Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hodgepodge

Oooh, Sigga has a brand new computer and my camera is out of batteries - so you get a picture of the edge of my Moebius shawl, and also the top of my face, webcam style! Yes!


I'm working by myself tomorrow, so hopefully there won't be heaps of visitors. It's been really quiet the last couple of days, hence making some awesome progress on my shawl! I ran out of grey, so I stole some red yarn from Amma* and used it for a lace type row. It made a pretty cute almost heart-y pattern - I am so pleased with how it's turning out!

*I then told her about it, so clearly my thieving skills still need some polishing. My breaking and entering skills are fantastic, though - Mum and Amma were still on their way back from Akureyri when I came home from work, and I forgot to take a key with me. I climbed in through the kitchen window, with Freyja barking at me from the other side of the kitchen bench the whole time! Success!


So it's been a good day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

If you want to be happy, be. ~Leo Tolstoy

Had a busy busy weekend, but lots of fun!

Yesterday I got to have the morning off work, which was lovely! I slept in a bit, but not heaps. You know how most mornings when you wake up, you just want one more hour of sleep? It was like that, an hour was all I needed to wake up and feel like a million bucks.

I talked to my friend Jade on Skype, and was again reminded that we live in the FUTURE, dudes! Every once in a while I realise that technology is awesome, and it makes me happy.

It was really quiet at work, so I got lots of time to work on my latest knitting project, which is a Moebius shawl - the process is totally blowing my mind. (Yes, I am slightly sheltered over here.) You knit it on circular needles, and somehow you knit in two directions at once! And then you end up with only one side! WHAT?! 

I still don't understand how it works, but it's totally easy to do, so I guess I don't really need to understand how it happens, just as long as it does. I've started knitting this one in grey acrylic-y wool, but I think it'd be fantastic made from some kind of lopi.... Orders in now, folks!

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Last night we all went to the Héraðshátið Framsóknarmanna - a shindig for Sigga's political party. It was pretty interesting, there were some funny sketches and a lovely dinner. There were also lots of sketches and jokes that went way over my head, including one bit where a table of three dudes had a poetry contest... 

Apparently it's a common-ish Icelandic thing, they have to make up funny four lined poems about various current events and people.. It was pretty impressive that they did it all on the spot, but there was one dude whose voice just grated on my ears. 

Geirmundur played at the end, and I stayed for a couple of songs before I headed home - piker! Mum and Amma danced until two, and I think Amma would have stayed longer if Mum had let her. Sigga partied with her party until the sun came up. Admittedly, it's still summer, so sunrise happens pretty early. Still.

Here's a nice picture of Mum and Amma - sorry Mum, you guys are clearly sitting in exactly the same pose...


There are some photos of me, but golly gosh I am the queen of having terrifying red-eye.

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Tonight we went to a family dinner at Eyrún and Rúnars. The family on my grandfather's side aim to get together once a month for a big dinner, and tonight's party was great fun! 
There are heaps of little cousins who are all really close in age and good friends, so there's lots of running around and screaming and playing football. Everyone seemed really relaxed and lovely, and the food was delicious - freshly caught freshwater trout and homegrown potatoes, followed by a berry cheesecake. Yum.

At the end of the night, they decide who gets to host the next couple of dinners - Ross and I have been volunteered for December. Hope we have somewhere to live by then! Imagine that!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Less talking, more posting!

Should really try to get into the habit of posting more! I feel like I'm always waiting for some big event that I desperately need to write about, but funny little stories are good, too, right?

Mum is here, and I have a day off tomorrow, and I just bought an awesome book of really interesting knitting patterns, and I'm crocheting a skirt! More details to follow!

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At work the other day, we served a bunch of little old Canadian ladies who were travelling together. There's quite a big Icelandic (or distantly Icelandic) population in Canada, and some of the ladies were visiting the farms where their great grandmothers grew up - pretty sweet.

Funny part one: When the ladies first wander in...

Me: Góðan daginn, hello. Can I help you with anything?
Nice little Canadian lady: No, that's alright, we're just taking a look for now. Thanks, though.
Kristín María, to me, in Icelandic: Gosh, these guys are really polite for Americans.
Me, to KM, in Icelandic: Yes, it's bizarre... (Light bulb above head!) Oh wait, they must be Canadian!
KM: Oh yeah, of course!

'Cause people from the United States are all rude!
Disclaimer: I know people from the US are not all rude, but hey, stereotypes. Plus we were right!


Funny part two: While they were looking at cakes...

