Friday, September 29, 2006

Killer Banana Bread, by Marcia

Bake 70 min. 170°C/350°F

Mix together in a bowl, then set aside:3 cups flour (hveiti)3 1/2 tsp (teaspoons) baking powder (lyfiduft)1 tsp salt1/2 tsp cinnamon (kanell)</DIV>
In a bigger bowl, mix together:1 cup sugar (sykur)2 TBSP (tablespoons) butter (smjör/smjörliki)1 egg
Add to the sugar blend:3/4 cup milk (mjólk)3 - 4 good-sized ripe bananas (mashed) (approximately 1 1/2 cups)A little at a time, add the flour mixture to the above 'wet' mixture. Optional: add chocolate chips :)
When the batter is well blended, grease 2 loaf tins (I sprayPAM), and preheat the oven to 170°C (350°F) for at least 10 min.
Put half of the batter into each of the loaf tins.
Bake about70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each loaf out dry and clean.
To avoid the tops of the loaves from burning, you can put a sheet of wax paper over the tops once they have formed. You can remove the loaves from the tins after they have cooled for about 20 minutes. Enjoy. :)
I have never been known for my baking skills, but even I got this one right.
Naturally I added the chocolate chips

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sicky Kasper and Me

I picked up Kasper from school early on Monday. His ear hurt. Tuesday he stayed home and slept. I stayed home with him.

Wednesday I started to get sick. I called my school to tell them I would not be in again today. They hung up on me! I called again and they told me off. OK, now I am mad.

Thursday, today, Inga takes us to the doctor. Kasper seems much better but his ear still hurts. I feel like I have been run over by ETS, several times.

This might have been very expensive because we are still not in the system so we would have to pay as foreigners. Lucky for us Inga has connections at the doctor's office so they saw us for free! I just had to pay for my sick note for school, 350 kr.

So, Kasper has an ear infection and I just have some evil virus. Kasper gets antibiotics (cost 1000 kr) and I am told to sleep and take painkillers. My throat is so swollen it is hard to tell where my neck ends and my chin starts.

I think it will be fine. I think Kasper will go to school tomorrow too, he is getting a little house crazy and is feeling well enough to drive me crazy.

I guess I might never grow up

I was reading an article online today and could not keep a straight face. I mean, who could keep a straight face while reading about a restaurant that serves animal penis's as a delicacies.
OK, it is in China, but still. All I could do is turn red in the face and laugh.

Reminds me of the good old days when we had sex-ed class and I was always sitting out in the hallway. I could never stop giggling. It is still a problem.

Anyways, here is the link if you think you can read it without laughing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

the facts of iceland, as told by bbc

I saw this online and I think it is informative. At least if you are ever wondering what is going on over here.

Everything you need to know, population to life expectancy.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A crazy man in a window

Kasper had a play date this weekend. His friend came over with her parents to play, it was all going very well, until...

This crazy man starts trying to talk to the kids through the bedroom window. I though if we just ignored him he would go away. I was wrong.

Then Kasper opened the window! And the man would not stop talking. I tried to close the window but his hand was in the way. I told him he would need to move his hand so I could close the window. He yelled WHAT ARE YOU POLISH? I told him again to move his hand, he did and I closed the window and curtains.

It was all a little freaky and I do not think Kasper's friends parents knew what to do...

The girls upstairs

We live in a very colorful neighbourhood and my apartment building is a great example of it.
Today I will only tell you about one apartment.

On the third floor on the left is an apartment owned by the owners of a club called Champagne Girls. The owners use this apartment as a place to house dancers and bouncers for the club.

Champagne Girls is a strange place. I have heard stripping is not allowed in Iceland but these girls dance. Then guys can buy the girls drinks. The girls sit with them and be nice while these stupid guys pay lots of money for drinks.

Two of these girls moved upstairs from me. They were super nice and moved here from England and Scotland to make some extra money.

They were hired under contracts and promised large amount of money to come work in Iceland. After a month of working it came time to get paid..... The employers took huge hidden fees and what they called taxes off the checks and left them with next to nothing.

They worked 6 days a week, often 12 hour nights and tolerated unfair treatment. Then when it was time to get paid they were left with just enough to fly home with.

They were badgered and harassed until they agreed to just take the small amount of cash offered to them.

I suspect that I will be seeing a lot of this. This company brings in girls from all over the world.

What if these girls had lived farther away? Lucky for them there is cheap flight from Iceland to England, so they could get home. I can imagine that a lot of girls would have trouble getting the money together to leave.

