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

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