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...