Monday, 22 December 2008

Canada, and HOME!!

So, it turns out that -35°C is too cold to go skiing or snowboarding with a large degree of comfort, and that -14°C feels positively warm in comparison. Hooray for the person who invented the little active carbon sachets that keep toes and fingers warm all day long! And hooray for snow-making, since even Whistler doesn’t always have oodles of snow.

So, Luce and I are now level 3 skier/rider respectively (where 6 is beginner and 1 is highest). I never really believed that I would ever have control over turns on a snowboard, so I am pretty impressed with myself. I can even negotiate moguls (slowly, and not very elegantly YET), so long as they’re not too massive, and there aren’t too many people. I am definitely go to continue ‘riding’, especially since it means Luce and I are now perfectly matched to hit the slopes together :)

So, 4 days at Whistler. The Peak-to-Peak gondola opened the day we arrived, and we went both ways on it, including a go on one of the gondolas with a glass bottom :) 440m above Fitzsimmon’s Creek between the Blackcomb and Whistler peaks, the whole trip of 4.4kms takes 11mins. Because I was wearing a helmet (as did about half of everyone I saw, even adults!), I planned that if something ‘happened’, I would hug Luce’s head to my chest and protect him. It turned out I didn’t need to do this, thankfully. Although it was a little weird, when, 2 hours later, we found out that the Blackcomb gondola tower #4 had snapped, and the only injury was a guy who whacked his head on the roof as his gondola fell. He should have worn a helmet, like me. Or had someone ready to hug him tightly, in case of emergency!

Finally, we’re home. I love Melbourne. The light is bright white, the sun is hot, my car is AWESOME (I have a volume control on my steering wheel!), my bike is EVEN AWESOMER (soft seat, smooooth gears, easy braking, COMFORTABLE angles, stiff frame, pannier, and there are new and newly paved bike paths going from my house to the shops in 2 directions), there are TREES absolutely EVERYWHERE, and they are all so beautiful with their slender trunks and blue leaves, and there is a strong feeling of connection with people, even those who are pushing trolleys around a carpark, because they make eye contact, they smile, they SPEAK (okay, we both mumble something no-one can hear, but you can tell we’re being friendly!), my clothes were washed and dried in a matter of hours, there is extra vintage extra tasty cheddar cheese OMG!, and I’ve eaten a month’s worth of nectarines, peaches (omg, so yummy!) and apricots in the 3 sleeps we’ve been home. Oh, and did I mention how COMFORTABLE my bed is? With 1,000 thread-count sheets, a firm futon mattress, just the right number of pillows that are just the right sizes, and Luce within hand-splatting distance for snuggles and reassurance in the middle of the night. And I have already borrowed two new audiobooks from the library. For free. And it's always daylight here, apparently ;) I love Melbourne.

Friday, 12 December 2008

on the road again...

So, we thought going home via Canada would be good - to go skiing, and to go 'with the sun' and all that. BUT. FIRST up our flight Keflavík-Halifax (Canada east coast) got diverted via Boston, because it's winter. Fine, we found this out 2 months ago. But THEN Air Canada changed the time of our Boston-Halifax connecting flight, so we had to spend the night in Boston. Again, fine, this happened weeks ago, and Luce persuaded them to put us up at the Hyatt for the night.

But THEN, our Boston-Halifax flight this morning got cancelled, so we got diverted via Toronto, and our planned 2 days in Halifax has dwindled to a single night. And seeing as how it gets dark at 16:30 here (in Halifax), there's no 'sight' to be 'seeing' even out of the aeroplane window.

We did try to skip Halifax and fly directly Toronto-Vancouver, where we're going skiing for a few days. It was very difficut trying to explain this to the Air Canada staff: "Why are you going to Halifax from Toronto if you want to end up in Vancouver?" -Precisely! Can you change our ticket. "Um, no. No. No, no. No." FINE.

Show bigger map

It turns out we have made about 5 friends here already, including a lovely couple who were about to tell their parents they were about to be grandparents. Wait for it... As they were hugging, the guy was going to say "Careful, you might squish your grandchild!" And... he did! Hahaha, nerd! I like Canadians :)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Perlan, oh Perlan

Well, Luce and I finally made it up to Perlan for a lovely buffet meal. Our friends Ási and Björk came all the way from Cambridge to join us, and we all munched happily on smoked salmon, turkey, prawns, rye bread, smoked salmon, rye bread, ice-cream, creme brulee, rye bread, smoked salmon and much much more :)

Perlan rotates slowly, and we did the usual lose our coats because they were resting on rails that our table left behind, and I have to say that, when we went to get our entrees and then headed back to our table, the expression on Ási's face at not finding our table where we left it was priceless! Hahaha :D

Yoko Ono's Tower of Peace moved slowly around us, as did the National Hospital, the under-construction Uni of Reykjavík, Öskjuhlíð forest, the airport and the Háskóli Íslands, all under an apparently starry sky (even if the stars were tiny lights on the inside of the domed windowed ceiling of Perlan!).

