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Bless Bless

Dear Iceland,

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.

With Love,
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.


Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Travel, Writings


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I took an unintentional 3.5 month hiatus from blogging and quite a bit has changed since I last posted, like, let’s see: our home, the weather, the number of people in our family, the overall shape of my body, amount of sunlight in each day. . . I have lots of thoughts, pictures, news, and on and on to share, but for now, here are some highlights:

April 1-we moved from 107 to 101 Reykjavik, to an awesome flat facing the Tjorn in the center of town.  It was nice being next to Laugardalur park, but I’m much happier downtown where I don’t have to take the bus to get anywhere.

April-May, sometime–it stopped getting dark, at all, ever.

May 7th–Baby girl enters the world!!  I really look forward to sharing her insane birth story and a few precious pictures in an upcoming post:)

May 8-June 2–first our friend Kara visits, then my mom, then my sister!  Several fun day trips with everyone to other fantastically beautiful parts of this country

June–settling into life with two kids, fortunately with the help of some gorgeous weather!  Lots of time spent at the playground, in the kitchen, at playgroups, and the library.

Projects finished since March 13–Everett’s sweater (ALMOST in time for Easter), E’s Easter basket (now toy storage), easter garlands and letters for friends back home, E’s overalls, knit baby blanket, tiny baby sweater and matching hat, tote bag for a friend’s birthday, fathers’ day present.

In other news: a new addiction to Pinterest (something easily explored one-handed and while nursing or bouncing a fussy baby) has led to a growing project list and several yummy kitchen experiments.

Pictures and links to all patterns, tutorials, and recipes forthcoming!

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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in At Home, My Projects, Travel


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I have been meaning to post for a couple days now but keep falling asleep when I put Everett down for his nap!   Interesting how my efforts to wear HIM out wear me out just as much.  But we have been finding some things to do, despite our current lack of a stroller (for which I’d like to kick myself–it was in the garage when we left my parents house and I completely forgot to make sure it got in the car.  Realized this on the way to the airport when we were already running late, of course).  So anyway, here’s a little bit of what we’ve been up to at home and outside over the past several days (I really can’t figure out how to arrange my pictures properly in WordPress. . .anyone with insight feel free to comment!):

Sleeping in the makeshift pallet at the end of our bed. . . .Playing in his “fort” upon waking.

Playing chef or tea party; hanging out in the fort daddy made from the crib box and a basket

Chasing geese; clutching a beloved snowball during a walk in the slush up to the nearby bakery

Playing in the sink, always a favorite.

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in At Home, Fun with Everett


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Makeshift Nourishment and (mis)Adventure

Grocery shopping here is a little tricky–things are expensive because of inflation and because most everything is imported.  The first night we were here Eric got some pre-marinated pork chops and I made them and mashed potatoes and steamed frozen veggies, which was actually pretty good (but not pretty, so no pictures:).  The next night we wanted soup and sandwiches, one of our big staples, but the only soup Eric could find at the store was powdered–ick, right?!  But actually, I made do, and mixed in some of the frozen veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots) and the leftover pork chops all diced up, and it actually turned out to be pretty yummy and relatively nutritious, I guess.

Also, Eric made this lovely caprese salad last night, except with local gouda instead of mozzarella, ha! really tasty, actually: he sauteed the tomatoes with garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and the gouda added a nice bite to the overall flavor.

As you can probably tell from my lack of pictures, we haven’t done a whole lot of sight-seeing since we got here–Everett’s been sick and it’s been nice to hang out at this clean airy flat and try to establish a bit of routine with his napping and eating (Wednesday and Thursday we did almost nothing at all).  But we have had a couple adventures: On Monday we went to the mall, Kringlan, to try and find some bathing suits and go to the grocery store there.  On Tuesday it was lovely and sunny, I took Everett down to the Tjorn to feed the ducks and then we met Eric at the pool.  I know you’re thinking, wasn’t it just snowing there?  Yes, it was, and it was still only in the 40’s, but the pool is very heated, and there are several hot tubs of different temperatures, all heated geo-thermally.  I had been thinking this would be so fun to go do with Everett because he loves taking baths!  And he liked it, the pool at least; but the locker room, shower, the air outside of the pool, both before and after, were not so popular.  And neither were we since he screamed his head off the whole time.  No pictures of this–it was all I could do to hold and dress a screaming squirming slippery (and need I remind you, giant) baby, much less a camera.  Ah well, another time maybe.  He did fall asleep on the way home after wearing himself out with all that crying, and here are a couple pictures from that lovely sunny walk:

Looking across the Tjorn towards the harbor and the mountain called Esja (pronounced like "aysha")


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