Monday, December 31, 2007
It is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed, it has been hiding long enough.
This year I am taking it off.
Imagine the laughs when I answered what I was doing this New Years with 'catching up on laundry'.
But it is true, and a brilliant idea I think. With 6 families using one washer, it is always a battle to get your laundry done. But tonight, only I am interested in laundry. Everyone else is too busy trying to set them selves on fire with fireworks and drinking themselves stupid.
The washer and I are finally alone.
Around the city, pets are having panic attacks and have been for days. The fireworks never seem to take a break.
People that planned ahead got some sedatives, from the veterinarian, for the poor animal. We just sent ours out to Davíð's parents after she stopped sleeping.
Davíð took the boys out to his parents, they are all sleeping over.
I am really alone, and I love it!
And Happy New Year everyone!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
This month I have to learn everything you need to know to run the girls department of Toys R Us, because by the end of the Month I will be a section manager. Yippeee!
A title and a raise. But really my job does not change that much. I will still stock shelves but I will have responsibility's and powers.
I can ask others to do things.
Leave lists to be done.
I have to be sure the section matches Toys R Us standards.
I have to be sure to order enough of the appropriate toys.
I will predict what will sell well in Iceland and arrange displays and orders to accommodate that.
I am so excited!
At least for a while it will be a challenge. We will see what comes.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
He loves it.
My plan is to upload them all for him, and you too. Now everyone can see what is important and worth documenting, to a 7 year old boy.
As you will see, most of us are a little blurry. This lead to him yelling at us to hold still a lot.
We hope you enjoy!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
All I can say is I have convinced my boss to give me a day off on Wednesday - and you would not believe how much I am looking forward to it.
Until then - I am thinking of all of you!
Monday, December 03, 2007
Basically, our little Rósa is the perfect pet.
Maybe I should see if I can get it online? Might be useful is Iceland?
We also listened to Paul Harvey. Actually I should say that my Dad called in everyday and everyone else listened.
Paul Harvey hates my Dad, but I think he is the coolest.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In fact I wonder where this study . Did they look at the education system? The difference in living standards between Icelanders and immigrants? It is terrible. I do not think that any country has the right be to 'the best place to live' when the reason it is so great (to them) is because they are in the top class here.
There are two kinds of people in Iceland. The Icelanders who live out there dreams and everyone else who cleans up after them. Or stocks the shelves so they can shop shop shop
I admit this is a huge generalization, but it is something I see everyday.
When you go to Bonus, the grocery store, you hear5 different languages as you walk down the isles. Everyone is buying food.
When you go to Toys R Us, or any other 'extra's' store, you only hear Icelandic. This is because, more often then not, only the Icelanders are a situation where they can go out and buy a bunch of new toys.
If you listen to the staff at any of these stores, they are all foreign. They probably do not have the money to shop there, they just stock the shelves and clean.
When you look at Kasper's school, I think he is the only kid there that was not born in Iceland. It is an expensive school. The parents all drop off the children in SUVs and own large houses. The children are dressed in nice clothing and are reasonable behaved.
When you go to a public school you see groups of kids talking. The Icelandic kids, the Polish kids, the kids that can speak English. The odd one from Norway or Portugal roams around alone. The Icelandic children often bring new toys to school everyday and wear designer clothing. The others are provided for with what the parents can manage, then go to school to be bullied, beaten, dragged through the mud, then neglected by teachers.
Health care is not free, we pay per visit. The fee is small for a regular doctors visit, but if you need a specialist, it is very expensive. How many health issues go untreated because of the cost? I know that my eyes bother me, I went to one doctor, she sent me to another. The Eye surgeon told me, after testing my eyes: Well this is so strange, I have never seen anything like this before, why don't you come back in a few months and we will have another look at it. Come back? I just spent 3 days wages to have you tell me to come back because you do not know what it is? I never went back. It is to expensive. Maybe someday when I am rich, I will get my eyes fixed. For now, we spend all our money on our kids healthcare.
Is Iceland the BEST place in the world to live?