At Björk's insistence, we went for an after-dinner walk around the balcony of Perlan, which turned into a bit of a jog and then a run as the wind stripped all warmth from our bodies, even on just a single loop. Ah, Christmas in Reykjavík.

PS, Our party on Saturday went brilliantly. Luce made loads of lovely food and there were plenty of people. I was a little concerned we wouldn't be able to chill our drinks, there being no snow at the moment, but it turned out that the -5 degrees was enough after all to turn our fizzy drinks into slushies :)

This time next week, we'll be in Boston!

Saturday, 15 November 2008


Hahaha! It's like, 2 degrees (positive), and it's snowing - the biggest snow 'flakes' I have ever seen! They're all the size of golf-balls, and I swear I saw one nearly tennis-ball size a minute ago! It's so funny - cos they're so big, you can see them dropping down for miles up in the sky. Where ARE they coming from?! :D

Thursday, 6 November 2008

snúa og snua, og bremsa og bremsa, ...

(Sorry for double-posting on the good newz blog...)

HAH! I've been taking Swing/Rock'n'Roll dance classes at the Háskóli, and cos I'm sick of Icelandic guys not dancing, I've been learning to lead. And tonight we were learning to dance with 2 girls!! Aaaughhh!! Actually, it's not THAT hard, if they're dancing in time/together. But THEN the teacher said, oh, now let's see what happens when you turn one girl twice and one girl once, and continue on with other moves we've learnt to dance one-on-one ... Chaos! Mayhem! But *I* mananged to do it in the end, even doing the 'turn the other girl twice' to get them back in step!! Woo-hoo! OMG!!

Oh, we also got all of our passports, work permits and residency permits renewed, til October 2009. Should be home before then though! Luce looks pretty similar in both his residency permit photos, but I don't look like the same person at all (first photo straight hair, overexposed, second photo bed hair and enough contrast to see my freckles). Funny.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

October update

Yes, yes, Iceland's in a financial crisis, or an efnahagskreppa as it appears on the front page of every newspaper every day. And every single Icelander I have spoken to about it has been disconcertingly positive about it: 'Oh, yeah, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Maybe now Icelanders will learn to curb their spending a bit, and stop living entirely on credit'. Maybe.

Anyhow, France with The Wining Sysprogs was great, pics coming at some stage. The French were LOVELY - people seemed to go out of their way to be helpful and nice and to understand my French. Like, I had complete strangers beep and wave and almost hang out the window of their car in order to say 'Bonjour!' to me! Admittedly we were in the middle of nowhere (or, as much in the middle of nowhere as one can be when one is in the region 'where it all began' - Clan of the Cave Bear country and all!).

The Brits also seem to have redefined themselves since my last visit - random strangers and even service desk people were helpful, friendly, smiled and knew the answers to my questions! Now, I must admit here that I had VERY low expectations of their behaviour, but even so, they seem to be a much happier and friendlier bunch than I have experienced before. So, another win :) Oh, and we can't forget visiting the Ási's, and the Abba song (and dance!) night we had. Mamma Mia, here I go again... I have decided that one of the prerequisites on a parenting licence should be the ability to play a musical instrument, preferably guitar or piano, in order to allow for family singalongs. Oh, and I nearly died laughing at Spamalot the Monty Python musical. It's one thing to watch a stupid film and quote from it, it's quite another to see adult human beings prancing around being ludicrous when they're within spitting distance of you. It lends a certain air of respectability to the daft jokes me and my friends try to tell!

Sweden was aces - I used a groovy graphing program linked to Google Earth, so I clearly had the most exciting presentation at the conference. Furthermore, I had a super lovely time with all of my NORMS friends, and I (had) learnt to count to 10 in Polish, although I get a little muddled with 8, 9 and 10, and my poor tongue tip doesn't quite move fast enough to deal well with the retroflex fricative followed rapidly by the pre-palatalish fricative in the number '6'. Does make you wonder a little about the kind of tongue-tip control that native Poles must have. Like one wonders about the transferability of the digital and lingual dexterity of clarinet players... Doesn't one?

