Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Zelia eating broccoli and clementines

video

day light???

Well at 2:30 it was noticeably getting darker. It's a very slow darkening...now it is 4 and almost dark. There was light past 11 so it's pretty short.

Zelia and a sweater

video

Last Mommumorgun of 2008










Mommumorgun was delicious today and a lot of fun. Everyone brought something sweet and then there was hot chocolate made with a cinnamon stick, yummmm. I have asked for some of the recipes which were very good, I'll describe some of the cookies. There were meringue disks that had a little coco/coffee cream and then a layer of hard chocolate on them. They were really excellent, but a lot of work to make. There were small butter/sugar cookies that I loved and am getting the recipe, as well as chocolate/oatmeal balls with coconut, sooooo good and getting that recipe as well. Then there was a spicy layer cake with cream, snicker cookies squares made with rice crispies, I think dates, and chocolate. Major sugar high and I brought some back for Jacob to taste:) I mentioned that I know people in the US do a cookie party/exchange and they really liked the idea, yay.

Zelia was very independent throughout the morning which was really nice. She would totally leave my side, crawl under all the table and head over to the rug with the toys. There are several pictures of her playing with the twins in the group.

Anyway, here are pictures of the group and the food.
First mom and baby are: Heida and Louisa
Zelia, Sunna, Stephan and me
Zelia, Gudny,Stefan and me
Gudny and her son
Arny, Sunna, Stephan and
Zelia playing...



Some new Zelia Favorites

the bath tub stopper is her FAVORITE toy
she also likes the thera-band

she apparently likes broccoli heads and edamama and banana is back with a vengeance (sometimes it doubles as shampoo)

She is constantly talking, dadadadada, dube dube dube and her favorite word, DOH, sometimes in the middle of the night, too funny.

Delayed Posting - Jolabord i Nupur






So, Saturday was a great quiet day. Jacob was at school all day working on his paper for his economics course and Zelia and I hung around, played and she had some VERY good naps. Jacob came home around 3, we ate a little, packed and walked out to the gas station in town where we were being picked up by a van to take us to the hotel. We brought the car seat and then there weren't enough seats so Zelia was on our laps which was making us uncomfortable with the snowy roads. The driver had to stop at Bonus to get potatoes so we put the car seat in and Tanja sat on the floor for the ride, very nice of her. Through the long dark tunnel and about an hour later we arrived. The hotel used to be a boarding school for boys and girls and Sigi now runs it. We know Sigi because he also works for the University Program and he is the one who sent the ride for all of us. We checked in, got our rooms and headed up to the second floor. There were already people hanging around drinking in the halls and you could feel the buzz in the air that a party was going to start. The rooms were quite small with 2 single beds, a skinny closet, a sink, a chair and a table. We got a little settled and sat in the hall with some wine and Tanja and I were working furiously on our Icelandic sweaters. Zelia was crawling around on everyone having fun. She even managed to give Henry a smile and all he usually gets from her is screaming! Sigridor was also there, she is the Academic director of the program and actually lives in Reykjavik and commutes to Isafjordur for work. We will be spending next Sunday with her and her family when we are in Reykjavik.

At around 7pm we all got dressed and headed downstairs where several long tables were set up in the dining hall, a buffet area and a stage with musicians setting up. Sigridor was already at our table and Jacob went to get a high chair. Some people brought drinks in their bags (as I have mentioned alcohol is VERY expensive) and I enjoyed some jolaol, which is Christmas Ale, a mix of malta and orange soda and so yummy!!!! We headed up to the buffet for appetizers, 3 kinds of herring, lox, smoked salmon pate, cured goat meat (Jacob loved it), red cabbage salad, beets, Hangikjot (smoked lamb), peas, corn, roast beef (I went to town!!!), gratine potatoes (that were amazing), a shrimp salad (which really was a ceviche), a green salas, and eventually roasted pork and lamb. It was truly a feats and delicious. Later we learned that Sigi, himself chose the lamb and then it was sent to the north to be smoked by someone who really smokes fish but smokes lamb once a year for Christmas! We ate very well. Zelia did a good job considering the time and played for a bit on the floor, but at 10 I took her up and got her to bed. Throughout the night we would hear noise from time to time.

The Icelanders like to party and boy can they, I am not talking about 20 year olds, I mean this place had several in their 50's and 60's and they were drinking a lot and partying until 5am! According to the other students it got pretty crazy, lots of dancing some belligerent behavior, everything.