If it is, then the world is a sad sad place and we should be embarrassed.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I waited, and waited and waited outside in the freezing (-6) and windy cold until 9:15. Then I call the manager, because no one was there.
NO ONE WAS IN THE STORE.
How can I work if I am locked out?
Anyways, she said this was all a big mistake, she meant to schedule me for 10. She was sorry and I should go to the bakery and have a coffee and breakfast while I wait, she would pay for the food.
OK, so I went to the bakery. My manager said she would call me when someone got to the store to let me in.
It was 10:30 when I went looking for someone. No one had called and the store was supposed to open in half an hour.
Waiting, outside the door, was the rest of the staff for today. They had been waiting since 10.
They were cold too.
At 10:45, the assistant manger comes and lets us in.
I hope they plan to pay people for all the waiting time.
I am glad he got there before the customers, because that would have been awkward!
This is just craziness, only in Iceland.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
1. I like meeting new people and I think it is good for the kids to meet people from other countries, talk with them and maybe learn something from them. I hope it will help them grow up better with tolerance and the knowledge that there is life outside Iceland.
2. I would like to help out people who are traveling around here. It is so expensive that it detours people from coming to see Iceland. If I can offer my couch, that even folds into a very uncomfortable bed, to someone, it makes someones life much easier.
This does not mean there will always be a stranger sleeping on my couch, it just means that sometimes, we might have a guest.
We have the super tacky fiber optic tree that changes colors and is small enough we can fit it in the shelves. Our apartment is tiny, we save space everywhere we can.
And the Jewish candle lights, no Icelandic home is complete without them. The bast part is it seems to be an ICELANDIC tradition, and no one seems to know they are really Jewish. I guess someone imported them once, everyone bought them and have been buying them ever since. Marcia gave us ours for Christmas last year, so now we can fit in.
As an extra, we like to add the gigantic Star Wars machine, just to add a little character!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The darkness is coming!
Quick, quick, get out something bright!
Anything to make this more bearable!
Tomorrow I am putting up the Christmas tree. I need something to look forward to.
As you can see, the sun is not coming up until after 10 now, and is going down at 4. 6 hours daylight is enough to make anyone want to go back to bed.
It is also enough to make everyone sleep in. We have all been late all week. They boys have not been waking up until after 9, so we are setting alarms, and still lucky to get up for 8.
On the weekend they slept until almost 11. It has been a long time since I was last woken up by the boys and felt well rested.
There is one other problem, besides being late every morning. Just like when it is light all the time, the kids do not know when to stay in bed. A few times Stefán has woken up in the middle of the night, played toys for a while then fell asleep on the couch. I guess his reasoning is that if he plays all day in the dark, why not play all night in the dark?
The first mix up happed when Kasper invited more kids then he had invitations for, causing us to leave one kid at the school.
Nest Stefán had to come home early from school because he got an ear infection.
I could not cancel the party only a few hours before....
Everything that could have went wrong, did go wrong, but Kasper had a great time, and really that is what matters.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Just when I thought my neighborhood could not get any better.
Just when I thought it was truly oozing with class.
Someone spray painted the no entry sign, that is practically in my back yard.
Now it is labeled Penis.
Well this saves me the trouble.
Now everyone knows the true meaning of the sign.
I am so excited for the next genius to roam by armed with a can of spray paint.
Now honestly, like the red glow coming from our building was not enough?
Next time someone needs directions to my house:
Do you know where the penis sign is?
The whole experience makes me want to open our couch to other travelers.
Here are a few awkward and badly taken pictures of the farewell.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
- EVERYTHING BRATZ! I do not know how these things go so popular, but hey did and now they have there own aisle. It makes me cringe to walk down. It also makes me happy to have little boys who have no interest in these things.
- The Robots. We have a few kinds at the store, and they all seem equally useless. I can already see it. Parent spends 30000IKR on a toy robot. Kid plays with it for a day. The batteries die. Toy sits in the attic for 6 month's, then is thrown into trash.
- Power Wheels. Where do these parents honestly think the kids are going in these things? First - these is almost no where to drive them, unless you live in the country. Second - it rains almost everyday. Are you putting your kids into a battery powered car, in the rain, to drive on a road full of cars? I am sure they must have something better to spend 50000IKR on.
