Friday, January 4, 2013


About two months after I first met Bjarni he had to travel to Northern Iceland for three months to work in the tiny village of Hólar. Three months seemed too long of not seeing each other, so I decided and was invited to come up to Iceland to visit this new Icelandic guy and see the big volcanic island he came from. He picked me up in the late evening after my plane landed in Keflavik and we spent 4 hours driving North, and arrived to amma and afi, the grandparents, in the middle of the night where we'd stay the next couple of days. He had to leave early next morning for work, and I slept in. When I woke up it was time to meet the grandparents, but without Bjarni to introduce me and without a common language in which we could communicate. It sounds more nerve-wracking than it actually was. Amma was the sweetest thing, and hugged and kissed me and talked and talked and talked although I understood close to nothing. Amma, who is famed for her babysitting, was taking care of her great-grand child, Hrafnhildur, who was sitting by the kitchen table eating dried fish like it was candy. It was just another late morning in amma and afi's house with the radio playing in the background and coffee on the pot, but for a Dane who'd never previously put her foot on Iceland, there was so many new impressions.
Now I'm the mother of a little blue-eyed girl, who is the same age as Hrafnhildur was, and I came to think of these first impressions with Iceland, when we were sitting in the house in Reykjavik and Silja was happily snacking on dried fish. I suppose it's in the genes to like that kind of a snack -- which I by the way have also taken a liking to by now. Who would have thought back then, when Bjarni (and amma) in addition to the harðfiskur proudly introduced me to rotten shark and other Icelandic delicacies. Good thing it didn't scare me off.
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  1. Oh, I love your post.
    My first real „conversation“ with amma was on 9/11. I already spent six weeks on Hvalnes and this was my first day in S´krók, I didn´t speak Icelandic at all. But she was very patient to explain everything to me, verbal and with gestures.
    About harðfiskur. Maybe it´s in the genes, but I love it too! And we also have hákarl in the freezer, waiting for some brave person to try it :D

  2. What a lovely story. Rotten shark? The maoris do rotten corn in NZ but I never wanted to try it.

  3. Dejlig fortælling Dorte :)

  4. Janina: I guess Amma has become used to some of us foreigners popping through their house every now and then. She is so sweet and welcoming to everyone. Good luck with the hakarl!

    Jayne: H!!! So good to see you here. Hope all is well with all three of you. Still in Vienna?