We woke at around 8:30 and hung out in the room, ate some clementines and hard boiled eggs we brought with us. Then we decided to head downstairs to see if there was any coffee and on the way out we found Tanja and Traian who told us about the rest of the night. We headed downstairs to a quiet, sleepy hall with the doors locked to the coffee. By reception a man was asleep in his chair, still dressed from the night before with several cuts on his face. We thought he had wandered in the snow and passed out only to return in the morning and fall asleep in the chair. We sat on the couches wondering when people who worked in the hotel would show up...Traian and Zelia were having a great time while Traian read stories to her. It was so sweet, she just cuddled right in... at 11 the place came to life as people wandered down to eat and the doors opened. There was a fancy coffee/espresso machine as there is everywhere in this country, left over meats from the night before, fresh bread, sour milk (like buttermilk), muesli, cheese and some cut up veggies, perfect.

After we ate we headed out for a walk along the road in the snow. The day was very grey and blustery and it was great to get outside and move a bit. As we walked along we saw the house that we think Jeanie would like and an adorable sheep dog who stayed with us for most of the way. When he spotted Tanja off in the distance he ran out across the field and herded her in to us:) At about 1pm the same man and van that brought us took us home.

This week has been good so far, we are feeling like one foot is on the plane:) Zelia has been sleeping very well for her naps outside which is great, yay to no coffee for me. On Monday night, while I went to knitting, she screamed for Jacob for about an hour before they came to get me. Except for that bad beginning, she fell asleep and then only woke once in the night , so I had a GREAT sleep!!!! unfortunately she did the same in the morning when I went to pilates, poor Jacob. She does have tooth #2 now...

I am working furiously on my sweater and am going to come home with it done!!!

Today we are going to the mom's morning and bringing cookies. Everyone is bringing something for the holidays. Maybe later we will go swimming since we ended up spending a lot of time at Gudny's house yesterday and didn't make it. I headed over there to get some help on my sweater and we visited for a few hours which was really nice. Today Jacob has a field trip so we'll see how it goes and tomorrow after his last class, we have a holiday party at the school in the evening for our Icelandic class. That's the news for now!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Economy

Two days ago the krona was let out on the market and gained 8%, yesterday it gained another 10%. This is good news for people here. unclear how it will continue and it's still at half it's worth 4 months ago, but we are hopeful.

Jolabord i Edinborghus

Jacob has an exhausting day yesterday. As I mentioned he was picked up at 5:30am and taken to Sudavik with some people working for Matisse, which is a private company but government subsidized that does aquaculture research. When they got to the factory they had to eviscerate 200 cod, weigh them, save the livers, weigh the gonads, log, etc, when they finished with the 200 fish from the day before they headed out to get 200 more. While out they also saw the collection of cod from the non research pens. There the cod are about 5 years old, a great deal bigger than the ones they were working with. He said that they have a big vacuum that sucks them out of the pens onto the boat, the boat goes in and blows them out still alive onto a conveyor belt where then the factory worked clean and fillet them, pretty amazing. As a side note, those cod are DELICIOUS!

They spent the entire day on their feet doing this work and came back tired, sore and stinky!!!!

Zelia and I went to class and felt particularly untalented in the language, ugh. It helped to go to a store afterward and use Icelandic to get several gifts that required some conversation:) When we got back, Zelia was asleep and Jacob was here. We got Zelia fed, bathed and ourselves ready to go to this holiday party and leave Zelia with Danielle. After a very unsuccessful attempt to get Zelia down in the bed (she screamed for 30 minutes, it was terrible) we put her in the stroller and Danielle walked us to our party and Zelia fell asleep. whew.

We got to the Edinborghus for the Jolabord. Jola means Christmas and bord, table. We walked in through what is normally the studio where there was a buffet and into the theater where long tables were set up, with about 20 to a table. After scanning the room, Oli saw us and waved us in. We were told to go and get some food but reminded that this was the appetizers so not to fill too much:). At the buffet there was lox, three kinds of herring, what looked and tasted like a salmon mouse, smoked lamb, raw/cured lamb, meatballs (yay), red cabbage salad (A Christmas special here) green salad, potatoes and cream, peas, and Reindeer pate. We headed back to the table with our plates full and curious about several of the dishes. I bet you can guess which ones I didn't like:) and of course which ones Jacob did! We sat next to the Dagbjort's parents (she is our 13 yr old babysitter). It was very sweet, because her mom, Dani, said that she was very excited today, even called her to tell her that Zelia didn't cry! It was so sweet to hear and also sad because clearly she has been feeling badly about Zelia's crying. They did have fun in class together playing...

Once the main entrees were out we headed back up the to the buffet where they had roasted lamb, ham, roasted pork and turkey. Then roasted potatoes and mixed vegetable. We had just been told about a way to prepare the potatoes where they were boiled and then put in a pan with butter and brown sugar and that's what these were, yummm. Jacob said the lamb was amazing. In general if you are a lamb eater you will be very happy here, apparently it is VERY tender. the roasted pork was good, as was the turkey. For dessert they served rice pudding with a cherry sauce and apple strudel, both very nice. It was really nice to see these folks in a social setting and to get to hang out. Everyone was quite drunk, as they had begun the drinking earlier at the office. Alcohol is SO expensive so people drink at home before going out and buying less when they are out. It was fun.