And it snowed last night, and everythings is bright and clean and white. Well, it was when it wasn't dark...

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Lost ... and Found

So, despite my steadfast refusal to admit that I ever lose anything, and my firm conviction that it's only Luce who never puts anything away and who is thus the only candidate in our household for never being able to find anything, I've been having a rather rough time of it of late. Over the past week alone, I have lost my favourite purple fleece top, my favourite blue leggings that perfectly keep the bits of me between the bottoms of my thermal underwear and the tops of my shoes warm, my sparkly and practical flat dancing shoes and my keys which includes the special electronic key to get into my building at uni.

After a massive search which entailed me cleaning (not just 'putting things away') all of the kitchen, all of the laundry and part of the living room, Luce cracked it and refused to let me stay at home in his office any longer. He insisted upon yet another search of my bag, which I had pre-packed the night before to go to uni, and, lo and behold, my keys turned up in the very bottom. So, they weren't *really* lost, after all... Just nobody knew where they were.

And then, when I had decided that my purple fleece, my leg warmers and my dancing shoes must all be lost together, in the land where all lost tops, leg warmers and dancing shoes sneak off together to when your back is turned, I went to basketball training, and one of the other girls said, "Oh, you left your purple top at training last week - here it is." And then I went home, and in the process of putting things away for when Elisabeth arrives, my leg warmers magically appeared from the depths of a small pile of clothes - concealed by a jumper and pair of tracksuit pants. And THEN, my dancing shoes turned out to still be at the last place I had dancing! So, everything is now accounted for!! Luce wants to attach all of my personal items to me with a long piece of string, but I think that's highly unnecessary. After all, it's not ME who loses stuff...

But the last word in this story must be saved to say how much we like Reykjavík. How many capital cities around the world can you leave things behind at public venues, and have them waiting for you when you return several days later? (Compare Tönchen's D's hat which blew into the harbour, then was fished out by a stranger, and we found it sitting on the bench waiting for us 2 days later!) I love Iceland :)

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

What happened in August?

Wow, that was a busy August! Spent 10 days in the Faroe Islands, where I discovered that there is dialectal variation in their LDR use, from being way more liberal than Icelandic, in the Norwegian/Vestjylland Danish direction, to being more conservative than both Norwegian and Icelandic, although there is always a person restriction, in both complement and non-complement clauses, which I haven't found in any other Scandinavian language. Cool! We also made the news :) (Höski/Höskuldur Þráinsson is my supervisor, and he's the person you see most often in this clip. If you look closely, you'll see quite a few people you might recognise from photos and other places!)

Piotr and I went running all over Tórshavn, and Höski joined us one morning - photos are forthcoming, hopefully by next week on picasa. Luce came down for a couple of days, and I have to say that I really want to have a holiday on the Faroes - take a stack of books, and hit some isolated island (I'd like to go to Nolsoy - not too far from Havn) for a quiet week or two. Just thinking about it makes me yearn to go back! Also did a sea-swim with Ási, Theódóra and her husband Emil. Nearly killed me & T, while Ási and Emil just laughed. *sigh* at least we did it! (Photographic evidence forthcoming :) .) Oh, and the food was awesome, when they were able to find a vegetarian option...

Then Luce & I did the 10km run in the Reykjavik marathon, Luce around 45mins, me just under 54mins. I'm going to see if I can beat 50mins in the next one.

Then I went to Denmark for a conference - the NORMS Grand Meeting. Piotr and I went running each morning with Rakul, our Faroese friend who's a total legend. Höski and another Icelander joined us one morning, and the 3 of us went for a sea-swim on the last run. My talk went well, but I've now seen some of the people who are presenting at the conference I've big-mouthed my way on to in Lund in October, and I'm feeling rather intimidated!

On a lighter note, I got to catch up with a penfriend I've had since I was 15 or 16, who lives in country Jylland (Denmark) and who I last met 13 years ago. Her parents drove an hour and a half to meet me too (good effort by her 79 year old dad, who also lived in Reykjavik 50 years ago!), and I had a very lovely evening/night there. It was strange seeing someone I remember as a teenager looking like a woman, and with a full family, house, etc. She's got 2 kids the same ages as Tali and Ella, and the younger one had the same facial expressions and tummy-sticking-out as Ella, too! But it was also inspiring to meet up again with someone who is living how they want to live, helping run her community activities, and who I have a history with, even if how we met was completely accidental! (She was friends with a pen-friend of one of my friends in high-school!)

