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(Note: This diary is being written after a return from my first week at my new job in Iceland, currently as a contractor until my work and residence permits go through.  Everything you read happened one week prior.)

Diaries in this series: Iceland Calls :: The Icelandic Language :: Tvær Vikur Til Reykjavíkur ::  Reykjavík, A City of Lights :: Reykjavík, A City of Drizzle and Dancing Clouds :: Reykjavík, A City of Cats and Gods :: Reykjavík, A City of a Storied Tongue :: Reykjavík, A City of Yuletide :: Reykjavík, A City of Hope :: Frá Reykjavík, Til Hjartans Heimveldisins :: Doldrums and Storms :: Til Kaliforníu, Til Iowa, Til Íslands

Laugardagur.  The Icelandic days-of-the-week rhyme says, "Laugardagur til lukku" -- Saturday for luck.  But I certainly didn't feel lucky.  For me, þessi laugardagur means only one thing: leaving Iceland.  I can't stay and must work instead as a contractor remotely until my atvinnu- and dvalarleyfi go through.

But first, there are a few details to take care of.  Namely, stockpiling goods to transport out of  the Skyr Zone.  ;)  Off I march, through the wooded Öskjuhlíð, past Perlan, toward the Kringlan mall.

"The Skyr Zone".  The term was coined by the author of The Iceland Report, an expat blog launched by a Bostonian who left in the mid-2000s for Reykjavík and documented his experiences.  It's that region demarcated by an invisible boundary ("somewhere over Greenland") that you cross out of  whenever you leave Iceland.  Suddenly all of those delicious dairy products (including skyr), breads, pastries, candies, etc are no longer available.  There are some laws of nature to moving out of the Skyr Zone, such as "all of your Icelandic food products suddenly come precious commodities" and  "no matter how much you brought, you didn't bring enough after friends and family are taken into account".  

I hike through the woods, past the lit-up Perlan (a glass-domed building built using the city's water tanks as structural supports), its spotlight rotating around its summit.  By the time I get to Kringlan, the sun is starting to come up, but it's still quite dim outside.  I walk through the parking lot, past the electric vehicle charging spaces, to the entrance.  Hagkaup's gate is still closed.  I partake of an unbelievable snickers cream cake covered with enough whipped cream to clog the arteries of a giant squid  ;)

Then Hagkaup opens and I start stocking up.

I'm disappointed to see no Jólabrauð among the breads in the bread section.  I'm in the zone on speaking Icelandic now, since the party the other night -- far from fluent, but able to adapt the conversation when failures occur, and not afraid of anything,  I turn to the guy at the display.  

"Ertu ekki með Jólabrauð?"

Hann svarar: "Jólabrauð?  No, I haven't baked it yet."

Oh come on.  I may have an accent and I certainly make mistakes at times, but do you think I can't understand a simple "Jú" or "Nei", or even a clearly-spoken "Ég hef ekki bakað það enn"?  Jæja -- he's just trying to be nice.  I get back to shopping.

I check out.  I start bagging my groceries and get a bit of a weird look from the cashier.  After a bit of miscommunication, she informs me that you have to pay for bags here; I ask her what they cost.  She says tuttugu, and I briefly pause while my mind converts currencies.  $0.17.  "Já, allt í lagi."

I head back from Kringlan to the hotel, passing by Perlan again.  It's 10 AM on a Saturday and I'm going through big parks and long trails, all empty.  Iceland is pretty good at making you feel like you've got this whole world to yourself when you want it, even in the tourist season, let alone this time of the year.  I stroll by the artificial geyser sunk into the hillside (Iceland is awesome that way... dig a 30 meter pipe into the ground, put a choke near the top, slowly feed in water, and you have your own geyser  ;)  ).  By now the sun is rising well over the mountains and fog is being lit up across the landscape.

I ask the front desk, still all in Icelandic and without any hestitation, when I need to check out.  "Klukkan tolf". -- "Takk fyrir!"  I pack and head on down.

Rather than take the shuttle the ~45 minutes to the airport at Keflavík, I had an interesting prospect arise.  The other day, one of my Icelandic teachers writes, telling me she's really impressed, and wants to offer me a job (another one??), a sort of "in your free time" thing, and wanted to discuss it while driving me to the airport.  So I sit there and wait and wait, watching until the last hotel shuttle left and it becomes past time to meet.  Uh oh.

