föstudagur, maí 26, 2006

íslendingar í hjólnöfinni

Thanks to one of my Icelandic readers I learned about a parallel universe, the yin to my Bostonian-living-in-Iceland yang, with all the topsy-turvy craziness of a familiar situation turned on its ear: the association of Icelanders living in Boston. Now, I knew that Carberry's excellent bakery was owned by Icelanders, and I have one friend in Boston who hails from the Land, but I didn't realize there was such a thriving Icelandic community in my hometown.

Judging by their website, it seems Icelanders in Boston are quite busy meeting up for (much cheaper) beers, holding a big annual jólaball (do they have to import Egils orange soda and Malt Extract for the occasion?), eating lots of greyish-white fare on Þorrablót, and publishing Icelandic-language guides to Beantown. It's really something to read about places that I've known all my life described in a thousand-year old language that I began learning less than two years ago. ("Newbury Street er skemmtileg verslunargata...")

Even more interesting, there is an entire B&B operation in "Wellesleybær" that's run by Icelanders for Icelanders. Looking at the website, it's hard to believe this place isn't somewhere on Snæfellsnes; the text and layout are so familiar from every inland guesthouse booking I've done here (buttons for "Verðskrá", "Herbergin", "Vegakort"). But then, in a surreal juxtaposition of worlds, there's a reference to Ming Tsai's "mjög góður veitingastaður" Blue Ginger restaurant, smack in Wellesley center. And the owner even advertises that he'll drive his guests to the nearby Natick Mall so they can jam-pack their suitcases to the breaking point, Icelandic-style, before he takes them back to Logan.


Blogger Benedikta said...

Hey, what a surprice to read your blog and see a link to mine :) So of course I had to comment! While living in Boston I can´t forget the 17th of June celebration we Boston-Icelanders had there. The main attraction being the specially imported hot dogs from home, and of course real hot dog buns from Carberry´s!

Blogger JB said...

So Benedikta, what about the jólaöl? Was that imported, too? And sviðasulta on Þorrablót? Now you can buy skyr in Whole Foods, but what about þykkmjólk? Did people ever truck that in?

When I go back to Boston I always bring Morgunblaðið and Fréttablaðið and maybe a Hér og nú for my friend Sirrý.

Blogger Benedikta said...

No I don´t think the jólaöl was imported but for the þorrablót an icelandic chef brought most of the traditional food and prepared it!! I never brought þykkmjólk or skyr but kókómjólk was high on the list when I got visitors from home :)then lýsi, and of course the icelandic candy, that´s like gold among the Icelanders living abroad :)

Blogger JB said...

Lýsi? Í alvörunni? I like how healthy it feels when I drink it straight up, but my girlfriend won't touch the stuff. (For the non-initiated, this is cod liver oil, wicked fishy tasting and wicked healthy.)

I do always bring a load of candy and then some þykkmjólk for my bro and then some skyr for my mom, who eats a teaspoon a day to make it last.

It was nice running into you last night at Ölstófan! This is the second time I've met people there who knew of me only through the Iceland Report. (The first time was a couple of dudes who were on a weekend junket from Boston.) I guess the old Report is starting to get some traction here.

Blogger Aliza said...

I'm not sure if this blog is active anymore, but I hope you see this.

I live near Boston and I am very interested in going to Iceland for a year--do you know of anywhere I can get Icelandic language classes in this area?


Blogger JB said...


Boston Language Center usually has someone, but they cost a fortune. If you can figure out who it is, then see if you can contact them on the side and make a deal to pay them cash. This worked for me.



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