Like Putting an Octopus to Bed

This is going to be a stream of consciousness and probably won’t wrap up properly, so buckle up.

I’ve gone ahead and started a blog that I had the best intentions of writing for every day. That hasn’t happened and for three reasons:

1 – I’ve been embroidering almost every day.

2 – I’ve been writing what might be a short story or might be a novel.

3 – I quit my job.

I’ve had some trouble with coming back to the blog since I wasn’t sure how to tie it all together. All three are things I want to write about and figure out my feelings, but they were all things that were important and information I didn’t feel like spacing out over many posts.

I’ve been reading this book called “Bird By Bird” written by a woman named Anne Lamott. It was gifted to me by a friend at work for our gift exchange at Christmas and it was one of the things that gave me the most confidence about leaving a job I hated: there was something else out there for me. I’m still not really sure what it is, and it probably isn’t writing (hardly anybody makes it as a writer, don’t you know?), but it was a symbol that someone else knew I could do other things and wanted to support me in that. Thank you, Jesse.

He also gave me a whoopee cushion and an air horn, to help me express when I’m feeling like shit and when I’m feeling LIT. I’ll let you decide which one is for what.

Funnily enough, Bird by Bird has also given me the perfect metaphor for how I’m feeling about my life right now.

There’s an image I’ve heard people in recovery use – that getting all of one’s addictions under control is a little like putting an octopus to bed. You get a bunch of the octopus’s arms tucked under the covers, but two arms are still flailing around. But you finally get those arms under the sheets, too, and are about to turn off the lights when another long sucking arm breaks free.

I’m not an addict, but I’m definitely in recovery. Recovering from being manipulated and mentally abused and exploited (I’m still unsure if this was all on purpose or completely unintentional), while also trying to figure out this whole writing thing and what it means and also putting a lot of time and effort into building my artistic skills. I’m working part-time at two new jobs and also trying to get my health back on track. I’m trying to see more friends and also keep my apartment clean, laundry under control and at least some eggs in the fridge.

I suppose a lot of this is what many people deal with in everyday life. But I swear, I’m so scarred by my experience leaving my job, it’s going to take me a long time to trust anybody professionally ever again. Maybe I never will and maybe you’re not actually supposed to trust people. We’ll find out.

This all sounds like I’m really overwhelmed, but I’ve mostly just done a lot of thinking. And I still have a lot of thinking to do. But it’s nice to reflect and come to terms with where I’m at in my life. I didn’t think I’d be here.

I’m happy that I’m not at that job anymore and I’m trying my best to not be bitter about how things ended and send them positive thoughts since it’s a tough business and everyone deserves a little positivity sent their way.

I’m happy that I have time to focus on things that are important to me and do things on my terms again. I’m a little lost but much more empowered.

I read somewhere recently that life’s purpose isn’t to be happy since there’s no equation for that and you’ll never know how you feel about the same thing on different days. It’s unpredictable. But what is predictable is that you can be useful. You can control how useful you are and how much effort you put in. Life’s purpose is to find purpose, and happiness is a by-product of usefulness.  

So I’m just going to be useful in some way. To be productive at whatever I’m doing, no matter how small, and I’ll continue tucking the octopus’s arms under the sheets not before throwing him a high five or two (or eight).

Iceland Part 3

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But really, it’s like part 5 or 6.

Here it is, the last of the slew of photos and quick updates.

It’s an amazing country. I don’t have much to compare it to, but as far as beauty goes (and I’m Canadian… we have like, the most beautiful country ever), it’s pretty spectacular. When we drove out to Hofn you literally couldn’t escape the mountains. I imagine that’s similar to BC, but this little island can only hold so much mountain. And there was a lot of frickin’ mountain.

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Reykjavik was dreamy weather for this part of the world. Days were damp but fairly mild and the sun poked out more than we expected. We made use of this good weather on Wednesday to take the elevator up to the top of the church. Boy, the view was worth the $10 charge.

For those of you interested, Iceland has its own currency which is just slightly more valuable than the Canadian dollar. It’s a little more than $1 for 100 Icelandic Krona. Most things were more expensive. For example, an oat milk latte at Reykjavik Coffee Roasters was ~$7, but some things were really randomly cheap. OB tampons were less than $3. Craaaaaazy. Guess who smuggled a few cartons home?

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And yes, I found the best doughnuts in Iceland. Of course I did.

Deig was hidden by the old harbour, and I was really really surprised to find fresh yeast doughnuts, brushed with a simple cardamom and lemon glaze. OH. MY. GOD. Yes. I felt right at home with this in the best way.

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Iceland, it was an absolute honour. We’ll be back.

Last Couple Days

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This morning we had a hard time waking up. The short days really screw with your mind when you’re used to waking up at 6am and the sun is starting to appear. We made it out to the baths to soak and arrive in the world. It finally got light around 10am.

