I Got a Care Package from Iceland!

Speaking of taking care of our friends… I got a care package from Iceland today! You know I’ve been all about Iceland lately, there’s been Ásgeir Trausti (his album “Dýrð í dauðaþögn” is simply awesome), Jón Gnarr (the anarchist comedian that was mayor of Reykjavik), Sólstafir (metal, check out their song “Fjara”), the Icelandic language, which I find absolutely beautiful, Icelandic friends, – and that Icelandic nasal snuff, neftóbak. I know you think it’s bizarre, but it’s simply the best bad habit I’ve ever had.

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Seeing you can’t get it in Norway, I have to trust my friends overseas to ship it to me. The thought of running out almost makes me panic. (In the beginning I slept with the single pack I had under my pillow.) Today a new batch arrived in the mail. I can sleep soundly for some time ahead.

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But it did not only contain that, it also contained some other Icelandic goodies. Dried fish. I love dried fish. And this was good dried fish! And dulse, dried seaweed! Never had that before.

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And candy… Icelandic candy! With and without banana flavor.

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And last, but not least, I got a super cute Icelandic beanie. Excuse my damp hair, I had just gotten out of the shower.

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Thank you Iceland! Thank you Bergur! Thank you neftóbak!

– Agathe

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Coffee and Cigarettes

This morning I went to visit my friend M in the little white house. We were gulping down coffee, me on an empty stomach as I hadn’t even had my breakfast yet, and chatting about love and life – and friendship. How we need to cut each other some slack and be nice to one another. We’re getting older. Soon enough we’ll need people sticking around. We need to be there when the going gets rough, cause it does from time to time. And laugh. We need to laugh.

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I was taking in that smell of rolling tobacco smoked out of the kitchen window. I have to confess, I do like the smell of it. Even though I quit years ago, the smell still makes me feel a little sentimental.

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Then I realized that I had been drinking too much coffee and needed to get something to eat. The same second my eighty something year old neighbor called, asking if I wanted to go to the local café with her. So we went there, eating sandwiches and chatting some more, about how to survive in a small and isolated place like this, with businesses closing, people losing their jobs, families moving away. Then I did her shopping and watered her plants. We need to be there for each other. One day we’ll be old too.

It doesn’t have to be much. Just share that cup of coffee over a good conversation. Pick up our neighbor’s mail when they’re ill. Watch the kids. Look past our differences and laugh when we’ve been stupid. It makes me smile how you and Matt could act that way to each other and then just turn it into a good story. Those are the best friends.

– Agathe

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Re: On This Day . . .

Okay digging out all my old journals will probably be a bit of a task so don’t expect me to complete this entry to match yours’ immediately.  I love that we both kept meticulous journals throughout life.  I have a sneaky feeling that yours’ are much less . . . angry than mine.  High school was an awful time period for me and my journals probably read as such.  Also I don’t have any romantic gushy entries like August 27, 1999 because I didn’t have my first boyfriend until 2003! 

I used to make it a habit to write when I was mad, often about people sitting in the room within my eye line.  I liked doing it because people get so irritated when they know you’re writing about them.  It got to be so bad that my Mum would joke that if I ever died in a sudden accident, the family would read my journals before deciding what sort of funeral I was to receive.

“We might decide to just throw you in a box and call it a day,” she once said with a morbid laugh.

Here’s an example of such activities.  In 2012 I decided to fly to London to celebrate my 30th in proper style, in the same pub I celebrated my 21st birthday in.  I stayed with my favorite pain in the arse, Matt.  (He’s actually one of my best dudes but he’s also a proper pain in the arse, just so there’s no confusion).  Before my birthday we flew to Ireland and spent two days in Dublin before going up north to visit my Aunt Lori who lives in County Monaghan right next to Castle Leslie.  We spent our time in Dublin eating mediocre to bad food (I had the worst omelet I’ve ever eaten in Dublin . . . ), drinking like no tomorrow and waking up with wicked hangovers while stumbling around our hotel room muttering under our breaths “ouch, my head”.  Naturally catching the bus to Monaghan was a bit of a kerfuffle which ended with us seething with slight hatred for one another.  

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Apparently I was really doing Annoying American well that morning.  Once we settled into the bus and decided we weren’t speaking to one another, I pulled open my journal and began to jot down thoughts about my morning, many of which cast a critical eye at Matt who was “in a bit of a strop today”, I wrote.  To be fair I had thought that much of the morning was comical and I wasn’t nearly as angry as he was.  That’s probably why he was so angry.  Because I was more smirky than angry.  Which is absolutely annoying.

