Wednesday, November 01, 2006

October 2006

From the President’s Desk
‘Thicker than Water"

A couple of our members went to the recent international film festival in Chicago to see the Icelandic movie ‘Blóðbönd’ or ‘Thicker than Water as its title translates into English (not a direct translation (blood-bands), but that’s another story). It’s a story of a doctor who discovers that “his” son is in fact not HIS son and how the walls start crumbling down around him and everyone connected to him. The movie got some predictable plots but was surprisingly good. The actors did a superb job and so did the young director, Árni Ólafur Ásgeirsson, who also wrote the script. ‘Blóðbönd’ is Árni’s first feature film, which, as he told the audience in a Q & A session after the show, he’d be traveling with to several film festivals around the world in the upcoming months. The subject matter of ‘Thicker than Water’ got me thinking about some of the cultural differences between the US and Iceland, or Scandinavia for that matter, and in particular, how complicated many relationships/marriages are in the “Old Country” vs. the culture that we live in now. It is common in Iceland that people have one or two children from previous relationships before settling down (getting married) and starting a family with a “long term” spouse. Divorce rate is high and “children” are sexually active at a relatively young age since the age for consensual sex is 16. I wonder if the hole dating thing and courtship common in America is better or if we create mentally stronger and more independent individuals in Scandinavia, I don’t know. What I know is the Icelandic tradition sometimes makes things complicated and now I’m talking from experience. Is it the social network provided in Scandinavia? Is it promiscuity, alcohol, children growing up faster, or something else, that contributes to the family pattern back home? Whatever it is, it’s definitely different from what we’re experiencing here. It’d be interesting to hear your thoughts on this subject. Please send us an email/letter or soon we can start Blogging on various topics on our new webpage.

Back to business! Our Annual General Meeting is coming up on the 12th of November. We need to elect a new board and, hopefully, a new President. I’ve been at the post for eight years and it’s time for me to step down. Not that I don’t like to be the President… Rather, we need someone to step up to the plate and take us to the next level. If you keep me on for 10 years you’d have to buy me a gold watch and that would be pricy!

See y’all soon,
Einar Steinsson
From the Association

From the Editor

This will be the last newsletter I edit and produce. This is the 6th year I do this and is has been fun, interesting and sometimes challenging. I think it is time for other people to take over and bring new force into this. I plan to be an active member in the Icelandic Association of Chicago and maybe I can be of help in other areas. Thank you for your support for the past few years. I will see you at the Annual Board Meeting where I am sure we will find some eager volunteers.


Annual Board Meeting

Annual Board Meeting will be held on November 12 at 4 pm at Piccolo Mondo on 1642 E 56th St. Chicago (773-643-1106). Parking is easy and we will dine a la cart, price about $11-20 per person – half for children. Piccolo Mondo is an Italian restaurant located in one corner of the Windermere, an enormous old Hyde Park hotel gone residential, this spacious, sunny room is two-thirds trattoria, one-third Italian deli. D'Amato's bread, meats, and jars of olives and pasta sauces fill the small grocery up front, where carryout patrons can pick up anything from meatball subs to veal scallopine. Opera music and green and white linens on the table set a different tone in the large dining area. The lengthy menu offers interesting pasta dishes like rigatoni alla Carlo (in a spicy tomato sauce with pancetta and fresh mozzarella) and fettuccine Vicenzo (with tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, and garlic in white wine sauce) as well as expected items like carbonara and eggplant parmigiana, several chicken and veal dishes, and half a dozen daily specials. Desserts include cannoli, tiramisu, and various luscious-looking cakes.
The agenda is as usual:

  • Meeting commencement
  • Last year’s accounts reviewed
  • Board election
  • President election
  • Accountant election
  • Association fees
  • Þorrablót
  • Website and newsletter
  • Miscellaneous
  • Meeting adjourned
Please, RSVP by November 7th, to Einar Steinsson by e-mail or phone (773.489.4621)

Christmas at the Museum of Science and Industry

This year’s theme of Christmas around the World exhibition is ‘Dashing Through The Snow’. We will decorate our belowed Christmas tree at the MSI on Sunday November the 12th 2 PM. Please contact Lena (847-593-4461 if you plan to attend. The tree will be taken down on Sunday January 7th at 2 PM.