Another little old Canadian lady: Oh hey, is this one a vínarterta?
Me: Yep. (Still not realising these ladies are sort of Icelandic, so I go on to explain - vínarterta is a white sponge-type cake, baked in big slabs that are then stacked on top of each other with jam in between. These ones have rhubarb jam, which is also how my grandma makes it...)
Canadian lady: Oh, so they're not real Icelandic vínarterta, with the prunes? My great-grandma used to make the real Icelandic ones...
Me: Buh? Uh. Okay then.

So the vínarterta that has been passed down from someone's great-grandma in another country is more Icelandic than the one that's being made by um, Icelandic people now? Cool.

Herdís explained the difference to me, but feel free to skip it if you don't actually care about the relationship between jam and immigration: the prune one was originally made at Christmas, or for big fancy celebrations, because prunes are pretty hard to come by in Iceland. They used rhubarb jam for the day-to-day stuff. But then since prunes are easy to get in Canada, this lady of course made that one into her day-to-day cake.
I found it interesting, anyway.


Funny part the third, just because the above reminded me of a funny story...

I read an article aaages ago (sorry, no bibliography) written by an Icelander who visited Gimli, Manitoba - a city founded by Icelandic settlers in 1875. He wrote about the way they did their best to keep up the language and traditions, but sometimes it got a bit muddled.

The part I remember was when he'd just spent the day with a third or fourth generation Gimli inhabitant. They were at their cars saying good evening, and the Icelandic dude said bye. The Gimli guy said 'Góða nótt, ástin mín!' which directly translates to 'Good night, my darling!'

Icelandic dude goes 'um, awkward...' but they figure it out. The Gimli guy learnt his Icelandic from his Amma, and that's how she always said good night to him! It didn't occur to him that the context was way off.

Makes me wonder how weird my Icelandic is - my parents moved to Australia in the sixties, so it'd be interesting to see exactly what contextual stuff I'm missing...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Anna!




My dear little baby sister is turning twenty one! Or rather, she already has, given that it's nearly tomorrow in Australia. I'm guessing that mum and dad aren't going to do the big chart of embarrassing photos at a party - luckily, I have a much wider audience, and all of Sigga's photos at my disposal. Muah ha ha ha!

So here's to you, Anna!




I can vaguely remember when Anna was born - I was still pretty little, but I think I was pretty excited about it.  I remember once at the house in Maddington, Dad and I were both home, and we noticed that she'd been quiet for a while... And when we found her, she was sitting in front of the mirror, surrounded by clumps of hair, and sporting a (quite adorable) futuristic clumpy looking haircut. Awesome.



My little mini-me and I didn't always get along. It was pretty much the usual sibling stuff - she wanted to hang out with me and my friends, and we then convinced her that we were zombies and that she would enjoy being a zombie after we ate her brains...
(Side note: I do not remember this alleged incident, but apparently threatening to eat your little sister's brain can create a lasting effect. Fact.)


Throughout all the bickering, Mum always used to say that although we may have thought that we hated each other, one day we'd be the best of friends.

Turn around, bright eyes....

So anyway, with me tormenting her and her earaches, Anna had a bit of a rough time growing up, but she still managed to grow up pretty awesomely. She has always been a tough cookie. I'm sure she had her feelings hurt many a time - too often by bitchy teenage me - but instead of taking it and then whining about it, she held her head high and stood up for herself. It wasn't a refined process when she was littler, but today I completely admire how strong and brave she is - she demands respect.


Above all, she's always herself (duh, who else would she be?). She stands up for what she believes in - if someone says something insensitive, wrong or just plain mean, she calls them on it. She will not put up with injustice in any form (like a superhero!)
She also likes coloured lycra (like a superhero!)



She has a lot of fun. She doesn't fuss too much about what people think, and she's always ready to laugh at herself and anyone else who deserves it!

She is brutally honest, and beautifully sweet and good hearted, and adorable. And I love her to pieces.


Happy birthday Anna!

P.S. Mum, you were right. Best friends.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sveitaball!

Had an awesome night last night, Sigga and I went to Gæran, which is a new music festival in Sauðárkrókur. It was the first ever night, and it was pretty rad.

It was held in the sheepskin processing warehouse in town - the word gæran means sheepskin. Just a little bit 'sveito'. Quite a weird choice of venue, but it was pretty okay, sound-wise. Unfortunately smell-wise: not so good. Blech.

The girls that I work with wanted to see this guy Svavar Knutur, so we got there pretty early - I'm so glad we did! He was a singer songwriter guy, just played an acoustic guitar and an ukelele (oh my God I need an ukelele!) His music was nice to listen to, and he was pretty funny in between songs, too.

I took a video of a song about getting drunk and playing shows in Germany - there was a giant breakdown in the middle where he was singing about being coerced into playing covers (on his ukelele!) on a train in Hamburg. Of course I had to get this bit:


But I had to stop taping because I wanted to sing along on the next time round!

