Friday, April 2, 2010

Preparing for Pesach and Jewish Iceland

The weeks leading up to Pesach were spent in our more or less regular routine, but with lots of help from all sorts of folks to get ready for the Hag. Bryan and Nina's package came with 3 boxes of Matzah, cake meal, matzah meal and some chocolate macarroons!!!! So fun. I had also finally been put in touch with some folks within the jewish community in Reykjavik and had several phone chats with a very nice Isralei woman.

In these conversations I also learned about a professor at the University of Iceland, his area of interest is in the Hebrew bible and I have made contact with him. I am hoping that perhaps I could guest teach a few classes and also speak with him about PhD opportunities. He is very interested in Jewish studies in who knows!

Finally, I am hoping to work with the community to establish Judaism as a registered religion here. Some small percent of taxes are taken out of everyone's taxes to pay for the church or other group as to the choosing of the individual, but since Judaism has not been "established" here it is not a choice, once it is, then funds can be allocated toward Jewish activity!

On Friday evening we had Gudrun Anna babysit with Oli and Jacob and I went out with Halldor and Sigga to quiz night at Kantrybaer - the country western bar in town! There weren't many people, we were told, because there were two confirmations in Reykjavik this weekend for kids who were from Skagastrond - so many people had already left town. It got a bit rowdy with some drunk folks, but it was great to get out! When we got back Zelia had just woken up and was playing and "making dinner" in her kitchen.

Winter seemed to have returned and it got very cold and snowy. Jacob worked hard all day Saturday making gefilte fish....yummmm. He left the pot outside to cool and Zelia who was outside playing in the snow brought her bucket full of snow over and apparently put snow in the pot! Jacob only discovered the pot's top off a bit and the bucket of snow, but when we asked she said yes with glee!

So, on Sunday morning we drove to Reykjavik in our rental car and when we arrived we headed right to a new friend´s house for coffee and cake - both Israel and Iceland have a strong tradition of coffee and cake so I knew it would be good:)

We then headed to Edda's place, where we were staying, dropped our things and Jack and went to the pool! It's a big pool, the same one we went to last time and it was crowded, lots of young people hanging out in the hotpots and flirting, it was fun. We spent over an hour there and it was really perfect after the drive in the morning and it was VERY cold out.

Once back at Edda's we got ready, packed Zelia into a stroller and walked to have dinner at Aude, Siggi and Herdis' place. They had another couple there, she was from Germany, he was from Ireland and their daughter and it was such a lovely evening and delicious as always. It was great to chat with them about all sorts of things, home births, which they have each had, lots about Judaism and and all sorts of other topics. We brought the Chinese sweet rice cake we had bought in Chinatown in Boston and although it didn't cook up right it was yummy and the kids REALLY liked it.

It was a cold walk back and Zelia fell fast asleep.

The next morning Jacob headed to work and Zelia and I lounged around for a bit, went to the great play ground down the street but couldn't stay long because it was so cold. We headed back to eat and Zelia fell asleep. At noon the midwife, Kristbjorg, came and spent 2 hours with me! It was perfect. We just chatted about birth, got to know each other, I learned more about midwifery in Iceland and about home VBACS. They have not been done to date but the home birth midwifery community decided not to say no anymore and there will be two in April. I am thrilled! Our main challenge now is finding a place to do it!

After that meeting Zelia and I walked to the hospital and met Jacob there for our ultrasound!!!!! It was so nice and the midwives doing it super great. I went in alone at first for different checks and measurements and then Jacob and Zelia came in to see too. Jacob and I both had a moment of weakness and thought, we want to know what it is, but we got through it and left without asking....hmmmm...not easy and quite tempting. I never felt that with Zelia's pregnancy.

We went for a nice walk with Jack afterward, Zelia eventually fell asleep and we had just a little time to get dressed for the seder.