitters and taking us out to dinner. We couldn’t do it without you, and we appreciate you letting us take your grandchildren so far away for awhile.