This is only a part of the story, the entire thing is to long to type out in one day, but I think you can get the point. So, if ever in Iceland and happen to walk past Champagne Girls downtown, please feel free to grab a rock.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Finally I can get a cat

Well maybe not today or tommorrow but some time. I do like cats but allergies are always getting the best of me. Davið and the boys are allergic as well.

Then I saw this article and it gave me a new hope.....

US hypoallergenic cats go on sale

At just three weeks old these kittens have already been reservedThe world's first specially-bred hypoallergenic cats have gone on sale in the United States.
US biotech firm Allerca says it has managed to selectively breed them by reducing a certain type of protein that triggers allergic reactions.
The cats will not cause the red eyes, sneezing and even asthma that some cat allergy sufferers experience, except in the most acute cases.
Despite costing $3,950, there is already a waiting list to get one.
Allerca first started taking orders for genetically engineered hypoallergenic cats back in 2004.
No genetic modification
It tested huge numbers of cats trying to find the tiny fraction which do not carry the glycoprotein Fel d1 - contained in its saliva, fur and skin - which produces allergies.
Those cats were then used to breed the hypoallergenic cats.
The company's Steve May told the BBC that it is a natural, if time consuming method.
"This is a natural gene divergence within the cat DNA - one out of 50,000 cats will have this natural divergence," he said.
"So candidates, natural divergent cats were found and then bred so there is really no modification of the gene."
The BBC's Pascale Harter says there could soon be a global market for the kittens - in the US alone 38 million households own a cat, and around the world an estimated 35% of humans suffer from allergies.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A six meter fall

At work yesterday a boy climbed up a tree and fell. He fell six meters to the ground and was unconscious. The ambulance came. The rest of the afternoon was a nightmare and I quit my job at the after school care.

The boy, I heard today, will be ok.

All I wanted was a hole puncher

My teachers give us so many papers and they are almost never whole punched. My binder is a mess, papers fall everywhere. When I try stabbing wholes in the paper and stuffing it on the rings, it is a mess and always crinkled. The binders here half 4 rings, some have only 2 but mine have 4.

So, I went out shopping for a hole punch. I went to many stores and did not find one. Then I was lucky, I found one! I brought it to the counter, it cost...

2,300 kr!!!

That is crazy. I told them that. At 63 Kr. In 1 CND that hole punch cost more then 38.00. This is crazy! And it did not even punch 4 holes, only 2 so I would have to use it twice.

As you might guess I did not buy a hole punch. My binder is still unorganized, but what can you do? Stab holes in the paper I guess.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

heiðskírt eða sólskin = sunny

Thats right, it is actually sunny out today. I have not seen this blue sky in a long time, but it is beautiful.

I do not actually know where the sun is but it is very bright.

A great day to be out. Davið took the boys to the Blue Lagoon.

Bring on the overtime

I have told you about my job at the aftyer school care program. Well, I have some new perks to explain.

Everytime I work I start at 1:30 and usually work until 5:30. The last hour, or any part after 4:30 is overtime pay. This is because it is out of my regular day.

We have staff meetings all the time, as often as twice a week. At these meeting we talk about work stuff, eat free food and get paid overtime!! Because this is not a regular part of my job.

This week there is a big meeting. We are all going out to a restuarant for some free food and drinks to talk about what the other programs are doing. And yes, this is overtime work as well.

I think I might rake in more hours at time and a half then regular time.

I think I might keep this job!

They are worse in Ireland

So I have called the children little monsters. I really thought they were a little on the bad side.

Agata has said I am wrong. They are worse in Ireland. I do not know why. She does not know why, they just are. She worked in an after school program there.

Picture Lord of the Flies.

A kid we will call M

The is a boy in Kasper´s class that we will call M. You never know if his parents will ever read this page for some reason.

Anyways, M can cause some problems. He hits thw other kids all the time. Kasper told me he is hitting him everyday. I talked to the principle who talked to the teacher but this hitting is still going on.

In the after school program I work in I get to see M in action. He throws rocks at kids, I tell him not to, he ignores me. He hits kids and refuses to listen to anyone. Even when we are talking to them as a group, he will ignore us, or tell us off. He was recently told he needed a coat to go outside, he told this person the shut up.

I really want to shake M around sometimes, and by sometimes I mean whenever I see him.

I could never figure out how a kid could be so bad, until now.

His dad is worse. M is always in trouble. If M can not find his hat he is called stupid. He is always rushed and never greeted with a smile.

This does not make me like M anymore. After all he causes probelms for my own son everyday. This does make me very angry with his parents. The lack of compassion and parenting skills is not only affecting them and there family. It is having a ripple effect on the entire grade one.

The children are unhappy around him.

