I must say although it has been a good year in many ways it has also been one of the toughest for me, mainly financially. Whilst the apartments have done well for their first full year of operation it was made difficult by the fact that I had over extended myself financially with the renovations. I always had a strong feeling that it would be difficult which it was and that it would go right down to the wire whether I survived it or not...and it did. However I have now turned the corner and enter 2014 absolutely debt free...which is oh such a lovely feeling! The plan when I moved here was to become debt free and I have now achieved that, so the next plan is to just maintain the status quo. The intention is to live simply, be more creative, I have everything I need, just want to be able to pay my bills and have enough money to do a bit of travelling this end of my life.
Been meaning to tell you all for sometime this news that happened back in late September...out of the blue I was offered a little part time position with NES artist residency as events manager, coordinating residencies, exhibitions, artist talks, open studio days between FNV the high school here, Sólon the artist collective, both situated here in Saudárkrókur and NES the international artist residency situated about 50 km away in the next town Skagaströnd. It is funded by a grant, so at the moment just a one year position. I am meeting not only artists from all around the world but more locals as well and thoroughly enjoying the interaction and experience. If you are friends with me on facebook you would have noticed some info I share on exhibitions and events that the artists are involved in. Timing is everything and now that I have an understanding of how the apartments will operate and they are running smoothly I have the time and brain space to delve into this new position with relish.
I have just returned from a whirlwind trip to Melbourne...just 16 days in the country. I had the opportunity to catch up with my 3 children still in Australia which was really lovely and I am so glad I went. Jesse popped over from WA for the first weekend I was there.
A pensive Jesse catching a bit of sun (about the only bit while he was in town)
Eva called in on her way back to Perth from Sydney where she was a bridesmaid for a friends wedding.
Eva and John at friend Bec's wedding
Did not do much but hang out with them, I am not a shopper and was not really interested in spending too much time in the city, other than half a day.
Christmas in the city, very english
I find the hype, noise and glare of the big shops and the consumerism quite obscene these days and prefer to stay out of it as much as I can....so another reason why this little fishing town in the north here suits me to a tee. However if there is something I want/need I will seek it out and did manage to get things on my list including vegemite, cherry ripes, turkish delight and violet crumbles. My best outing for shopping was a visit to Melbourne Etching Supplies and I could have spent hours there, what a lovely place, spent a good deal of dollars purchasing new press blankets, inks and brayers. These things are not obtainable in Iceland so I think every trip outside the country will be used as an opportunity to source art materials.
I do miss the choice in foods and my son is fortunate to live close to a fabulous food market where there was a fishmongers, butcher, fresh raw chicken place, an italian or greek style supermarket which stocked a huge array of pastas, cold meats, cheeses, plus a whole fridge stocked with a variety of feta's, a shop full of pulses and nuts etc, bakery, plus the best fruit and vegetable market which was huge and everything just oh so crunchy fresh, all just servicing the suburb of Thornbury which has a population of about 18,000.
Just a small section, this place was about 4 times larger.
I spent a good deal of time with my eldest son Dom which was lovely, we just had quiet evenings in mainly, he thoroughly enjoyed my home cooked meals. The night before I left I got to see him play at a little pub venue in Footscray which was lovely, he is always quite mesmerising to watch.
The majority of the time the weather was cold and rainy in Melbourne, one day got as low as about 3° around midday and it snowed somewhere in Victoria that day. I did not bring any winter clothes with me and one of the trips to the city was to buy a cardy as I was freezing, I even had the heater on a couple of evenings...this is summer in Melbourne as the taxi driver tells me. However I did get to experience one 40° day, so with Eva and Dom we drove to Phillip Island for a swim...first swim in the ocean for well over 3 years, even though it is on my doorstep.
Eva and Dom
The beach was not too crowded as it is about 130kms from Melbourne
but quintessentially Australian with children and sandcastles,
swimming between the flags,
games of frisbee,
and beach umbrellas now replaced with the sunshade tent thingy's.
40° is an unusually high temp for Melbourne and one news station demonstrated how hot it was by placing a tub of frozen icecream in a hot car and timing how long it took to melt...as you would?!!!
In between Jesse leaving and Eva arriving I took a short trip to northern NSW and visited a dear friend Zoy who I admire immensely, Zoy and I worked together for several years and have remained the closest of friends. Hopefully if plans go right Zoy will get to visit me in Iceland next year. The little town of Dunoon was pleasantly warm, quite perfect weather, not too humid and a little stormy.
a balmy evening with a little thunderstorm
I got to see lightning (did not get a photograph although I tried...too slow) which I hadn't seen since I moved here as it is quite a rare occurrence in Iceland.
Something else I wouldn't see in Iceland is a lizard, just warming itself on the paving in a local outdoor cafe in Mullumbimby NSW.
I also got to experience a very ocker rendition of Cinderella at the local Dunoon sports club for their annual Christmas pageant.
Cinderella with her prince and ugly step sisters
dancing gangnam style
I was a little apprehensive about how I would feel returning to Australia...this was the first visit since I left over 3 yrs ago, I wondered if I would regret my move and feel all homesick but whilst it was wonderful visiting and connecting again, Iceland does now feel more like home and I have absolutely no regrets about the move. The first thing I noticed as I walked around the suburb of Thornbury where I was staying is the smell and the sounds of Australia plus the teeming insects everywhere (an insect is something I rarely see in Iceland other than the summer flies). The bird noises are unlike anywhere else, so loud and constant anytime of the day, plus the scent of the ozzie flora is unmistakeable.
Suburb of Thornbury
Thornbury was full of the colonial houses that reminded me so much of my early childhood in Geraldton and distinctly Australian with their bullnosed verandahs.
It was a good trip albeit short but hopefully won't be as long before I visit next time. If all goes to plan I will travel to Perth Western Australia in Jan or Feb 2015 for 4-6 weeks.
2014 brings much to look forward to. In approximately 2 weeks my second grandson will be born and in the second half of the year my daughter will marry in Greece. In October I plan to visit Ireland and meet new found Irish cousins, plus who knows what else will pop up as the year progresses.
As you will have noticed I am struggling with the blog for some reason...laziness I guess but am determined to keep it going as it is a great form of diary for me and handy reminder of happenings that would normally slip my mind. Plus I know there are family and friends who like to know what I am up to and the blog is a great way to keep everyone informed. So I will definitely be back in 2014.
As I am writing this there have been plenty of fireworks going off in the background since this morning, even yesterday there were some and no doubt more will go off in the remaining week. It is not even 5pm yet and the New Year celebrations sound like they are well underway around town. So until next year I wish you all a happy one!