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Written by Iceland Review   
Friday, 13 January 2012 11:00

eyglo02_dl

The day wasn’t off to a good start. My husband had some errands to run so by way of exception he was planning to drive to work and give me a lift.

We had heard wind howl outside our bedroom window the previous evening and overnight a snowstorm had left the city windswept and covered in uneven drifts of powdered snow.

Early in the morning it was strangely calm—the calm before the storm, I suppose. And this time it was serious.

The car wouldn’t start. Its engine emitted a pitiful sound and then went dead. No power? Snow under the hood? Water in the gas tank?

No idea, no time to check. We ended up walking to work and my husband postponed his errands.

The walk was enjoyable—apart from all the sidewalks that hadn’t been cleared—and I was rather relieved that we ended up not taking the car.

However, the very moment I entered the office, the storm hit. When I looked out the window every now and then there was a complete whiteout.

My colleagues who arrived later than I, complained that they had been stuck in traffic. One of them, who lives in a neighboring town, turned around when he saw the traffic jam ahead of him and waited it out at home.

Another of my coworkers said the preschool teachers had been surprised when she dropped her son off before work, asking whether she hadn’t heard about the storm warning.

Apparently many parents had chosen to stay home with their kids instead of sending them off to school or preschool—a number of schools were closed.

But she didn’t think the weather was that bad, said goodbye to her son and the preschool teachers said they would call her so she could pick him up early if the weather would continue to worsen.

At noon I set out into the blizzard so I wouldn’t miss my gym class. Actually, there wasn’t that much snowfall at the time although conditions were still stormy—with the tailwind I got I was practically blown to the gym.

A man I encountered was “walking” his dog. The tiny little creature was almost airborne; only the leash preventing it from being swept into the air. I chuckled inside as I thought “flying” the dog was a more appropriate term in this case.

On the way back it had started snowing again, but instead of soft flakes, ice pellets stung my face. The strong wind took my breath away.

“You walked!?” one of my coworkers exclaimed when I returned to the office out of breath and red in the face. “Sure, I feel refreshed,” I replied.

The truth is, I actually welcome this kind of weather. It is refreshing—you literally have fresh and cold air thrust into your lungs.

And if you dress warmly and try not to take too many icy breaths (wear a balaclava, cover your mouth or turn away when taking a breath), it isn’t all that cold.

When I was growing up in Akureyri in north Iceland we were often exposed to blizzards like these (or worse). They were usually a reason for excitement for us kids because often they would result in a snow day being declared.

My brothers and I would listen eagerly to the radio and cheer when announced that our school would be closed for the day and then creep back under the covers.

After a cozy sleep-in we would go out and play in the snow and then huddle up on the sofa with a hot chocolate all warm inside.

Blizzards make me nostalgic.

Of course I feel bad for those who were stuck in traffic, bumped into other vehicles or worse—we were glad that didn’t happen to us as we had originally planned to take the car—and for those whose travel plans had to be changed because of the weather.

But there is no point in sulking about it. We can’t control the weather, after all, and have to take its unpredictability into account when traveling in Iceland in the middle of winter.

No electricity or heating? Light a candle, wrap yourself up in a blanket and read a good book and spare a thought for our forefathers who had neither up until the mid-20th century.

And have faith in the good people of the power companies who work hard on fixing the damage asap—blackouts never last long.

Even though our car still won’t start, Tuesday turned out to be a great day.

Of course I wouldn’t want a blizzard all the time. But the few days of “dreadful weather” we get make us more appreciative of all the calm and serene winter days we also get to enjoy in this land of ice.

Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Friday, 13 January 2012 16:47
 

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