The adults feel crazy and stressed out not know what to do with this boy.

And this is all because of the parents.

I will have to talk to the principle again on Monday, I think it is his job to do something about this.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Kasper´s swimming lesons

Kasper started swimming lessons last Tuesday. I am very happy with them. He has 2 lessons a week, Tuesday and Thursday and each lesson is an hour long.

There is only 8 kids in the class and 2 teachers, and the lessons are right in the school. So I can take him straight from Dreamland to swimming with only 15 minuites in between, enough time for a snack.

The cost is very reasonable, about 14 000 kr for 12 weeks. That is less then 600 a lesson.

The lessons in Canada, at Grant MacEwen (which was suppossed to be good) cost 55.00 CND for 8 weeks that had one 30 minuite lesson each. So it is only 7.00 a lesson. But the lesson is half the time and the class alway had about 20 kids to one teacher. Kasper got almost nothing out of those lessons.

I am very happy with the lessons here.

I also assume when Kasper understands more Icelandic hewill do much better in these classes.

Rain Rain Rain

Are you one of those people who likes the fresh smell of rain?
If so then you should check out Iceland. There is rain all the time. So often infact that it always seems to have just rained.

The last few days that is all it has done. We go between threatning rain, sprinkling, rgular rain and outright down pour.

The grass is growing really well. It looks so long right now it lookd neglected. I would cut it, it is not that I am lazy, I just do not know how safe an electric mower is out in the rain.

I have never seen the kids rain gear get so much use. It almost makes it worth the huge cost. Kasper´s new rain coat cost almost 4 000 kr, and it was just the coat. At least it should make it through more then one kid, if he does not lose it.

Kasper needs rubber boots now. His other ones leak. Everyday I get him from school his boots are on a radiater and he is wearing some spare socks. New boots will cost between 3 000-4 000 kr. I am not looking forward to this cost but it is one that will have to be dealt with this weekend.
I hope we can find warm ones that will be good through the winter.

I have been told it has not snowed in years thanks to global warming. But that means more rain.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Little college students

In Iceland the kids must have strong backs.

I sent Kasper to school with his old Batman bag on the first day. It was just a regular kid sized bag. When I picked him up I saw the other kids all had these huge bags that they could move out from home with. These backpacks were bigger then mine and I carry 2 large binders, a textbook, a coffee cup and toys for Stefan.

I now know why they need to carry so much stuff. They do not have desks to put things into. They have desks to sit at but not put stuff like pencils in. So, they carry their own school supplies around all day and to and from school every day. They do not have a locker to keep anything at the school.

When the kids have gym class they need to change to shorts and a shirt for class. They also need a towel to shower after. In case my 5 year old gets really sweaty and smells.......?

They need one snack a day from home. Lucky for Kasper he gets the other meals from the school so he does not need to bring those.

They always need at least 1 pair of extra socks. It is always raining and kids socks are always wet. So if you do not want your kid wearing lost and found socks they need to carry extras around.

Because of the constant threat of rain you need to bring all your rain clothing to class everyday. Raincoat, rain pants and rubber boots. I just make Kasper wear the boots to school everyday.

If you want your child to be able to drink water at school they need to bring a water bottle from home. They have water fountains but do not want kids drinking form them so they are only used to refill water bottles.

I had to buy Kasper a new backpack. All this stuff just would not fit. After all, he needs a bag that can carry:

1 water bottle
1 snack
1-2 pairs extra socks
1 pair of shorts
1 shirt
1 towel
1 Raincoat
1 Rain pants
1 Pencil case
1 folder of papers

He is a little weighed down, but he will be strong!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ok Cupid

Ok Cupid is a great site to waste time at. I know I always talked about it in Canada, but I feel the need to talk about it more now for some reason.

I even decided to put some test scores on here. Some of them are really funny. I do think they are good at describing people.

The last one I took that I put here, was not the greatest. Do not that detour you from checking out the site though.

Oh ya, it calls it self a dating site, but you do not have to pick up people there.

The How International are you test

You scored 44% worldliness!

Breakdown: lifestyle 38% ; attitude 54% ; general knowledge 45%

You retain cultural roots in your country of origin, yet have adopted a wide taste for other cultures.

Hobbit Settled Well Travelled Cosmopolitan Expat Global Gypsy Air Tramp

I would have thought I was a hobit, but I was wrong

Feeling Better

Stefan´s fever broke last night so he seems to be on the road to recovery.
He is still very cranky and weak because he has not eatten and still does not want to eat but at least he is not burning hot anymore.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Setember 11

Everyone else is writing something so I guess I should to.

Except that I do not have alot to say about the matter. I am not very political.