- Baby Born accessories. We have about 10 different strollers you can buy for your baby doll, all costing about the same as you would pay for one for your real baby. You can buy them a high chair, crib, playpen, car seat, toys, soothers and a new outfit that has come into season often enough. Where do people put all this stuff?
But you know something interesting? The opening of this store has shown me a clear line between the Icelanders and everyone else. When you go to the second hand store you hear every language,Polish, English, Thai, Icelandic - probably in that order. When you go to Toys R Us, you only hear Icelandic.
- I told my new manager that I know they have lied to me about some pay issues. They corrected it, and I made sure they understood that I do not trust them now. Who starts lying to employees in the first few days? Breaking union rules??? I made sure to mention that I suspect discrimination. I have no plans on being walked on here.
- I have made some work friends, they are all about 5 years younger then me and absolutely hilarious. It makes the time fly by.
- It is confirmed yet again, this country has a shopping problem. Who would go toy shopping on a Monday or Tuesday morning? There was a lot...
- My blog has a new reader! First, one stranger at a time - next world domination!
- Postcrossing is going great. I need to get to a scanner to show off my postcards, they are from everywhere!
- Davíð picked me up after work and we all went down to see Kasper play soccer. Then we could not find him. We spent an hour walking around trying to find him, then Davíð went to the school while Stefán and I kept looking. We were worried. Davíð called me when he found Kasper at school, it turns out that they told him it was not his soccer day and he was not supposed to catch the bus with the other kids. Stupid school, and this is the best one? Davíð asked why no one called us if they thought he did not have soccer and no one came to pick him up, they said it is not unusual for kids to be left at the school much longer then they should be.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Now which one to choose?
I could catch the 4 then transfer to the 2,
Suggestion: Bus 4 & 2
From: hlemmur 07:15 (Walk 41 meters)
Hlemmur 07:19 4
Hamraborg 07:35 2 (Wait: 2 minutes)
Smáralind 07:42 (Walk 198 meters)
To: smaralind 07:45
Or I could catch the 4, transfer to the 1, then transfer to the 2,
Suggestion: Bus 4 & 1 & 2
From: hlemmur 07:15 (Walk 41 meters)
Hlemmur 07:19 4
Kringlan 07:29 1 (Wait: 1 minutes)
Hamraborg 07:35 2 (Wait: 1 minutes)
Smáralind 07:42 (Walk 198 meters)
To: smaralind 07:45
Or I could catch the 2 and take it the entire way.
Suggestion: Bus 2
From: hlemmur 07:15 (Walk 41 meters)
Hlemmur 07:16 2
Smáralind 07:42 (Walk 198 meters)
To: smaralind 07:45
Notice the times and stops?
This is possible because so many buses drive the same route. They all leave Hlemmur, my bus station, at exactly the same time, then follow each other around. So I can always just get off one bus and on to the other, going the same way.
As much fun as it would be to catch three different buses before 8:00 a.m., I think I will just take route 2 the entire way.
The store was not only busy, but it was insane. On a Sunday morning people are lined up outside waiting for the store to open.
The store opens and fills up. The shelves we worked so hard to fill quickly empty. We fill them again, they empty. It continues like this until we lock the doors, 6 hours later.
This is why the store does 7 million a day in sales.
But who needs so many toys? How needs so many toys that they need to bring a shopping cart to push down all the isles?
How many Bratz dolls do you need?
How many Spidermans?
It does not matter what the toy is, I now suspect that every kid in Iceland has enough for 5 other kids.
They had a joke on TV last night, it shows a family throwing away all the toys, then going to Toys R Us and buying more the next day.
The Iceland Toys R Us is second in world sales, only behind Hong Kong, and there are a lot more people in Hong Kong to be doing this shopping.
This experience has shown me another ugly side of consumers.
And now my job is dependent on these same consumers.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
This exact picture is posted in every possible place. I think every hotel website has it, it is in every add for the Blue Lagoon. In other countries it is on bill boards.
