22 November 2014

Up the street

Not long after we moved here, a little cafe opened up at the end of our street (featured above).
In the weeks before they opened we would pass regularly on our way to the local shop, on the way to the pool, on the way to take the recycling, on the way to basketball ( so in essence all the time).
The owners happen to have dogs, a big sweet black one and a chocolate brown lab who without fail offered a tail wagging-straining-the leash greeting every time. Always ready for some petting and attention. Being that my kids love dogs (and we have yet to get one of our own) , we had the pleasure of petting these dogs regularly and as a result often ended up talking with the owners and their families and friends who were helping with the refurbishing of old doors, windows, tables and chairs, painting of awnings, etc. as the setting up of the cafe was underway. So it was very nice to see it finally open its doors, ohhh the temptation-  homemade fresh crossaints just a few doors away!
It has a warm inviting glow and a I like the subdued blue grey palat of the inside.  Thus far it has been a success ever since the moment the doors first opened! The owners are three friendly fathers from the neighborhood. So if you happen to be in the Vesturbær area do give it a try, it is a stones
throw from the pool and across the street from the beloved little Melabuðin Shop.

19 November 2014

Icelandic Clothing

Today for you, some Nordic clothing inspiration from a few of the local Icelandic brands. 
*The links in orange below will take you to their home sites. 

A few to start with, more in a later post...perhaps I will have to share a bit of the other Scandinavian brands that you find here, as they are new to those of us coming from Southern Europe. 

17 November 2014

The transition

Life in Iceland is a HUGE shift from Malta, in so many ways. 
I admit the knowledge that it would be a significant change for the children worried me for weeks before we left, how would the children take it, would they adjust....would they blame us and miss home every minute of every day? Would they wish for their grandparents ( so much a part of our day to day life in Malta), and their friends? would they long for the heat and sun? Their house? ( and toys?). We came with one suitcase each.  Left all the rest behind. Somehow I was convinced in my mind  that regardless of the difficulties we would surely face, it would be something positive for the children in the long run ( even in the face of some doubtful friends and family members),  who questioned the move, the children's schooling would suffer etc.

I am here to tell you, now that we have been here  almost five months, that from the very start it has been a surprisingly smooth and wonderful( in every sense of the word) transition. The children ( ages 10, 9, 7 and 2) have made such a swift and easy transition that my husband and I were truly amazed. They are all thriving in such a clear way, that we have already been confirmed in our decision to move here ( for a year), they are happy in the local school, confident, independent ( in a way they never could have been in Malta) and picking up the language very quickly. They are so chipper and free spirited, and with friends they can call on (and who show up almost daily after school to play). We were lucky that  the neighbourhood we live in is very family friendly, kids everywhere, parks down the street, natural geothermic pools at the end of the block and an easy 15 min walk to the center of Reykjavik. 
I think we were lucky when we found this sabbatical home swap. 
The local school ( which the children attend) is at the end of our street.

My husband and I too have been surprised by how quickly we felt at home here, have made friends and fallen into a gentle routine. Bike rides by the sea to work replaced daily traffic jams. Clean air and wide quiet streets. Kids walking on their own to friends houses, to basketball practise or the local shop for milk. Reykjavik feels like a very safe place, and the approach to children very loving but free, kids are allowed to play and really be kids. There are no annual exams for elementary or middle school children here, very little homework and there are cooked- on the premise healthy lunches every day, (fish and potatoes for example ). A far cry from the exam oriented very serious and not so creative quality of schools in Malta.  so far it seems there is in addition to the usual subjects of science, math, literacy, history, and study of world religions, textiles, cooking, woodworking, art and music. Music interwoven throughout actually. 
So many things have been an eye opening shift for us as parents.
Iceland may be small in population ( less than Malta!) but this island too is very rich in culture, history and nature and I won't even go into the love of books and high rate of authors here or musical talent. 
It is indeed a special place and we are enjoying our time here.
So any of you out there who are thinking of making a leap to a different land, kids in tow, consider doing it. It is bonding as a family and such a rich adventure to have as memories for the future. 
Have already probably said more than enough so I will end here.
May your mid November days be healthy and hopeful.

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