All the bands were really different - there was a gothy metal one, then an Australian (awww!) singer songwriter guy who had just been touring with Svavar Knutur, then more rocky pop, then Icelandic rap (what?), and then GEIRMUNDUR!

For those not in the know, Geirmundur is a singer guy from the fjord - he has been playing at all the country dances for FIFTY years! I think everyone knows that he's a bit lame, but he's definitely a lot of fun! Everyone was pretending to be cool up until that point, but then as soon as he started playing, they all started dancing - good times!

Monday, August 9, 2010

How NOT to be my friend on Facebook...

Step 1. Be a random person that went to my high school for less than a year. Ideally, we shared only one class together in that year.

Step 2. Friend request me.
Step 2a. While I´m still hesitating about whether to add you, friend request me again.

Step 3. After I give in and add you, (because ah, what the hell, why not?) send me a message asking if I want to get some free tupperware! By hosting a TUPPERWARE PARTY.

No.
Just. No.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thank you very nice!

Or næs, as it's written in phonetic Icelandic. Herdís has been saying the above in a hilarious Icelandic accent - don't worry, she's aware of how weird it sounds. It has become a funny catchphrase, so be prepared for me to use it way too often!

I have been having a pretty lovely time, work is still beautiful and fun. It got quite busy towards the end of the week, which was pretty awesome - time goes so fast when you're busy!

Herdís has been teaching me all the recipes for all her cakes and breads - I can't wait to use my own pancake pan to make some deliciousness (P.S. Mum: that's what I'd like from Australia, if you have any room left in your suitcase!)
A million tourists have taken photos of me in my swishy skirt, so it's only fair that you get one, too:



What else? Sigga and I took Freyja for a really long walk last night, it was good fun. We walked down to the fjord, then up the hill and across the fields and then home! While crossing between the fields, we had to climb through barbed wire fences - always nice.
It was fine right up until Sigga got ever so slightly stuck on top of a wooden fence with barbed wire. She nobly suggested that I go on and leave her behind, but I stuck around for comedy value, and photo taking opportunities. It all turned out fine, she just decided not to be scared of barbed wire... I'm still a bit scared of it, my (not-so) awesome packing skills have left me with one pair of trousers. If anything happens to them, I'm screwed.

On the way home we stopped and played on the swings at the playground - if it's been a while since you've been on a swing, then I highly recommend you go out right now and find one. It was awesome fun! We had a bit of a laugh about the fact that it was Saturday night and we were at the playground instead of out dancing, but I had a really good time...

Today we drove Amma's camper van to Hólar, where we hoped to find lots and lots of blueberries. There were quite a few there, but they weren't quite ripe yet, so we'll probably go back there when Mum comes over! Instead we went up the hill here in Sauðárkrókur, and picked three full containers in about an hour and a half - it was impossible to walk without stepping on berries. Sooooo good.

And that's about it! I'm working Monday to Friday this week, but some of them are short shifts, so I'll still have a bit of free time. Apparently there's some sort of music event happening next weekend, so if Sigga manages to get some free tickets, we'll go see some bands!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Working lady again!

So, I spent yesterday travelling from London to Sauðárkrókur, and then started my new job today! Just in case you were wondering, it’s probably not the best idea to have your going away party the night before your morning flight. The trip was mostly fine and uneventful, but it felt like a loooong day.

I ran into my cousin Ásgeir at the bus station in Reykjavík (because of course I did, it’s Iceland!) He’s always such a cheerful guy, so it was really nice to run into him. He has a job driving buses, and he volunteered to help us lug our gear to Sauðárkrókur after we ship it to Reykjavik - problem solved!

Work was really fun. My new job is at Áskaffi, which is so so so beautiful, it blew my mind! Today was apparently the quietest day they’ve had in ages - it was good for learning the ropes without being too stressed out. Tomorrow should be busier, though!

I worked with my mum’s cousin Herdís and my second cousin Kristín María (see above re: it’s Iceland!), they are both absolutely lovely. I think Kristín María and I were friends when we were little - we’re pretty close in age - so it’ll be great fun getting to know her properly.
The customers were all really nice - I guess being on holiday brings out the best in people. The atmosphere there is so laid back, it was a bit like having friends over for a tea party. 
And on top of all that, I got to bustle around in an awesome long swishy skirt. The more I look at that sentence, the more the word ‘bustle’ looks weird, but that’s what I was thinking when I wore it, so that’s how it’ll stay. I got to wear a cute stripy apron, too - I shall try to take some photos tomorrow.

And apart from that? I miss my Ross! I think I might have to give up on Skype and just call him - I’ll tell him you said hi!