New Web-Page

All design for our new web page is now completed and up and running. The final version will be launced soon. The web page will include a guest book. Anyone with ideas/suggestions for material to be on the page should email Marc Johnson our web-master who will edit and post.

Þorrablót 2007

The Þorrablót will be held on February 3rd at Joni and Larry’s club house as we did two years ago. The format will be finalized at the General Annual Meeting but we are leaning towards a BYOB – pot luck event and musicians from Iceland. A special Þorrablót’s flyer will be sent out shortly.

Letters to the Association

The IceKids Project

This website is the home for an online school and community, aimed at helping Icelandic kids living abroad to exercise their Icelandic skills online. This is accomplished by courses and by providing a platform where Icelandic kids and parents can communicate in a safe online environment. Since the project started over 1000 Icelandic kids in more then 40 countries have joined the community. Currently the students are living in 46 countries:


The IceKids project started in 2001 as a development project at the Icelandic Ministry for Education and the Icelandic Ministry for foreign affairs. In the beginning the Icelandic University of Education was in charge of the project. In 2004, privately owned Netmennt took responsibility of project. The owners of Netmennt are all educated teachers and have also been involved in the project for several years. They are currently living or have lived abroad with children, and thus have a first hand experience of the challenge of maintaining Icelandic in a foreign environment.

From the beginning Netskolinn, an Icelandic Learning Management System, has been used as a platform for the project. The system has been developed and features added as the needs arose. The system is available in English as well as Icelandic.

If you would like to receive additional information regarding the IceKids project feel free to send us an e-mail to or contact us by phone:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

May 2006

From the President’s desk
We are on a roll – Everything is a sell out!

I am not kidding –Thank you for a great Þorrablót and so many of you showing up. It was a sell out and, most importantly, everyone had a great time. If it continues like this we will need to find a bigger venue for our gatherings. Worth mentioning is the boost in interest from members and friends of the organization. To elaborate a little bit and to make a long story short, we are working on writing rules and regulations for our “Scholarship/Travel Fund”, which has started a very interesting discussions among the board members on what our organization stands for and what should be our short and long term goals. The debate stands between a social organization providing gatherings for people of Icelandic origins and their friends OR something more? What does “something more” mean; well we do not know yet but something more than a social club. Do we have the means and energy to set up scholarship fund, organize a film festival, establish a library with books and films, start an art-fair, forming educational groups, having sport outings and competitions? If you would like to state your opinion and/or partake in the debate, please write Steinar, our editor, so we can post your thoughts in the newsletter and on the NEW webpage, which brings me to the future and what is in the pipeline. Work has started on a new webpage under the management of our new Webmaster, Marc Johnson, who has hired a designer to take us into the future. We do not have a launching date but we will have the same URL. Our next “get together” is the 17th of June celebration on the 17th of June. Steinar and Katrín have been so kind to offer their backyard in Belvidere for this party so make sure you take them up on the offer. The Greater Chicago Icelandic Open will be on the 12th of August at Indian Boundary Golf Course playing Texas Scramble in teams of two. If you need a partner we will find you one. We are probably going to sell out again (Maximum 24 players). Then there is Scandinavian Day in September and this time we are not going to sell out of the food?. There is more but I am running out of space. More information on all of this, elsewhere in the newsletter – See you later this summer.

Gleðilegt Sumar
Einar Steinsson, President

Association Affairs

Iceland´s Independence Day June 17'th The Annual Icelandic Independence Day celebration will be held at 2pm on June 17 at Steinar and Katrin’s house. We will have moon jump for the kids, and provide beverages and food. The address is 11966 Old Oak Lane, Belvidere, Illinois. Take 90 west to Riverside exit in Rockford. Take a right on Riverside and follow for about 2-3 miles past a large soccer sports complex. Take left on Olson road and then right on Orth road. Follow Orth road for 2 miles, go past Beloit road and turn right on Old Oak Lane. The house is the first house on the right. In order for us to organize the event, please call 815.547.8857 or e-mail Katrin Heidar if you plan to attend.

Gleðilega Þjóðhátíð!

