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September 25, 2005

'Getting' Iceland

Just on the off chance that anyone thinks that the previous message was just me being annoyed at Pete about gas, fear not! It was more of a statement to differentiate between living in the States and living (anywhere) overseas.

We have learned that one cannot simply go out for the day. If you don't have your gas bought, lunches packed and clothes laid out the night before, you will end up losing a good portion of your day and probably just end up staying at home.

One day I was so anxious to get home from the base, I drove off without my groceries. Supposedly this happens at least once a week, but I doubt to anyone else who has to drive 45 minutes one way. So, as soon as Caitlin got back from school, we hopped back in the car and went back to get them. It was actually cheaper to drive there and back than it would have been to simply go to a grocery store. More to the point, I had to have the groceries, or I couldn't pack Caitlin's lunch.

The up-side of the constant planning? Today instead of running around like crazy, we could 'afford' a lazy day. Pete spent the early afternoon tidying up from our dinner last night and then we took a long walk. We stopped by a bagel house where a friend works and enjoyed bagels, coffee, cocoa and just hanging out.

After we stopped at the duck pond, we came home, got the girls' stuff together and walked to a friend's house to drop them off for the evening. We haven't yet found a regular sitter, so are working on a modified babysitting coop. They took our girls tonight and we will watch their kids another evening so they can go out.

Pete and I went out to dinnner and then arrived at the movies with 20 minutes to spare. I can't recommend it for young children, but we saw the 40 year old Virgin and found it quite amusing. I think the funniest parts were when Pete and I were the only ones in the theater laughing. Not all of the innuendo translated well into subtitles.

And now we are at home, the kids are in bed and asleep. The upstairs still needs work, but the dishes are done and the main level is sparkling. Tomorrow I only have to gather the already purchased ingredients together and bake the cookies and cherry loaf for the friends we are entertaining in the afternoon. Of course, only after I have my leisurely cup of coffee (much half and half purchased well in advance).

What am I saying? In essence, I finally feel like we are catching up. Even though I may complain of a certain ennui at times, the ennui can be constructive. I don't love spending my mid-mornings racing to the commissary, or my postprandial time slaving over dishes, however, I now actually have the time.

I don't think I ever felt this way at home. I won't say I am completely adjusted yet, but I am beginning to think there are many things to be said for a lifestyle that is not centered around the hustle and bustle of the big city.

I don't have twelve things pulling me in different directions and waste fewer hours wondering if Caitlin has enough extracurricular activities. Kelsey is not in preschool yet, but that is okay. Yes, I want her to have more time with other kids her age, but she is having a great time at home. She is such a little helper and regardless of having fewer interactions with other kids, still seems amazingly social and well-adjusted.

Not only am I reading the books from the library, but actually remembering to return them on time! Of course, it helps that I now have the time to take Kelsey to story hour every week and I am far less tempted to buy a book. Occasionally, I know it is necessary for book club but even then I wait for my free shipping coupon.

So, when you come to visit (and we hope everyone does!) we are going to try to fit in all the exciting activities: the water rafting, blue lagoon and 'tax free' shopping. But don't forget to do what Icelanders do best: simply enjoy being.

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