Wednesday, October 07, 2009

October 2009

Icelandic Association of Chicago Volume No. 11 Issue No.7 October 2009

From the President’s Desk

What is happening in Iceland?

Now that Lena and I have been to Iceland twice in the last 9 months, I would like to share my experience and how I perceive the situation after the crash of the financial markets, a little over a year ago. I also keep up with things by watching the Icelandic news several times a week and reading the newspapers, and I get feedback and insights from family and friends who have visited during these difficult times. Is the situation really bad in Iceland? Yes and No! First of all, the countryside with about 40% of the population is doing much better than Reykjavík and its surrounding towns. The boom of the bustling economy never really found the "country folks" so their fall was lower compared to those who live in the capital. However, those who borrowed a lot have a very difficult time, especially those who took loans in foreign currency. You could think most people borrowed money, but that is not so. Many of those we know paid for nearly everything they bought, except house/apartment, of course. Still, they are hurting, as everyone is, but doing better than expected.

The bottom line is the economy collapsed and it will take years for it to recover. For example, one of our friends bought an apartment for 20M kr, paid five or 25%, and borrowed 15M in currency mortgage as recommended by the banker. That loan is now about 35M kr and the apartment, if it was possible to sell, would sell for about 12M kr. Thus, many families do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. But Icelanders come from the Vikings as we know and they will return J There are some positives we see from all of this: People are going back to Icelandic roots, Icelandic Lopapeysa is back in fashion, along with other old traditions, and excessive living is out. A new name for the once popular car Range Rover is “Game Over”, many of which being very “flammable” in the last few months. These times are also good times to travel to Iceland; the dollar being very strong thus everything at good value for us who earn a living elsewhere. So, if you have yet to go, this is the time to visit. If you need more information about traveling to Iceland Lena and I are always willing to help.

Fall is here, enjoy it!

Einar Steinsson

From the Editor:

I am currently sending out the newsletter, as Svanfíður resigned as editor due to her increasing responsibilities. She is a tough act to follow, but I will do my best for the time being.

To continue on Einar's theme of Vikings, I thought I'd add a little something about the deep rooted viking blood in all of us.

As some of you may know I have a little daughter Freyja. When it's just her and I, I speak to her in Icelandic. It's only natural to me and anything else would feel unfamiliar. From experience I see many kids giving up their foreign parent's language in preference to the native language spoken everywhere else around them. It was different when I was a kid. Even though I wasn't even born in Iceland, my parents gave me no doubt that I was Icelandic by birth, by language, by nationality. Not only that, we grew up in a community of Icelandic families that moved to Luxembourg to work for Cargolux, who had been recruited from Icelandair (back then known as Loftleiðir). We were raised by mothers who spoke nothing but Icelandic and a few words in German to communicate with the neighbors. We didn't even have the option to speak anything but Icelandic with our parents and many of our friends who were in the same situation. Frankly we didn't know any different.

That said, I may not write it well, I use English words to fill in when I don't want to interrupt a story or conversation with a long pause, but no matter where I am in the world, how many time I have moved, I have a birth right to a home that I have no question in my mind - is my home. I know that when I am close to landing at the Keflavík airport, whether it´s light or dark outside the airplane window, my heart beats faster and I´m close to tears. It´s a place where I belong. As a viking would spend very little time in his homeland, they would return now and again to center themselves. I may not have conquered new territory or burned down villages, kidnapped people to take home with me, but I will have read the airline magazine and plaid some cards to prepare for a round of games with my dad. The flight attendants have already corrected me when I asked for 'Appelsínu djús´. 'Já, þú villt Appelsínu safa´? It´s a good kick in the butt for me to watch my words and grammar.

Most important - It´s home and I want Freyja to have that choice as well, so I will teach her the language the best I can and enlist others to help me out. It´s her birth right and with that name she better be able to ask for an Appelsín when she´s on Icelandic viking turf.

Annual, General Board Meeting:

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on the 18th of October at 5PM at The Svithiod House, 5518 W. Lawrence Avenue. The format will be semi-pot luck. We prepare supper but you bring your own drinks, and if you are up for it, a dessert/sweet to share. The cost will be $12 per person. We are considering the Svithiod house as a venue for the 2010 Þorrablót so having our meeting there will be a great opportunity for attendees to voice their opinion. Amongst items on this year's agenda will be: Board, President, and accountant election; review of accounts; Þorrablót 2010; website and newsletter; update and news on the Consul and Vice Consul seats in Chicago. Contact Einar ( before the 15th of this month if you would like to attend and if you are interested in a nomination for one of the seats on the board. Without you there will be no Icelandic Association of Chicago. Let us make this the biggest meeting in our history!


You're Cordially Invited to the
9th Annual Vasa Park
Fish Boil & Harvest Fest

Sat., October 17, 2009
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Presented by Scandinavian Park, Inc. NFP
Vasa Park, Route 31, South Elgin, IL
(7 Miles South of I-90 Northwest Tollway & 5 Miles North of IL Rt. 64 North Ave.)
The "Boil" will take place at 2 p.m. serving immediately following.
Come join in the fun of this last public event of the season to visit with “old”
friends and make some new ones along the way!
All the “Fixens” plus coffee and dessert are included for donations of:
$15 per adult
$5 per child (12 and under)
Reservations, please, no later than Thursday Oct. 4, 2007 by calling 847-695-6720 Website:

Christmas Tree Decorating

Christmas greetings good folks...
No, I have not lost my mind :-) It is time for scrolling down on your calendar and 'save the date' for putting up and taking down our Christmas Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry. Actually, I have been in kind of a Christmas mood since early this summer as I have had the "pleasure" of the neighborhood ice-cream truck stopping in front of my house every afternoon, blasting out the typical ice-cream truck tunes, but mixed with X-mas songs, which then sing in my head for the rest of the day!

Put up tree: Sunday November 8th 1 PM
Take down tree: Sundnay January 10th at 1 PM

Please sign up with me as you will need parking passes.

Lena 773-489-4621


All membership dues and Þorrablót’s admissions should be sent to our treasurer
The Icelandic Association of Chicago cordially invites all Icelanders, descendants of Iceland and friends of Iceland to join our organization. Please forward a copy of this Membership Form to anyone interested in joining, or provide us with that persons name and address.

Icelandic Association of Chicago
2010 Membership Form


Full Name of member/s____________________________________________

Name of child/children_____________________________________________


City, State, Zip-code_______________________________________________

Phone Number_____________________ E-mail_________________________

New Member__________ Renewal Member___________

Annual Membership fees: Individual/students: $15.00, Family: $25.00

Make payable to: Icelandic Association of Chicago
Please mail your check and completed form to our Treasurer:

Lawrence O. Shaw,
147 N. Buckingham Drive
Sugar Grove, IL 60554

Farsælda Frón - The Icelandic Association of Chicago Newsletter. Editor: Siggy Jonsson (Sigríður Ósk Sigurdarðóttir), E-mail: & Website:  Correspondence: The Icelandic Association of Chicago, Einar Steinsson President.