ZEFRANK sums it all up well enough. If you have not checked it out yet, today would be a day to start.

It has a very good song to get stuck in your head.

Sick Stefan

Stefan has the flu. I have heard it is going around. He started getting sick on Saturday night and is still very sick. He has a fever of 38.8 C that will not go down, no mater how much Tylonel he has.

He is not eating. Yesterday he ate nearly nothing. Today he refused all food, then asked for a hotdog. I gave him one. He ate half and then puked. He ate 5 grapes before bed.

So, he is just going on water and Ginger Ale. (I tried milk, even chocolate milk but he does not want anything)

Any kind thoughts about him tonight would be appreciated

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The promised pictures

This is Stefan at the playground program
This is my handsome husband Davið
Kasper a real tree climber.
Kasper at the playground.
Thanks to the black sand the kids always looked extra dirty.

Stefan, pretending to push the tree over.

Trees have a very hard times growing here.

It is to windy for them.

These are the pictures that just would not upload the otherday.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Wind and rain

I have never seen so much wind and rain.

Today in class we opened the windows because it is a basement classroom that gets a little smelly. Instantly papers started flying around everywhere. When I looked out the window I could see trees almost bent over from the wind. Pop cans and other garbage was flying through the air. It looked like a tropical storm, but the wind was very cold. Not as cold as a winter Canadian wind, but cold enough.

Walking through this is probably the best of all.

The best part is, when everyone was saying how scary the weather was, my teacher said, ´oh, this is not too bad at all´.

I think I now have an idea of what the winter will look like, only darker.

A new day

Lets call today be nice to a foreigner day. I would like to call this holiday to recognize how rude some people are.

There are certain parents at the school that think there children should not have to be watched by foreigner. Even worse, ones that can not speak the language. One man in particular has made a point of being very rude to Agata (a co-worker from Poland) and I everyday.

It is true, I was not born in Iceland and after 3 month's I still do not know a lot of Icelandic, but I am still a good person.

This is why I think that everyone I know should make an effort to be nice to someone today. Maybe a smile for a cab driver or Max store clerk. I know there is the same problems in Canada and I can tell you it is not nice at all to be on the other end of it.

It is not easy to learn another language and adjust to a culture change. It does not make it any easier when people treat you badly.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Little Monsters

I always new I should not have a job working with children. I have one now though. During Kasper's after school care, called Dreamland, I see the worst of the worst.

The other day they took Stefan´s stroller out from the bike shed. They emptied it out and started playing with it. I saw my coat and bag on the grass and a group of boys running around and riding the stroller like a car. I ran over to catch them while one boy was riding it down a hill into a fence. I told them off for stealing, but my English words mean almost nothing to them. They knew I was mad at least.

Yesterday while I was walking around checking on them I saw another group of boys. I am sure that on there own they are very nice, but together they cause trouble. They had tied the smallest one up with skipping ropes and had him hanging from a tree by his armpits. Even he was laughing. I pulled him down, told them it was dangerous, as they ran away, and began confiscating skipping ropes from kids hanging out in the trees.

you can not turn your back for 2 seconds and they are not up to any good. Unfortunately with 90 children aged 5-7 things can get a little out of control. There is only 5 adults and only 3 speak Icelandic. It seems like everyday something goes wrong.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Inga and the boys downtown

When Davið and I went to the Blue Lagoon Inga and Rob took the boys for the day. They took the boys to feed the ducks downtown. There is a huge lake with pathes where tonnes of birds hang out waiting for some bread. I have heard that most of them do not even look for their own food anymore and would rather wait for children to feed them bread. Stefan and Kasper both really like feeding them. Kasper throws the bread as far as he can, but Stefan prefers to pick one favorite bird and just feed the one. He is very loyal.

A very tired family

This is one of the very few pictures in existance of all four of us. Ussually one of us has to take the picture. I think Rob took this one. At least he emailed it to me. Anyways, we look so bad because it was the morning after Davið and I went out and did not get home until almost 6 a.m. and the kids got up at 7 a.m. I think the kids look more cranky about it then we do. Maybe they were up until 6 waiting for us?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Almost Everyone in school

OK, not everyone is in school. Davið is working but he plans to do some school stuff soon.

Stefan is suppossed to be starting play school any day now. It has not happened yet. The school is short 3 staff and will not take Stefan until they get enough staff. It has been this way for almost a month so I am no longer optimistic. Someday he will be starting school. For now he joins me in class or visits his amma or afi for a few hours a day.

Kasper started school on August 25. He is grade one now and is very happy there. He only has class from 9 to 2. He has fun classes like weaving and swimming lessons. Kids in Iceland take swimming lessons every year in school til grade ten.