A quick phone call, and I'm reassured that she's still coming, and not long after, she arrives.  We chat about the details (best left out here for now) as we drive toward the airport -- mainly in English, not from a capability standpoint, but simply for a "speed of discussion" standpoint.  A few tangents arise.  The one I found the most interesting was when she mentioned the change in character of people attending her classes.  During the boom times, most of the people in the classes were immigrants from Eastern Europe -- poor, unemployed people who moved to Iceland to do manual labor on all of the big construction projects that were underway.  They didn't particularly want to be in Iceland, or to give up their national identities, or even to learn Icelandic; their employers were making them learn it.  After the crash, those sort of people dried up, but there's been a surge in people more like me --  people who actually like Iceland, want to be there, appreciate the language and culture, and want to learn it.  She mentioned how much more rewarding it is for her nowadays to teach the language after the shift.

I catch my plane and we lift off, leaving the lava fields of Reykjanes and Ísland itself behind in the clouds.  I perform my ritual of listening to Popplagið for catharsis, and spend the rest of the flight studying.  Whenever the stewardess talks to me, she does so (and I answer) in Icelandic.  The family sitting next to me, whenever they need to speak to me, does so in Icelandic as well; everyone is simply perceiving Icelandic as the appropriate language to communicate with me in.  I actually start trying to come across as more tired and aloof than I actually am in order to minimize the conversations so as not to reveal how  inexperienced I still am at speaking and hearing the language; I want to end on a high note, and (perhaps misleadingly) passing as someone who can speak the language at least at a strong conversational level would do the trick.

I land in Boston, annoyed at all the little things that you don't encounter in Iceland -- the dirty airport, the long walks between terminals and gates, the crowds, the lines, the pollution, o.fl.  I keep wanting to speak Icelandic and keep having to stifle the urge down.  All of my mutterings to myself, and my thoughts when I know all the words, are in Icelandic.  I board my flight to Chicago, and start chatting with the man in the seat next to me as I stow my (food-laden) bags.  

"So where are you from?" he asks after a few sentences of back-and-forth.


He looks surprised.  "Really?  Huh.  I thought you were from Europe somewhere.  Maybe Germany or something like that.  You have an accent."

Originally posted to Rei on Sat Nov 26, 2011 at 04:03 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Heh heh. I think you have a real affinity for (15+ / 0-)

    language. I remember meeting some French students once and taking them around for a while, and picking up their accent. I am convinced you are going to be fluent in Icelandic in no time!

  •  Too cute ! (9+ / 0-)

    You and your new accent !

     I am enjoying this series a lot - the photos alone are quite wonderful and your adventures are icing on the cake.

    “Good things don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who agitate!” Julian Bond

    by Dvalkure on Sat Nov 26, 2011 at 05:20:58 PM PST

  •  Visited Iceland for the first time this summer. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Rogneid, dogdad, Limelite, gmb, alyosha

    Loved it -- even in the rain. But the thought of living in the dark during the winter -- just can't see that. Good luck because it is an amazing place!

  •  Enjoyed this, Rei! (7+ / 0-)

    Really dig the way you're picking up the language and culture.  Wonder if some of your ancestors long, long ago were Icelandic, and you're simply "going home," as it were.

    I often feel that way about England.  I married an Englishman (now naturalized); our sons hold British as well as American passports.  We usually visit family in Britain once a year, this being the first year in a decade that we haven't.  We follow English traditions with regard to food in the winter--for example, at Christmas we have roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.  

    And we use British terms for most everyday items:  "slippers," rather than "house shoes"; "dressing-gown" rather than "robe"; "cutlery" rather than "flatware"; and so on.

    I've been an Anglophile from the age of eight, when I lived in a British Crown Colony.  My father loved English literature and taught me to love it also.  I like English history and know more about it than the average American.

    I live in Virginia, which greatly reminds me of England, especially when one leaves the suburbs behind and travels to such horsy places as Leesburg, Middleburg, and Upperville.

    Connection with another culture enriches the mind and the soul, in my opinion.  It's not necessarily that I  want to be English--I'm American and glad of it.  Partly it's that I'm conscious of the enormous benefit we Americans enjoy that our system of government was founded by Englishmen during the Age of Enlightenment.  If it weren't for that, we wouldn't have the concept of separation of church and state, and America would be a dismal intellectual backwater like some European and Middle Eastern countries.  Orthodox religion keeps people from asking questions.

