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Every year we celebrate Constitution Day. Celebrate not being ruled by Sweden or Denmark or some other former oppressor, celebrate our independence. How we belong to our country and our fellow countrymen, how we are a unity.

Like all good family celebrations, intentions and expectations come in different flavours. Some show up because their parents want them to, or their new girlfriend, some because they always have. Some come just for the party and some attend with their kids—some even turning their camera at the spectators in an attempt to see what it is they don’t quite belong to.

People dressed up for celebration, after a parade

Strandir og Norðurland vestra

When I grew up the radio was on all the time. It was part of the house noise, much like when someone opened or closed a door, people eating at the dinner table, the wind outside, the creaking of the floorboards as someone walked down the corridor, dogs finding their place in the laundry room.

Well, that’s how I remember it.

Back then there was one state channel and that was it, everybody heard the same programs. Right after the lunch time news the weather forecast was up. They read it for the whole country, starting at the south west corner, then clockwise through each region. Number four or five was Strandir og norðurland vestra. I always thought it had a nice ring to it.

I partly grew up there. So it was home, sort of. Certainly a felt home. Perhaps that was good part of the nice ring it had to it.

The part of the year I was away the weather people still managed to pull me up there—up north—by briefly mentioning Strandir og norðurland vestra* every day.

(2003)

* Strandir og norðurland vestra is a region in the north-west part of Iceland.