Friday, November 21, 2008

sluggish days, visits to new homes, full spectrum light and the hospital

I have certainly slowed down with the blog writing, partly due to feeling rather sluggish, partly due to not having very exciting things to report and partly difficulty in finding time. So, I will do my best to give some new news of Isafjordur.

On Tuesday, Katri and I had our performance at the University Center. There is a mix of formality and informality that I can't put my finger on. The formality reminds me of Panama in a way, some focus on ceremonies with many speakers but at the same time everything begins very late and last minute. And so was this event. we arrived at noon with plans to perform at 12:30. People came in from all around town to celebrate the completion of the building. everyone gathered upstairs in the large hall way where Peter said some words and introduced what was around 5 people who each spoke. I was hanging out in the stairwell and Katri was in another hallway. We understood that people would be splitting and going to 2 different locations for coffee. The time was going by and people were still speaking, but at about 10 of 1 we began. Katri had to leave at 1 to teach so we were quite pressed for time. The crowd began to move toward the stairs but they would not pass me so I had to keep taking them through the building and was not able to wait for Katri. She met me in the coffee nook and from there we continued together. We danced for about 10 minutes moving through the building and it ended up being quite fun and much more interesting than we had thought. Afterward we had some Icelandic fish stew with rugbraud (a sweetish molasses bread) and some jolaaul, Christmas Ale made from malt soda and orange soda. It's actually good!

While we were there Jacob had a chance to meet a man named Runar who works in the avalanche institute and they chatted about back country skiing and are planning on doing that together once the snow really comes.

throughout the week the day have been getting shorter and feeling energetic has been challenging. On Wednesday we took a walk to look at something I was hoping to buy. It''s a wool baby sleeping bag. You can see it on It is as beautiful as it looks and it's made by two women in town. We walked over to her house on the other side of town whree the houses look very modern. She had a beautiful view from her living room and we spent a bit of time there looking at the bag. We decided it was too small for Zelia at this point but she is going to make us a cotton blanket which will also be really nice. She was asking us about things for Zelia and was anxious to be able to help with anything she had. Very nice. She said that once the blanket was complete she would bring it by our house! As we walked home we stopped by a light sculpture by the high school which we were told is a full spectrum light. We stood by it for a while hoping to feel better - it may have worked.

On Thursday, Zelia had a great morning with Danielle, and was with her for about 3 hours. Katri and I had another great rehearsal. I continue to love letting Zelia lead the way, showing us when she is ready for changes. I also met with Fridrik in the afternoon to talk about our piece. I think we are now clear in our communication and hope that by Sunday we will be closer to getting the music together. When I met him last Sunday at the music school he took me on a tour and told me some of the history. The school itself had been a boarding school for girls, we laughed that it is where they learned to be good wives, learning skills like cooking, weaving, sewing, knitting, etc. The Music Society in town had for years been saving money and hoping to have a building one day and I think about 30 years ago as the school was slowly collapsing, they were able to buy the building and rehab it completely. the two architects that worked on the building were perfect for the job, one is very interested in restoring old buildings and the other works with acoustics. The place looks great, with the original doors, restored old school floors, etc. We rehearsed in the concert hall which is a really great space, with amazing acoustics, he said.

there is something about Fridrik that reminds me of Uncle Chris, he is much older, but something in the slow way he speaks and the square shape of his mouth. I like hanging out with him. He has no family here in Isafjordur, but 2 daughters in Denmark and some family in Sweden and a son in the south of Iceland. He keeps saying that he is not used to being given such freedom with a project!

After rehearsal and dinner Zelia went to sleep, only to wake 45 minutes later and to throw up what seemed like everything she had eaten and drunk the entire day. Poor girl, it was all over her face and in her eye lashes. We cleaned her up and then bed and went back to sleep, but that time only lasted 10 minutes before it happened again. So, needless to say it was a VERY long night with VERY little sleep for any of us. I am happy to report that since 6:30 this morning she has kept all liquids down, although she now has what looks like a rash on her cheeks. We did head over to the hospital at 10am to see the doctor. He told us there is a virus going around town, maybe even Rota (she was vaccinated for that...). By the way, he had never even heard of a Rota virus vaccination, interesting. This is the same doctor that saw Jacob a while back and he is very friendly. We learned today that he has been here for about 6 months with his wife and daughter, and plans to leave in the spring to go to Sweden to continue his studies. Too bad, we wonder if there is a high rate of change among the doctors who come and work here.

So, Zelia is sleeping and Jacob is off to go hunting with Gisli and Henry, I think for Ptarmigan. Zelia and I will head to Icelandic class when she wakes. Tonight we are having Shabbat dinner together with Danielle and nothing else is planned for this weekend.