    People who ask obnoxious, unorthodox questions and ignore the dictum, "It can't be done because it has never been done" invent things--the personal computer, for one. 'Nuff said.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 05:08:44 AM PST

  •  Happy to welcome you back (11+ / 0-)

    Sad that the series will be on hold for awhile.  The information you have given us about Iceland, the language, the photographs, have made us travelphiles very happy.  

    Continued good luck in your efforts with the language and the job.  Do you have a ball-park guess when you might be able to return to Iceland?  Looking forward to a "breaking news" diary when that happens.

    Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

    by jarbyus on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 06:18:33 AM PST

  •  I hope your application flies! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Limelite, Knucklehead

    Would it help if your addicted readers contacted the Icelandic government on your behalf?  :)

    I am a liberal. So, I should not expect any consideration from the guy I helped elect.

    by waztec on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 08:55:45 AM PST

  •  Commenting and hotlisting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Limelite, Rei

    I want to make certain I find these again so I can catch up on the entire series.  

    Reading these diaries really make me yearn for the days when I moved to another country for 6+ months.  You are making an old man nostalgic for the old days.  My moving to another country days are over...unless my wife and I decide to move after we retire.

    I think I've mentioned, I've lived in Sweden twice and Russia(Siberia) once.  

    For now, I'll live vicariously through you Rei. :)

  •  Enjoyed This So Much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rei, Knucklehead

    Exotic setting, interesting vignettes, and you with your facility for acquiring another language.  It opens another universe to you.

    I am envious.

    Please travel blog again when you take off for more adventures in culture hopping!

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 11:26:03 AM PST

  •  Rei (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rei, alyosha

    I hope the wait to return to your new home is short & sweet.

    I`m already against the next war.

    by Knucklehead on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 01:23:05 PM PST

  •  I understand your enchantment and am enthused for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You.  My wife and have some of the same enthusiasm for Italy..although we won't be moving there.   And I understand your displeasure with America.  There is a sickness here growing in our society.  I'm not sure how it will all end but things don't look good for the middle class.  I fear all that will be left is the 1 percent in walled compounds and the rest will be roasting rat-on-a-stick and defending themselves from roving bands of thugs.  

    I don't know anything about Iceland's finances or much else, but if Europe goes into the toilet it will likely impact other places.  What are your thoughts?

    Best to you.

    The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable a compliment one pays when he says of a man "he has the courage to utter his convictions." Mark Twain

    by Persiflage on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 02:56:18 PM PST

    •  Iceland already had their crisis (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The kreppa, one would say -- to a huge extent (theirs makes ours look like nothing by comparison).  They're recovering, but the hole that they're in is so deep it's going to take a while.

  •  Lost me (0+ / 0-)

    You lost me several diaries ago when you argued that Iceland was preferable to America in every respect. I'm sure Iceland is a beautiful country, but I just hope someone is there to hold you when you learn that Iceland isn't paradise either. In the meantime, good luck in your unpaid volunteer work for the Iceland National Tourist Board, and enjoy the delusion while it lasts.

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 08:08:17 PM PST

    •  In the words of Wikipedia... (0+ / 0-)

      {{Citation Needed}}

      •  Here you go (0+ / 0-)

        It was your response to this:
        Beyond the politics

        In this post, I was simply making general points about nice things in America. It all, ALL, apparently pales in comparison to the glories of Iceland. Iceland has better forests, marshes, bluegrass music, tomatoes, and of course, hip-hop. Here, re-read your own post:
        Down the list

        Iceland is 95% white, and you deride the mention of a lack of ethnic diversity. Iceland has fewer people than the Des Moines metro area, yet they have world-class music of every type? Color me skeptical.

        Seriously....Icelandic hip-hop? Seriously?

        Anyway, go off to Iceland and live the dream. Bring along some reading material for those long dark nights. I recommend "Collapse", by Jared Diamond. I particularly recommend Chapter 6, which reads in part:

        Iceland is the most heavily damaged country in Europe. Since human settlement began, most of the country's original trees and vegetation have been destroyed, and about half of the original soils have eroded into the ocean. As a result of that damage, large areas of Iceland that were green at the time that the Vikings landed are now lifeless brown desert without buildings, roads, or any current signs of people.

