That’s a lie. I’m pretty sure I wore a pair of normal leggings, a pair of fleece leggings over the normal leggings, and workout pants on top of the rest every day in Iceland. You see, I like to view myself as the Ice Queen– I feel nothing, therefore I am nothing. That sounds so Shakespearian, right? He always was such a smart man; making death sound SO poetic.
Anyway, let’s change the subject because I could literally talk about Shakespeare all day. The point is, it was dang cold. I enjoyed it, but I had lost around 90 pounds at the time, so retaining heat wasn’t easy anymore. Now that I look back on the trip, I blamed the cold for me not getting out of the car for photo opportunities, but I realize now that it was depression that kept me inside the car when Jessie got out and took her pictures.
Let’s reverse time. *Makes Blockbuster VHS rewind noise*
During the trip, I was in a relationship. It had almost been a year and we both had graduated in December. So, he went back home a few hours away and I was still in the same place. Queue insecurities + fear of abandonment issues on a steady incline. Now, I was a time zone away. When I was about to go to bed, he was still enjoying his day…”What was he going to do when I slept? Who was he going to meet up with? I’m not up to text him and make sure he’s not with someone.” You know, the debilitating insecurities that weight you down.
The side of my brain that understands realism, (my left side), knew that this wasn’t healthy, but my monster was stronger and still is. He took over and made me anxious all.the.time and which led to depression.
“But, you planned this trip, Brittany! You’re in Iceland and going to Ireland! This has been on your bucket list forever!”
Yeah… I learned the very hard way that mental illness doesn’t care, REALLY does not care. You don’t realize how much you end up hurting the people around you, especially when you don’t know what’s going on within yourself, and those people don’t know how to handle you. Especially when you don’t know how to handle yourself.
So, basically, I never slept. I would get some zzz’s here and there, but it was never an actual night’s sleep… for 2 weeks. Which, being ignorant of my unknown illness at the time, and severe mental illness in general; is very, very, very bad. NO sleep= increased depression and anxiety. This makes you fall apart at the seams. So, I took this out on my boyfriend at the time and Jessie. The boyfriend never knew how to help me, so he only made it worse, and I could tell my friend was frustrated because we were on this elaborate trip and I was a Debbie Downer This, in turn, made me even worse because I couldn’t explain it. I couldn’t explain why I was having panic attacks, because I didn’t know what was going on. Yes, I was very anxious and yes, I knew my behavior was irrational, but I literally couldn’t help it, and I felt so guilty. So, I attempted to be a good actress and get over it.
It was incredibly hard and I was mostly unsuccessful.
Back to Iceland.
In Reykjavik, there are so many cute shops and cafes. That means, that we ate all the time. While I was researching before we even went on this trip, I had heard that at this time of year they served reindeer. So, naturally, I had to find a restaurant to try reindeer. Was it even a trip to Iceland if you didn’t eat Rudolph? Lucky, we did find a cafe called Svarta Kaffid that served Rudolph and honestly, it was pretty tasty.
So was the bread.
*Note* The Icelandic butter they serve in Iceland is also sold at Whole Foods in the US. I totally recommend it.
After our tasty lunch, we decided to walk back to our hostel. Luckily, Hallgrimskirkja Church is on the way back. It has like 8 or 9 floors (?), but don’t worry, there’s an elevator. The view at the top is breathtaking. You can see all of Reykjavik and then some. The mountains in the distance, all the colorful roofs, the ice cold water, everything. I think the entrance fee was $8 when we went. #worthit.
That night, still in Reykjavik, we went on a Northern Light’s tour with Reykjavik Excursions. PS: Don’t do it with them. I purchased the tour when I bought the airline tickets. Seriously, it was a huge waste of money and it made Jessie and me SO sad.
The tour was at around 9:00pm and we were crammed in this tour bus making our way to this random location out in the middle of nowhere. My mind immediately went to, “Are they going to kill us? Eh, oh well…”
But no. It was like a 45-minute drive to some unknown location. I do remember Jessie and I sat at the back of the bus with these two Irish fellows. They were hot and hilarious. After our long bus ride of me drooling over these two men and Jessie just laughing at my stupidity, we arrive.
“Oh man, everyone! We arrived on a GREAT NIGHT for the lights. If you hurry off the bus right now you will see them! HURRY, HURRY!” says our tour guide that Jessie named Sven.
So, what do I do? I literally hurry off the bus. I hurry so hard that I don’t even realize there’s this random pipe chilling in front of us as we get off the bus and I gracefully trip over it and almost knock Jessie over. Everyone proceeds to laugh. Thank God I won’t see any of those individuals ever again.
As we look up what do we see?
Oh, yeah. Sven, you dirty liar. A good night for the Northern Lights my butt.
Jessie even downloaded this super special app with super special settings and everything on her phone and when she took photos there was nothing.
We proceeded to sit outside and freeze for about 30 minutes anxiously waiting for SOMETHING, but no, there was nothing. So, we went back on the bus and waiting for everyone else so we could go back to our hostel for some much-needed sleep. Or for me, that meant, laying there.
The next day it was time to leave good ole’ Reykjavik and begin our adventure. And I’m going to LOL, because boy, was it an adventure.