There was something that made me feel the slightest bit uncomfortable about spending my birthday away from home. The normal routine of a family dinner and going out with friends became something I thought I would long for, but my host relatives welcomed me with open arms and gave me a birthday that I will never forget.
I woke up to a delicious breakfast where my family was eagerly waiting to inform me on the adventures ahead of us. They were kind enough to give me a beautiful illustrated book by Halldór Laxness along with some Icelandic music, both of which will serve as wonderful keepsakes from my trip.
Later that day we took off into the gorgeous countryside and began our journey. It seemed like there was no end to the amazing sights that Iceland has to offer. Among our stops included Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets through the lava field. This was one of the most beautiful and unique geographical features I have ever seen
We ate lunch along the river beside my families’ summerhouse, listening to the birds whistle as we sat and enjoyed the perfect weather. On our way back we stopped at the Icelandic goat farm, possibly the high point of my day. Icelandic goats neared the brink of extinction during the late 19th century and the country has been trying to maintain a healthy population ever since. It was for that reason that I decided to sponsor a baby goat named lucky as a bit of a present to myself. He is the cutest little thing on the planet and I look forward to getting updates on his wellbeing.
After I ate dinner that night, roast lamb and salad fresh from their garden, I reflected upon the day. I couldn’t believe all that my host family had done to make my time so special. I have nothing but gratitude for how comfortable and welcome my family has made me feel these past couple of weeks. I am going to miss them dearly. Nothing would make me happier than for them to visit Canada so I can show them the same level of hospitality.
-Jake Halliday from Toronto, Ontario