The Never Ending Journey

Hello from Oregon!

H and I have safely arrived back home for the holidays!

Home in Oregon Minus a major case of jet lag and the slight feeling of being overwhelmed by everything returning back home after 14 months away has honestly felt like I never really left! The trip to return back home though, wow that was an adventure in itself!

Our flight was at 5 pm so we were taking things quite easy before we needed to head off to the airport. Around 10 am a light snowfall started. With the light snowfall came warnings of a major storm due to hit around noon. Major storm in Iceland, that is like a weekly event, no big deal I thought.

However around noon the storm really hit and snow was dumping down on us. Add in the huge wind gusts and you could hardly see an inch in front of you. The panic started to set in.

We wanted to be sure to have extra time to make it to the airport because of the storm so we headed off around noon to the airport shuttle bus hoping to catch an early bus and beat the storm. As soon as we stepped outside we were immediately drenched in the heavy wet snow, running with our bags trying to not trip as we made it to the car. Finally we arrived to the bus stop but when I saw the parking lot full of the shuttle buses that bad feeling in my gut only increased.

My fears where confirmed when we walked inside and where told the one and only road to the airport from Reykjavik was closed and they did not know when it would re-open, all we could do was wait. Full disclosure, I burst into tears at this point. After waiting to go home for so long the day had finally arrived and I did not know if I would even be able to go!

Winter in IcelandI spent most of these three hours pouting on the floor.

We waited for three long hours before the road finally opened back up. When we were on our way to the airport our flight was due to leave in just an hour and the time hadn’t changed on the web. Basically we didn’t know if our flight was still leaving on time and if it was we were going to miss it.

Winter in IcelandThis is the end of the storm, those turned on headlights were a welcomed sight!

Thankfully as we arrived to the airport a one hour delay showed up and we were able to breeze through check in and security to make it to our gate with plenty of time. The only issue now, we were flying out two hours late and would miss our connecting flight in Seattle.

Iceland AirportA blurry H and I on the plane waiting for takeoff which was delayed even longer due to the plane needed to be defrosted.

Finally we arrived to Seattle where we then spent the next hour in the chaos of customs. We had missed our connecting flight as well as the flight they had moved us to. As we left customs we were told to run to hopefully make it on the third flight that was headed to Portland. I am pretty sure we only got on that flight because the woman at the counter felt sorry for how sweaty and frazzled we looked but hey I didn’t care, I was finally an hour away from seeing my parents. And let me tell you it was worth the wait.

Welcome homeWelcome home

I can not watch this without tearing up!

A video posted by David Eusted (@davideusted) on

Yes, my parents are the best. Santa cried, I cried, Mrs. Claus cried, but it was wonderful, the best reunion ever. Santa did get stopped quite a few times on the way out of the airport for pictures, talk about getting everyone in the Christmas cheer.

And that concludes my long ramble of my never ending journey home. Things have been a whirlwind since we arrived but lots of Azora and Kaelene bonding time have been happening as well.

Azora CuddlesWe are both equally happy to see each other :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I am looking forward to a fun weekend with my family and friends!

Question of the Day?
What is your worst travel experience? Any holiday fun plans for the weekend?

Why I Like Living Abroad

Heading back home for the first time in 14 months means my schedule is packed full of reunions with friends and family. A common question I know many of my friends and family will be asking me is, “what do you like about living abroad”? A completely reasonable question to someone who decided to uproot her life and move to a foreign country away from her friends and family.

So why do I like living abroad? What makes it worth it to be away from everyone and start a new life 4,000 miles away? Of course the obviously answer is the Viking, but I am a girl that needs more in her life than a man to keep her happy and sane in a foreign land.

So what is keeping me abroad?

Everyday is an Adventure

Sure I do the same Monday-Friday routine like everyone else living the daily work grind, but let me tell you, my Monday-Friday in Iceland is nothing like what it was in the states. Simple daily tasks like having a meeting with my co-workers or going to the grocery store quickly becomes an adventure.

I never know what my day will hold, who I will meet, what countries I will learn about and what languages I will be surrounded by. And you know what, it is a blast! I don’t want my life to feel like it is just passing me by in one big blur. Nothing like living outside your comfort zone on a daily basis to make you really present in each moment!

thingvellir, Iceland

You never know who you will meet

Since moving to Iceland I have made friends from countries from around the world. Just the other night I was out with a group of friends and all 8 of us were from a different country, how cool is that! I am lucky to work in an international environment so even in my work life I am constantly meeting new people from all over the world. Of course I miss my close friends and family but I must say getting to meet so many people from different countries and learning about their cultures is a pretty awesome thing.

Friends Abroad

Your Grow In So Many Ways

Now that I am returning home after living abroad for 14 months I can feel how much I have changed just in my conversations with my family and friends. All of those uncomfortable situations I have found myself in this past year have helped shape me into the person I am today. As I am meeting everyone and telling them about what I have been doing in Iceland I am full of new experiences to share and accomplishments that I am ridiculously proud. I have grown in ways that never seemed possible when I was living inside my comfort zone in Oregon and I know I have this past year to thank for that.

