Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Couchsurfing for foreigners

I noticed this before, but now talking to another couchsurfing host from Norway it seems that it is not just here.

Most hosts seem to be foreign.

When looking for a host, the most active are usually not from the host country.

At couchsurfing gatherings, again, the could be called foreign gatherings.

Some hosts have been in the country long enough to know enough to be a good guide - as good as any native for sure.

But I wonder why we (the foreigners of what ever country) are more likely to open our couches and time.

Maybe we are more lonely. I think this probably goes for me.

Maybe we always hope for a visitor from our own country. I admit I become almost giddy at the prospect of a Canadian couch surfering guest.

Maybe we just like the treats.....

(It is not required and not everyone does it, but you often get some candy or snack from the country you are hosting.)

Maybe there are just not so many Icelanders left here (an excuse for Iceland at least), a lot have moved away. I have even heard a lot of complaints - tourists are asking, 'Where are the Icelanders'. Certainly not downtown are near the tourist destinations.
Maybe we will never know.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I had a couchsurfer last night! My first one to stay over night in my new place, it was great.

Kasper refused to go to bed until they met, near midnight! But she brought a bx of Kinder surprise for each of the boys, so the wait was worth it.

Kasper is also the best host, he offered his room, he slept with me. He also brought an icewater and some books in English for her to read. It was so cute.

But the best part was staying up late, and getting up early just to chat with someone different.

I learned about life in Ukraine before, during and after the boom. Immigrating to Norway and a planned trip to the U.S., to visit friends, on a two year Visa.

I also had the chance tell some stories about Iceland and correct a few conceptions of Canada.

For some reason she thought Canadians often run off into the States and hide, not wanting to come back to Canada.

The only example I have ever heard of this is a guy who did not want to pay his child support payments.

This morning we even went for a long walk with Rósa while I took her to a good spot for hitchhiking.

The first time in a while that I had any reason to get out of bed before 10! I was actually up at 7!

Having guests certainly makes life more interesting when Davíð is away!

Like some old furniture

Everyone knows I live on the old base...

So I saw this guy who lived downstairs from me moving out. I also noticed that the other day he stuffed a bunch of stuff, including some decent furniture but we will get to that later, into the recreation room.

People often through things they do not want in there so it has turned into a bit of a furniture and old toy grave yard.

So, I asked him about the stuff he put in there, you might say I confronted him. Not to be rude, but to be honest I wanted one of the chairs - so I asked if it was his stuff.

and he said....

What did they leave you behind with the base?

Everyone knows the Americans left nearly everything behind with this base, trucks, appliances, furniture, a library, and I guess me.

I do not think he meant it in a nice way, in fact he seemed rather rude, like I am something that would be left behind.

I pointed out that I was actually Canadian, like that makes a difference, he says that what you all say.

So I am not actually going to ask him for the chair, I suspect he might burn it just to be mean, I will just take it in a day or two, when I know he is gone.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Windy Asshole #1

This is how Reykjanesbær was described to me when I told someone in Þórshöfn where I was moving.

I still am not sure what a windy asshole is, but Reykjanesbær could very well be #1.

I actually do not think it is any worse the Þórshöfn, that place was windy, but people are very defensive of there home towns.

Something I have noticed is that there seems to be no way for me to get the actual weather situation here.

The weather site only shows the weather for Reykjavík. I guess they assume that because we are only 40 min. away from the capital it would be the same, but this just is not true.

The other day I dressed the kids up in sweaters and pants, it was rather windy and chilly. We took the bus to Reykjavík where it was roasting hot and I spent the day carrying the kids clothing around, and they still complained about being in pants.

Today the wind is howling through my apartment. I watched the kids playing outside with the dog and was a little worried the dog might not make it back. The hedges are nearly sideways, but when I check the weather I see that it is only 9 m/s in Reykjavík.

I am sure it must be at least 15 here.

I promise, I am not complaining, I would just like to know sometimes.

Back to Þórshöfn

The freezer house in Þórshöfn called Davíð's boss asking that Davíð be sent back for a project. They will cover his hotel and his food, his boss with look after airfare and extra pay for being away from his family (including very pregant wife).

Buckets of great things were said to his boss, and they are even more sad now to see him go to school.

He flew out at 7 this morning and I miss him already but I am happy that he is getting the recognition he deserves. It would certainly cost less to hire an Electriction from the area, with the work shortage I am sure they could get a deal, but they know Davíð knows what he is doing.