Luckily, we have good coffee really close. I swear, this has saved me.

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Upon reflection, I couldn’t have asked for the trip to go any more slowly or quickly. I’m not quite ready to go back to work, but I don’t feel like our time here has flown by too fast. We got so much in.

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Today is the full relax day. We plan on ambling along to the last art gallery or two and hitting a highly recommended Gastro Pub, Kex, mid-afternoon before it gets busy and you need a reservation.

I was able to do one of my favourite things: sit in a coffee shop and edit photos and videos over a coffee or three. Adrian is graciously waiting for me to finish up. He looks bored, bless him.

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Tomorrow we check out of the Airbnb and head home around 5pm.

Back in Reykjavik

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We made it to the Hertz rental by 2. Actually, we cut it pretty close at 1:45, but we did it.

We then spent the evening last night relaxing, making dinner and watching Netflix. It was badly needed and helped us feel immediately at home here.

We’ve been in Reykjavik for just over 24 hours now. We picked up our City Pass which allows free access to almost all of the art galleries and museums, public transportation and thermal pools (shout out to my friend Talia who tipped me off about this sweet deal).

And of course, we immediately located the nearest Reykjavik Coffee Roasters which is thankfully in the same block as our Airbnb (#blessed) and pulled me out of my morning slump. Yes, we made a second stop later on this afternoon.

All of the footage from our trip back to the capital and our adventures in it will be all tied up nicely in a final video whenever I get down to it. For now, enjoy some photos I took yesterday into today.

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Iceland Part 2

Today was glacier day.

Last night we drove in late after the sun had set. All you could see was the road in front of you and even then, the wind was so strong that it was blowing snow all over it. So when we woke up this morning, it was a shock to see that there were mountains surrounding this small little fishing village. Oh, to live in a place where even the grocery store has a view.

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(this is literally the view from the grocery store, I kid you not)

We left Hofn around 10am to make our way to Skaftafell (about a 2 hour drive west) to do a hike up and around the waterfall and around the glacier. Of course, it was incredible. From the top you could see miles and miles to and probably past the ocean.

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Everything here makes you feel like a small freckle on a tiny ant in the middle of the desert.

The glacier was so blue and the water was so clear. We sat for awhile and just stared at it. Sometimes it’s difficult to realize that we’re here in the middle of it, part of it. Taking a few deep breaths and sharing the same mountain air as the glacier felt like slowly waking up from a delicious sleep.

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We then headed back east and stopped at the glacier beach. It was incredible to see the amount of glacier running down into the ocean. Absolutely incredible.

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Tomorrow we start back to the capital before the crack of dawn to hopefully return the rental car before 2pm.

Iceland Part 1

Yesterday we woke up bright and early in Keflavik.

Okay, so it wasn’t bright since the sun here rises at about 9am and sets at about 5pm this time of year. But whatever, just take the expression with a grain of salt. You can ask our 7:30am cab driver for some, he apparently has lots.

We picked up our car at KEF and started our drive to South Iceland. We’re spending three days (ish) sightseeing and staying in a small fishing town called Hofn (there’s an accent on most of these words, but I’m unsure of the keyboard shortcuts for them).

We knew Iceland was going to be beautiful, but we never expected to find mountains around every corner. Everywhere you look is more stunning than the last. More times than we could each count you could hear, “Where the heck are we?” being muttered under Adrian’s breath.

And the landscape and weather changed like, 8 times since we’d left Reykjavik. At one point we left rain, came through a clear patch and was nearly swept off the road by wind and snow all within the span of 45 minutes.

I honestly can’t believe how incredible the landscape it. I’m sure there are many more surprises awaiting.

Ahhhhhh we’re in Reykjavik

So I rode the plane, it was awesome.

Well, it was okay… It was really difficult to sleep face down on my table in a 1’x1′ space. At least there were movie options and I was able to slumber off to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (more specifically the part where Lena falls in love with Kostas by accident). The kid beside me picked at the wifi sticker on the back of the seat in front of him for 3 hours and by golly he succeeded at it by the time we were over Greenland. Everyone has goals, you know?

Here’s the photo I took from the air on our flight from Ottawa to Toronto:

Nothing special, but I felt like I needed to mark the moment.

We screwed up transportation to the Blue Lagoon (we booked months ago), and ended up just hanging out in Reykjavik for the day. It really wasn’t that bad. We decided not to be angry about it and just enjoy some sights and get our bearings.

It’s really beautiful here.

We set out this morning with our rental car to do some serious driving and see a bunch of stuff.

Already there’s amazing hills and mountains. We’re about 15 minutes out of Reykjavik where these photos were taken:

Höfn, here we come.