Making friends

Wit's eye through wood

Wit made a friend! To be more precise he has made several friends recently at the playground. Some of the children know some English from TV and are excited to talk and play using it. Others, like the boy who lives upstairs, speak no English at all. That hasn’t stopped him from becoming a fast friend of our boy.

As soon as Wit gets up in the morning he is in a blur of excitement to eat breakfast and get changed so he can go outside and play. This is one of the first cultural changes for us that I’ve been looking forward to. There is so much less hovering in the parenting here, it reminds me of what life was like when I was young. Wit and the other six year old head out together and explore the nearby area. They stick close to the house we’re staying in and don’t go into the street, but they do sometimes wander a bit further away in search of one of the many neighborhood cats.

Reykjavík cat

There are so many of them around here and it’s simply wonderful. The closest neighboring cat is Mongo. He pops by each day to entertain the boys and get some petting.

This is definitely a cat-centric city and I’m cool with that. Cat’s have a natural Icelandic vibe to them. That is to say, they’re pretty laid back, not in much of a hurry to be anywhere in particular, and secure doing whatever they’re doing. It’s an attitude that we’ve found in pretty much everyone we’ve dealt with so far, whether at the Registers office, in looking at rental properties, going to restaurants, or meeting neighbors.

When we go to the park and meet other kids and their parents it is most apparent in contrast to the same situation in the states. Perhaps it is different for Leah, but in the US, when I would go to a playground with Wit other adults would be standoffish and act as if it were odd that I were there. Here there is a great diversity of mothers and fathers with kids playing, and everyone is happy to dive in and help with each others little ones. I helped lift some kids onto the zip-line in the park and others did the same for Wit. Parents are easy to talk to and happy to share a smile or chat. It’s just… easy.

That should be the theme of our time here. I am at-ease. I saw a book in a bookstore/coffeehouse (I typed kaffihús first, oops) yesterday titled “I want to be calm.” It made me laugh out loud in the store! How could anyone be here and need that book?

I want to be calm

The few things that were remaining to stress me out are wrapping up. On Friday we met with our landlord and signed our rental agreement. She was a lovely woman who leases some apartments as a side business. In her day job she’s a leadership coach with international reach. She was sweet and had a friend from Germany with her who was also a joy to meet.

We spent a few minutes in her office chatting and then signed our agreement. The rental paperwork requires a pair of witnesses and we didn’t have anyone else with us, so she grabbed a couple of people from the floor below us, which just happens to be the office of a film studio. So, that’s how it happened that a witness on my rental application is one of the most famous film directors in Iceland today, Baldvin Z!

Tomorrow we will take that paperwork and the rest of our collection to the immigration office and put in the request for Leah’s residency. Sometime next week we’ll get the keys to our new apartment and start planning how to survive until our shipping container arrives with our beds.

No worries, though. þetta reddast, as the locals say.