        So forgive me if I roll my eyes whenever your next "Iceland is just about perfect" diary appears. Sooner or later, those rose colored glasses will come off, and you'll see a lovely country, but one that is in many important ways just as troubled as the one you left, if not more so. Anyway, given the following, I'm sure you'll have no difficulty finding available housing despite Iceland's current economic freefall.
        Icelanders opt for exile

        Good luck. I reckon you'll need it.

        The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

        by Korkenzieher on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 05:21:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah, so you're talking about my response (0+ / 0-)

          to your previous post deriding Iceland!  Seriously, what do you expect when you attack a country if not defenses of it from people who like said country?  I've already more than enough pointed out that Iceland isn't perfect, so you can enjoy that straw man on your own; I'll instead tackle your latest post.

          Iceland is 95% white, and you deride the mention of a lack of ethnic diversity.

          First, FYI, Iowa is 91% white. Second, all white people are not the same, as if there's a global definition of "white person" with a single culture.  Third, Icelanders are way better travelled (and thus exposed to other cultures) than Americans.  Not a simple assertion -- a flat-out fact.  Most Americans don't even have passports (only a tiny fraction did before they were required to fly to Canada).  Your average Icelander has been to half a dozen countries.

          Iceland has fewer people than the Des Moines metro area, yet they have world-class music of every type? Color me skeptical.

          Color you "totally ignorant on the subject and yet for some reason still making assertions".  Iceland's music scene is incredible for their size.  As a random example, they average about even in Eurovision with the other European states, which have orders of magnitude more population.

          Seriously....Icelandic hip-hop? Seriously?

          Yes, seriously.  Once again, how long are you going to keep making assertions on topics that you have absolutely no experience in?

          I don't know what type of hip-hop you prefer, so let me just grab a smattering for you.

          Mælginn: 1 2
          Móri: 1
          Fræ: 1 2
          Beta Rokk: 1
          Skytturnar: 1 2
          Opee: 1
          Gisli Pálmi: 1 2
          Afkvæmi Guðanna: 1

          That's really just scratching the surface.

          I recommend "Collapse", by Jared Diamond. I particularly recommend Chapter 6, which reads in part:

          Oh, don't pretend to lecture me about Icelandic ecology.  :P  First off, I have to question whether Diamond has ever even been to Iceland, because relatively little of the country is "brown" (the natural color of most of the volcanic "soils" is black), and hringvegurinn circles the whole country, generally near the sea where the Vikings arrived, so the comments about "no roads" are silly.  Iceland's road system is, IMHO, pretty damned awesome for a country with as low of a population density as they have; you find tunnels through the mountains to towns of a thousand people and the like.  And, FYI, most of the decline of population in the remote areas of Iceland in the past century has had to do with 20th century fishing policy (I could get into the quota system if you want) and a lack of employment in the small towns while opportunities in the Reykjavík area have expanded.

          His general (poorly stated) point is correct, that the Icelandic ecology was dramatically altered by the arrival of humans (akin to how the ecology of everywhere on the planet was altered by humans, but in the case of Iceland, in much more modern times).  But Iceland is not a static country.  Icelandic forests, for example, were at least 25% of the country in pre-human times, but hit a minimum of a fraction of a percecnt in the mid 20th century.  However, reforestation efforts have been significant and with success; the country is on track to become self-sufficient in timber production in the relatively near future.  

          More controversial was the introduction of alaskan lupine (lúpína) to Iceland.  Icelanders have mixed feelings about this plant.  To begin with, it's transformed the appearance of much of the landscape.  It's admittedly quite beautiful, but it's even managed to colonize places that were never colonized even in pre-human times, such as some of the shifting sands in the northeast.  It's becoming hard to control.  In some areas, it's driving out Iceland's cherished blueberries.  At the same time, it's rebuilding the original soils that were lost in the country.  Also, evidence suggests that once the soils are restored, the lupine can no longer compete with other plants and tends to die out on its own.

          I can get into other aspects of Icelandic ecology if you want, but honestly, I don't think you actually want that.  I think you just want to try to come up with excuses why you think Iceland somehow sucks without having actually informed yourself on hardly anything about the country and without having ever been there.

          Anyway, given the following, I'm sure you'll have no difficulty finding available housing despite Iceland's current economic freefall.

          First off, that article is a year and a half old.  The Icelandic economy has significantly stabilized since then.  Just a couple days ago they had a credit upgrade to "stable", and before that, the IMF pulled out, satisfied in the country's progress.  They're still in a deep hole, but headed in the right direction.