Then I went to København and met up with Anne and Steen and their kids, our friends from Iceland who recently moved back home. We went to the Tivoli, and saw a modern ballet of The Little Match Girl, which is one of my all-time favourite stories, and it was very very well done. I managed not to cry at the end, only just. We also went on as many rides as we could, and I went on the giant dropping ride again, scaring the pants off myself. It was great. I suspect I would really enjoy sky-diving :D I shook and giggled for about 5 minutes after the ride finished!

Oh, I think I forgot to mention that we had about a hundred visitors (Tönchen from Melbourne, Thomas and Katrin the Swiss Cheeses, Rosemary Luce's mum, Betty family friend from UK, JC and Jee from Melbourne Uni), with more on their way in a couple of weeks!

And finally, Iceland has night-time again. Not entirely sure I approve, but at least I've got one more summer solstice to look forward to up here...

That's all for now!

Friday, 1 August 2008

Hottest day on record!

Reykjavík and Iceland continued the heatwave that is this summer, by smashing all previous temperature records across the country. Reykjavík's 26.2 degrees yesterday broke 2004's record, while at Þingvellir Parliament Plains it soared to nearly 30°!!! (Read the Icelandic Review's article here.) Thankfully it's back to a pleasant 16° or so again now, although it might gear up again for this weekend's National Holiday Weekend or whatever it's called.

Training for the 10km in the Reykjavík Maraþon* is going well, especially since I just found the results of the 5km Midnight Run - in my age/sex group I came 9th out of 106, while Luce, who admittedly ran half the run by my side, came 24th out of 63. So, I'm really rather pumped to keep training and beat at least the 2 women who were only 6 seconds in front of me!!

We're about half-way through guest-season, and are doing quite well. We're taking all our guests on hikes up different mountains, so we've been ticking them off as well, putting increasingly more terrible poems and limericks in the guestbooks on each peak. It's fun looking at the hills around Reykjavík now, and being able to think, "Done it, yes, been there, doing it tomorrow..." :) So far we've ticked off: Esja, Vífilsfell, Grímannsfell (with the midnight waterfall swim at the end), Húsfell and Móskarðahnúkar, with Helgafell over Mosfellbær this weekend. Photos will appear on Picasa very soon!

*hehe, how many of you read 'maraþon' as 'marapon' instead of 'marathon'? ;)

Friday, 18 July 2008

unexplained injuries...

So, I woke yesterday with a strange ache in my shin, that I needed to ice by the evening. Funny, I didn't remember having a sore shin the night before, even though I do remember going for a walk. Then some strange scratches appeared on the palm of my left hand, and this morning there was a definite bruise on my left elbow. It felt like a case of The Morning After The Night Before, especially when I seemed to remember disrobing and shrieking and splashing around in a waterfall lagoon at midnight towards the end of our evening hike with Luce, Ási and Auður... It seems you don't need to hit the town to end up running around in your underpants at midnight in Iceland! (I'm guessing the cold water numbed the injuries at the time :) .)

Sunday, 29 June 2008

June update

Well, June was fairly hectic, as it was always going to be. Luce and I went to Helsinki for a conference, Luce went to Edinburgh for the weekend with Mark, Iceland had its national day and I helped with the Salsa demonstration part of the celebrations, Tönchen came to visit us in Iceland for 2 weeks and we all drove around the entire country together (I've whittled the photos down to around 2,000, still working on it!). Luce and Ási have gone sea-swimming twice so far, l & t climbed Vífilsfell mountain with Heimir, l & t went in the Midnight Run on Jónsmesse night, t & tönch visited the Blue Lagoon, I had my second and third meetings with Faroese speaking people and it turns out that I can mostly understand Faroese! :) Oh yes, and last night we saw Ólöf Arnalds (go on, guess whether Ólöf is a man or a woman!), Björk and Sigur Rós at a free outdoor concert in Laugardal (where we go swimming). Hooray for crazy Björk music that you can dance like a raw prawn to and fend off the threat of frozen toes without looking *too* out of place!

July promises to be a lot calmer, with only 3 papers (Grand meeting postdoc report; Subjects & antecedents; write-up of Humanities conference paper) and some fieldwork (in the Faroes) to prepare for/have done by the start of August - no visitors (until the very end of the month I think). So, it's work on the weekends for me! Oh, and Luce & I have found an organised running group that's training for the Reykjavík marathon in August, I want to do the 10km only, but Luce seems like he's going to be up for at least the 21km! Thank Christ for the perpetual daylight still!!!!

