Categories
The Church Traveling

A Few Updates

Apologies for the radio silence as of late!

While there hasn’t been a lot of major things going on, we’ve definitely been keeping ourselves busy! Here’s a quick recap:

  • We finally made it into a longer-term, less chaotic apartment.
  • Heather started Icelandic classes at the University of Iceland*. It’s an intense language to pick up!
  • The girls kicked off their school year (3rd and 6th grade) and they’ve already been making some good friends — from Canada and Russia, no less!
  • ‘Community Group’ with our church family, Redeemer City, got started again and we’ve moved to a weekly schedule. (This is a more informal time to check in with each other and explore a different area of scripture than we do on Sundays.)
  • 2 out of 4 Heydasches tested positive for COVID and we spent about 20 days in isolation. Everybody’s okay though! We had symptoms but we’re thinking the vaccine dramatically lessened the extent to which we were vulnerable. We wrapped up isolation about a week ago… and not a moment too soon. #4Humans #SmallApartment #StirCrazy

We’ll post about a few of these items in a bit more depth in the near future but that’s all we have for now. Just wanted to let you know the routine 40-50 mph winds hadn’t blown us off the island just yet. 😂

Be sure to reach out with any questions you might have!

* By the way, the University of Iceland offers tuition to students at an extremely low cost. It would be an incredible opportunity whether you or someone you know is looking at college post-high school… or just looking to mix things up later in life. And there’s a ton of cool people around. 😉

Categories
Culture Traveling

Feels Like We’re 3,000-ish Miles from Home

Yikes, it’s been a hot minute since we’ve posted. Sorry about that!

We’ve spent the better part of the time since the last update just getting acclimated — to the apartment, to the city, to the absence of family, and, well, to bus transit!

If you’re curious, we landed in a short-term apartment at the heart of Reykjavík. It’s actually a very convenient location to a bunch of different things and we were extremely grateful to be able to find it at an affordable rate.

One interesting note in regard to being so close to ‘downtown’: we’ve learned that typically-reserved or quiet Icelanders take their weekends very seriously. This has made for some — hmm, what’s the best word — vocal nights. 😂 For real, everything is going very well.

The church family that we’ve come to be a part of — Redeemer City Church of Reykjavik (a.k.a., the whole reason we’re here) — has been extraordinarily welcoming and we’re all so grateful for that. I think I mentioned in the last post some of the warmth and hospitality that they have extended to us this entire time… and it’s only continued.

That said, the reports of separation anxiety — about which we were adequately warned going into this endeavor — were not exaggerated. Fortunately, though, we’ve been able to keep in touch with everyone back home via calls, texts, FaceTime, Zoom, etc. The accessibility of technology has been a literal blessing in that regard. And we’re also trying to figure out how to make the space we’re in (for however long) just a bit more like home to help with that whole process.

Heather, by the way, will be following up with a post very soon with some cool news we received — in addition to sharing some of what her and the girls have been up to. (Her update will assuredly be more lively; I’ve personally just been mostly working — remotely, another thing for which I’m so very grateful.)

Oh, and in case we didn’t mention it before either here or in person, we’d love-love-love to hear from you. I think some people have indicated some concern about calling or messaging because they weren’t too sure about the time difference and didn’t want to interrupt us at night or early in the morning or whatever. Others weren’t sure how connected we’d be. Rest assured, we’re good with anytime and we’re very well connected so please call, text, FaceTime, Marco Polo, email, or whatever at any time.

If you’ve just stumbled on the blog, you can send us a message if [a] you’re interested in knowing more about what exactly we’re doing here (also check out the blog intro) or [b] if you’d like to find out about how you could be involved. Better yet, get in touch with the mission or pastoral team within your church and talk to them about coordinating a mission trip to the area. We’d love to see some of you come out, share some meals with you, walk around (and pray over) the city with you, and welcome you to a service at Redeemer City. (We’re meeting in homes for now but there will be a seat for you.)

That’s all I’ve got as of this moment. More to come soon!

P.S. — here are 5 random things I’ve learned while being in Iceland.