          Secondly, let's not pretend that I haven't mentioned and discussed the kreppa from the very first article I posted.

          Third, as for something current, have a read.

          Fourth, the type of home loan mentioned in the article (inflation-indexed) was ruled illegal by the Icelandic supreme court a few weeks ago, which will significantly cap the maximum change in home principle.

          Fifth, the repayment deal they discuss in the article was struck down in a second referendum.  Icesave is nearly resolved now that the banks are worth enough to cover their losses; the only remaining debate is over interest on the delay in repayment.

          Sixth, by and large, Icelanders who are leaving the country are doing so because they have to -- no job and housing troubles -- not because they don't want to be there.  I have neither situation.  Even the interviews on "" are things like, "Yes of course. I want to be close to my family and I know if i leave Iceland I will come back sooner than later, because its really good to live here and safe."

          Seventh, want to know something that you probably won't find in an article?  Go to Iceland and talk to Icelanders, asking them if they had to leave the country, where they'd move.  You won't find many answers of "America".  I've done this very experiment.

          Again, don't pretend to lecture me about a country that you know next to nothing about.  Learn about something before you get on a high horse about it.

          •  Again (0+ / 0-)

            I think Iceland is an interesting country, and would very much like to visit someday. It has a compelling history, remarkable scenic beauty due to its topography and numerous geological anomalies, and a thriving arts scene.

            I concede all that.

            You're comparing it favorably to the United States of America in terms of scenic beauty, cultural achievement, etc. The USA is one thousand times bigger in terms of population, a few hundred times bigger (I guess) in area, and yet the glory of Iceland dwarfs pitiful America, to hear you tell it.

            Simply put, your Iceland arguments, your romanticized, idealized vision of Iceland, invites ridicule, and I've found myself unable to refuse the invitation.

            You're kind of like the sixteen year old school boy who's just met the most perfect, most amazing, most beautiful girl in the world...but even the girl's parents don't think she's perfect, although they do love her and think she's great.

            In short, you're making Iceland, a very small albeit unique country, out to be more accomplished than the US, when that just isn't the case, and I doubt even the President of Iceland would make the argument you continue to make. I've never been to Iceland, that's true. But I kind of wonder if you've ever been to the US outside of Iowa. Maybe just Minnesota, just I-35 so you can get to the Minneapolis airport and the nearest Icelandair flight, right?

            Anyway, as I've said before, enjoy the dream, which will end when you discover that Iceland is a fine country, but isn't the Garden of Eden. Enjoy the new girl friend, until you discover the unsightly mole on her back and her monthly mood swings. Nothing in life is that perfect. You'll see.

            Gotta go listen to some Coltrane now. There's no Icelandic equivalent for him, either.

            The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

            by Korkenzieher on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 03:39:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, give me a break. (0+ / 0-)

              First off, I've been to the following states in the US (estimated time in said states in parentheses):

              Washington (1wk)
              Oregon (3wk)
              California (2.5yr)
              Nevada (1.5wk)
              Arizona (1.5wk)
              New Mexico (2wk)
              Utah (1wk)
              Colorado (3wk)
              Wyoming (3wk)
              Montana (1/2 wk)
              North Dakota (1/2 wk)
              South Dakota (1/2 wk)
              Nebraska (1 wk)
              Kansas (1 wk)
              Oklahoma (3 wk)
              Texas (15.5yr)
              Minnesota (2 wk)
              Iowa (9.5yr)
              Missouri (1 wk)
              Arkansas (1.5 wk)
              Louisiana (1.5 wk)
              Mississippi (1/2 wk)
              Tennessee (1/2 wk)
              Kentucky (~1 day)
              Wisconsin (1/2 wk)
              Illinois (3 wk)
              Indiana (3 yr)
              Michigan (4 wk)
              Ohio (1/2 wk)
              Florida (1.5 wk)
              Georgia (1 day)
              Virginia (1 wk)
              DC (1 wk)
              Pennsylvania (1.5wk)
              New York (1/2 wk)
              Massachusetts (1wk)
              Vermont (1wk)

              Oh no, like you said, I've never been out of Iowa, oh no.  But this certainly fits into your pattern of making assertions about things that you know nothing about.  Hey, to add countries to the list, and not counting airport stopovers:

              Canada (including dating someone from Saskatchewan for ~6 months)
              Mexico (two locations)
              Japan (backpacking all over Honshu, plus Sado; I speak some Japanese)
              Costa Rica (worked at a radio station in Ciudad Colon and spent a bit of time in a Nicaraguan refugee camp called La Carpio)
              UK (all over, incl. N. Ireland, although not much time in London or Scotland)
              Ireland (all over except the northwest)
              Iceland (obviously)

              Oh, no, I know nothing of the world outside my front door!  Heavens to betsy no!

