Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I have seen the darkness

Last night I actually got to go to bed when it was dark out. This meant staying up until 2 a.m., but it was worth it. This was the first time that the room was not completely lit while I was trying to fall asleep.
The midnight sun was great. I really enjoyed it for a while but now it seems unnatural. Because it always looks like the middle of the day, you never want to go to sleep. I think everyone stays up far to late in the summer.


There is a place that you can put comments if you want. And I think that you do want to....


I have been speaking English my entire life. I admit I might have never gotten really good at it, but I thought I had heard everything.

Now I know there is several different words for the same thing, depending on what English you are speaking.

Stroller: a handy thing for pushing kids around in. This is also known as a pram. I guess pram is short for something.

Soother: Keeps babies happy. Also known as a pacifier or a dummy. I like the dummy one, good trick on the baby.

Backyard: You know, the grassy place behind your house. Everyone here calls it a garden and I can not help but ask myself, what kind of garden. I half expect to see carrots growing everywhere.

House plants: A plant you grow at home, harmlessly, can be called a pot plant. I think that implies a lot.

Hamburger: Ground beef, good for shepherds pie or spaghetti sauce. Also known as mince meat, and I thought mince meat had no meat in it. OK, I admit minced meat makes a little sense

Monday, July 24, 2006


Just so you know the link on the side of this page was there for a reason. Zefrank rocks!

These commentary's are not for the faint of heart but do have a lot of insight that we all sometimes miss. There is a new show everyday, Monday through Friday and he´s thinking so you don't have to.

So, if you have some extra time on your hands I would suggest checking it out, but I warn you, it might lead you to a new addiction.

Great! A new way to waste time on the computer!

The Blue Lagoon

Davið took me to The Blue Lagoon yesterday and it was beautiful. The boys spent a nice afternoon with Inga and Rob.

We drove about half an hour out of town and were never sure if we were going the right way because there is no signs until you can see it.

This is a very popular tourist site, and Icelander's go there too. The water is so full of minerals that it is a light blue and you can not see in it. The mud from this lagoon is collected and sold, or you can use it while you are there. The water and mud are so good for your skin. Some people say it cures many skin problems like excema, but I just like how soft it makes your skin.

The warm waster is great to lounge around in, and in some spots the water is actually really hot. Useful if you are looking to boil yourself alive. I also got a massage there. WOW! That was relaxing. A massage while in the water. I felt like a princess.

Background information on it:
There was some sort of refinery that had this extra water after the process. They just left the water outside and made a bit of a lake of it. People started going out there for some swimming. Rumor went around about how nice this water was for your skin. More people went there for swimming. The company with the refinery caught on to this and built a fence around it. Then they started charging people to swim there. It went well so they built a huge spa facility beside it. Now they charge people lots of money to go there, but you can get everything else there as well, like a massage, time in a sauna, skin treatments. They even have a line of beauty products. Most of them are made from the mud that collects at the bottom of the lagoon. This is the stuff people used to bring home for free. If I had a guess I would say that the company with the refinery now makes more money off there waste products now then the actual products.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Crime in 2005

In an attempt to keep up on things in Canada I have been reading some news online. Today I came across an article that could give anyone shivers. Especially one from Saskatchewan, like me. It also made me very thankful that I have never lived in the Untied States, or I might have not lived this long.

This is the link: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/saskatchewan/story/2006/07/20/crimesask.html

And this was the article:

Saskatchewan leads Canada in violent crime

Last Updated: Thursday, July 20, 2006 | 1:36 PM CT

Saskatchewan had more violent crime than any province in Canada last year and its two major cities were among the worst for murders, robberies and break-ins.

Edmonton most homicide-prone city

Canadian statistics pale in comparison with some U.S. cities. According to U.S. sources, New Orleans had 53.3 homicides per 100,000 people in 2004, Washington, D.C., had 45.8 and Detroit 42.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Place of Our Own

Since our arrival in Iceland we have been looking for a place of our own. The rent is really expensive and there is not much of a market for it because most people buy a place. So, we starting looking for a place to buy.

