One more day of Service Learning @ Þorsmörk Iceland #IBDP #IBCAS

One more morning of battling against Lupinus nootkatensis, and an afternoon finishing our work at Langidular; paths, erosion fences, bird houses… it was our last day on that camp. Some time for fun and further bonding was reserved in the afternoon too; a bonfire, a hike and a shower under the ice cold waterfall. Lots of fun on an exhausting 4th day at work. And once more it was perfectly described on the school blog by Isabella Groenevik:

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“I feel like I have to start this blog post by saying WE SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS! Although faint, they were definitely there right above us. It. Was. Awesome. The excitement continued into the night as we played ‘Cards Against Humanity’ and attempted to sing Icelandic folksongs in our bedrooms – I blame the chocolate cake. Anyhow, today we woke up knowing it was our last work day with Chas. We sluggishly headed to breakfast and savored every bite. I don’t know about the others, but I will unquestionably miss this breakfast, it is so good.

We layered up and prepared for the hike towards camp after a short pep dance led my Mrs. Koch. Once we arrived, half of us finished up clearing the stubborn lupine whilst the other half finished up the fencing. Our energy was evidently lower today however there’s nothing a good lunch of stew and homemade bread couldn’t fix. Once we recharged, we spent the rest of the afternoon clearing rocks, building pathways and hanging bird houses. We concluded our hard work standing around a bonfire with an uplifting cup of hot chocolate. We warmed our hands and reflected on all the work we did this week. Mrs. Koch gave a closing speech and we said bye to Chas and Shannon and thanked them for the unbelievable week. It is an incredible feeling knowing you did something worthwhile that will surely have a positive impact, not only on the environment but for people as well.

In the middle of the pouring rain, we were faced with the ultimate decision: go home or go on a final hike to the top of the mountain above the camp. There was an obvious preference for the ‘go home’ option however a few eager students and teachers were ready to take on the challenge. Personally, I can’t compare the walk with the extended hike yesterday – but this hike was steep. Multiple breathing and water breaks later, we finally made it to the top. The view was even more breathtaking than the actual walk. We spent at least 15 minutes taking pictures of ourselves doing creative positions in front of Eyjafjallajökull. Yoga sun salutations, hand stands, bridges and ‘paint me like a French girl’ poses. Once we exhausted every possible picture pose, we were ready to head back down to eat dinner and hop in the sauna. The road down was as exciting as ever, twisting and winding between trees and opaque yellow branches; it was an exhilarating adventure. Right before we were about to turn into the path leading down to the Volcano Huts in Husadalur, we took a quick detour to a nearby waterfall, which we now learnt is called the ‘song waterfall’. What first seemed like another beautiful sight of nature soon turned into a shower. Despite the freezing cold water, we stripped down as much as we dared and ran through the waterfall. Taking pictures required us to stand underneath the waterfall for a good 10 seconds – I would be lying if I said we didn’t scream. Having the time of our lives, all we could do was laugh and yell “I can’t believe I just did that!”. Throwing on our damp clothes, we ran back to the camp. Some of us jumped in the sauna, the pool or hot showers. Starving after an exhausting hike, dinner never tasted better. Locally grown organic barely, homemade pizza, vegetables and schnitzel; I might as well be in paradise.

We rounded off our wonderful day/evening by taking a quiz made by the teachers. This quiz was not about Iceland like the last one, but a quiz about us. How much did we really know about each other? Thankfully only a few mistakes were made, reinforcing the strong bond we created during this trip. Enjoying our last evening in Thorsmörk, we are taking it easy playing games and running out occasionally to check if the northern lights will make an appearance. What an incredible way to end the week.”


About DrAbella

Originally from Barcelona where I studied Biochemistry and did a PhD on Diabetes. Moved to France to continue medical research on cancer for a Post-doc. Something was missing and decided to try a year of full-time teaching. Starting my 10th year now, 10 years internationally and loving it.
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