It is a little too bad that these things were not happening over the winter and it takes moving away to be noticed.

Translation Problems

As a friend of mine was telling me of a few problems with translating from English to Icelandic I remembered something I saw on the bus the other day.

Some tourists had a map with advertisements around the edges. One of these adds was for Vatnvörld, an amazing indoor water park for small children, attached to a large outdoor pool for the older ones. It was a nice picture of the water park with the words

This could easily mean that no children are allowed . . in a water park.
Anyways, this is just another example of how it would be wise to have things double checked, before printing, by someone who usually speaks English.

They say everyone in Iceland speaks English, but your standards for what speaking English means will certainly go down.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Child Poverty

If these kids are poor, don't tell my kids. They will leave home looking for someone clearly more rich then us....

They have a t.v. and d.v.d. player, if my kids watch anything it is something off the Internet on our computer, we don't actually have a t.v. yet, never mind a d.v.d. player.

The children in this article have no choice but to watch t.v., they are so poor they can not afford to do anything else. We are so poor I make my kids play outside. They often spend the entire day out there playing on playground or building castles on what ever they find laying around.

And you see that cell phone, well my kids do not even have cell phones. (Although the time might be coming)

Almost all the clothing my kids have is second hand, I actually have them thinking this is the way it is supposed to be. Why would you spend huge amount of money on clothing they will destroy or leave at the playground by accident?

I think most people with children know how to save money with them and make things last longer, it doesn't mean they are poor, just clever.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Silly Boys with a camera

This is what happens when the kids get the camera in there hands.... and I wonder why is works less and less every year...


Sprinklers are one of those things that I never thought I would see in Iceland.

My first summer here was rain,rain and more rain. Last year was said to be unreasonably hot and dry and this year is looking the same, so now the water fun comes out but it seems so strange.

Next thing you know they will be selling slip and slides, in Iceland.

When it is so nice out, it is hard to go back inside. We spent most of Friday afternoon camped out in Kristína's back yard watching the kids play.

It really was perfect weather.

Sleeping over

On Thursday the boys had there first sleep over in our new house.

There cousin Garpur was staying with Stefán and Kasper friend was staying with him.

We all went to bed around ten and when I woke up at midnight everyone else was still awake.

So I put Stefán in our room and sent the other kid home. Then they fell asleep.

I had to get everyone up in the morning to catch the bus to Reykjavík and were they ever tired!

I would like to think they learned a lesson, but I doubt it.

Maybe I learned a lesson, no sleep overs when we have to get up in the morning, or maybe I should start trying to get them to bed at about six?

Either way, maybe this is one of those things we all need practice at.

These pictures are the boys climbing on some strange statue in front of Keiler, on our way to the bus. Some cool wooden guy with a guitar.... I bet he gets climbed on a lot.


This is one of about 30 pictures that Davíð took of me sleeping on the super small couch. It must have looked really funny or something but I think it is a little mean.
32 weeks pregnant, not much fits, but at least I can still crunch up and sleep on a two seater couch.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More on Leópold

on wiki

on Behind the name

I like this name a little more all the time, although Kasper is a little concerned about us choosing a name because he learned in school that the church names the babies. I tried telling him that I was sure the parents just told the church what to name the baby but he doesn't believe me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Misunderstandings with Keilir

First Davíð gets a phone call telling him off for stealing then Keilir (The Base stuff) property. Ok stupids, we were the ones who reported it. Why would we report ourselves? 'Hey I just stole all this stuff and am now selling it on Barnaland, my name and number is...' A small mix up in the message?

Then I go to check out our online banking, a stressful enough situation at the best of times, when I see a school fees bill from Keilir for 290 000 kr. If that is the school fees what the heck were the 45 000 and 30 000 school fee bills we already paid?? Steam is coming out of my ears.

I call Davíð, naturally a little angry, and he is surprised, he was expecting only to have another bill for 170 000.

What ever happened to the all amazing free education system in Iceland?

The Clothing Man

Another great addition to our home, free because people were moving, is the clothing man.

Davíð's new friend who can help in making sure clothing is not left all over the floor.

He is kind of fun to dress up and will give you a jump if you only see it out of the corner of your eye.

Monday, July 13, 2009

On Icelandic Food

A radio program on BBC on Icelandic food.

