The Aspiring Viking.
August 13, 2014
When I visited my blog this morning, it didn’t expect me. But then, like a puppy left at home, it leaped into my arms, started licking my face and then GUILTING me for not posting since January. Happy August 13th everyone. Oof.
There’s is plenty to catch up on, and I’m going to do a little reintroduction for you newbies, so I hope you’re prepared for a wondrous adventure. I can’t necessarily guarantee ‘wondrous’, so you’ll just have to lower your expectations, alright?
LET’S DO THIS.
Hello. Good day. My name is Andrew Munz, and I am a writer, actor, improvisor, …singer?, and impulsive optimist currently living in the hippest place in the world: Hjalteyri, Iceland. Population: 40. Four Zero. (East Jesus Nowhere translates to Austur Jesus Hvergi in Icelandic, which is even more appropriate.) I live with an Icelander named Víðir and his dog Freyja. Occasionally Víðir’s sometimes-girlfriend comes over for a not-sleepover and occasionally Freyja’s mother, Eyja, will join, but otherwise I don’t have any regular visitors. Except the attractive postman who knows my name, and where I live, but I don’t know a thing about him. I do know, however, that he is an Icelandic postman.
Our house looks out onto a fjord. Eyjafjörður to be exact. Where I grew up in Wyoming, my house looked out onto a mountain. Differences! And I work in that fjord as a whale watching guide. What that entails is spending three to four hours per-trip on a ship with a bevy of (usually German) tourists as we venture out into NATURE while we look for WILD animals in hopes of seeing NATURE at work. I spend much of the trip emphasizing that we are in NATURE and we cannot guarantee a sighting of a whale. Ultimately the subtext is “lower your effing expectations, lady, you are not going to get your National Geographic Female-Whale-Leaps-Out-Of-Water-With-Her-Calf-Pursued-By-An-Orca photograph.
That being said, it is truly amazing when we get lucky and find whales. They are huge and so peaceful. Do Icelanders eat Minke whales still? Yep. Have I eaten Minke whale? Yep. Raw! Now before you get all preachy about the ramifications of hunting these gentle giants, know that one whale can feed a hell of a lot more people than 50 genetically modified chickens can. So if we’re bartering on the value of souls, maybe you should ask yourself why we value our farm animals so little? Because there’s more of them? Factoid: Minke whales aren’t endangered; IUCN Source. But enough of that. Whale is delicious, but I prefer to see them in the ocean than on a plate. End of story.
Now, I moved (well, relocated) to Iceland without much planning or thought. I’d been to Iceland twice before I decided to leave 42-North behind and live my life at 66-North. I don’t have any family here and my friend list increases at a snail’s pace. My days are usually spent at home or on the water, but occasionally I drive twenty minutes to hang out in Akureyri, the bustling “capital of the north”. 17,000 people in Iceland, however, feels a whole lot more like 5,000.
My Icelandic is shoddy at best, but I understand a surprisingly large amount. I’m getting by just fine, but I do wish I could somehow “Matrix” the language into my head. My pronunciation is usually improved by listening to songs like this one.
Exactly how long I will stay in Iceland is still up in the air. If I can miraculously find a place to live in Reykjavik and a good-paying job before the winter, I will be happier than an elf woman finding the Icelandic farmer who impregnated her. [Disclaimer: This tends to happen a lot in Icelandic folklore. Whether or not this is an accurate metaphor, I cannot be sure, but one can only imagine an elf woman with child would be happy to stumble upon the same bearded man in a country with so few people to begin with. Think of the Maury episode possibilities!]
Having not blogged in so long, I feel the need to keep my writing going. Plus, I recently finished my novel after nearly 3 years of work, so I’m feeling good about revisiting this blog more and more. I’d like to share more of my Icelandic stories and experiences as well as keep my fellow readers updated about things.
Until next time!