  1. They take trash/waste seriously. In other words, if you go out to get some groceries, you’d best have brought a reusable bag with you. (No complaints, by the way; I think it’s awesome.)
  2. Downtown Reykjavík is easily walkable. I love it. I haven’t walked this much since maybe ever.
    • The bus / transit system is extremely reliable. While here, you should just go ahead and grab a Straeto subscription right away.
  3. There’s an IKEA here. Also: IKEA is a wonderland. People tried to tell me that before but I didn’t necessarily believe it. It’s officially one of my biggest regrets now in life.
  4. Pretty much everyone speaks at least a little bit of English and I’ve yet to encounter any linguistic obstacles. However, it is our intent to be mindful residents and immerse ourselves in the native language. That brings me to the last item.
  5. Icelandic is, structurally, a very difficult language. It doesn’t have latin roots like many of the dominant foreign languages so it’s almost impossible to just ‘pick things up’ based on what you know. It’s a brilliant experience to hear people speak it though. I would describe my experience as being delightfully bewildered.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for real now.

— J

Categories
Traveling

We Have Arrived

After a pretty intense week of preparations, we boarded our flight from Knoxville to Atlanta on Wednesday the 23rd. From Atlanta, it was on to Minneapolis and then the long flight to Reykjavík — where we landed the next day.

Once we arrived, several members of Redeemer City Church of Reykjavík greeted us at the airport to take us to the apartment — in which we found a ready-to-bake, home-cooked meal (as well as some pantry and fridge essentials) that those same amazing people (and a few others) had left us. It was an incredibly kind gesture and a very warm welcome into the country.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with unpacking, a much-needed recovery nap from the flights, and a walk around the area.

Today will be some more unpacking/arranging and dinner with the church. First things first, though: must get coffee.

Reassurance

When you’re experiencing the reality of leaving family and friends (all the while unsure of how long that absence will be), it’s easy to get swept up in that reality and maybe even the pure chaos of moving. And we did. There was just so much going on between selling the other car, getting everything out of the apartment, and condensing all of our things + stuff into a few suitcases.

However, on our last morning, we met up with our moms to have breakfast at Maple Street Biscuit Company. If you’ve ever been, you know that they use answers to different and unique questions to identify your food when letting you know that your order is ready. For example, they might ask you “what was your first car?” Then, when your order is up, they’d call out “Buick Regal!” and you’d know that your deliciousness is ready. (Yes, my first car was a Buick Regal — velour interior and all.)

That morning, the question was “what’s an item on your bucket list?”. I can’t remember what answer we chose for our group order but a few minutes later, they call out “Iceland!” and we kind of look around at each other. Iceland was not the answer we chose.

Of all of the different questions this restaurant asks and of all the mornings, the mom and daughter that came in right before us had chosen Iceland as their answer.

I do firmly believe in coincidence but sometimes you just have to acknowledge that the Sovereign Creator of the universe — to whom we’re connected, spiritually — is just giving you a reminder that you’re on the right path.

Categories
Traveling

Just a quick update.

Greetings, all!

It’s been a hot minute since we last gave an update on all things Iceland (read the Intro page for a refresher) so we wanted to let you know where we were with everything.

We mentioned last year that it was our intent to:

  1. sell our home,
  2. sell our van and truck,
  3. move our family to Iceland,
  4. leave by Summer-Fall 2020, and
  5. remain there for a minimum of 1-2 years.

It’s been about a year since we last talked about all of that and, well, we we got like one-and-a-half of those things done.

Andy Samberg - Cool Cool Cool

And although we’ve encountered a lot of setbacks since then (global pandemic, family matters, closed borders, etc.), we feel like the timing of everything has more to do with what we can’t see/experience right now rather than what we can.

In other words, God has been preparing some valuable conversations in and around Reykjavík — conversations that maybe weren’t quite ready to happen until the timing was right.

As of right now, we’ll be leaving towards the end of June. 

We’ve definitely been hesitant to mention yet another departure date due to all of the setbacks that we’ve encountered, but we also wanted everyone to be aware. 

As for the duration of the stay, we’re just trying to leave that up to what God continues to imprint on us — and, to be honest, we pray that we’ll be patient enough to listen.

Thanks so much for all the prayers and support during this past year — it’s been a journey already, for sure — and we’re excited to see what the next chapter brings!

Most sincerely,
Jason + Heather