Ladies circle AGM in Iceland, August 2015
As long as I can remember I always wanted to go to Iceland. The mysterious landscape, hot springs, geysers, strong horses and the homeland of the mysterious singer Björk, has always been appealing to me… But my travels usually go to the south and not north… So Iceland has been waiting for the right moment to come… Could there be a better moment than a international meeting for ladies from all around the world, the LC AGM 2015 in Iceland?! 500 women from 25 different countries meet up to get new friends from all over the world, learn more about different cultures, have dinner, laugh and dance together. I could at least not find a better moment, so I sign up directly, gathered my ladies from my club, packed my bags and went off to Iceland, so excited!
On the flight to Iceland i got compliments for my nails, painted with the Swedish and the Icelandic flag for this special occasion, which led me to conversations about this AGM and Ladies Circle. Beside me I had a girl from Russia, a photographer on her way to Reykjavik for a Russian wedding. We started to chat and I told her about my main reason for the trip, the AGM and the meaning of this big meeting, the national parade in town dressed in our different nationalities etc. She found this very interesting and said she had a few extra days on her journey and would like to be a part of it all. So I offered her to go with us in our car and promise to help her to get in contact with the persons in charge for this event to be able to join. Even if Akureyri is on the other side of Iceland and this definitely wasn’t a part of her planned trip she said yes, and went with us in a car for 5 hours! I think this is very cool of her, and got happily surprised of our new companion and friend! She joined our national evening and offered to give photos to the people in charge of this event. Russia is not a member of LC yet, but who knows, maybe they will some day, maybe this meeting will be a part of that? At least this is an example of what LC stands for, friendship, trust, honesty, positivity, tolerance and love of our neighbour.
Before the AGM we had some days to explore the south of Iceland. Long days in the car in a stunning nature! The calm and overwhelming nature has been there for ages and still looks so untouched, the stunning bright colours, the fresh air, the mystic fog… It all looked like a scene from a movie and it took my breath away and gave peace of mind. I wanted to catch it all on photos and paint it, but I felt some frustration that not a single photo could show this magic properly…
We saw huge waterfalls, hot springs, geysers bursting into the sky, ride on strong Icelandic horses in the wild and enjoyed the stunning lake with icebergs and seals where two Bond movies was shot. We also discovered that the world best ice cream and fish and chips are made in Iceland. Ate the famous sausages that even Bill Clinton tasted on his visit. Iceland is the home of art, crafts and jewellery so of course we did some shopping. And by surprise we ended up in a concert by Patti Smith, the last on her world tour!
Then it was time to drive to Akureyri, the place of this years AGM! Four ladies in one car surrounded by thick fog and an eternal rain for 400 kilometres, also this was a magic scene for our eyes! When we arrived we met hundred of LC ladies reviled by small accessories with our logo on as bags, pins, shirts etc for us to find each other for the first meeting. The AGM started with a national night, a welcoming meeting were we were welcomed by Vigdis Finnbogadottir herself! Followed by a national parade through city centre, all dressed up in our national colours and flags. The evening ended with a big welcome party where we ate, danced, laughed and met new and old friends! I never been in such a big party with only women, 500 women from all over the world, all so different and so similar!
The day after we had our AGM meeting, welcoming new countries as USA as a member of our network, presenting the result of our charity project: Children of the Dump, almost €200´000!!! Seeing what those money has done for these children was amazing, touched my heart and made me feel proud over being a part of this great network! A wonderful network making a difference in the life of the members, but also for others in the world! So many hugs, cheering, applause, happy tears and love in one place! The day ended with a home party, where around 15 ladies were invited to an Icelandic ladies home for dinner and to taste Icelandic specialities as dried fish and licorices in many variations. At night we met up in a local bar with all the rest, probably surprised the locals with a bar packed with women…
Next day we went on whale watching, announced as the best in the world! This big animals swimming around and under our boat as if they played with us, both alone and in pairs. Apparently they come here to eat and mate. Then they go south to warm water to give birth and raise their children alone. We were all excited over coming so close to these big and wild animals!
In Akureyri we also tasted squared hamburgers, more delicious ice-cream and saw the biggest cars I ever seen! Apparently these huge cars are needed in the harsh winter landscapes up in the mountains…
The AGM ended with a gala night, where we were given typical Icelandic dishes and sweets accompanied by traditional table decorations often used for weddings, songs from a famous Icelandic pop-star and a lot of dance and singing!
It was a long journey back home by buses, flight, trains and by cars… We were tired after a hectic program, all new impressions and new knowledges, but also very happy and filled with joy from a great trip and AGM. Along with our new friends, memories and invitations to events and homes all over the world, many of us also brought viruses, fever, broken voices and running noses back home. It wasn’t easy to dress well for the Icelandic shifting weather, warm sun, cold rain and wet fog… But it was worth every part of it!
After this AGM I got even more respect and love for this wonderful network and what it can offer me and others both members and non-members! I was more glad of being a part of it all, now even bigger to me than before! This was my first AGM, but not my last!
Yours in friendship!
Jenny Cerne, LC 6 Stockholm, Sweden