Friday, 30 May 2008


Just had our first biggish earthquake, about 6.1, epicentre about 100km away. It is certainly a strange feeling watching the building you're in sway and jump about! My first thought was to press control-s to save my current document (only afterwards did I realise I had forgotten the 14 other open documents!), while Luce sped out of the house just in case the two upstairs floors also became ground floors. As for me, if the upstairs became the downstairs, I was just going down with it.
link to news article (in English)

Monday, 12 May 2008


I've been trying for a couple of days now to work out how to say this, and I really don't know of a good way. Basically, the rain has had two rather significant effects in the world. The first is kind of obvious - everything has turned green. The second, however, was less expected, and considerably more disagreeable. Due, I suspect, to the ground everywhere being thoroughly waterlogged, and, I believe, the fact that worms need air, not water, to breathe, they've all migrated out of their lovely underground abodes, and have decided to camp out on the footpaths everywhere. I kid you not, on my walk to (and from) the bus-stop on Friday, in some places I had no choice but to squish the worms strung out all over the footpath, because there was simply no other way through or around. UGGGGHHHH!!!

On a happier note, I got to go dancing TWICE yesterday, and have two new spins, plus some styling to practice :) And today I went horse-riding (ooh - tolting) :D AND luce lands in 4 hours - YAY!

Off to Norway tomorrow to give a talk, and to celebrate the 17th of May - more adventures coming right up!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Ert þú íslending?

Okay, so maybe it was rude to laugh, especially since the person who asked if I was Icelandic waited patiently until I said 'no'... Okay, so that took 4 months and 29 days. And so it seems I've reached that very dangerous point in language learning where my accent is passably Icelandic and my mumblings are heard as the proper forms of nouns, adjective, numbers, demonstratives, god everything... This is a dangerous point to be at, cos I still have lots to learn, but I now know why people have been talking faster and faster at and around me - they're assuming that if I can sound Icelandic, then I can understand it too. Oh dear.

Went in the Háskólahlaup (uni fun run - 60th anniversary of the Sports Centre) today. Did the 7km jobbie, in a shade under 40mins. Why so slow you ask? Well, for about a K there was one of those winds that you have to bend into, and when it stops suddenly you nearly fall over, and for about 3 K the wind came from the side and so my legs kept hitting each other. The kind of wind one avoids when one can, like in trainings...

Had guests on Monday night, a friend from uni and his Dutch girlfriend. Every time I opened my mouth to speak Dutch it came out in Icelandic, and every time Heimir looked at his girlfriend his English switched to Dutch. Luce and Yolanda were the only ones who could speak a Dutch-only sentence from one end to the other, and it made for very entertaining facial expressions and cries of exasperation - the kind of entertainment that one doesn't get in Australia very often at all!

So, tomorrow's another public holiday and I'm hooking up with Erla & son for a parade, I made a friend to go running with today, I bumped into several salsa people after my seminar yesterday (a couple of whom actually CAME to my talk on Australian English!) and have started getting email addresses to go dancing more often, and it's all feeling like home. Except that Luce went to Switzerland yesterday and I watched December Boys and Brent sent pictures from Arapiles and the Grampians and so I'm also all wistful and yearning for TREES and kookaburras and magpies and proper sunshine, not this woossie stuff... *sigh* Comments and emails gratefully accepted!!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

oh wow oh wow oh wow

Faroese is CRAZY! It's totally like Icelandic, but as pronounced by someone from where Elisabeth is from with a speech impodiment. Or should that be speech impodooiment. (Their 'ee' sounds come out like 'ooee' - it's hilarious!)

Well, in more newsy news, We (as in me mostly) had a massive weekend. On Friday and Saturday I had the Humanities conference (Hugvísindaþing). My talk went well, I got to talk for longer than I should have cos the next speaker was sick. And then I got to tag-team answering questions about LDR with Höskuldur Þráinsson. OMG. HIGHlight of my day let me tell you!!

And then I went out with people from the conference, and we had pizza and icecream and I got to ask everyone about how they fly in their dreams. This is totally my favourite question to ask a bunch of people. In my basketball team only one other person flew at all, which surprised the hell out of me cos it had never occurred to me that someone wouldn't fly in their dreams. But at dinner the other night all five of us flew. What's so interesting about this, is how everyone flies differently. We had 3 arm-flappers in our group (like swimming), and 2 no-control at all fliers, with one of these not really flying but doing more sort of massive jumps. He was also the only one who found it easy to get up in the air, for the rest of us the take-off is the hardest part, being easiest with a roller-coaster or something to shoot us up in the air. Only 2 of us fliers with some control over our direction experience gravity as being much stronger the closer we are to the ground, the other finds take-off and low flying relatively straightforward.

