Friday, August 30, 2013

Being Present

"The only reality is now, everything else is a projection or a fantasy."

 I've been pondering a lot about being present. Living in the moment. Insert another corny phrase meaning the same thing.

So much of our time is spent either projecting the past...

..."Ugh, why did I eat a whole pizza last night?"
..."I miss my life in Houston"
..."Why did I major in education? My career field is so limited"
..."We should have gone with other renters."
..."I really regret..."

...or, our thoughts are spent fantasizing the future. Some excitement, some worries.

..."What am I going to do when we move back to Houston? Will I find a job? How long can we afford me not working in Houston? When will we move back?"
..."What am I cooking this week?"
..."I need to get home and do laundry, clean the bathroom, and then I need to catch the bus to go babysit."

Now, don't get me wrong. It is great to reflect on the past. Hopefully, it gives you a thankful heart and helps you grow as a person. Also, a little excitement and planning for the future is not bad. But, how many moments are missed because we are so busy projecting the past or fantasizing about the future?

Yesterday, it looked like this for me.

I was worried. My phone wasn't working. What if the family I'm babysitting for calls me and reschedules? What if Daniel needs me and I'm not there? What if, what if, what if?

I made the choice to stop the worrying. I would call the company and see, but before that, I needed to just be there, present.

I was walking outside. I asked myself, "How do I feel?" Yes, I felt worried. But I also feel the breeze. I feel the warm sun on my bare arms. I'm safe. In this moment, this very moment, I. am. fine. I'm alive, I'm still a part of reality, and that is all that I need.

"What do I see?" I see people that are in my moment, my reality. I can choose to fantasize about what could never happen in my own little world, or I can extent a kind smile and hopefully make someone else's moment a happy one. So I did, I smiled at every passerbyer, and some smiled back, and some were so consumed in their own thoughts that they didn't notice me.

"What am I thankful for, in this moment? Not what has happened, not what might happen, but what IS happening right now?" Other than the glorious weather and warm smiles from others, I'm thankful for love. I constantly feel loved, by God, by Daniel, by my friends and family. Even though they aren't a part of that moment in time, I always feel their love. I'm thankful that I can walk the streets of London by myself and be safe. I feel love, I feel safe.

And I feel this overwhelming sense of joy, peace, and freedom when I take time to experience the very moment that I am living in. That is the only reality, the only thing that is real and present.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

York, Part II

Hello! Sorry I never got to posting about the rest of our trip yesterday...I babysat pretty much all day on Tuesday (by the way, I cannot say that I babysat without feeling like I'm 14...hmmm I need to think of a better word)! I came home EXHAUSTED. I've decided not to write too much about the families that I am working for out of respect for their privacy, but it was all around a great day. And nice bringing home some bacon, for once!
On Sunday, we slept in a bit. The bed was so nice and London, we sleep in a bed that I think it smaller than a full, yet it's called a "queen sized bed." Liars.
You know the TLC show about the gypsy weddings? Yah, a TON of gypsies in York and they all seemed to be by our hotel. Every time I'd see a young girl in tight shorts and a bra top, surrounded by a bunch of punk 16 year old boys, I'd be really awkward and get excited and say to Daniel, "That's a gypsy!" way too loudly. Anyways, we heard them yelling in the street all night. Total hooligans and I didn't see any adult supervision.
Anyways, back to our morning. As I was saying, we slept in, partly because of the comfy bed and partly because the hooligan gypsies kept us up all night with their yelling. We went to a late breakfast at an adorable tea shop called Betty's.


It is very popular and you can actually order their teas, scones, and coffees online. We got super lucky and arrived before there was a queue...once we left, the line was out the door.
It was delicious, and the details that they put into everything truly made it stand out. We started with tea for Daniel and "The World's Best Coffee" for me. Everything came out on a vintage silver tray, complete with sugar cubes, my own table side French press, and folded embroidered napkins. The perfect girly place, so I'm thankful that Daniel went with me.
The coffee actually was some of the best that I've ever had, and I ended up going home with a bag of it. For breakfast, Daniel had salmon eggs benedict and I had this amazing cheesy hash with mushrooms, tomatoes, and ham....and then we shared a scone called a "Fat Rascal". I pretty much rolled out of there. 