 

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Two paragraphs in (somewhere outside of Dublin, near a grape seed field), I finally felt eyes upon me and looked over to catch that cheeky little monkey reading steadily over my shoulder, eyes throwing darts at each word on the page.  I took a deep breath and then muttered angrily, through teeth clenched tight.

“STOP reading my journal.”

Matt responded also through angry clenched teeth, “Well then STOP writing about me.” 

He then went on to mock my observations in an obnoxious falsetto, “Oooh Matt’s in a right strop today, isn’t he?”

Needless-to-say we didn’t speak for the rest of the two hour journey.  We didn’t even speak when we got off the bus.  We pretended we weren’t angry with each other when my Aunt picked us up (to be good guests).  But to prove that I still had my hackles raised, when given a room choice, I left him with the room decorated in pink with two twin beds and took the full bed in the more masculine bedroom for myself.  (I really know how to drive a point home.)  We didn’t start talking again until my Aunt got some food in us at the restaurant Snaffles (the old stable of Castle Leslie).  Usually hunger seems to be the biggest problem and food, the best solution.  By the time evening fell we were drinking mugs of beer and sitting around Lori’s fireplace laughing about our tiff while her many dogs lay at our feet (but I still kept my full size bed). 

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Is there a moral of the story?  Maybe not write so angrily about people when they’re sitting right next to you?  Maybe?  Or do it anyway and know they’ll be pissed but eventually get over it?

 

–  Aja (who will write about you while glaring at you from across the room)

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Re: I’m So Glad…

Do you want me to tell you a secret? 

I did the same thing yesterday. This time I hadn’t been drinking Champagne. Yet the boy asked: “Are you drunk?” 

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Oops.

I’ve been crap at taking your advice lately, despite the fact that I know you’ve been right. As I was reading my old journals, I just picked up a random one that I read from beginning to end, and there it was. The same old story. I’ve been here before! Sometimes I just want to bang my head against the wall. When do ever we learn? 

You know what I love about you? I can be all irrational and silly, all up and down from one minute to the next, and you still don’t judge me for it. Though I know I probably make you want to bang your head against the wall sometimes too.

– Agathe

(Illustration from: Kris Atomic.)

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I’m So Glad . . .

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. . . that I urged you not to call any boys and ramble to them and  . . . you did exactly that.  (Laughs). 

I explain this again and again to people who get annoyed with their friends when they don’t listen to their advice.  The thing about being an adult is that most of the time no one listens to anyone particularly when it comes to matters of the heart.  And that’s perfectly okay.  xo

–  Aja

(Illustation from:  A 1957 Children’s Book by Paul Rand)

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On This Day…

As you know, I’ve been keeping a journal since childhood and I still do. Once in a while I like to flip through them to see what I did on this day back then. What always strikes me is how little things change. Obviously, I don’t always write every day, so there are many gaps, but I managed to find a few. I thought I’d share some glimpses with you. These are my thoughts, on August 27…

1997

“I think the reason I’m so happy is because of my new haircut. I like myself a lot more.”

1998

“I think I’m about to become depressed. But it’s okay, as long as I’m depressed for no reason. It gives me more time to spend by myself.”

1999

“It was a full moon. I went to look for T. We didn’t kiss, we only held each other.”

2008

“I’m drinking port wine today. It was my hair that did it. It can be amazing, but it takes a lot of work, and today I didn’t have the time.”

“All of a sudden I saw a link between how I relate to weather and how I relate to life. I like the variations. I like the different seasons. If it’s raining you can jump in puddles.”

“I see it now, how my life is always fine because I look at it like a story. I can sacrifice a lot for a good story.”

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2009

“Sometimes R and I become more like enemies than lovers, and it’s wearing on me.”

“The problem of being able to change and grow as a human being is that you see your own errors so clearly.”

2010

“As I was meditating last night, I got a glimpse of what love is. It is acceptance. It is something that expands.” 

2011

“I’m enjoying myself so much the way things are now. I can just putter about the house doing little things, and everything has a meaning because of my son.”

2013

“Normally I react to fear by approaching it to regain control. Fear of loss of control?”

See..? Haircuts and the pains of being human. And boys.

– Agathe

PS – I also found a letter that I had written to my first boyfriend when I was 16 that I had never sent. So I sent it. 

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