Friday, 28 February 2014


My last post was dedicated to Ukraine, and this one is dedicated to the island I'm living on. We've had so much muck expose itself in the past two weeks that it's like we're punch-drunk, reeling from being hit with some new scandal or exposed lie every single day. So many pointing fingers, so much name-calling, so many promises rescinded on.
People who have stood tall for this or that important cause, and who have been lauded and even awarded for their efforts, are being labeled hypocrites, sometimes very rightly so. Slander suits are being waved about as threats from all angles, and 88% of over 1500 college teachers just voted to go on strike in two-week's time because of the current government's absolute unwillingness to match their salary levels with other government employees with comparable education and responsibilities (I should say our salary levels - I've been teaching English courses at a technical college for about 6 years now - but the college I teach at is a privately owned business and so we weren't involved in today's vote, which was for teachers employed by the state. We will vote next week...) It feels like we're so overwhelmed with indignation, disappointment, disillusionment and frustration that we might just explode. But who really has the energy left to do even that?

No, we're not in a dictatorship, we don't have guns pointing in our faces or stark, desperate food shortages. We're not being bombed or invaded, and we haven't even had any inclement weather to speak of for weeks. But because we're such a small population, and because we're basically all cousins, it always (as I've noted many times before in the past decade), always feels so much more personal when the dirtier side of politics, press and power are exposed. Shouldn't the 300,000 of us be able to manage living together on this lump of lava in some semblance of an ethical manner? We have such a great opportunity now to achieve great and lasting change in this country, to be a true model of cooperation and sustainability!

As always, I encourage you to go to Iceland Review and The Reykjavik Grapevine for more journalistic info on what's been going on here. And though we may not be on the top of the list of current dramatic world affairs, keep our little island in your prayers anyway, ok? Moving forward into a brighter future isn't always easy, and every good thought counts : )

Thursday, 20 February 2014


A flower representing hope for peace for my readers in Ukraine. Our thoughts are with you...

Sunday, 16 February 2014


I'm never very inspired in February (who is! Well, maybe people in the southern hemisphere, where it's still summer...) but I did go on a really nice day trip with Óðinn recently "east of the mountain" or austur fyrir fjall. I'll wager to say that all of you who have been here have taken the same drive, as it's the southern part of the Golden Circle loop that takes you out to Gullfoss and Geysir, as well as the only road getting you to the south and east coasts.

After just a short drive out of town we passed through Hveragerði (Hot Spring 'Paddock') and went farther into the valley to Reykjadalur (Smoke Valley.) It totally lives up to its name, with fumaroles, hot pits filled with bubbly grey mud, and steaming rivers creating permanent mist columns rising from the earth. People came to this area to tap into the free geothermal heat, and by 1930 the first greenhouse was built.

I remember that a trip to Hveragerði for ice cream was a mandatory thing back when our family came to visit, as in pretty much every close relative with a car proposed day trip to Eden, a hothouse nursery with a gift shop and restaurant attached. They were famous for having a banana tree and of course soft serve ice cream with chocolate dip for ennui-laden visitors from the Capital region. Unfortunately, Eden burned down in 2011, after a bankruptcy (that never happens here, am I right?)

Though the hothouse flower market is going strong here in Iceland, and we have some excellent locally grown greens and vegetables, greenhouses do not use free electricity. It is costly to keep a greenhouse running 24/7, and agriculture is not subsidized by the government the way the aluminum industry is. The result is sights like the one above, abandoned dreams that litter the geothermally-active landscape. 

Visitors, past and future, and lovers of our country, please continue to put pressure on our government to step into the Now and become ecologically sustainable and renewable. We have all the resources, and none of the excuses that make this more difficult in other regions. You can help by choosing locally-grown foods and asking your hotels and guesthouses for info on eco-friendly travel around the island (this website looks interesting,  and here are some great resources to look over.)

We are having a passionate love affair with our tourism economy right now, but to truly make it last, and to make your trip here have impact, put pressure with your pocketbook in all the right places. That way, maybe we can actually live up to our reputation as one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world.*

*Note that we are at #14 for 2014 on this EPI list, down from #1 in 2011... 

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Charity from the heart

Work has kept me busy. Suddenly, blogging time becomes minimal. I am doing things that are interesting and I am still exploring good food and places. It just takes more effort to post up something...

One new interesting project I have taken on is about Autism. Every parent hopes for a normal child. But, sometimes, a special child is born instead. A child who looks normal, but has a mind of his own. We read about autism, we have a general idea of what autism is. But, to give hands-on care for an autistic child is a whole different ball game. I call them special because they really are! Currently, I am learning and experiencing this project on weekends.

I care very much about children. Therefore helping children is what I have been doing since young and I will continue doing it for as long as I can. Many years ago, I did a small charity project for children infected with HIV. It was an eye opening experience.

My contribution is to children. What is yours?