We found a nice place a few weeks ago and had a bid accepted for 13 million kr. I think this is about 208.000 Canadian, depending on the current exchange rate.

Today we got the news that our mortgage came through and the exchange date will be next Thursday. Everyone is really excited so let me tell you a little about my new house.

First of all, it is actually an apartment. There is 6 other apartments in the same building. If you come in from the front I am in the basement, but if you go around to the back it is ground floor. We have a small back yard that is shared with the other 5 apartments. From the look of it, no one else uses it.

All the flooring is hardwood and the entire place is about 56 meters square. Which according to my calculations is about 184 square feet. I admit it is a little small, but everyone here has a small place so I don't feel bad.

There is a small kitchen with a tiny built in table that can be folded down against the wall. The window looks out into the back yard. The cupboards were all redone last year so it looks great. There is no dishwasher for me and I am not sure if there is enough room for one but we will see about that after.

The bathroom is super small. There is no bath tub but a shower stall instead. I have been told this is very common in Iceland as well. We did find a small bath though, just sitting out in a yard. Davið talked to the people living in the house and they said we could have it, so now it is sitting in Kristina's backyard. I hope it fits. If it does we are hoping to have it put in before we move in. This means I will have to wash my hair with my legs up against the wall. It is a really small tub.

The living room is a decent size and also has windows facing the backyard. It looks very empty right now, being as we have not moved in.

There is also 2 bedrooms with windows facing the road. The larger room is for the boys and the closet size one is for us. The reason for this is because we do not have toys, so we should not need as much space. There is no closets.

The hallway when you first walk in is a circle shape with doors to each of the rooms, except the kitchen and living room, they do not need doors.

The laundry room for the entire building is across the hall. There is one washer and ..... Don't be scared now .... a dryer. There is also clothing lines in the laundry room that look like they are used more then the dryer. I wonder how much of a fight it will be to get my clothing in the washer.

In the attic of the building is storage rooms for everyone and a large shared room that is currently only being used to hang more clothing to dry.

The location is very convenient, right downtown. Across the street from a candy store, only a few blocks to a grocery store, 1 block from the swimming pool, 3 from Kasper's school, 2 from Stefan's playschool and less then half a block from the playground that has the playground program. The school I would like to attend is next to Kasper's.

I will not even need to take a bus!

If anyone would like to visit, although the place is small, there is always room on the chesterfield.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Application In

On Friday I finally put in my application for a residence permit. Almost everything I needed was ready. I am still waiting for the criminal record check but that I am expecting anytime.

So, I went in Friday with my application. I stand in line. When it is my turn I go to the desk to hand in my application. I hand her the stuff. Application filled out, check. Certified Marriage Certificate, check. Medical Insurance certificate, check. Receipt for paid medical insurance costing 11 000 kr, check. Passport size photo, check. Criminal record check, on the way I told her. She said that was no problem because the process takes about 3 month's anyways. I mentioned that it said 6 weeks on the form, but I guess that is only if you are very very lucky. Then she asked for the photo copy of my passport...

I did not have one. I brought my passport and said that I did not own a photocopier but asked if she could photocopy it for me. She said no, that would not be possible because they are not allowed to touch the passports themselves. I was worried for a moment, but then she told me the desks across the hall could photo copy it for me.

I walked across the hall and got myself into line. When it was my turn I explained how I only needed a photocopy of my passport for my application. The women behind the desk said no problem and went to photocopy it. When he returned she handed me my passport and a stamped photocopy of my passport. I was then told that it cost 1,350 kr. For a copy? Yes. I paid it and went back across the hall.

