ESR 4 Blog September 2021: Jenny Fradranski


The mountains surrounding Reykjavik are covered in snow again while the grass and moss is not yet ready to let go of its green colour. Winter has arrived and I know now that it has been summer in Iceland.

Elections have taken place. Coalitions are about to be formed. Transitioning from one season to another, from the end of the era of Merkel to a yet unknown political future for Germany and Europe. And I will soon transition from one island to the next island when I will start my secondment in the UK.

To be honest transitioning from Reykjavik to Berlin, from Berlin to Reykjavik, from Reykjavik to UK and meanwhile planning other travels for my fieldwork is exciting, but also exhausting. The depth of the academic work for me somehow requires uninterrupted routine, the possibility to sink into my thoughts. For that the surrounding needs to be fairly stable. So a big question for me is how to create this stability within constantly changing outer contexts. The positive challenge – I keep telling myself – is to cultivate an inner silence and resilience that then becomes the resource for creating the feeling of stability.

On the other hand I need to acknowledge that relocating myself is itself work. It is rewarded with a greater understanding of different cultural contexts but it cannot be translated directly into words on pages of my dissertation.

This month therefore is a month of transition, leaving my old home in Berlin again to go to my new home in Reykjavik again to prepare for leaving again to creating yet another one elsewhere. Finding new daily rhythms, picking up the threads from before I left, greeting Reykjavik’s cats and the volcano – taking in the powerful tranquillity of this place, and preparing for the dark time of the year with hopefully plenty of time to sink into my thinking again.


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