              Why don't you try seeing the world outside your front door some time?  I recommend starting with Iceland   ;)

              Everything I have said about Iceland is a fact.  Every picture of Iceland I have posted is of Iceland and exactly what the country looks like.  If that pesky thing called "reality" interferes with your "America Great, Everywhere Else Sucks" notion, please take your squabble up with reality.  Don't counter facts with "You Must Be Wrong Because America Is The Bestest Place Evers Even Though I've Never Been To And Know Nothing About What You're Talking About!" assertions.

              And FYI, my country just recognized Palestine yesterday despite intense American pressure not to.  Good luck with your country that couldn't give a rat's arse about human rights because it's too busy torturing people.

            •  And FYI... (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not a jazz person, so I can't comment on either the American or Icelandic jazz scene.  But give me a genre that I care about, and I'll gladly contrast the two.

    •  Or, to put it another way... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ask, peachcreek, lotlizard

      I can only assume you're referring to this diary.  But if so, you must have entirely skipped over:

      Now, let's not pretend the country is perfect.  They're deep in an economic crisis of a scale that makes America's look meager by comparison -- although they're on their way out of it.  They saw their currency collapse to half its value.  Many Icelanders left the country seeking work in nations less-hard hit by the crisis.  While power, water, and domestically produced food (free range or (nearly) organic for pretty much everything) are cheap, imports (which is most goods) are very expensive.  30% of the government's revenue comes from (significant) customs fees -- including customs on personally-imported items (expect your mailed birthday present to be inspected and considered for tax fraud).  There's a not insignificant "meat culture" there (although, sadly, what first-world nation doesn't have one?  :P  ).  Some people adjust to the stark cycle of the seasons better than others.  The tax structure is fairly progressive, but could definitely bear some steeper hits on the top individuals.  And while some of the figures behind their economic collapse (including government officials) are behind bars, many are still roaming free, even enjoying special privileges (although there's still people working to throw the book at them).

      Or did you think things like "expect your mailed birthday present to be inspected and considered for tax fraud" to be code for "paradise"?

      If you disagree with me on the facts (which, given your "I'm sure..." remark, I'm guessing that you know next to nothing about the country), feel free to contest them.  But if your attitude is simply "America Great, Nowhere Else Better", I'm sorry, I must profoundly disagree with that.  I like Iceland.  If you don't, fine -- that's your prerogative.  If you don't, and yet you've never been (or worse, know next to nothing about it), well, even worse, that's merely a sad statement about you.

    •  Two final thoughts: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ask, peachcreek, lotlizard

      1. The afore-linked diary continued:

      Beyond all that, I'm not going to sit here and pretend like moving there will be a walk in the park.  That getting skilled at the language won't take hours every evening for years on end.  That dealing with immigration bureaucracy is easy.  That integration is simple, or that everyone will always be nice and friendly to an útlendingur like me.  I'm not going to pretend that my residence status won't be truly stable until I can get citizenship after a whole seven years residence in the country.  That I couldn't earn well more money in the US.

      2. If you got mad at merely that, don't look up what "til Hjartans Heimsveldisins" translates as  ;)

  •  IT & software devs: live/work in the Netherlands? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A project called "Appsterdam" revolves around the idea of building a Silicon-Valley-like Dutch information technology cluster.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 12:10:48 AM PST

  •  með öllu! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    "Jólabrauð?  No, I haven't baked it yet."

    Oh, I hate that :) Almost the same thing happened to me when I was in Reykjavik. I went to Bæjarins Beztu to get one of their famous hot dogs, walked up to the counter, and proudly asked for a "pylsur með öllu".

    He looked right at me, and in english said "Hot dog with everything? OK."

    Such a downer :)

    (On the other hand, a few days later when I was buying some paper to write letters home, the clerk spoke much too fast for me. When I explained that I didn't understand, he looked surprised, and said "Oh! I'm so sorry, I thought you were Icelandic." That made me feel good!)

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