þriðjudagur, janúar 17, 2006

giving a little bit back pt. 1

I paid my rent to the Land last night... in blood. All new immigrants to Iceland are required to "donate" a unit of blood per month. Otherwise, they kick you out.

Just kidding. But seriously, folks. We did go down to Blóðbankinn (the blood bank) last night after work. They had summoned me via their high-tech email network because they needed type A blood plasma. They're very warm and friendly and nurse-ly there. They give you a form to fill out about your health, which is made extra-tricky because Icelandic has all of its own very literal names for diseases. Sykursýki (sugar-sickness) is diabetes, for example.

So I filled out the health form and E filled out a longer one on account of it being her first time. We admired the poster on the wall showing the Blóðdropabörn, the blood-drop kids, and their parents. Then a nurse whisked me into a little office and took my blood pressure, asked me some things about being out of the country, and then we were off to the 1970s-era green donation couches. Giving blood is nice here because the processing is so fast and because the nurse:donor ratio is 1:1. So the nurse stays right by you and asks you things like what it's like to give blood in Boston.

After that it's off to the snack room in the back. But unlike in the States where a couple bags of Goldfish and drink boxes of juice were the norm, here it's an actual spread of food. There are urns of coffee, plates full of cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers, fresh bread, cakes, cookies, and juice. The nurses take turns manning the snack room, and the 6 places around the table are always freshly set with the requisite coffee cup, plate, and silverware. One of the other donors asked about soup, eyeing the big pot, and the nurse said, "Only at lunchtime! You'll just have to come back at noon next time!" I think I will.


Blogger Paul said...

Hey I can read icelandic!
Sykursýki = sugar sickie :-)

Blogger JB said...

You'd be surprised how many parallels there are between the two languages. Until you realize that at one point in the very distant past they were actually the same language. Those common Indo-European roots count for a lot.


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