But now the truth must come out, this is not typical. I live in Iceland and I do not spend all day steaming and soaking in mineral water, and neither does anyone else that lives here.
It is adds like these that lead people to believe that everyone in Iceland is exceptionally beautiful.
This is untrue. They are the same as everywhere else. Mixed bag.
Lucky for me I am done tomorrow because I suspect this is some sort of revenge against me for quiting.
He shows up with a tin of paint thinner and asks me, since I must have extra time working such a long shift, to use this paint thinner to clean the plastic table clothes in the dinning room.
These are my complaints:
I have nothing to keep me safe from this paint thinner and we all know the stuff is a little dangerous. Imagine how my hands would be after? No gloves?
I have heard that paint thinner could burn wholes in plastic. The problems that causes is that not only have I wrecked the plastic cover, but most likely the wood table underneath as well. And imagine the fumes....
I mentioned my concerns to this employer (lets just call him Hjalti) and he told me to not use too much then.
Sometimes I just want to say, 'Could we pretend I am a real person here, for one moment? Would you ask someone in your family to do this?'
Friday, November 09, 2007
From the beginning,
Henrick is a guy staying at the hotel. He came to Iceland to start up the new Toys R US. The other night we were talking and he told me there was a job that he was sure would be great for me, or I would be great for it. He accepted my CV and gave me the number of the person who is in charge of the hiring.
Today I spoke with this person on the phone. Her name is Guðrún. She told me to come down for an interview today.
After my shift at the nursing home, and before my shift at the hotel, I popped into Toys R Us full of hope.
That hope was shot out of the sky 2 seconds into the interview.
I sat down to be told that they were really looking for an Icelander for this particular position but she was sure she could find something for me,cleaning or something.
I wanted to hit her with my purse, but instead I used restraint and just raised my voice a little.
I simply made it clear that I did not come down here to take a 700 IKR an hour cleaning position. Every employer I have had in Iceland has felt some need to treat me badly and under pay me, simply because I am not Icelandic. I did not move to Iceland with the intentions of scrubbing toilets for the rest of my life.
This seemed to break the ice between us, and we spoke of other options.
Guðrún is set on hiring an Icelander for the cash outs, but she offered me something else. I will not work as a cashier, I really can not think of anything more boring, but I will be one of those general helpers who finds stuff and puts stuff on shelves. I will start at 1050IKR an hour, day time rate, to start.
This is 150 more then I get at the hotel and 300 more then I get at the nursing home.
Also, if things go well, as I am sure they will, I will be promoted to a department manager in a few weeks.
Department Manager is a very glamorous title for it. You are in charge of one section of the store, LEGO for example.
When this happens I will get a raise.
The good thing in this all is I have a challenge ahead of me. I will get that promotion, or I will get a new job.
The best news: I will only have to work 40 hours a week to make basically the same as I was making working 60 before. I miss my boys and am really looking forward to seeing them more.
I have already quit my job at the hotel (finish on Sunday), tomorrow I will email the nursing home!
Sunday we celebrate with Pizza!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I talked one of the managers today who is staying at our hotel and he told me about a perfect job for me. He also took my c.v. and will give it to the women in charge of that department.
The potential job involves the cash outs, some bookkeeping and ordering. Perfect! And I have been told the pay is good.
I am so excited but trying not to get my hopes up too much, I am sure there are others much more qualified then me, but I want this job.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
They advertised that all there staff speak Icelandic - and this makes them better?
I am so angry I could just go out and buy a bunch of toys from Toys R Us, just to be spiteful.
But whatever, I feel good knowing that Toys R Us is dong extremely well in Iceland. Here are a few things the manager told me:
Iceland opening: Highest recorded sales, ever, within three days in Iceland.
Continued business: Second best in the world, next to Hong Kong.
