List of Miscellaneous Things That Have Caused Me Culture Shock, Thus Far

Culture shock is an interesting phenomenon. You travel to experience something different, but the differences can be hard on you. Here’s a list of things that have stood out to me in the two weeks I’ve been in Iceland, interspersed with random pictures, basically all of the Akureyri Botanical Gardens, because why not?

joe and the juice kef

The only thing that kept me alive in Keflavik– this tiny coffee and the accompanying Kanye West playlist. 

-Coffee. The largest coffee serving I have found so far is 16 oz. And most places only have one size. Which is 11 oz maybe?

-When you walk by someone on the street, they do not smile at you. Not even that smile/grimace stranger greeting thingy. Nothing.


Fountain near the center of the gardens. 

-There are young children out and about without their parents??? Like I’m pretty sure I’ve seen seven year olds wandering around town with no supervision. No one is alarmed.

-No paper toilet seat covers. I don’t know how I feel about this. One the one hand it may be because the bathrooms are clean and extra barriers aren’t necessary or desirable. But on the other… what could the harm be???


I love this tree. Just because.

-All classes break PREISELY 45 minutes into the lecture for a 15 minute coffee break. Because Iceland.

-Alcohol (save about half the beer) is insanely expensive. $2 Chuck is nowhere to be found


-Most doorways have well raised thresholds. For example, the door to my room is marked by a wall ~1 ½ inches high. I’ve definitely never tripped in any doorways…

-Si quieres dairy or meat, it’s basically in a walk in fridge (see First Few Days)


A wee bird led me down this path

-Pools. I dedicated a paragraph or two to this in a previous post. (See also First Few Days)

-Everything is in Icelandic. This is pretty obvious, but in all my travels I’ve never experienced such a language barrier. I’ve only been to places that have English as the primary language. Alternatively, English was split with Spanish or French. I can understand Spanish and muddle my way through French. Icelandic… not so much.


Strawberry Fields Forever

-Like most countries that aren’t the US—coinage comes in meaningful increments. So my wallet is rather heavy and jingles all the time.

-Texting or otherwise being on the phone while driving would seem to be legal. People don’t attempt to be sneaky or anything. The bus driver was on his phone yesterday.


-Suspicious lack of stray cats

-I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to eat outside of the cafeteria at school/ But no one has stopped us yet…


Probably one of my top three spots in Akureyri so far… The Cafe at the Botanical Gardens

-To open doors, you have to twist the lock, not so much the knob

– Smoking. Lots of smoking. I’d forgotten how much second hand smoke sucks.

– Sugar comes in packets, but also in individually wrapped cubes.


For more photography check instagram

By the way, it’s cold. And rainy. Very rainy.


Pictures of this spot are rampant on the internet, apparently 


2 responses to “List of Miscellaneous Things That Have Caused Me Culture Shock, Thus Far

  1. Culture shock is one of the special and unique things that a human can experience. Thanks so much for these posts. I love the pic of the cafe windows!


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