After we gorged ourselves, we went to the York Minster. It's ancient (ha!) and full of really cool history. Here's what I learned:
The basement of the church was originally Roman barracks in the times when Christians were persecuted...when you go down to the basement, you can see a symbol that looked like a CH on certain tiles, which meant Christ...showing that some of the Romans were secretly Christian.
Constantine was actually hailed emperor in York, a huge turning point for Christians and little after that, the area was turned in to one of the first churches in Europe.
The church was heavily damaged in the 11th century after the Norman's took over York and then rebuilt with gothic architecture to basically look like it does now (although it is constantly undergoing conservation). 

We got to walk up nearly 300 steep and uneven (ancient) steps to go up to the tower for views of the city. Coming down was surprisingly harder than going was dizzying spiraling down the staircase, plus the steps varied greatly in both size and steepness. Might have nearly fallen a few times. 

Gorgeous views, and I felt like I might have worked off at least 1/4th of my breakfast.

Me after leaving the church...I look exhausted. Because I was. 


Afterwards, we walked along the (ancient) wall of York. It has a perimeter of 4 miles, so we only walked one length of it. It gave excellent views to people's spacious looked more rural than the city actually is from the wall. Daniel wanted me to note that he is my photographer for nearly all of these pictures.
After the walk, we had MORE great restaurant look. After reading it's reviews, I wanted us to dine at a French restaurant called Rustique. We called that morning, only to be told by the owner that they were completely booked for the whole night. I was was rated one of the best restaurants in York, had great prices, and I just felt like we would be missing out not eating there. We decided to stop in anyways, and a waitress led us to a table, without any hesitation! We were by the door, and every other couple that came in looking for a table without a reservation were turned away. The owner even scolded the waitress for seating us, worried that we would still be there when the reservation arrived.
They had a prix fixe menu. Daniel had this chorizo and egg starter (more Spanish than French, but really good), duck leg roasted in red wine (amazing...could be served at Mark's or Underbelly) and a banana caramel crepe. I had mushrooms in a white wine and cream sauce with bread (yummm), salmon croquettes, and chocolate mousse. It was all delicious.
Last words for York: It was a nice, easy getaway from London. We didn't have to deal with a currency or language change, the travel time was short, and there was just enough to do that we didn't get bored, but it was also quiet enough that we didn't feel rushed. If you were to come to Europe for a vacation, I wouldn't suggest going to York most likely because it is so similar to London, but I am happy that we went. I would compare it to living in Houston, but going to Austin or San Antonio for the weekend.
OK, so if you made it this far, congrats for reading one of the world's longest blog posts. This post has taken me a lot longer to write than I expected it would, and I need to go be a child care professional in an hour and a half (I missed my window for running...oops. And as you can guess, I really needed that run). Have a great rest of your week and thanks for reading!

Monday, August 26, 2013

York, Day 1

This weekend we had an extra, wonderful and blessed day to be together without work getting in the way, thanks to a day known as "August Bank Holiday." Whatever, despite the unoriginal name, we'll take it!

On Saturday, we slept in until nearly 10 (thanks to the landlords still being on holiday), made breakfast, and headed off to King's Cross to catch the train to York, 2 hours north of London.
You know how in Harry Potter, Mrs. Weasley is incredibly rushed to get the children on the train? That's really how it is in real life (although, ok we aren't walking through a brick wall, but still). The train pretty much arrives at the exact minute it's supposed to, and you have anywhere between 45 seconds and 3 minutes to board the train before it leaves you behind OR get off  the train before you are stuck on it until it arrives in the next town (that happened to some poor girls that were too slow gathering their belongings on the train). You do not know what platform it will be on until about 10 minutes before it pulls in to the station, and if you aren't there waiting for it...good luck.
The train ride was smooth and easy for us. Really, that characterizes the whole little vacation.
Once arriving to York, we had a 10 minute walk from the station to our hotel. The actual city center of York is pretty small and everything seemed to be a 10-15 minute walk away...a nice break from London, where you always need at least 40 minutes to get from point A to point B.
After dropping off our things at the hotel, we decided to just walk around the city center and absorb York.

A running joke with us during this trip was how "ancient" everything was. The ancient city (AD 71) was surrounded by an ancient wall (it was erected in AD 200 by the Romans, and then added to in the next hundreds of years. The gateways were added in the medieval times). Basically, you are going to have to deal with me reminding you how ancient everything there was. The wall was really neat though, and you could walk on top of it, imagining that you are a Roman solider, protecting the city from the Vikings (oops). 

