I visited Iceland recently. It’s a magical place. Nature, in all its grandeur is forever present all the way to horizon on all sides. People are polite, nice and willing to help you out. They are also extremely well-connected to the grid.
Among those who crossed my path, one person really struck me as remarkable and made a special impression on my mind. Her name was Sól, sun in Icelandic. She was about five years old, the youngest child of a horse farm owner and her next sibling was well in his twenties. From the time we were introduced, I could tell she was special.
For starters, she confidently spoke English which she taught herself, by watching YouTube videos! I want you to pause for a second and reflect on your achievements when you were five. At the time, I couldn’t recall a single thing except for, maybe, being a red butterfly on stage during kindergarten, which involved disproportionate amount of effort from my mother.
Sól loved horses and played a game to sneak up behind them to startle them! She hugged and kissed them. She tried to teach me how to mount a horse and I am sure had I followed her instructions I would learned well. But I was somewhat hesitant to follow this girl who was a fraction of the size of pony in front of me. I waited for adult guidance. I did nevertheless greatly appreciate her effort and enthusiasm. As an adult, I occasionally find it hard to take initiative and help others. Here was a small child, effortlessly doing exactly that, again and again..
When we came back from our ride, she took us to show us their dogs. There were seven or eight of them; many different kinds. They got far too excited when a group of strangers approached them. They grew restless, pacing in their cage and in a fit one of them took to biting others. Chaos ensued. To my astonishment, Sól put her arm through the cage and grabbed the dog that was biting others. Yelling instructions, she tried hard to stop them. Finally, her much older cousin took us all away and the dogs seemed to calm down. As we were walking back to the house, Sól complained about their aggressive behavior. She didn’t appreciate that one of them took liberty to bite others! She even had some scratches to show for her scuffle with them. I walked away feeling admiration for her brave nature and confidence. I am certain she will grow up to be an awesome leader.
You meet many people when you travel. You get to see a piece of their personality; many times just as polished and rehearsed as yours is when you meet strangers. But occasionally, you are fortunate to see a glimpse of them when they are truly themselves. It is such people who remain with you forever. They take a place in your memory but more importantly, they become a small part of you by forcing you to change a tiny bit. Motivate you to become better. And whenever I will find myself in want of a little courage, I will be thinking about Sól..