I've spoken with people who fly by projecting a force from their heart, chest or belly/belt down against the ground. These people often can't fly over water, as it provides no resistance. In the linguists group the other night I think I was the only one who could definitely fly over water (but I have to be pretty high up to do so), the others weren't sure or definitely couldn't. So: how do you fly? Special pose, force field, manipulating gravity, like treading water, special suit? Where does the energy/ability come from? Is it harder closer to the ground? How do you take off? Do you have control over where you fly? Can you fly over anything - water, buildings, mountains? How fast can you fly (I often find it much quicker in my dreams to fly than to run, with running too often being like Alice in Wonderland!)? Are you aware when you're flying that it's impossible? If so, does this make you unable to fly, or does it make you realise you're dreaming? What does it feel like? Do you always know you can fly, or do you only remember it once you're flying? Aaah, I want to go to bed now!!!

Okay, so then on Sunday was Auður's confirmation - I'll post photos soon. There was a ceremony at the church, then a lovely feast afterwards (oddly no pickled testicles or sheep's heads, but with food that made Luce and I look at it, go "Huh? What the-? Is that-? Oh!!" at the same time, which confused the people around us who were eavesdropping on the English I think!! Basically, you can buy loaves of bread at the supermarket which are sliced horizontally lengthwise instead of vertically in small squares as usual. It turns out they make these massive club sandwiches and rolled sandwiches with the massive slices of bread...), with 120 family members and close friends. (I really don't understand how Iceland has such a small population, when everyone has a million relatives!)

Watched the latest episode of Torchwood - I'm hooked on the AO Dr Who. I love Gwen's facial expressions and I wish Jack and Ianto would be more tender, I loved the episode Jack Harkness with the other Captain JH. *sigh*

Had my lecture on Australian English on Monday morning and got a round of applause - yay! The students reminded me of La Trobe and Monash students, very lovely and definitely willing to ask and answer questions. Interested in linguistics, which makes taking the class like having a sumptuous meal when you've been doing physical work. Replenishes you and makes the air taste sweet...

And at dancing last night a friend from the Háskóli came, his first time, but I think he's going to pick it up quickly. He's coming next time too. And there was a workshop on the weekend, and the guys were all dancing really well, with a couple of very cool new moves that are really energetic. It took me a bit to pick up on the leads, but I go there in the end. And with their better leads, my turns were far more balanced than usual, and I even did a couple of triple and quadruple turns, most importantly without even looking like falling over - woohoo!

And now I've just collected my last bits of data for my NJL paper, which I hope gets accepted. It's due next week, and I'm not finished! But at least now I know a bit about Faroese. I can't wait to get over there, it's going to be so cool!

And then I got to skype with Tönchen this morning, and Beth and Brent this arvo. When people sneeze, Ella apparently doesn't say 'God bless you' or 'Bless you', she says 'I bless you' :D Go Ellachen - you are God!! Hahahah :D

Thursday, 27 March 2008


So, I went snow-boarding on Easter Day this year. What did YOU do??

Oh yeah, I also went swimming...

... where 'swimming' includes doing laps, plopping in hot pots, and whizzing down the waterslide as fast as I could.

Friday, 21 March 2008


Wow, 2 posts in 2 days. Well, I just went to Laugardalslaug (Swimming Pool Valley swimming pool), and it was awesome, I cannot believe I didn't go earlier! Something to do with never having anyone to go with, so I finally gave up looking for a swimming buddy and decided I could do it alone. I met a Russian woman, because she wondered where I was from that I was swimming in the wrong side of the lane :) And then I met a Newfoundland woman and 3 guys from Longbeach, California, and we went down the waterslide 3 times learning how to go faster each time except when the Canadian followed me and the water stopped so I also came to a complete halt, then we cooked ourselves in the 44 degree hotpot, then finished off in the normal, not-too-hot hotpot. Aah, Reykjavík - I love it here! (Especially when you get to drive to the pool...)

Thursday, 20 March 2008

have car, will travel

So, we acquired a car today - suburu legasy ('legacy' really, but that's how the icelander owner spelt it!) We're hiring it off a colleague at my work (whose parents live in Wonga Park :) ), so it costs the same per month as to hire a car for 2 days. So now we can say 'Við erum með bíl sko' - 'we've got a car'. I'm trying to learn to say 'sko' at the end of everything I say, cos then it sounds more Icelandic!