Just an adorable cottage on the river, nbd.
Cliffod's Tower, by our hotel. From the 11th Century, it was a part of a now ruined castle, and then a military base, and then a prison.

We just loved walking around and taking in the ancient sites. "Look, an ancient H&M! An ancient Barclays! An ancient car phone store (because who calls it a car phone anymore?)! An ancient McDonald's!" Yah, that never got old during our stay there. We are huge dorks and that joke should have died wayyy before it did over our holiday.


After taking in the ancient sites, we went to some 400 year old pubs. I was smart and only had 1/2 pints...and I realized I LOVE English cider. American cider is way too sweet, but the English stuff is ohhh soooo yummy. We had a great time and probably went to 1 pub too many. One thing we noticed here is that nearly everyone is actually English. Usually, you go anywhere in London and you're just as likely to hear an American, French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, African (yah, it's my blog and I can be politically incorrect if I want to) accents or languages. In York, nearly everyone was surprised when we spoke and would ask if we were American.

We went to an incredible Italian food restaurant in the middle of our pub crawl, where I am going to go against what I just told you about the Yorkies- everyone that worked there was straight from Italy. Ohhh we loved it and can't wait to go to Italy next month. We got really lucky- they were totally booked but after the Sicilian owner learned we were Texan, he got a table for us, as long as we promised to leave within the next hour and a half. The owner went around to every table, shaking the hands of the men and kissing the women, his staff yelling in Italian over the football match and I'm sure drinking just as much wine as the patrons.

The menu offerings were mouth-watering and nothing was over $ different from London! Daniel got the Carbonara, and I couldn't decide between the white pizza and Diavalo pizza. After asking the owner what he thought I should get, he started yelling at me passionately in Italian, got flabbergasted, and said "Lady, you need to order with your heart. You are trying to order with your mind!" HA! The food was to die for, and I would go there again daily if I could.

So, that wraps up the first day of our long weekend trip! I'll try and write about Day 2 tomorrow, but I *AM* a workin' girl starting tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have time.

By the way, I hope all of my teacher friends have had a wonderful beginning of the year. Y'all are in my thoughts and prayers!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Workin' Girl

I have some great news! Now that we finally have internet, I have been applying to jobs like a mad woman. I went through a site especially for nannies and probably sent my resume to 20 families, not expecting many responses. I instantly heard back from 4 different families! Woah!

Most of the families wanted someone 9-6 Monday-Friday, which was too much for me. I want to have time to go to yoga, explore the city, and complete my errands...I couldn't do that with those hours. I really just wanted something to keep me from getting bored and to give me a little responsibility.

The family that I am going with is the PERFECT fit. It's an American family (from Boston) who has lived here for the past 3 years. The wife has been a stay at home mom, but is going to start working again in September. She has two adorable children that I got to meet today at the park- one 7 year old boy who showed up in a pirates hat and has the cutest gap between his teeth, and a 9 year old girl with the biggest green eyes. She seems like she will be an excellent helper, too. Also, the mom was just so cool- not at all a stereotypical expat wife.

So, here's my gig: The wife's hours are very flexible and she's only working 4 days a week. So, on those 4 days, I will pick up her children from school at 3, walk them home, help them with homework and what not, maybe cook dinner, and leave around 6:30. They are a 20 min commute away from me. If there are days we have visitors or are out of town, she can change her work hours to leave earlier, or put her kids in the after school day care. She loves that I don't need solid hours/ depend on her for my income, and I love that I can basically work when I want, just a few hours a day. It's enough extra money to not feel guilty about shopping or planning vacations, too.

While I was waiting to meet the mom at the park today, I started talking to another American mom who had just moved here from Oregon for her husband's job and SHE needs a sitter for her two cute boys (2 and 6) so I am meeting with her later today to talk more and then on Tuesday, I'm watching her 2 year old while she goes to her 6 year old's orientation at The American School. She doesn't work, so will only need me the occasional date night or whatnot. She, like the first mom, was also very cool and laid back. I am excited to make some extra cash, work with children again, and make friends with some other Americans!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When you know the notes to sing.... can sing most anything!

