I've been in Iceland for seven days now, but it feels like seven weeks. I have seen so much and learned much already. I am learning Icelandic slowly but surely. It is much more different than German than I thought it would be. Less people in Solheimar speak English than I thought too, so we have been experimenting with other forms of communication. The CELL group is finally settling into a routine schedule. We have classes Monday-Saturday and have Sunday off. We will be going on a field trip once a week. Next weekend we are going on our 4 day hiking/camping trip before it gets too dark and cold. The weather has been so enjoyable, and a pleasant change from the humid beach in Wilmington, North Carolina. Here is a more detailed look at our daily schedule here at the Eco-Village.
Every morning at 9:00 everyone in the community gathers at the first building that was built here in the 1930s, holds hands in a circle, gives daily announcements in Icelandic, and then sings the Solheimar morning song in Icelandic. Then we hike up to the Sesseljahus eco-center (pictured below) where we have a 1.5 hour Icelandic language class, then a 1.5 hour Icelandic history and culture class, both taught by Katrin Magnusdottir, our Icelandic friend.
We then go to lunch buffet from 12 to 1 and eat with the Solheimar community. The food is delicious and fresh, and the view from the cafeteria (pictured below) is phenomenal. I have sat with different people each day, which has been a nice way to meet new people who live here, even if we cannot carry a conversation!
After lunch we begin our CELL classes where we have group discussions about sustainability, environmental issues, and what we can do to change. The titles of our books are, "Voluntary Simplicity", "Menu for the Future", "Global Warming: Changing CO2URSE" and "Choices for Sustainable Living". They are simply collections of articles and together make up the most interesting and important curriculum I have ever dealt with in my entire academic experience. The discussions that these readings prompt are critical and crucial in my understanding of the world and how humans can and should fit into the ecological continuum. We have been challenging previous understandings, forging new definitions for worn out words (like sustainability), and inspiring each other to practice what we preach. We are in a perfect place to facilitate growth and apply the theories that we all grasp. Speaking of facilitate, each session is taught by 2 different facilitators in our group so the students guide the discussions providing more freedom and flexibility. This type of learning is the best I have ever encountered.
I will have a lot of reading to be doing while I am here, so my blog posts will be few and far between but I will not abandon you! I may upload more pictures than words onto my flickr account, since they will do a better job of giving you a glimpse of Iceland than my inadequate description here. Our group took our first field trip yesterday to Reykjavik, the capital city. We had an amazing time and got several top notch presentations from important people, but I like it better here on the farm. I tried to post a video from this morning while walking around a field before lunch.. I found some friendly chickens walking near a house with a turf roof and an Icelandic flag with gorgeous mountains off in the distance, but it wouldn't let me upload it. I will continue to try though.