A few years ago, nearly a year after my father's death, my brother and I took Otto's ashes to Iceland as per his request. I had been working full time and going to school, as well as taking care of the farm, and really didn't have time to learn about Iceland. I left travel details in my brother's capable hands. What I found when we got there was an amazing place. A land of fire and ice, snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, and a thousand year old legacy of an independent and determined people. These are my ancestors on my father's side of the family. Every now and then I look through the genealogy and try to get familiar with some of the names. Not long ago I found a note in a folder of family papers written to me in my great grandmother's hand. It is not dated, but must have been written within a few years of my birth. Jakobina Jakobsdottir was born in 1868 near Akureyri in north Iceland. It is an area of farms and a few fishing villages anlong the Eyjafjordur. I was happy to be there. Sheep and horses and grassy fields between the mountains and the fjord made me feel comfortable and at home.
If all goes well, we are going back in the spring.