It's amazing how fast time flies. Last night we had a BBQ at my house downtown Reykjavík, sort of like a farewell party before everyone heads out to their host families. It rained like cats and dogs, not like Icelandic rain - more like "foreign rain" as we say here. Addi, my husband, put an umbrella covering the BBQ/coals but they didn't seem to pick up any heat so we started frying some meat inside. After a while it turned out pretty well and we could BBQ the Icelandic lamb, pork and WHALE* outside. We had been talking about it so much that we just had to try it and even one of our vegetarians had a little bite, earlier she had a little bite of puffin, just like all of us, for lunch. "I don't love it, but I don´t hate it" she said. It was a fun night and everyone had a good time, including myself. We also had some friends over from Scotland, which was fun too.
My dear Snorris are now all but two with their host families. I drove the first one, Bethany going to Þórshöfn, to the domestic airport at 8 am, then Marshall got picked up to go to Sandgerði and the Canadian documentary team filmed them before the took off. Then I took Jolene, Christin and Ashley to the airport since all of them were flying to Egilsstaðir - staying in 3 different towns in the wonderful East Iceland. I was lucky enough to meet many of the different host families of the Snorris since many of them were picked up at Guesthouse Óðinn or my office today. The last one I dropped off was Kelsey going to Húsavík and at the airport somebody came to talk to us who said to me: "Er þetta Kelsey" (is this Kelsey) and I said yes. "She is staying with my sister" he said and there I left them chatting over a cup of coffee before take-off.
It will be a big change for all of them but I am sure that they will all have wonderful experiences. I wish I could be a fly on the wall, soaking in all the different situations, wonderful families and the little every day moments they have together.
Julie and Amanda from Washington State are staying at my house over the weekend until their host families can host them so right now they are watching Scottish TV drama with Icelandic subtitles, trying to soak in all the Icelandic they can.
I am so thankful for this wonderful group. Thank you Snorris of 2012 - you are frábær! So much positiveness and no problems. You make me really love my job :)
*minke whale - which is far away from extinction
The following is a letter from Svavar Gestsson, former Consul General in Winnipeg, Minister and Ambassador in Denmark:
We had three Snorris to dinner last night; wonderful people from Alberta and Washington State all with keen interest to learn to know about Iceland, looking forward to their stay in Iceland and have all decided to come here again and again and again. Ásta Sól´s work must be quite a thing to find places and the right families for all of them for their stay in Iceland. This is an investment in the future for Iceland.
Thank you for sending Guðrún and me three wonderdul vegetarians.
It really means a lot to the participants and the program in general that board member of both INL-Iceland and the Snorri Foundation invited the 2012 participants into their homes for dinner. Many thanks to Svavar Gestsson (INL-Iceland), Eydís Egilsdóttir (INL-Iceland), Wincie Jóhannsdóttir, Jóhann Viðar Ívarsson (both on the Snorri Foundation board), as well as Hjálmar W. Hannesson and Rögnvaldur Guðmundsson (both on the INL board).
The Snorri group is now at the University of Iceland being filmed for a Canadian documentary on ancestry during their Icelandic class :)
Everything has been going really well. The Snorris first language lesson was on Tuesday and they have intense lessons every morning. The Icelandic teacher, Sigurborg, tells me that she is really happy with the group "they are positive and polite" she says.
On Tuesday afternoon they went on a scavenger hunt with the Nordjobbers (Nordic youth who are here from all the other Nordic countries). They had an hour and a half to run around the downtown area and take pictures. Tomorrow night, on a night called Icelandic Night, we will have a slide show - 10 pictures per team and we will choose a winner. This will go well with the sheep head, rotten shark, harðfiskur, skyr and sheep head jam :)
It's been an amazing week and I think I can safely say that on everybody's behalf: climbing to the top of Mt. Esja (half the group made it all the way), reception with board members and sponsors on Friday, river rafting on Saturday and Iceland's National Day, June 17, yesterday and today, a lecture on nature and a visit to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Tonight everybody was invited to have dinner with board members of the INL-Iceland and the Snorri Foundation, 2-3 per family. I'm sure they all had fun!
Another 4 days before everybody travels to his/her family.....
At 5.30 this morning I started driving to Keflavík International Airport, with the Snorri Program sign in my bag of course. Snorris were coming in on 3 different Icelandair flights: Minneapolis, Seattle and Toronto. Alexandra came through first, then Wyatt (SEA), Bethany (MSP), Amanda and Julie (SEA as well). We had to wait a bit for the rest of the Toronto crowd and I was getting a little bit worried when they finally came around 8.30 AM. At 8.45 there was no sign of our last participant, Kelsey, arriving. I then found her at the lost luggage desk and we finally got going around 8.00 AM and checked in at Guesthouse Óðinn at around 9 AM.
Everyone seems happy, tired, but excited - and so am I!
At 3 PM we are going to the Culture House to explore the old manuscripts and then I will give an orientation at the Nordic Association office before we have our first dinner together at the Seafood Grill ..... mmmmm.....
Icelandic class starts at 9 AM tomorrow morning - Koma svo, allir læra íslensku!