It does help that the Icelandic culture has more then a small taste for shopping.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The UK's top 10 most ridiculous British laws were listed as:
# 1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27%)
# 2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen's image upside-down (7%)
# 3. It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store (6%)
# 4. Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned (5%)
# 5. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter (4%)
# 6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman's helmet (4%)
# 7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen (3.5%)
# 8. It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing (3%)
# 9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour (3%)
# 10. It is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls of York, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow (2%)
Other bizarre foreign laws voted by those polled included:
# In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk (9%)
# In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation (8%)
# A male doctor in Bahrain can only examine the genitals of a woman in the reflection of a mirror (7%)
# In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm (6%)
# It is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle in Alabama (6%)
# In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on a Sunday could be jailed (6%)
# Women in Vermont must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth (6%)
# In Milan, it is a legal requirement to smile at all times, except during funerals or hospital visits (5%)
# In France, it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon (4%)
Monday, November 05, 2007
And the news:
We went to Kasper's parent teacher interviews on Thursday. I admit I went in looking for a fight because this teacher and I have gotten off on the wrong foot. The interview started out badly with her refusing to speak English and telling Davíð that I had the right to have a translator there. i think she was just being difficult, but she says her English is not that good. Davíð kept me up on most of it.
Kasper is doing very well and keeping up with the other kids this year. He is making friends but still gets frustrated when he can not express himself and others do not understand him, although his Icelandic is coming along very well.
Kasper has also been very well raised (his teacher said so!), I am proud, because he always listens and if he does misbehave, he stops when he is told to.
They also want to put him a year ahead next year so that he will be the same age (the youngest in the class as opposed to the oldest). The school is very concerned that he will be teased as a teenager. The school also admits he might not be academically ready to skip a grade, but the possibilities of teasing worries them.
Personally I do not think some potential teasing is good enough reason to push him ahead. He would be under so much stress and I Think he could be teased anyways if he is always doing poorly in school because they insisted on throwing him up a grade when he was not ready. I think he should just go to grade 2 next year, with his current classmates, after all, he is only the oldest kid by 2 months.
I think a good base education is more important then some teasing, besides, we can always cross that bridge when we get to it.
To sum things up: Kasper is doing great. His reading is really coming along. His math is good and he is a great helper in English lessons.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I just looked for them online and every class is full and seem to be booed up for a while, at least there was no open classes in sight.
How can people expect us to learn Icelandic then not have classes available?
Then there is the cost:
These classes, if you get in, are far from cheap. A couple hundred dollars for 2 nights a week.
The theory is that when you finish, your union will reimburse part of the cost to you.
What happens if you do not have that kind of money to spare in the first place?
What if you can not get a job because you can not speak Icelandic? If you are not employed you have no union to help.
The entire system can be so frustrating!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
It was as bad as I first had imagined, but different. I thought I had lost a filling. It turned out hat the filling was just useless now because a cavity had started on one side and hollowed out my tooth.
So they filed my tooth down to nothing. Drilled into the roots and built me a nice little plastic tooth on top of the very little real tooth that was left.
I was fortunate enough to have had enough freezing that I did not feel a thing during the drilling, sanding etc.
It is unfortunate that this freezing had to wear off and now I am hurting. A lot.
Another every sad and almost as painful thing was the cost. The price was more then
25000IKR, but the nice guy gave me %10 off. Good thing other wise I would not have had enough money in my bank account...
So the final bill was 22800IKR (378 American). Good thing I get paid in two days....
Saturday, October 27, 2007
It was actually the first time most of us had met, but the conversation was great.
We have all just moved to Iceland. The longest resident being Cassie who had been here a year and a half. Mahwish and I were close behind and Diane was the freshest off the boat at only three months.
It was so good to talk to people gong through the exact same thing, here different views, give tips and get some back.
We sat for about three hours, then the place was getting to loud and it was after midnight so we all went home, but what a great time.
I defiantly plan on doing this again!
(Everyone meet through my facebook group, the Internet is so great)
and my tooth has 2 big cracks in it now, probably thanks to the big whole from the lost filling.
Now this would have been bad enough in Canada when I would have had to pay a fortune only to be reimbursed 2 weeks later. But now I live in Iceland, where everything costs even more and I have no dental coverage.
The thought of the impending dental bill is causing me much more pain then the tooth is.
I will go get it fixed next week, first I have to find a dentist, then I will get it done, no avoiding it.