On Monday, as I was soaking up the sun at Regent's Park, I noticed A TON of people there, especially children. At about the time they all seemed to mysteriously disappear, a loud, booming voice was heard throughout the park, followed by the sound of giggling children. I followed to see what was going on, and realized there's an Open Air Theatre, filled with all of the excited children I had originally seen in the park.

Then, I saw the show being featured and pretty much hyperventilated with excitement.

I LOVE The Sound Of Music. Read the book, own the blueray and soundtrack, recorded the special Oprah did where she reunited the cast, used to want to be Liesl (but now, of course I'd rather be Maria), the whole 9 yards. So, of course I paid the arm and leg for Daniel and me to see it tonight!
First, we had a picnic in the park. Olives, Riesling, Camembert, bread, Serrano, Prosciutto...

The stage.
After the picnic, we walked to the theatre. We had aisle seats, which I didn't think anything of. And then, the symphony started playing the opening song...we hear the bellowing "The Hillllssssss Are Aliveeeee", look over, and Maria is walking down the stairs, on our aisle, literally standing on our row, right next to Daniel.
I pretty much cried the whole time- I feel such a strong connection to the story and I pretty much think Maria is my favorite (real) character, ever. Not to metion that the children were AMAZING and stole the show.
It was a beautiful play. Being outside, surrounded by trees and fireflies (I didn't see them, but Daniel swears they were there), and seeing one of the most amazing words could explain. The movie is still incredible, but see the play, too.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Miracle of Miracles


We have internet! I could go into details about why it took so long, but I don't feel like rehashing it and I know that you don't really care (I barely care!) BUT, we have internet. Hooray!

That means blogging is about to get much easier! Hopefully I can learn how to touch up my pictures and make the blog easier to read. Although, who am I kidding, probably not much will change.

So, on Sunday, like I said, we went to get Tapas. I will focus on the positive: everything was 20% off, we had a delicious and inexpensive bottle of Spanish red, and decadent churros with melted dark chocolate sauce to dip it in. Yum!

A few blocks from our flat is a gorgeous church. We thought we'd be trouble makers so we snuck under the locked chain (this was before realizing there was an open pathway from the sidewalk we could go through- sneaking in made it more fun) for a photo op. It got a little silly, entailing  handstands and smack talk about who could win at a headstand competition (Daniel said he COULD but it hurts his head too much, so I win).

On the way home, we noticed that the sunset was gorgeous. Too bad I only had my phone and I'm not a pro at photo shopping, this picture does it no justice. While Daniel was taking the picture, we heard the LOUDEST "meooooowwwwww" and a cat stuck her head out of the bushes, screaming at us. At first I though she wanted us to leave her territory, but she ran out of the bushes towards me and instantly began walking through my legs, purring. She even jumped up, trying to make me hold her! I was so thankful for her- I really needed my pet fix! I tried checking on her yesterday, but couldn't find her. Daniel said she was just a cheap street cat working her corner for a trick, but I think she was a friendly neighborhood cat, welcoming us to SJW. She seemed very healthy and jumped back onto her perch behind the bushes once we started walking towards home (I secretly hoped she would follow us). Hopefully I will run into her again!  


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Highs and Lows

Last post was a drag, and I appreciate all of the encouraging words. Things are still annoying and I'll give y'all updates, but first let's focus on the positives...

1. I love Regents Park

It's right by our flat and I love running through it before yoga. 

2. Meeting new friends

On Saturday, we had a quiet morning...I ran and went to an Ashtanga class, while Daniel stayed home to watch soccer. Afterwards, we met up with Daniel's coworker and girlfriend in Greenwich. They are a really great couple and moved here from South Africa over a year ago. It was nice connecting with others that can relate to the changes of moving. They, too, miss having space, the sun, and good food. 

Greenwich is a really nice, quiet area. We went to a brewery there and ate at a restraunt that served Chili's quality for Perry's prices, but the pub we went to afterwards made up for it. 

3. Harrod's

A £200,000 bathtub

This afternoon, we went to Harrods. Neither of us are shoppers, but it is an experience for everyone. I liked the food section, but it was too crowded to buy anything! 

Harrod's offered everything you could ever want...they had a Christmas section, book store, fitness section, fine jewelry, furniture, appliances/ electronics...very overwhelming. Daniel found his protein powder there for £80. He bought it on amazon for £24. So moral of the story: don't buy anything at Harrod's unless you just want to be able to say you bought something from there! 

