Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Icelandic Holidays

Icelanders celebrate the Easter season a little differently.

Monday (before Fat Tuesday) is called Bolludagur.
 It means Bun day (or ball day if you're feeling cheeky).
  You eat meat balls and other ball shaped foods, and also ballur, which are cream puffs. They can be filled with anything, but mostly just vanilla cream and jam, usually topped with chocolate. Most people don't make them by hand anymore (because it required the baking expertise of making a soufflé), so people buy the plain buns and fill them with jam and whipped cream themselves. My family just bought four buns from the grocery store because they're always working. There was actually an article in the paper about people baking them in mass quantities, something like 20,000 of these were made (or 200,000? I don't remember) for commercial sale in about 3 or 4 days by hand.

Tuesday (Fat Tuesday) is called Sprengidagur.
Sprenga is literally to explode, thus making Fat Tuesday exploding day.
You eat very, very salty lamb with a bean soup type of thing, with added salt, and don't forget the salt. I'm not really a fan of this one.

Wednesday, Ash Wednsday, is called Öskudagur, meaning Asking day.
It has nothing to do with the Christian tradition anymore, and little kids run around the streets dressed in costumes, going into businesses singing for candy. It's pretty much the Icelandic Halloween, just without the creepy factor (kind of). It's mostly for people in grunnskóli (elementary school), but sometimes the high schools dress up for fun too. A couple of girls at my school went dressed like mice. Here's a picture I found on facebook of this years Öskudagur:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Icelandic Flavor

It's been more than a month, and (honestly) not much has happened. That's Nordic winters. My Icelandic is coming along slowly, as always, and I can understand a lot of what is being said. I constantly ask myself the English translation and then explain it to myself as if I was a foreigner. It's a lot of fun, but pretty much useless when I see the same signs every day.

I cook breakfast for myself a lot, I don't do a lot of sleeping (I'm blaming the lack of sun), and I've been drawing more to pass the time. I've also been watching lots of TV shows. I'm 3/4 through House MD, 1/2 through Adventure Time, finished Avatar: Last Airbender, Breaking Bad, Dexter, and I've watched probably 30 or more movies. It's not that great for being an exchange student, but it happens. Also, everyone here does it, it's kind of the thing to watch TV shows and movies all the time.

Recently I purchased 6 tubes of watercolors, a few brushes, some india ink, and stupid amounts of watercolor and heavy weight paper. By the way, it was expensive. Instead of watching TV shows and whatnot, I've been drawing and painting (or in some cases, watching TV and painting).

Now, the word TV has shown up far too many times, so I'm going to show you pictures a friend (Gunnlaugur) took yesterday. This is what Iceland looks like in the Winter.

(You can only see this mountain from Borgarnes on a really clear day)

Now I wait for him to post pictures of bacon. 

It's a big country after all.