Maybe I will need a third job to pay for this?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Then they started to annoy me.
Then people stopped sending them.
Now the only person who sends me forwards is Denita, and she can be forgiven because I have not seen her in almost a million years.
Today she actually sent me some funny pictures and rather then spam everyone I know with them I will just put the best ones (that I think) here.
This guy should have been arrested a long time ago.
And this is as classy as it gets, good old shot gun weddings.
Man I love Saskatchewan - being a proud Saskatchewanite myself!
Stuttering sign, just like the driver probably is.
Well that's my spam for the day - please don't hate me for it!
This year I am feeling more poor, so I decided to send everything C mail. The post office told me this takes 8 weeks and costs much less.
So I started my Christmas shopping in September and finished up a couple weeks ago.
Yesterday I took all the parcels down to the post office and they told me it would be best to send it all by airmail, otherwise they could not guarantee arrival in time for Christmas.
I pointed out that there is actually 9 weeks left and they told me before it would be delivered in 8.
The staff at Posturinn seemed skeptical that 9 weeks was enough time for a parcel to get to Canada. (I think they strap them to the back of sea turtles to get across the ocean)
Anyways, I still sent everything the super slow way to save money and I really hope it gets there in time. If not, consider them new years gifts, or Easter, depending on the arrival date.
From he start:
I usually upload my videos onto Google video and embed them from there, no problem, but for some reason it was causing me some real problems so I thought I would try youtube.
This worked. I uploaded the little movies of the boys then put them on here.
Then I get an email, jacoeur has subscribed to my videos on youtube.
I though it might be someone I know, at first, but when I looked at the profile I felt nauseous.
This guy has a collection of favorite movies that would make anyone feel sick. It is all porn or videos of young kids. And this guy was watching my kids playing around....
When I upload videos to Google it asks if they should be included in search results and I always say no but youtube automatically makes the movies public and I never thought to look into and change that until I had the subscriber.
So I changed the movies to private and he can not watch them now. (It was enough that he managed to watch each of them 4 times)
I can only hope now that he gets help.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I love getting mail and now I can get mail from strangers.
I love sending mail and now I can take advantage of endless hours of sitting in a desk next to a try of postcards and a drawer of stamps.
I am going to postcard the world.
After all, who doesn't want a postcard from Iceland?
I think you should try it, I know a few of my friends would enjoy this.
Check it out at:
Monday, October 22, 2007
It is just a mess they just move around so much
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Here are some videos he made:
How Kasper is super active! A real bundle of energy. Stefán, he always wants to be the center of attention and does everything to get in front of the camera.
These videos were taken by Davíð and I take no responsibilities concerning the poor quality.
There are actually more, but I will not torture you with that.
Friday, October 19, 2007
I have learned some great things that will help in my next employment.
It has been a good experience, but some things are making me crazy.
- My responsibilities have increased so much, but they are not sure if they can afford to give me a raise.
- I get no overtime pay.
- Even working here almost 100 hours a week, I still make much less then Davíð did at a regular job.
- They want to close for 2 weeks in December, so I will not be working and will not get paid for these forced holidays.
- They are a little sexist. When I work nights it is expected that I help out with getting the breakfast ready. The other guy who does nights does not have to help. I asked my boss why and he told me it was a girl thing to do. I am a little mad now.
So - I think I have taken the experience I need from this job and am looking for a new one.
The official job search has begun again.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Our new neighbor put red lights in all his windows leading to jokes about how this building is the Red Light district of Reykjavík.
To make it worse, he (the new guy) has started to change hallway lighjt bulbs to the red ones.
It is getting hard to see our way around now.
But if you walk past our building you will know you are here from all the red windows and if you open the building door you will be greeted by a nice red light.
It is all starting to get a little creepy.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
and a filter.
The first two are nothing special, just algae eaters to replace the ones that died in the summer.
But our newest fish is the coolest. It is called a Blue Shark and it looks like one! It eats fish food so i think the other fish are OK, but it is exciting.
It might not actually be called that, that is just what the lady at the pet store said but I can not find it online.