I handed the photocopy to the lady who was helping me originally and she asked me why I had the paper stamped. I told her I did not know, that was just what they gave me. I thought it was what I needed. She said it was to bad that I wasted money like that, a regular photocopy would have been fine but they had made it official for me and charged me for that. She said I should go back and complain, but I just wanted to finish this and leave. Next she tells me that she needs 8,000 kr to file the application.

8,000 is a lot of money, certainly more then you would carry around. I thought ok, I will put it on debit. My debit would not work there. OK, OK, I will just put it on my visa and hope it goes through. Oh but they do not take Visa. I do not know how they can charge so much money and expect people to have the cash on them for that. It is not like on the list of things you need to bring it even mentioned money. I wanted to come back and pay it and that would be ok but she gave me back all my papers because they can not take anything until it is paid for.

So, I went to a bank machine, took the last of the money from my account and went and paid to file my papers.

What and expense and headache. Later that day I find out Kristina´s printer can also be used as a photocopier. I live with Kristina!

I will have to start saving money to put in Kasper´s application.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Cheap Post Cards

When I first arrived in Iceland I did a very tourist like thing and bought cute postcards for everyone I know. You know what I mean, pictures of local animals and landscape. I know they look nice but it is getting a little expensive when you add the postage on there. This is why I have decided to cut costs and send everyone advertisements.

Many coffee shops, stores and office give away postcards. They look just like the ones that are free in places like Second Cup but the back is blank so they are actually useful. Over the last couple days I have been stocking up on these and everyone will be getting one.

I know the writing on the front means nothing to you, it means nothing to me either. I only hope it does not say something offensive. The pictures are still neat though and at the very least if you come to visit, you might know where to shop!

I will probably buy more around holidays, but for now these will be great.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


There is some major construction going on in front of Kristina's house. The city is replacing some pipes and I have never seen a construction area like this.

A huge trench is dug out in the middle of the road. Streamers and cones mark the dangerous area. On the weekends I can watch drunk people play in it. On one occasion some guy was hiding in the trench, popping up here and there while his friends through rocks at him and laughed. It looked a little dangerous to me.

The street is blocked off one side with some more cones and ribbon. This only slows the traffic down. Now no one can drive into the area with out first sending someone out of the car to move the cones out of the way. If there is a sign, it gets dragged over too.

Every morning, before the construction can continue people have to walk around and buzz the occupants of the apartment buildings on the street. They have to find the owner of the car that parked in front of the bulldozer. The cars that are parked where they are scheduled to dig that day have to me moved to. This might be a reason why they try block off the area.

The water is being cut off on a regular basis. There seems to be no reason to it. I don't even know until I try to get a glass of water or the dishwasher starts beeping at me. If you ask when there will be water again, no one knows. At least it has not been for more then a few hours at a time.

Next they started to dig up peoples front yards. I asked if the owners knew about this. Kristina was on holidays out of town and I know they just put alot of work into the yard, including flowers. The construction workers had no idea if Kristina knew but said she should have been told. I don't think Kristina knew. At least there was less grass to cut.

After the lawns were dug up they came to the door to ask me about the basement. They wanted to look around for some pipes, I showed them, not seeing a problem. The next thing I knew they had dragged everything out of Kristina's storage room and were drilling holes in the walls for pipes. Inga got really angry with them, it was a disaster. I guess they are replacing some cold water pipes. It is a little strange that no one that lived in building saw this coming.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The beach

The beach seems to be the place where people go on a nice hot day. When you look at it, or even a picture, I don't think there is anything that would give it away as not being a beach in Florida. A beach volley ball net is set up with people playing. Children build castles in the white (imported) sand. Everyone is in there swimsuits. Some people are in the water, others are tanning. There is even an ice cream vendor. The only real difference is that only in Iceland would it have been considered a nice hot day. The temperature might have reached 15 Celsius and the wind was blowing strong as ever. I had to keep my sweater on most of the time (so I was not doing much tanning) but I don't think anyone else noticed that it was not all that warm. I guess it is just one of those things that are relative, after all, this was the first summer weekend of sun we have seen.