And then....the show began, yes the ABBA tribute band show. It was fun, totally silly in a way, the singers were good and people here clearly LOVE ABBA. We stayed for a few songs and then took a longer walk home and came to relieve Danielle. Zelia was sleeping outside still very soundly. she had woken up at one point but Danielle ran outside and walked her some more and she fell back asleep. Once we were ready for bed we brought her in. She was so sleepy but still woke for a bit before falling back to sleep. She had a pretty good night though.

This morning we woke to a little fresh snow, but rather warmer weather, about 4 degrees. Jacob is at school working on a paper and Zelia and I had gone for a walk and she is now outside napping. At 5pm we are being picked up and heading to another Jolabord at hotel Nupur. Should be a lot of fun and apparently really delicious food. Will write about it all tomorrow night.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friends












Pictures:
Zelia in her Peruvian hat from Aunt Mary and Uncle Benji
Astrid and Traian at "UN" dinner
Getting ready to go home
Tanja
Roany (Cuba), Kingsley (Malawi), and Mahadev (India)
Kheng (Cambodia)
Isafjordur "traffic" after concert let out
Christmas tree in town center
Zelia making a funny face
Student Holiday dinner party
food


The week has been a good one, but the pull of coming home is taking over along with the holiday feeling of things winding down...

The week began with a very lovely dinner on Sunday night with the UN students who had us over to their house. They had been taken out on a fisheries research boat for 2 days and came home with A LOT of fish. So, for dinner we had a delicious fish soup and 2 fish dishes and rice. It had been snowing quite a bit so it was a pretty evening to walk across town to their house. Here are several pictures of the evening.

On Tuesday I met Jacob in town after swimming where one of the clothing stores was having a great sale. Earlier I had been chatting with Katri and she had mentioned that people REALLY dress up here for the holidays, even when just going to people's houses. We have 3 holiday dinners this week and I thought maybe we should look for a few things. Anyway, we got some new tops which was fun and for great deal!!!!

On Wednesday morning when I went out to the mommy morning the energy in the town was totally different and I realized there was no wind at all. It was totally still - it was almost weird. But by the evening all was back to normal and the wind was gusty!:)

Yesterday I gave another free pilates class and had 6 students which was nice, but the promised advertising did not happen, ahhh. Annoying but done. It is hard to say if any will become regular students I'll just have to wait and see.

Last night was the student holiday dinner which was also very nice. We all got together at the old house in the center of town (I had written about it previously), where the professors are staying when they are here. The university provided some traditional Icelandic dishes and then we all brought something traditional from our countries. Jacob and I made potato latkes with homemade apple sauce and sour cream and Danielle made very good zucchini latkes. there are several biology masters students who live in the next town over, Bolungarvik, and they all happen to be Greek, one from the Greek half of Cyprus. Anyway, they brought a dish whose name I forget but which reminded me of mousaka except it was made with pasta and not eggplant. Henry made a mulled hot wine, Tanja a Chinese cucumber salad, Gisli made a traditional Icelandic bread which is flat and round and a little sweet (he says to eat it with butter and Hangikjot - smoked lamb traditional for Christmas day), Traian made deviled eggs, Gabriella, the professor made really yummy stuffed cabbage and then there were homemade piparkokur (gingerbread cookies, but not the kind from here, the woman who made them is Swedish). There were also 2 kinds of herring, one called Christmas herring and one sherry herring. The school provided lots of hangikjot, beets, peas, potatoes cooked in cream, and a Danish collection of open faced sandwiches with ham and pees, etc. The evening was great and although Zelia has been grumpy for about 2 weeks she did quite well:)

Today we went swimming with Sunna, Stephan, Haiti, and Alexander and then went to Haiti's house for some coffee and I brought banana bread. The swimming was great and soon I will have some pictures from it. Zelia has gotten so comfortable in the water and when she sees something that she wants, like the yellow rubber ducky, she leans forward and reaches with her hands and I swim her in the water to the ducky. Great! Zelia slept outside the entire visit and it was just really nice to be in someone's home. Both the grandparents were there (it's their house too) and we all just sat and chatted. they said i should come by at anytime to visit. I love that.

Gisli and Gerdur's daughter has been in the hospital for 3 days now and they have not been able to determine what is wrong with her and it is increasingly concerning. Jacob made a big pot of soup and took it over there with some bread, so they would have dinner and not have to worry about it. Of course after he dropped it off they called here to invite us to dinner, so off we went:) Zelia was a total grouch!!!! But loved eating the clementines and looking at their fish.