At least I hope our little shark stays little.
Time to start wearing that extra layer of clothing.
Monday, October 15, 2007
The evening went by nice and uneventful except for some drunk guy screaming and swearing because I could not understand his mumbled Icelandic at all. I told him there was no room to rent. (not to him at least)
The night shift was a little more problematic, I will start from the beginning.
When I went to close the reception at 11:30 I had 3 guys from Poland drinking beer. They did not seem to understand that they would need to go back to there rooms. I tried English, Icelandic, Hand gestures and pointing, nothing worked. I turned off the lights, they kept drinking. Finally I lead them out the door by the arm.
Then I waited around for my last check in that did not turn up until after midnight. I supposed I could have let the guys with the beer hang out until then, but they really had drunk enough already.
I do to sleep and an woken up by the fire alarm before 3:00. I was so startled I ran out of my sleeping room leaving the master key on the table and locking it in the room.
Usually when the alarm goes off it is just someone smoking, I turn it off and everyone goes back to bed. That night I turn it off, turn around and it starts again. I had no way to go around checking rooms, besides knocking on doors because my key was locked in a room. The reception is FULL of people and the alarm is screaming in our ears.
The first time the fire station called I told them there was no problem. No one had seen a fire and I was sure I could get the alarm off.
I tried but it always turned back on so the second time they called I said they better come down. The guests were all getting a little antsy at this point.
After 30 minutes of this nonsense my boss and a security car turn up (if the building had been on fire it would have been long gone). They check everything out, no fire just a chain smoker who did not get the hint to slow down on the smoking or go outside, even with the alarms going off.
Everyone goes back to bed.
At 5:00 a.m. the buzzer rings, a couple wants to check in. Although it is a very strange time to check in they seemed normal enough so I gave them a room.
5:30 the alarm system starts beeping. I called the room of the people that just checked in and asked them if they were smoking, they said no but they had taken down the smoke detector for some reason (probably planned on smoking) and the system goes off because it lost a sensor. I told them to put it back, they did and that was the end of that.
By the time next shift came at 730 I must have looked really bad because I got the day off with out asking and was told to get some rest.
My head did not stop hurting until this morning.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I can think of a few good reasons, right now, why you should consider just staying home.
- Unless you are walking, odds are you are creating a huge carbon debt with your trip. That 'cheap airfare' to just pop over somewhere for a weekend has other costs.
- Chances are, when you are on your trip you will consume more then if you would have stayed home.
- You are not a better person or more interesting because you have been to a few places.
- If you really just want to sleep somewhere different, try trading apartments with a friend.
- If you stay home, you can catch up on all those things you just never have time for! Like setting up a greenhouse in your backyard or going to the gym.
- You are not going to learn anything by experiencing another culture for a few days. If you really want the experience, then move there. After a year or so you will get over the culture shock and will really 'experience' the country.
- If you really need a photo with yourself beside some great art or tower, you can always just download a picture of it and copy and paste yourself onto it. It really is just as good.
- There is a reason kids are terrible while travelling, deep down inside they know it is unnecessary.
I could go on, but I think this is enough. It is something that I feel very strongly about and might sound a little harsh.
Remember you can get away from it all without going far - just have an imagination. There is so much so close by.
But where is it from and how did it get here?
I live in Iceland so when I go to the grocery store to buy fruit I know all the apples, oranges, grapes, melons and other tasty treats are not from around here. They have actually been flown in.
On AIRPLANES! Planes burn huge amounts of fossil fuels and contribute greatly to global warming.
We have food in Iceland so it does not need to be flown in to keep us from starving, it just gives a little more variety from the usual tomatoes and cucumbers.
When I lived in Canada, things were not much different. The strawberries were brought in from Mexico just so I could eat Strawberries in January. Other fruits were brought from California, fruit that also grows in British Colombia. Ridiculous really.
Imagine if everyone ate locally grown food. Imagine all the traffic and needless shipping that could be avoided. Imagine how much cleaner the air would smell.
If this does not convince you, think about this: Locally grown or raised foods are fresher and should contain a high amount of nutrients. It is just healthier.
