“I repaired this chair multiple times, with glue, nails and whatever so we could keep on using it instead of throwing it away.”

Bjarni says proudly, while he is showing us their cottage and an old, white chair inside it. Bjarni is the owner of Dalvik HI Hostel and he loves talking about the past. Not with melancholy, but very proudly instead. And I suddenly understand why. 
 
 
After telling us about his wife and his daughters, who travel to Italy every year for a “family exchange”, he starts talking about his work. Not only does he run the hostel and the cottages, but also a cosy café in town center. Bjarni is a typical Icelandic man, he is a fisherman and he is constantly working on multiple projects. Moreover, his wife, Heiða, makes decorations for weddings, birthdays, funerals and other events. I can’t help to jump to the conclusion that they live their life fullest and they are loving every single moment of it. 
 
 
The cottages where we stayed are decorated with a “shabby chic” style, even if this modern, constructed word cannot do justice to some of the old, precious objects that can be found in the house. In fact, almost every single piece of decoration belongs to another era. That’s why I don’t feel to be into a fake reconstruction of the past or, worse, in an old, abandoned and dead house. Everything is alive because the objects, even if they are ancient and half broken, like that small but stubborn chair, are made alive again and therefore still usable. These objects don’t transmit melancholy, but they awake the interest of knowing about their past, exactly like Bjarni himself. 
 
While I am staring at the white chair and its huge, evident crack, it suddenly comes to my mind the word kintsugi, a japanese repairing technique. Kintsugi consists of bringing together the pieces of a broken pottery item with a precious metal in liquid form, like gold or silver. By doing so, the cracks are not hidden, but enhanced instead and the broken item not only is usable again, but it becomes even more precious. The meaning is simple, but important. The cracks are precious because they remember us that, if something is still here, it is not despite of the past, but because of the past, wether it is good or bad. And we have to be proud of it, as much as Bjarni is of his life and of his cozy, precious hostel. And he doesn’t even need gold to make us understand it.
 
 
There's a growing awareness that we need to be kinder to the environment and more people are looking for ways by which to live a little greener. I love the idea how Dalvik takes climate action through repair of old things like this white beautiful chair.
Repair is a good green policy. I know it is critical to move away from a disposable culture towards sustainable reuse of goods we already have – through repair, reuse and recycling. But we have to become aware that many of the things we throw away haven’t reached the end of their useful life. 
 
 

 

Iris comes from Italy, she studied literature and her dream is to become a journalist.

She is passionate about the environment and sustainability and living in Iceland gave her a lot of hints to talk about this topic.