The Second Annual Greater Chicago Icelandic Open

We'll have our annual golf tournament August 12th, at 2 PM. We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible, since we're predicting a sold out event! Maximum number of players is 24 (we already have 10 committed). The format will be the same as last year, Texas Scramble (Best Ball) without handicap, in teams of two players. What will be different from our first Greater Chicago Icelandic Open is the location. We will play a very nice course: Indian Boundary Golf Course, 8600 W. Forest Preserve Avenue, Chicago, Phone: 773.625.9630. "Redesigned by renowned golf architect Dick Nugent Indian Boundary is a track suited for all levels of golfers. With its heavily-wooded layout and strategically placed water and sand the course is both scenic and challenging. You'll find that golfing at Indian Boundary offers a great golf experience right in your neighborhood." Indian Boundary is an 18-hole course but we'll only play the first 9 holes. We recommend you have "touched" a golf club in your life and you know the white ball is supposed to go into the hole... But we welcome everyone, handicap or "handicapped" :-) The fee is $30 per person; carts are $16, but walking is quite feasible. We'll have prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, longest drive, closest to pin, and maybe, a car for hole in one (if you have a car you like to donate let us know), and lots of free stuff and lots of fun. After playing, we'll have an awards ceremony and some food and drinks. Let's give the current holders of the Greater Chicago Icelandic Open trophy, Tom and Ásgeir, a worthy competition this year, but, most importantly, let's all enjoy each other's company and have a wonderful golf outing.

To sign up send your check to Larry Shaw, 147 N. Buckingham Drive, Prestbury-Aurora, IL 60506, ASAP, deadline July 15, 2006. If you need a partner to play with we'll find you one.

Review of Þorrablót 2006

This year’s Þorrablot was a success. Ninety six people attended and the association broke even. Main reason may have been low ticket price in addition to the location. Þorrablot 2007 will be held on February third in the clubhouse in Prestbury.

Scandinavian Day

We will once again be participating in the Scandinavian Day on September 10 2006. The plan is to stick to the successful rice pudding and other Icelandic delicacies.

Web Page

The Association is currently having a web designer upgrading the webpage, making it more appealing and user-friendly. We look forward to seeing the final outcome.

Letter to the Association

SINE members

We received an e-mail from a travel agent in NY who some of use have used in the past. She is offering lower airfares from the USA for members of SINE. In addition, she can be helpful to help out with travel plans for anybody traveling abroad or domestic.

Thorunn Matthias Bigler (Ms)
TMB Travel in association w/Protravel Int.
10 East 53rd Street, 21st floor
New York, NY 10022
Tel: 212 702 2648
Toll Free 877-702 2600 ext 648
Fax 646 792 4876

News You Can Use

Learn Icelandic Online

It was in the news recently that many are now studying Icelandic online. The program has been developed at the University of Iceland and there seems to be great interest in it. Many have started online and the continued their studies in Iceland. Kolbrún Friðriksdóttir, program director for Icelandic Online, says the program was developed by University of Iceland in collaboration with the Sigurd Nordal Institute, Department of Icelandic at UI and six other Universities around the globe. The program is open to everyone and is free of charge. It is divided in two parts and is the equivalent of two semesters of Icelandic study at the University of Iceland.

Most of the students who use the program are living abroad for instance in Canada where there are many Icelandic descendents.

Icelandic Elections in Chicago (Orland Park)

The Iceland’s Vice Consulate for the Chicago area is located on15750 S. Harlem Ave, Orland Park. You can go there and vote until May 27, 2006 Bring your valid Icelandic passport and then you're responsible for mailing your vote. Many of us are planning to go on May 20th at 10:30 am but you can call 708-429-1126 to arrange for a different time. If you're joining us, you must let me know since the Consulate needs to know how many of us there will be.

Icelandic Blues Player at the Chicago Blues Festival June 10, 2006

Zora Young the famous blues singer has invited Halldór Bragason to accompany her and her band on the big stage on the Chicago Blues Festival on Saturday June 10. 750000 people attend the festival each year and it is estimated that about 100000 people will be at the festival when Halldór plays with the band. The last time he played at the festival was back in 1993 when he and his band Friends of Dori played with Pinetop Perkins on the Veranda.