þriðjudagur, ágúst 16, 2005

why are you here?

It's funny, us expats here always get the question, both from abroad and from Icelanders, about why we are here. I don't think many would ask this question about living in other places: "Why the heck did you move to France?" "What's in Ireland that you like so much?" "Now what's so great about America?" It seems to be unique to Iceland.

Now that I've been here more than a year, living here is normal to me: the commute to work, the daily trip to go swimming, the long lines at the badly run local Krónan store. Ísland er landið mitt. But I still get the question and now it seems increasingly strange and even offensive to hear. Offensive because of what it implies: that I don't really belong here.

I was at a party the other night and a girl I was talking to asked me, in Icelandic, why I was in Iceland. When I answered with the standard-issue "why not?" she pressed me for more details. So I gave a rough sketch of reasons I like the life here, but it always annoys me to have to defend my decision in this way. So after that I asked her "Af hverju ert þú að búa hér a landi?" ("Why are you living here in Iceland?") If the look on her face was any basis for judgment, this was not a popular question. She told me it was because she was born here. Then as I was trying to explain something for which I didn't know the right Icelandic words she snippily filled the words in for me. So I told her, "Þú talar mjög góða íslensku!"

Making friends the old fashioned way: one at a time.


Blogger JB said...

The translation of the last line is: "You speak really good Icelandic!"

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

til hamingju!!! ;-)

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

Wow you REALLY made a friend there didn't you ;D LOL hee hee heee

I only say this because I know how many times I've been asked here in Boston if I was Irish, at which point I could SCREAM!!!

Imagine 8 years of that....

Hey JB....think 10 years down the road, people will still be asking you, so why Iceland!?

Hee hee heee heeee We just have to find an amusing spin on those q's that annoy us the most after months and sometimes years!

Maybe you could say something like, well it's better than the planet Pluto as there is no life over there ;D


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