Kasper attends a before school program that is free every morning. I have class at 8, so he has to.

There is an after school program that is called Dreamland in English. It is really fun, more like a play school, and that goes from 2-5:15. This usually has a small cost of 7 000 kr a month.

I got a job in Dreamland for a few days a week so Kasper would nto have to wait to get in and it also makes it free for him. It is a good job. The time goes by fast and it is easy to practice Islandic with small kids. I am also still working at the hotel.

The school has a great lunch program. For only 5 600 kr a month the kids get a warm supper like meal at lunch everyday. If I went to the grocery store and spent that I could get 2 or three bags of grocerys. If I was buying any meat, even fish, it might only be one. So, you can see this is a very good deal. They get milk to drink and really good food. They eat alot of fish. Almost everyday but about once a week they get lamb. Kasper is eating it really well. Even all the vedgetables. This makes things so much easier at home because I have to worry about one less kid getting a full balanced diet. After school, after the meal and 2 snacks there, he only has room for something small for supper, like soup!

When Stefan does get into play school he will get great meals there too. The grocery bill just keeps on going down.....

I am in school now aswell. I am studying Icelandic. It is really hard. They say it is the 3rd hardest in the world to learn. I am very bad with it but I am sure it will get better. After almost 2 weeks in class I know all the fruits, vedgetables and family members. I am learning about clothing now. I still do not know enough to even have a conversation with a 5 year old but I was very happy when I could read the menu at Kasper´s school.

I did drop a class today. It was a life skills class that is supposed to help me adjust to like in Iceland, but it is taught in Icelandic. I really did try it but I was not getting anything out of it. I will take it next semester, I hope to understand then.

The other three classes are going well enough. The only problem is that the people in this program have been in Iceland for a few years and already know lots of Icelandic. I think they are just there to get better. I did not know any, so I have to work very hard to catch up.
I will let you know how things go, but I am very determined.

There is also a place to eat in my school that is very well priced. Only 70 kr a coffee! The next cheapest I have seen is 250, so I drink coffee at school now.

Davið is still working for the same company and doing very well. They have lots of work and I know Davið is very good at his job. There is plenty of overtime which pays really well and he still gets great meals at work. He is working on the airport right now. After that is done he might help on the new IKEA.

Iceland is getting a new big IKEA like in Edmonton. The one right now is really small and can be walked through in 20 minutes.

Well, now you know what we do with the day.

More pictures

The computer is having a bit of a tantrum right now and will not let me upload anymore pictures. Maybe if I am nice to him, the computer, then tommorrow it will let me finish. Until then.....

The last Humpty´s B.B.Q.

The old hangout....
and the gang, or at least most of them

This was a great day and I am glad I got to see everyone before I left.
Thanks for the food Mei.
See you again someday.

Pictures from the Blue Lagoon

Sideways again, with great skin and bad hair. This was when we were just leaving The Blue Lagoon. The rocks behind me are lava rocks. You see them everywhere.
There is Davið and more rocks. Men do not seem to get as bad of hair as women do. Or I might just have bad luck.
These are pictures taken just outside. The water really does look much more blue then this, but it did not show up. You can not see through the water, and this is only a puddle.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The boys in Iceland

I wish I knew how to turn these pictures around but I guess that is a lesson for another day.

I think they look cool already, but I guess that is my job.
Notice the rain gear, this is a common thing.

Kasper's New Bike

Kasper got a bike when we moved to our own place. We just bought it at the second hand store and the boys fixed it up and repainted it over the weekend. Now it looks great!
And if you notice there is no training wheels! This is a picture of Kasper first riding his bike completely on his own for the first time.

Rob's Birthday Party

So this was Rob's big birthday party! It was held on a Saturday night at Kristina's house because hers is the biggest.
His parents even came out from Toronto. Meet Grandpa Berman, some people could call him George.
It was a long night, that ended well. Rob is sleeping on his daughter Kristina.
A very Happy Birthday.
Sorry, I don't know how to turn this one around. It is Nana Berman, or Mona.

Now you know some more family!

The boys in construction

As much as I complained about the construction site and workers in front of Kristina's house, it did make a great place to play. So, here are the boys at work!

My own connection!

At last I am connected with the world outside of Iceland. There is so much to tell and not a lot of time. It is late and I do have to sleep but I do promise some good stuff over the next few days. For now I will just put some pictures. I hope to be done those tonight.
Thank you to everyone who sent me emails while I had no computer and I will reply to them all very soon.
I am happy to hear all the good news coming from Canada.