laugardagur, janúar 20, 2007

the report returns

Gleðilegt nýtt ár! Happy 2007, and a belated one at that. Sometimes, as I learned this past month, the muses just stop singing for a little while. Indeed in the deep dark of an Icelandic winter, it can feel like I haven't really been fully awake for weeks. This year I feel like I've been dozing at least as far back to when my American readers were celebrating Thanksgiving. It's been a long, dark slog, this one.

But the light is returning. The other morning, walking down the hill toward my new job, I detected the faintest glow over in the southeast. It was 8:45 a.m. So things are starting to happen. The dreamy long midwinter's night is coming to an end.

And then last night, in a flashback to my halcyon days as a plugged-in local, I went out for a beer with an NPR journalist. He's in town for several weeks interviewing Icelanders (and me) about why we think Iceland is such a happy place. Every year when the "happiness" surveys hit the presses, Iceland always finishes respectably, usually in the Top 5. (American readers, hold your vitriol. I know it hurts to hear that another country might have a slightly happier populace. But hey, it's a big world.) So we talked and one beer became two, him frantically scribbling notes in a little Moleskine at various points. It was odd which of my comments would trigger the frantic scribbling and which didn't. And I realized just how hard it is to convey a whole culture and a lifestyle to an outsider who's in town for just a couple of weeks. There's just so much to convey and we really just scratched the surface. So it's back to the Iceland Report where over the past couple of years you, my faithful readers, have hopefully gotten a bit of the flavor of life in this happy land.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

All I can say is WELCOME BACK! You were very much missed and worried about!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are enjoying your new job.

I'm still wondering, however, if that was you at the Saga Hotel in the restaurant.

Pamm

21.1.07  
Blogger JB said...

Thanks Pamm.

I went there one night sometime in December, looking for a friend who works there. But it was a huge jólahlaðborð and I just peeked in the main room and then looked in the bar and left. I have never eaten there.

"I would never eat here." -Trent from Swingers

21.1.07  
Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

Cool.

Honestly, I won't eat there again. It wasn't a great dining experience at all. The people were nice but we didn't enjoy the food. It was under cooked and cold.

Guess it wasn't you I saw!

Pamm

21.1.07  
Blogger Sindri said...

Finally, welcome back!

Vonandi líkar þér vel í nýju vinnunni og vertu duglegur að skrifa pistla.

Með kveðju frá Stokkhólmi,
Sindri

21.1.07  
Blogger farfuglinn said...

I happened upon your blog, which is quite interesting. It always amazes me that some people actually choose to live here in Iceland. :)

Several possible reasons why Icelanders score so high in the happiness surveys:

1. We lie.
2. They never call me.
3. All the unhappy people died in the long, hard winters of yesteryear, creating an unnaturally happy race (except for me and a few others).

21.1.07  
Blogger cK said...

Cool. Has this NPR report hit the airwaves yet? I'll listen for it.

And welcome back to blogging. My the muse sing brightly.
-cK

22.1.07  
Blogger Jade said...

Welcome back. And I second the request for more information about the date when the NPR report will air, if you know!

22.1.07  
Blogger Kristen said...

Yay! Welcome back! I had actually resorted to asking your bro if all was well with you. :p

23.1.07  
Blogger Mindy said...

Doesn't Iceland also have one of the highest per capita rates of depression and alcohol consumption though?

Maybe that's just a nasty rumor I heard... :-)

23.1.07  
Blogger JB said...

Sæll Sindrastjóri,

Þakka þér fyrir. Ég ætla að gera það.

Farfuglinn,

Velkominn í Skýrsluna.

CK & Jade,

Not sure what he is doing for the radio, but he is definitely writing a book. His name is Eric Weiner.

Kristen,

Yeah? And what did he say?

Mindy,

I knew I could count on some American for vitriol, but I never would have guessed you! It seems Iceland and the USA have the same depression rate, according to this 15-second Google search I did. And Americans drink more alcohol per capita than Icelanders, according to this. That may be cause the stuff is like bars of gold here.

24.1.07  
Blogger Kristen said...

He said that you were well and that you were very busy with work "or something." The words "Iceland" and "numbers" were also in there somewhere.

24.1.07  
Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

So what are the main points in the 'happiness' biz, that result in Icelanders feeling they are happier? Readers want to know...FB

25.1.07  
Blogger Mariovsky said...

Gleðileg Nýtt Ár!

Congratulations for your amazing blog.

I've linked your post about your 'já-já experience' (veeeery funny) on my blog: http://tcberglind.blogspot.com

27.1.07  
Blogger Maja said...

crikey moses it's about time you came back!

11.2.07  

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