I have completely acclimatised to the freezing cold weather, and have the cold weather habits of people who live here down pat.
Bahahahahahaha! I have no freaking idea what I’m doing.
It is cold in Iceland. Freezing cold. Several layers of clothing cold. It’s a science getting dressed for this, and every morning I drive Don mad with a string of questions. What’s the temperature? What does minus 1 mean? Is it much different to 3? How long will I be inside? How long will I be outside? What do I have to carry? Is it snowing? Is it raining? Will I be too hot? If I take layers off how much will I have to carry? How many days in a row can I wear these socks? Long or short sleeve thermals?
In the end the answers to any of these questions have been irrelevant because I’ve been in the same clothes for five days in a row. And everything about them is a drama.
I have three layers of pants. Thermals, followed by thick tights followed by even thicker leggings. They may keep my legs warm, but it’s a complete nightmare getting them on. And getting them off? Every time I need the bathroom I have to roll them down my legs, creating a giant black Lycra wad around my knees. The crotch of each pant hangs at varying levels between my legs so for even a hint of comfort I’m forced to try to separate each layer and hoik them up one by one. All this while holding all of my other clothes out of the way. At the end of the day I peel the whole lot off in one go, only to find I have three elastic band welts at various heights around my stomach. Charming.
I’ve worn four shirts with the same big red puffy jacket over the whole lot every day. It’s so puffy the one time I tried carrying a shoulder bag I got so tangled up in scarf, sleeves, strap, hair and hood that Don had to rescue me before I cut off my airway. Now instead I have cash, cards, tissues, camera, phone, spare battery, hair tie and gloves all stashed in the three pockets of the jacket. Every time I pull the gloves out, all of the other items go flying. Every time I need something and I’m not wearing the jacket I spend 20 minutes searching through metres of red puff just to locate a pocket. Almost always the wrong pocket.
I can’t put my hair up because if I do I can’t jam my beanie far enough down my head. I left my hair loose for two days and ended up with three enormous dreadlocks. I tried low hanging pigtails like a five year old, but have now settled on a sort of a side plait.
But all of this is nothing compared to the time and effort spent whenever I go from inside to outside or from outside to inside. We’ve been getting around in a big Nissan Patrol for the past few days, which has been great, but space is at a premium.
Getting out of the car? Pull on hat, wind scarf around neck, look for gloves that aren’t stashed in pockets like they should have been and put them on. Undo seatbelt. Untangle scarf from seatbelt. Wind scarf back around neck. Manoeuvre one sleeve of puffy jacket on before exiting the car and getting too cold. Exit car. Pull on other sleeve and try to connect puffy jacket zip while gloves are still on. Fail. Take off gloves, connect zip. Look for gloves again, find them in the snow, pick up and put back on again.
Go see waterfall/geyser/glacier/snow/mountain.
Come back to car. Unzip and remove one puffy jacket sleeve before entering car. Sit, pull on seatbelt. Remove the rest of puffy jacket, get tangled in seatbelt. Undo seatbelt, remove puffy jacket, stuff puffy jacket in a ball on the floor. Remove beanie, gloves and scarf one by one and stuff on the floor. Do up seatbelt. Realise we’ve already arrived at the next waterfall/geyser/glacier/snow/mountain.
As you can tell, it’s a slick routine I have going here.
Most people would think I’m a local if not for the accent.