I have an ID number

Congratulations to me! I now have an ID number. It is like I actually exist now. I can get a library card, rent a movie almost anything! Except get a job, but that should come soon enough.
With my own ID number I can apply for one for Kasper!
I even have insurance now!
I feel so much better as a number, who wants to be a person anyways?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Laundry in Iceland

How wrong I have been to assume that everything would be in English. At least on things you need. Like a washing machine. I can not tell what the cycles are. Kristina showed me one that would work for most things, so I am using that but I have no idea about the rest of the buttons. I also shrunk one of Kristina's shirts, thinking this cycle worked for everything. I might need to start bringing the English - Icelandic dictionary with me down to the laundry room.

I do not understand how a country with 300,000 people can have appliances in there own language.

I do not know why but for some reason no one uses a dryer. I have been told that it is so windy that it takes no time for clothing to dry on a line outside. I can see how this would be true, but it rains almost everyday. I have only seen 2 days in almost 3 weeks where it did not rain. Most people actually hang the clothing on lines in the basement of apartment buildings. It does not dry that fast either, it still takes almost a whole day for your clothing to be dry. This really slows down the laundry process. Just hanging up each article takes long enough, then a day of drying.

This will take some getting used to. It is now important to not wait until you have nothing to wear to start the laundry, you need to plan well in advance.

The crunchy towels are something I could do with out. In fact, everything is a little crunchy. The towels are the worst though. It is so cruel to have a nice relaxing hot bath and when you get out try to dry off with a large piece of sandpaper.

Although this is not a favorite characteristic of Iceland it does remind me of my dads house.
My dad has the worst dryer in the world and he often hangs his stuff to dry. When I lived with him I would dry my clothing anyways, even if it took 5 hours, my towel would be soft. When I have went to visit I have survived with the towels that scrape your skin, but never liked it.

Maybe I will look around for some fabric softener, if I can read the label!

Monday, July 03, 2006

The ID number again

Who made this system????

When I first arrived in the country I went to the immigration office to apply for my permit to stay. This should not me a big deal because I am married to Davið and already have one child with citizenship. Anyways, the form asks for my ID number. I just got here, I do not have an ID number. They send me to the Registry to get one (Davið actually had to get it for me, because being not registered means I can not get anything myself). This takes about 2 weeks. When I get one I can get one for Kasper.

Today they called saying the process was done but.........they could not give me my number because I had not applied for status. I can not remember if I mentioned I had a problem applying for my medical insurance without an ID number, because everyone needs one!! But I can not get status without insurance.

So, I can not get status without an ID number, I can not get an ID number without applying for status, I can not get insurance without an ID number, I can not get status without insurance and so on and so on....
tomorrowow I will spend the day downtown trying to figure this out. It must be lie some sort of jigsaw puzzle where everything can fit together but it has to be just so.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Not foreign enough

I had never known that there could be a level of ´foreignnesss´. That someone could be to foreign, not foreign enough or just right.

They have a summer camp for children that have recently moved to Iceland. Children can go for free in July if they have been in the country for less then 4 years. The 9-4 program is very useful for teaching kids the language. Sounds great, so we signed up Kasper.

They said he was not foreign enough. I guess that because I married a citizen, he is not foreign....Enough. He has never before been to Iceland, does not know the language but was not at considered foreign enough for this program.
So, they charged Kristina, my sister-in-law, 9000kr for him to go to camp for 2 weeks.

This makes no sense.

Inga and I went down to A Hus and asked about it. They did not understand either. As far as they were concerned, Kasper was foreign and deserved to go to a camp just like the other foreign kids.

The friendly people at A Hus sorted it out and Kristina should be paid back her money soon. Kasper starts camp tomorrow.

Plan B was to make him look more foreign by coloring his hair. I am glad didn't have to come to that!