It is interesting and not completely untrue, although I have my doubts about the claims of Icelandic children eating shark like candy.

There is no point denying it, shark tastes bad.

Free City

As expensive as Rekjavík is, it is good to know there is cheaper or free options for entertainment


Or you could just call him Leo in English.

Another name option and this one is currently Davíð's favorite.

His grandfathers brother was named this and I guess a cousin has the same name.

Myself, I have become completely indifferent to the name situation and Davíð is threatening to name the baby Link if I do not show more interest.

Bathroom Madness - Like the cartoons

OK, I know not everyone is impressed by this, but maybe you are?

TWO BATHROOMS! The one with the bathtub, as seen here, can be reached by the hallway and has been names the kids bathroom.

When Stefán saw this toilet he was so happy. 'It is just like in the cartoons!!' The toilets in Iceland have buttons on top. Usually two, one for a big flush and one for a small one.

I guess he doesn't remember the ones in Canada.

The last picture is called the adult bathroom. You need to go into our room to get in this one. It has a big shower. You can lock the door and be alone, I like to shower alone.

Best of all, you can brush your teeth while looking in the mirror and not see toothpaste all over the mirror.

This is not the case in the kids bathroom.

SO AMERICAN! I love it :)

Stefáns Room

Stefán is also enjoying having his own space.

He never tires of drawing, writing and finding things to hang up. He is currently out of teachers gum and is begging for more. This too will have to wait a bit.

When I let them pick what bedding they wanted on there beds today I was surprised when Stefán wanted the Santa Claus blanket. Although Stefán has always maintained that he is a close friend of Santa's, I wonder if he realizes how long he still has to wait until Christmas.

Naturally the Star Wars men have a place of honour in the window ledge.

The Spiderman table set really needs to move out to the balconie, it is just crowding his room, but right now he says he needs it.

The Spiderman table is the store and the desk is where he works on movies and other projects.

He will defend every toy that is out, according to him they are all being used at the exact moment.

He also has a large closet, but how many pictures of those do you need to see?

Kasper's Room

With this being the first time the boys have had separate rooms, they both are using the chance to express themselves.

Kasper has a sign on his door clearing telling everyone to 'Sta Át'. If you sound this out with Icelandic it says Stay Out. I am guessing that because he tried to write it in English he is talking to me.

He has also hung up some favorite art work of his, glow in the dark stars and an Iceland flag. He wants a Canadian flag too, but this will have to wait.

There is a huge closet for his clothing, he only fills half of. I guess when he gets bigger, his clothing will too and then he will need the space.

The desk is so great and so lucky for us we got it. I went to get the boys from the park last night and saw some people moving out of another building. They had a pile of stuff with a 'gefins' sign, meaning to give away. We talked to the and they are moving to Norway so we scored a desk, 2 chairs and a vacuum.

Kasper's bed is coming. For now he just has the mats but in 2 or 3 weeks he will get his own. A friend is moving back to the states and we are buying an Ikea bed from her. It is one of those that has a bed that slides out for underneath for guests. With this the room will look great!


My New Kitchen!

My new kitchen is so huge and American I love it. I guess I have not changed so much after three years in Iceland.

I have a huge pantry that I am currently trying to make look full by setting all the food at the front. I do not know how we will ever stock up enough food for this thing!

My giant fridge has a freezer part and an ice maker, how crazy is that? The dishwasher.....ahhhh this is the life. My American style coffee pot fits right in here!

See all those cupboards? Almost all of them are empty. I have dishes in 2 of them and a few cans of tuna in one. I need to get more food still, but I like that there will be a cupboard free for just baby stuff!

The apartment came with a microwave and an American stove, it heats up super quick. I am really happy with it...

The huge dining area looks a little empty at the moment but this will change.

With all these luxuries I know I will have a hard time ever leaving the base!

And if you didn't know before, now you see how important stuff is to me.

Actually, I never considered myself very materialistic before, but now I see how these things make me smile sooo much!


The Zoo

This year we decided to buy the year pass at the zoo again. I could not help it, there is just so much to do there.

My favorite time of year at the Zoo is the spring, the baby animals are so cute!

You can see Stefán horseback riding on the tiny Icelandic horses!

Working for Afi

While we were staying with Inga and Rob, the boys were put to work on landscaping.

It is amazing how hard they work, even if they do not seem to get a lot done.

After Rob paid them each 500 kr, they want to work all the time.