4. Landlords are in Spain for 2 more getting woken up at 5 am from their stomping around! I've decided that I WILL bring this up when they come back. This morning, our ceiling creaked from 5-6 a.m. nonstop from their moving around. We've tried drowning out the sound with earplugs and a fan, but it's no use. I feel so bad complaining to them because they are so sweet to us, but Daniel needs to be able to sleep!

5. We go out of town next weekend to York...can't wait!

6. We have our first visitors in less than 3 weeks...I've bought extra pillows, towels, blankets, and an air mattress to prepare. To say that I'm excited is a gross understatement!

7. Got to Skype with Daniel's family during the 36 miraculous hours of Internet BT decided to grace us with. 

And now for the lows...

1. Our 4th BT ( Internet company) "engineer" is coming on Tuesday. That means me waiting all day at our flat, for the 4th time. It's a good thing I don't have a job! A worker actually fixed it on Friday and we had Internet for 36 glorious hours, but then this morning it was out. No joke, my phone shows that I've spent 7 hours and 5 minutes on the phone with BT these past 2 weeks. 

2. The saga continues with our neighbor. She rang my doorbell on Thursday, complaining that now her utilities have been turned off because of the confusion with there being 2 garden flats now. I felt terrible, but her complaining to me solves no problems! Then, the bell rang again that afternoon, this time she brought along our landlords. She barged in to make them see our utility room (she's certain her leak is from there, even though we don't have any signs of a leak) and they proceeded to have a screaming match in our flat for 15 minutes. So awkward. She exhausts me.

Ok, we are about to try a well reviewed tapas restraunt down the street...we desperately crave good food! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Long time, no see!

I'm sorry it's been a few days since I've last posted! Truth is, not a lot has been happening on this side of the pond. 

I forgot to post these pictures on Sunday...a church by our house with a very old cemetery...the headstones have been severly weathered and appear to be blank now. Kinda cool, kinda creepy!

Anyways, things have been somewhat difficult for me lately. I feel bad saying that, since we are so blessed to be here and for Daniel's career opportunities, but I've been a little restless and "tested"...

1. I want a job. I've applied to SO many schools, gyms, and yoga studios. I need to feel like I'm being productive and I need more responsibility than just making sure our flat and my baby (aka husband)  are taken care of. But, job hunting is difficult when you...

2. Don't have Internet. I've spent HOURS...maybe days...dealing with our Internet service. We were supposed to have it last Wednesday. Haven't been connected to the Internet for even a second without our phones. I call them daily to ask about it, and would cancel our service, except it's our only option in our area! This wouldn't be so bad except...

3. My phone provider is terrible and I have no service in our flat. I am about to cancel it, but this will be my 4th switch in the time we've been here. Basically, no mobile or Internet provider can compare to the US. 

4. Remember how I mentioned our neighbor, the one who has been the only garden flat for the past 20 years? Lord, she tests me daily. She's ringing our doorbell constantly, complaining about receiving our mail or asking if we have hers. One day,I received a package and opened it without looking, expecting it to be our shower mat. It was a pair of Swarovski encrusted Jimmy Choo heals...of course, hers. That was fun, apologizing for opening her mail, in which her response was "They are very expensive shoes..." I mean, does she think I went on a run through London with them? I immediately brought them to her! Today she rang our bell as I was serving dinner, telling us she had a water leak. She barges in and shows herself inside our flat, sure the leak was coming from us....we were speechless. With that being said, I really want to be polite towards her...her husband is very sick and in a hospice, she's told me before how grouchy she always is, and her flat is for sale (we wonder if she can't afford to live there with her sick husband). I know her circumstances are making her this way, and I just want to show her kindness. 

5. To top it all off, the honeymoon stage of our move is slowly ending and I'm getting homesick! With every email I get of family get togethers and pictures I see of my pets, I miss Texas more and more! It's also little things...tried to make my famous taquitos and they were terrible because I couldn't find good corn tortillas or green salsa. I wish I could watch Breaking Bad. I'm so tired if hand washing dishes. My friend Myrna, who lived in Japan for a year, told me she was most thankful for her experience abroad because it showed her how wonderful home is...London might just be teaching me that, too! 