Blue Lagoon

Your Itinerary is full of the unknown

Moving abroad I clearly have a passion for travel and seeing the world. I love the fact that a trip to Europe can quickly be added to my itinerary with just a few weeks notice. Or the fact that I can’t tell you 100 percent where I will be living in 6 months. As someone who use to plan every little detail of her life this unknown feeling took some getting use to but now I thrive off not knowing what each month has in store.

Iceland

You view nothing as impossible

After having my share of ups and downs this past year I am coming back home feelings like I have really made a great life for myself in Iceland. I feel like if I can survive and thrive in life while living in a foreign country I can succeed in anything I put my mind to. The confidence in myself that I have gained this past year in Iceland is something I don’t know if I would have found living at home in my comfort zone. Taking risks is still an uncomfortable thing for me but I have found that those risks that do pay off, those are what make life so wonderful!

Basically all these points have the same thing in common, I love the adventure life abroad brings and I am so glad I chose to make the move abroad and live my life with no regrets. Now I am off to share these things with my friends and family and convince them all the move to Iceland with me. Wish me luck!

Question of the Day?

To my fellow expats, why do you like living abroad?

5 Things to do in London (by Amanda!)

While I am traveling the 4,000 miles home today I am excited to have the lovely Amanda taking over Unlocking Kiki. When Amanda isn’t making me drool over one of her delicious recipes she is making me dream of another trip to London with all her fun adventures. What better time to visit London than during the holidays!? After reading her post you will be ready to celebrate.

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Hello! I’m Amanda from Rhyme & Ribbons. The lovely Kaelene asked to to guest post for her while she is enjoying time at home. I’m originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico but have been living in London, England for the past few years. In fact, this will be my 5th Christmas in England!

Today I’d like to share with you my favourite things to do in London around the holidays!

1. Go iceskating in South Kensington outside the Natural History Museum.

Or if you can iceskate in Canary Wharf, at Somerset House or at Winter Wonderland instead!

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2. Go to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.

An annual must-do in London, as every December Hyde Park is taken over by this massive Christmas market/funfair!


hyde park winter wonderland
3. And who could resist going to Hogwarts in the Snow at the Harry Potter Studios Tour?

castle-model

4. Curl up with a mug of mulled cider at a local pub.

mulled cider

5. Wander through Central London admiring the Christmas lights.

Or you can take the District Line down to Richmond and admire the lights at Kew Gardens!

lights in London

What Christmas activities are in your area?

My Thoughts on Going Back Home in 10 GIFS

It has been over 14 months since I said goodbye to my family and left home. 14 long months of missing my family, friends, my favorite foods, and of course Azora. And now after 14 months the time has finally arrived.

Tomorrow morning this girl is headed home for the holidays with her Viking in tow and we are ridiculously excited!

Iceland SummerExcitement is not the only thing that I have been feeling lately. Being away from home for so long and knowing that I am finally going back, well lets just say I am a glass case of emotion. So many thoughts and emotions are running through my mind right now, things like:

  • Am I going to feel like an outsider?
  • I am going to understand everything everyone is saying, I don’t even remember what that feels like!
  • How am I going to feel when our trip is over and we are headed back to Iceland?
  • My family, I am going to see my family #soexcited!

Since I seem to only be capable of writing word vomit I am going to let the GIFs do the talking.

What I will be feeling…

When I walk out of work today and know I have the next three glorious weeks off

The-Officevvia

When the pilot announces “Welcome to Portland” and I am 5 minutes away from hugging my parents

baby-excitedvia

When Azora and I have our reunion

Icelandvia

What my sisters are I will be doing each night, pajama dance party!

khloe-kardashian-dancing-gifvia

When I get to eat all those foods I have been missing this past year

8kvGI10via

When I understand everything that is happening in a conversation

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When I think about the fact that I will be back in my comfort zone and know where everything is and everyone understands what I am saying (sometimes expat life makes me feel not so smart)

tumblr_me1d7c7xWU1qi9v0pvia

When H and I walk into the mall (we are deprived here in expensive Iceland)

giphyvia

When my girlfriends from childhood and I meet up these conversations are bound to happen (I mean our 20s are for figuring out life right?)

anigif_enhanced-3357-1405031936-5via

When I think about all the time I will be spending with my family

excited-gifvia

When I am saying my goodbyes to my family and headed back to Iceland…

Well we just won’t talk about that yet.

For everyone that is heading home for the holidays you have to check out this video. My friend sent it to me last week and I have been singing it so much around the house that I caught H humming along one day ha.

Happy Monday everyone. Next time you will hear from me I will be sitting by the fireplace at my parents house with Azora helping me blog, aka putting her head on my computer because she wants attention. Now I am off to pretend to be working, as if I could think clearly with all this excitement going on in my head!

Question of the Day?
Are you going home for the holidays this year?