Tomorrow Jacob is going out sampling the farm raised cod instead of class. Of course we found out tonight they are picking him up at 5:30AM and so I will have to wake Zelia and take her to pilates in the morning, ugh...At least she will sleep through the beginning of rehearsal.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shabbat Continued







In the morning Jacob went hunting for ptarmigan with Gisli and Danielle. In Gisli's family it is a tradition to eat ptarigam for Christmas and if he gets enough he also make a ptarmigan pate. It was very cold, colder then it has been in a long time. They drove over to the next fjord, Altasfjordur, and began their hike. They basically hikes from 10:30 until 3 in sometimes waist high snow and for most of the morning it was snowing up there. They had two guns, so Gisli had one and Jacob the other and for the majority of the time they were separated. they had to flush the ptarmigan out of the brush and hunt them in the air. Jacob tells of his first shot when he crept up on a bird, aimed and took his shot, only to discover it HAD been a pile of snow:) The ptarmigans are black and white birds, but in this season they are primarily white with some black in the tail feathers. Later, he scared some out of the brush and took another shot. After a bit of walking he discovered he had succeeded and there it was at his feet.

they came back EXHAUSTED!!!!

Zelia and I had a great day listening to music and playing, plus getting Vicky on Skype. Then at around 2 o'clock, Gerdur knocked on our door and asked if we wanted to have some lunch. So we bundled Zelia up and put her in her stroller since it was time to nap and we headed out to the bakery to get some bread. They were setting up the market in the center of town and people were beginning to gather for the tree lighting at 4. At the bakery we got some Stollen Bread, which is a traditional German Christmas bread. Although, Peter Weis, the director of the University Center, who is from Germany says it's not really the right thing:) It is an egg bread with raisins and other dried fruit in it (like the kind that goes in the Panamanian wedding cake) and then it has powdered sugar on it. We also got a delicious raisin bread and enjoyed it with butter and homemade peanut butter (Tomas, her son, is great in the kitchen). Jacob and Gisli returned and we headed into town for the tree lighting. The hot chocolate booth was open (picture with the Santa on the booth) and they were also serving hot pancakes with raisins, yummmm. The square was full of people and it was nice to be in a crowd:) There was a count down from 5 and the tree was lit! It also seems that the music school did quite well selling things in the market, they had everything from baked goods, to dried fish, rotten shark, Icelandic sweaters and jams....

Speaking of sweaters....Jacob got one the other day at Karitas and it is great looking and he says incredibly warm. We also learned in the shop that if you find the wool scratchy then you can soak it in hair conditioner!

Anyway, after the lighting we were invited to go into Gerdur and Gisli's hot tub which is outside in their yard. So we headed home, showered, got bathing suits and brought the wine. It was SO nice.

It is cold today as well about minus 5 and Jacob is working on a presentation. I plan on getting some knitting done to try and finish his second sock already. Tonight we are going to the UN Students' house for dinner.








Lovely Shabbat

We had a really nice Shabbat dinner last night with the leftover soup from Thanksgiving and delicious sweet rye bread (rugbraud) with Danielle and then decide to take a walk, gongutur. We got Zelia ready for bed and added wool clothes and Jacob wore her all cozy and warm. We decided to walk by Gisli and Gerdur's house and Gisli happened to be outside getting ready to go to the dump. So we asked if they wanted to go for a walk and we all headed out for about 40 minutes. It was cold and began to snow lightly and it was perfect. On the way back Gisli ran to Samkaup and bought some cream and we headed back to their place for hot chocolate (with a little rum) and cookies. A delicious Isafjordur fig newton...

this morning is it VERY cold and Gisli came to get Jacob at 10, Danielle went with, and they headed to the next fjord over to hunt ptarmigan. Gisli has hunted 5 and would like 5 more for Christmas, a family tradition and he would like to make ptarmigan pate.

Later today there is going to be the town Christmas tree decorating and lighting, plus a market in the center put on by the music school. I think most people will be there and it should be a great time. We will take lots of pictures and get them up here later.

On a side note, I feel like my Icelandic has taken a big jump and I ma beginning to speak and make myself understood, yay. Also some big news is....apparently Isafjordur needs an English teacher in the high school....hmmmmm. Will you keep you posted.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving #2















Well, tonight was a big success and Jacob out did himself, of course!!!! The food was absolutely delicious and the turkey was AMAZING!!!! and the gravy was really out of this world. We also had a sweet potato dish that was out of this world, made with vanilla, eggs and candied pecans and corn flakes. Really good and I can be VERY picky when it comes to sweet potatoes:) Zelia ate a ton of fish from her daddy's fish chowder:)

Anyway, here are some pictures of the food and our evening...
Traian
spread,
Zelia eating fish
Tanja, Astrid, Gabriealla (professor from Canada)
Bjanri and Traian
Jacob, Tomas, Gerdur, Gisli, Katri
Jacob and Tomas and the turkey
Family pictures