Nothing much else to report - had an abstract rejected and another one accepted, have a paper for a special issue of a journal due in 3 weeks, and a talk to give at the uni here at the same time, plus another talk at the uni just before I go to Switzerland with Luce & Meg and then off to Norway.

Icelandic easter eggs are discussed in terms of numbers, 2 and 3 are kind of normal, but 6 is really rather impressive, to judge from the conversation my basketball team had last night.

Oh, and there's a tv show here called 'Næturvaktin', about the nightwatch at the Shell petrol station up on Laugarvegur (the street where the big swimming pool and sports complex is, and where Luce and I train basketball). Anyway, the point is, with a few pauses now and then to look words up, I can pretty much understand everything they say. Yippee! Now if only I could speak this accursed medieval tongue, I'd be well pleased.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

buses: the saga continues

So, today I added another item to the list of 'Oh my god, let me tell you about my bus trip today' things. My bus route changed today. Not in a 'Please note, we're announcing a change to bus route #1, and it'll now travel down Vatnsmýrarvegur instead of Njarðargata' kind of way, but in a 'I'm sick of sitting behind these cars waiting for the green left-turn arrow at these traffic lights at Njarðargata, when the straight ahead people get to go, I want to go that way too' kind of way. I'm completely serious. We *were* waiting in line, to turn left. You know, to follow the usual route home. But then suddenly, out we pulled, and off we tootled down the Hringbraut, to the next set of lights instead, where there were no cars waiting to turn.

Vis større kart

Yes, we did join back up with our route, and no, I don't *think* we missed any stops, but that's not to say we wouldn't have if there had been a queue at the lights at Vatnsmýrarvegur too. I'm wondering now if this is one reason why I had trouble the first few weeks working out where I was on the bus. And I'm also wondering if this has ever happened to anyone else?

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

a first time for lots of things

Just had my first official Icelandic lesson, and it was brilliant - exactly the right level :) I feel like such a cheat, already having West Norwegian to help me (especially when I look at the poor souls who have been learning Icelandic for years, but only have English, or English and Polish to help; although the Swedish speakers fare a little better).

As you probably know if you've seen the photos, we had an awesome weekend up in Akureyri with a mate's dad: first time swimming outdoors, first time skiing, first symphony orchestra concert, first shovelling of snow, first taste of traditional Icelandic food (dried fish, sheep's head bits, sheep's testicles, cod-liver oil), first crepes (next lot tonight at a mate's place - it's Pancake Tuesday), first museum visit, first Chinese take-away (ask Luce how much it cost, I can't bear to think about it), first domestic flight, aaaaaaaand we got to see the northern lights for the first time, on our walk home from the airport (also another first for me) in Reykjavík.

Workwise, I've finished transcribing the recordings I made in Denmark, and can now start entering the data to have a good look at it. While it's taken a billion years to sort through, it's been worth it, because there are a few occasions where I realise that I've misheard something, or got the wrong impression about the dialect, the first time round. I've sent off my first abstract for a conference in June in Edinburgh. And we had our first Icelandic Syntax Discussion Group meeting last week, and it was seriously fun - just playing around trying to understand someone's tricky theoretical analysis of an obscure fact in a couple of obscure Norwegian dialects. *bliss*

I love it here!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Crazy old people and snow play

Well, I was accosted by my first crazy old person last night, who told me that I shouldn't leave it too late to have kids, and that I'll get cancer if I spend too long on the internet. :) love it. Also, this follows the preceding night where I actually got to roll around in the snow for a quarter of an hour. It's much harder work than you'd think, because there was about a foot of snow, and you just sink into it, meaning no matter which way you want to roll, it's a steep upwards journey. Just so as you know.

Friday, 18 January 2008

chip, chip, chipping away

it's one of those days when my head feels like it's going to explode. Transcription of the recordings I made in Denmark is going well, much faster than I had thought, but it's so hard to hear what the Vestjyske people are saying - just bunches of vowels interspersed with glottal stops. A famous sentence in this dialect is: "A æ u å æ ø i æ å, æ a", meaning ‘I'm out on the isle in the river, am I’. Go figure. There's lots of snow outside, plus some sunshine today, and we're having our first guests for dinner on Saturday night, and I should hear about playing basketball with a women's team soon (instead of the blokes I've been training with...) So, just regular life for a bit. Missing everyone lots, and starting to appreciate the extra effort required to start up a new life in a new country!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

from a little place at the edge of danmark...

