Oh. Em. Gee. Today marks exactly 365 days living in Iceland! One year ago today we landed on this wonderful island…this time to stay.

This is what’s called an “expataversary” and that calls for a celebration!

It’s hard to emphasize the drastic difference between my life one year ago and today.

For those of you that might not know, we moved to Iceland one year ago from Texas. Texas is not where I grew up, nor where I wanted to be for long. Texas was a transition after Grad school. A good job for my husband. Texas and I were not a good fit.

Iceland, on the other hand, is my perfect place. A place that I felt immediately connected to on our first visit. Where I couldn’t stop thinking about after our trip. Where I felt comfortable living right away.

In this post, I’m reflecting on the differences between my life then through my old Instagram account (before I owned an actual camera and used multiple filters on each photo!) and now with my current Instagram account.

Life has changed, and I love everything about it.


Weather | 
 Obviously Texas is HOT, but the worst thing about Houston is the crazy intense humidity. The sun shines almost every single day, but in the summer you can’t really enjoy it because even walking from your house to your car causes you to break out in a full sweat. Iceland is cold, gray and rainy most of the time. The temperatures rarely get above 60° F. But yet I have zero complaints about the weather in Iceland.


THEN
:
*Smack dab in the middle of the hottest part of the country!

A photo posted by @lifeofjeanteam on

NOW:
*Playing in the snow like a child. Snow angels and all.

 

Relaxing | My idea of relaxing is anything that is outdoors. In Houston, my options were limited for such a thing. I literally used to have to Google places with grass (i.e. a park?!) so I could pretend I was in “nature”. At times that place would be close enough that I could ride my bike to, but usually I would have to drive because Houston is gigantic.

THEN:
*Pretending to enjoy my time out of doors. Not pictured is the gallon of sweat rolling off my body because there’s 100% humidity and I can actually only sit there comfortably for 30 minutes.

A photo posted by @lifeofjeanteam on

NOW:
*I’ll take a mountain view anytime! Even if that mountain view involves hours of hiking to get to, it’s still outdoors!

 

Weekend adventures | Houston is best known for three things: oil, being the third biggest city in America, and it’s awesome restaurant scene. On the weekends we would take advantage of these amazing restaurants by picking a new place to sample as often as we could. Yes, it was delicious and so kewwwl…I felt like a foodie for the first time in my life. But was it actually what my heart looked forward to after a long week of work? No.

THEN:
*Don’t get me wrong, I could really go for some delicious Mexican food right now!

A photo posted by @lifeofjeanteam on

NOW:
*Now our weekend adventures include road trips around Iceland. Westjords, Þórsmörk, Landmannalaugar…check check check! This is the actual BEST. THING. EVER.

 

Giving a shit | I use to give a shit about ALL THE THINGS. I wanted our place to be perfectly decorated. I had serving dishes for every food and occasion. That was top priority in my world. I lived and breathed for my Cuisinart 14 cup food processor, Vitamix, and standing KitchenAid mixer. Now I don’t even own a bed. The only kitchen item I own is a hand mixer. A hand mixer. I moved here with two suitcases of clothes. We own a Defender, a map, and a camera. But that’s all a need, really.

THEN:
*I spent $600 on these knives! And yes, I love them with my whole heart, but I could take a trip with that money!

A photo posted by @lifeofjeanteam on

NOW:
*Jumping for joy that I get to live in the most beautiful place in the world.

 

READ MORE:   My Favorite Icelandic Saying: "þetta Reddast"

Patio views | This is the most ridiculous thing about where we lived in Houston. The view from our patio was a Coca-Cola factory. I wish I had a picture from that view, but I think I just tried to erase it from my memory – it was the absolute worst. Most of the year it was too damn hot to actually use it, but in the event that I did, I brought a cold beverage and tried to forget it was 1,000 degrees and I was dripping sweat. Now my patio views include mountains, the ocean, downtown Reykjavik, and a glacier. We get to see the most AMAZING sunsets. We can see the NORTHERN LIGHTS on the regular!

THEN:
*Notice how I tried to cut out most of the view?! Ooo but look at my cute garden stool!

A photo posted by @lifeofjeanteam on

NOW:
*One of the many videos I’ve taken of the incredible sunsets out of our living room window.

 

Travel | Traveling always has and continues to be one of our top priorities. Houston getaways included San Antonio and the Texas Wine Country. However, in the States, if you want to take a trip abroad, you usually have to save and plan months if not years in advance (As was the case for our Honeymoon trip). But now when we can hop on a flight and in two hours be snowboarding in the Swiss Alps, WHY NOT?!

THEN:
*Leaving a big city to visit another city is not exactly my idea of a getaway…but I had to take what I could get!

A photo posted by @lifeofjeanteam on

NOW:
*Grateful for trips to Sweden, Switzerland, and Ireland this year!

 

Stress | I don’t have an old photo to highlight my stress, because Instagram is only for happy photos right?! But there were hints…like when Bobby would bring home flowers and chocolate to cheer me up. Or when you make a countdown for your vacation because you can’t wait to get away.

Like I said before, I used to be a super type-A stressed person. I would stress about the small things. I wanted a clear plan of our future. Iceland has changed that about me. I am happy in my job, I have time for my hobbies, I have nature out my front door. I am so happy where we are right now, that I don’t stress about what’s happening next. In fact, the “next thing” is unknown, and for the first time in my whole life, that is okay with me.

 

 

Iceland brings out the best in me. I am so unbelievably thankful that we decided to take this leap and move abroad. If you would have asked me a year ago if everything would work out as well as it has and that I would be this happy, I don’t know if I would have answered yes.

ONE LAST REALLY IMPORTANT THING.

This post is in no way meant to offend anyone. If you are a person that loves the things listed in the “then” photos…all the more power to ya! It just wasn’t the lifestyle for me.

Was I crying every single night because I didn’t like living in Texas? NO! Did we get to do some fun things and grow together as a couple? YES. Did we meet amazing people in Houston? THE BEST.

It’s also not a post to brag. It’s not a comparison. It’s a testament that you can do exactly what you want with your life. Find what makes you happy and run with it. 

So what’s the lesson in all of this?

  1. Life is one big learning experience.
  2. Enjoy the ride.

We all have to find our own path in life. Sometimes the hardest thing about finding it, is being brave enough to take a risk.

 

My life motto and favorite Icelandic saying: "Thetta Reddast!" | Life With a View

 


Question: Are you a city dweller or a nature lover?

 

 

 

 

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