On a positive side, things could not be better for our marriage. There's nothing like moving to another country and only having each other. I'm so thankful that this test has brought us so much closer together. 

Sorry to be a bit of a downer....this is just where I'm at and why I haven't blogged lately! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Paraphrased Weekend

This weekend was full of...

...picnicing, canal walking, market browsing, Dim Sung consuming, wine drinking, Abbey Road strolling, not sleeping inning, brunch eating, sweater wearing, Yogaing and running, pubbing, home cooking, and now resting.

Sorry for the lack of photos! Have a great week, friends!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Picnic Date Night

On Wednesday, I ran to Primrose Hill...I'd ran by it before, but I wanted to run up it a few times to challenge myself. It doesn't look too steep, but it really is! The view from the top makes all of that huffing and puffing worth it though, and I really wanted Daniel to experience it, so we had a picnic there this afternoon. 

The picture does Primrose Hill absolutely no justice. From here, you can see the London Eye, St. Paul's, The Gerkin building, and more...a great view of the London skyline. 

This is probably one of my favorite spots in London. We watched dogs frolicking and prancing through the tall grass, chasing the children that were rolling down the hill. The dogs are bold here and would come up to our blanket, nosing our cheese and looking at us like "don't you want to share?" Young couples dot the hill, usually sharing a bottle of wine and laying down in the cool grass. There was a young man there playing guitar. The breeze was so cool that I needed a sweater. There's something so wonderful about seeing an expanse of land in a city where we are surrounded by concrete and people. 

The aftermath of our picnic: olive pits, an empty bottle of French wine, and a bite of smudged Brie. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cool title

Can't really think of a Title to sum up what's going on in my mind as I format a blog post, so "cool title" is what you get! 

Yesterday, after 3 weeks of no Internet in our flat, the technician came and finally installed it. And guess what? Still no Internet!!? Our area is very old and our only option was basic broadband. I am not computer savvy at all, but evidently it is very hard to install Internet access in the house we live in and the technician warned me that it might not work just yet. I was really excited that cable+ Internet was only £5 a month, and now I'm realizing why...supposedly it will be working in the next 24 hours, but I don't believe it. 

So, I'm at a pub, taking advantage of their wifi while I write this. I don't mind it. Btw, I am sharing a table with two English men that basically know two words, and one starts with an "f", and the other is "bloody", and the conversation is about Nutella. Awkward. Trying so hard not to laugh as I write this. 

Ok, change of subject, Daniel and I are crazy and have planned our third European vacation. To Iceland. In January. 

Before you say "WTF are y'all thinking" let me explain why.

Daniel is SO easy going and basically leaves everything to me when it comes to decision making, but he had only one request while we are in Europe, and that was to see the Northern Lights. 

Obviously not a picture I have taken, but I didn't even know what the northern lights were until Daniel showed me a picture, so I wanted to post a pic in case you don't know what they are, either. 

Anyways, to hopefully see the northern lights, you have to go to the arctic circle (norway, finland, canada, alaska, sweden, and Iceland) during the months of dec-feb for the best chance...the more rural the area, the better. 

Doesn't that sound lovely? Going to the coldest place in the world, in the months when it's the coldest? And you can't be near the city? And you might not even see the damn green hue?

At first, we looked into staying at an ice hotel in Sweden...literally a hotel made out of ice. All that there was to do there was freeze your butt off and pet Huskies for the low price of 1k a night. Thank God it was out of our price range. Seriously, thank you Jesus. 

Next, we looked into Iceland because it's simply the most appealing country to us. Ever since Ali the bachelorette went there, I was interested. There's beach (although you wouldn't dare go into the water), there's volcanos, there's hot springs...

So, that's where we are going. Even if we aren't lucky enough to see the Northern Lights, we can still swim in hot springs, explore the beautiful country side, and the capital city Reykghftionfhthsofh (...jk, there's a million letters in it and it starts with reyk) is supposed to be very hip and happening. plus, ithe weather is comparable to Boston or NYC in the winter...awful, but not as bad as the other countries. 

Because we are going to a place that isn't too desirable, I was able to book an amazing place. It is between volcanoes and the sea, yet only 30 min from the big city (where we wouldn't want to stay, because we want to see the northern lights!) It's also 15 min from Blue Lagoon and had such amazing reviews that I knew instantly this is where we should stay. I am honestly really excited! 


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