This post is a simple story that illustrates how I've fallen head over heels in love with Iceland, and now it is breaking my heart. There are so many things we have loved about being here, and this post will not begin to attempt to capture and describe all of those things. This is just a simple reflection that hit me as we walked home from school today.
Today my oldest son said something out loud that made me simultaneously realize the challenges that lie ahead, but also one of the many things that I have loved about Iceland. Iceland is thoughtful, kind, loving, and most of all, Iceland cares about children. Iceland cares about children in a way that I have never experienced elsewhere. The way that Iceland engages with children and helps them to grow into strong, confident beings has changed me as a mother, an auntie, a friend, a person. Today as we were walking home from preschool, my oldest son said to me that they took a field trip to the playground of the school he will go to next year. He said that all of the kids who will be moving to that school went together and they met the lady who works on the playground. It seems like such a small thing, but it is one in a list of many things they are doing to begin to integrate the children into the school they will graduate to next year. There's no anxiety for him about the school, but rather he's excited and comfortable there already in October of this year because they've already been to the school to visit and play on multiple occasions. And this is where foreign service life can sometimes stop you in your tracks.
Most of you know of course that he won't be going to that school. We will be leaving next summer. He doesn't realize that yet and it seems like a bridge we don't need to cross yet, but my heart broke when he said those words out loud. Iceland, I love you, and in that moment, I also despised you. Why do you have to do kids so well? It would be so much easier if we could just say it has been mediocre and move on to the next thing, but you have been so good to us and especially to my kids, and that is truly one of the things that has made our time here so magnificent. I know that whatever lies ahead (still uncertain) will be great in its own way and will also have its ups and downs, but for better or worse, it will not be Iceland. I can only hope it does children as well as Iceland, that it treats them like equal members of society and nurtures them in the same way, but I have my doubts. I am grateful for what we have experienced so far here and for the months that we have left I am grateful for what Iceland has given us and I am sad to think about what it will be like to leave it behind.