Small Town Life
"I'm from Chicago, a city whose metropolitan area has a population of about 10 million people. Now, that's a big city by anybody's standards. But for Iceland, it's absolutely massive. The biggest city in Iceland is Reykjavik, with a population of a bit over 200,000. The second biggest is Akureyri, with only 17,000! And then there's me, in Hvammstangi, the biggest town in the county of Húnaþing-vestra, with a population of 580.
It's definitely a different way of life here. Things just move a bit slower, there's much less hustle and bustle. For my volunteer job, I'm working at Selasetur Íslands, the Icelandic Seal Center. It's a museum dedicated to seal research in Iceland, and it's also the tourist office of the county. It's considered a busy day when 150 people come in. It's nice though, the lower volume of people means that you get to spend more time speaking with everybody. People come and visit from all over the world, from the US and Canada all the way to Hong Kong.
I don't spend much time away from cities but it's not that I've never spent ANY time in a small town. When my family moved to the States from Iceland, they settled on a little island in Lake Michigan, with a year round population of 600. I visited there most summers but I could never understand why they wanted to live in the middle of nowhere. Now I understand why they settled somewhere so remote.
I went on a road trip with my host family to North Iceland to visit one of my cousins and the farm where my great-great-great-grandmother was born in 1849. It's a very beautiful part of the country, there's so much open space. Everything just goes from farm to farm. It was great to get this insight into where my family lived before coming to America. I'm looking forward to sharing this all with my family when I get back!"
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Ásta Sól Kristjánsdóttir
Blog editor and Manager of the Snorri and Snorri Plus Programs