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The other night, EPI told me a completely absorbing story about one of his cousins. His mother, EPI’s aunt, was quite young when she had him, so the cousin – we’ll call him J – spent a lot of time with other relatives, particularly his maternal grandparents.

J’s mother eventually went abroad to study and met a man [Icelandic] while there … they fell in love and when they came back to Iceland, they set up house and the new man adopted J formally. From that point on he made J’s life hell. During J’s late childhood and early adolescense he inflicted serious psychological abuse, systematically undermining J’s self-esteem and confidence until he was an emotional wreck and displaying seriously harmful behavior towards himself.

At that point, one of EPI’s other aunts intervened. Clearly a remarkable woman [in more ways than one], she saw what was happening and instead of turning a blind eye or denying what was going on within the family, she put her foot down and announced that J would now come and live with her. Which he did. Almost immediately, he turned himself around, started showing an interest in learning, found a new enthusiasm for life, and eventually went to live in the US, where his cousin – son of the aunt who adopted him – was living.

He hasn’t moved back since. He’s made a good life for himself in the States, is successful, and sometimes comes to Iceland for visits – but he has never wanted to return permanently. He’s become an American citizen and has even changed his name so there’s not a vestige left of his Icelandic identity, except to those who know him well.

EPI thinks this is kind of strange. I absolutely do not. I totally get it.

It kept threatening to rain this morning, with odd bouts of drizzle that stopped pretty much as soon as they started. In between, the weather was fantastic – sunny with just a slight breeze, and a hint of a chill in the air to remind us that we’re well into September. I went for a run along the sea and it was beautiful – then I went for physio followed by a dip in the hot pot at the Laugardalslaug pool – and it was still beautiful. Right now it’s 9°C [48F] and sunrise was at 6:38 am, sunset at 8:09 pm.

Incidentally – the best thing I heard today was about all the people worldwide who have pledged to make September 11 a day of good deeds. What a wonderful display of good triumphing over evil!