Stuff = Extra clothing, a 50th pair of shoes, decorations and other crap you really do not need.
- When you buy new stuff, you often throw out old stuff - adding to the land fill.
- When you buy new stuff, you must dispose of packaging. There is almost always far more packaging then what is needed. Plastic packaging, need I say more??
- You probably drove your car to the store because no one likes to carry stuff home or on the bus.
- The stuff did not magically get to the store, it most likely travelled very far from a place that can make cheap stuff like China or maybe Poland. The trip to your store was long and polluting.
- When you buy stuff from these countries with little or no environmental protection laws you know they are destroying more then they are creating.
So buy less stuff, make it last, save money and save some earth.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
A weather sticker - now everyone will know how t is here, and can keep watch on dark it is getting
Fish - you can even feed them by click. I like fish.
Decorations - no more questioning how old the boys are getting
A translator - in case I start using strange words
I think this should cover everything I might need!
It is just a trial, it might get annoying, but for now I am going for the super tacky look.
The school age children are often dropped off at school at 7:30 a.m. and left there until 5:30. Some kids stay even later in the after after school care until about 8:00. This is a long time for kids to be left at the schools being basically ignored, mostly due to under staffing, or being watched by underpaid young adults.
These kids always just want to talk to you, they just want to talk to someone and be heard.
Seniors are in a situation that is no better, maybe even worse. In Iceland you do not see seniors going around on the buses much, or doing the early morning walk at the mall like you would see in Canada. The buses are not friendly towards wheel chairs or walking aids because they have stairs. No one is at the mall in the morning.
If you want to see seniors, old ones at least, you have to go to a nursing home. Most of the people in these homes have been completely forgotten by their families. Visitors are few and far between. It is like they no longer exist, except to the underpaid and under staffed nursing aids who care for them night and day.
Even the most important things are often forgotten. Families are expected to pick up dirty laundry and bring clean clothing, this is often neglected leaving nurses to do laundry.
Last weekend I saw a man turn 90, and no one came by to visit. There was no cake or gift. Not even a phone call. His children were busy. One called three days later, only because she remembered that she had forgotten his laundry last week. We do what we can, clean his clothing, sing him a song, but we are not family.
These people just want to talk to someone or listen. They are amazing people with great patience and stories to tell.
So this is my idea: It is about time these two groups of people were brought together.
I think the after school programs should all make plans with the neighbourhood nursing home and create a visiting program.
These are the details that I have thought of so far:
- The kids would be split into groups and each group, once a month would take the bus or walk to the nursing home.
- The visits would be timed with visiting time and the nurses could match kid with a senior who is alone and would want a visitor.
- The pair should be mixed up often to avoid kids being traumatized when the old people die, because this happens.
- I know the after school care has access to a bus two days a week, so no extra funding would be needed.
I honestly have no idea how to get something like this going, but I think it would be great so I will talk to Kasper's school on Monday.
Just think: The kids would have someone to talk to, visit with, look up too and pay attention to just them. The seniors would have someone to talk to and listen, they like to listen, while feeling important, like they should.
Maybe the kids could even learn a little respect for older people.
Friday, October 12, 2007
And it is about the environment - and I have so much to say.
It might sounds like a lot of complaining but I do plan to look at a few good things.
I even have lots of great new knowledge in my head because I have been helping Davíð do a bunch of research for school and he has been focusing on environmental solutions in everyday life.
October 15, this is so exciting!
So I went to use the new pin number that the guy promised me would work, and my account froze on me.
I called him today, he promised he had fixed it again, but tomorrow I will test it.
I am just getting so frustrated with this spending every day off at the bank.
Why can they not just be normal????
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I read No Logo a few years ago and was hooked. (I had actually bought it for Davíð for his birthday because I wanted to read it)
Today I ordered The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Sounds promising.
Now I can only hope the 10-12 weeks shipping will pass by fast so I can feed my brain.
Monday, October 08, 2007
It was madness, and in the chaos I did not get enough pictures, but a some people promised to send me some.
This is what I got:
Cutting the cake