I'm now sitting in my hotel room in Danmark, after two days of fieldwork together with other NORMS linguists. It was an exciting trip over, with the other Icelander here (Ási, where the Á is pronounced 'ow' as in 'how', so it sounds like 'mousey' without the 'm') picking me up from home, running 2 red lights on our way to the flybus down to the plane (first time for early-morning Icelandic ever - not a complete debacle, but there's 'room for improvement' :D); listening to a lovely selection of Icelandic music from Ási's ipod (Björk sounds really great singing weirdo Icelandic jazz!, and others just sound a bit mental singing crazy folk songs :) ) and chatting in Icelandic (apparently I have a vague Norwegian accent); having an hour to kill in Copenhagen before our train left and using the time to sprint, in a steady drizzle, with (very full) wheely suitcase in tow, across town to a Chinese restaurant, and back again, where Ási listened to my directions (yes, in Icelandic!) 3 times in a row, even though I continued to suggest dead-ends (this is the person teaching me Icelandic at the moment - he has to be THE most patient person I have ever met!!); getting on board the train and discovering that the [insert eye-rolling type adjective here] ticket guy had given us seats that were not only not next to each other, but in entirely separate carriages!!, which we just ignored and sat in the 'non-reserved' seats for the 3 hour trip, while I knitted and we conversed in Icelandic; arrived an hour later than we were supposed to at the pickup point, and my phone doesn't get any signal here, thank goodness Ási's did; got picked up from Århus train station in a minibus for the 2 hour trip to the other side of Denmark, during which time we ate too much chocolate but continued to speak loads of Icelandic... Yes, I have spoken more Icelandic on this fieldwork trip than I have in the entire time I've been in Iceland!!

Arrived, got assigned a room, had dinner (thank goodness I remembered to order vegetarian - I can face meat sometimes, but not in the quantities it gets served in here!!), skyped luce, discovered I didn't bring toothpaste and had to borrow some, got my gear ready for the next day, then crashed.

Day 1 started with an introduction by a sociolinguist to the Vestjysk dialect, followed by lunch and then our first trip into the field. About 40 people were gathered at a school, plied with cake and coffee, and us linguists were set loose among them: "Hi, you look like a nice person. I'm from Australia. Would you like to answer some questions about your dialect?" So far I've only had one rejection, so that's nice :) I had to talk Danish to the Vestjyske people, so I'm somewhat 'language blanded' with Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian (there are 4 others who speak Norwegian here), English and German. It turns out that, of the 13 of us, we speak regularly (number after / indicates not often): Icelandic (5/6), Norwegian (5, of which 3 Østlandsk, and 3 not-Østlandsk, since 1 seems bidialectal), Danish (3), Swedish (2), English (2/4 - I'm counted post-slash!), German (2/3), Faroese (1/2), Finnish (1/2), 'Nordic' (2). In other words, I'm having an absolute ball!!

Came home, had dinner, had a debriefing session which I found very useful, went for a run in the dark (only ran off the road once!) with the supernatural-sounding zhooming of the windmills for accompaniment, and one of those 'you know you're in the country' smells at one paddock, and went to bed.

Alarm didn't go off on Day 2, but it turns out Ási was looking out for me, so I got a phone call saying 'We're in the bus! Get dressed!' at 8:45. Luckily I'd prepared everything the night before, so I grabbed some bread and cheese and sped outside. Since I was still cozy-warm from bed, I didn't put my jacket on, just a short-sleeved shirt. Øystein was a little worried I'd be cold, which got me worried we were going to be outside all day, because both he and Ási were rugged up with beanies on like they were going for a hike in the mountains! (Don't know where Pål thought they'd get the mountains from actually...) Drove through Paris and Rom to get to the data collection place, apparently we go through London tomorrow. Data collection went really well, I think I've found stuff out, only wish I had more time. Ási and I tried to buy toothpaste and postcards, but the country store 'didn't take foreign cards'. Sorry guys!

Just one more collection tomorrow, then a bit of an outing to the museum. Hopefully I get up in time tomorrow, and can have more exciting linguistic adventures, as opposed to the not-waking-up-in-time kind.

Sorry for the super-long post, but this feels like a massive adventure, and adventures need to be documented in detail!!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Happy New Year from Reykjavík!!

This video shows just how mental the Reykjavikians are :) ... (Sorry, the camera work is not fantastic).