Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 2011

Icelandic Association of Chicago Volume No. 13 Issue No. 3 September 2011

From the President’s Desk

The Land of Ice and Fire

Mother Nature keeps reminding us that she is in charge which in Iceland, The Land of Ice and Fire, people are very much aware of lately. The rest of the world has taken notice but once you visit the island you realize that Icelanders are not constantly thinking about eruptions that may happen, rivers that could overflow or snow storms that have the potential to shut down the economy.

Lena and I visited Iceland for two weeks this summer and enjoyed a wonderful time with friends and family. We experienced “Icelandic” weather, 60F and some rain, some windstorms, and some sun, all in the same day.It was a relief from the blistering heat we have had in Chicago this summer. Many of our members and friends visited Iceland and took advantage of the first direct flight from Chicago in decades. By the same token, many of us saw an influx of visitors from Iceland. Hopefully, Iceland Express continues these flights next summer and we can expect even more visitors in 2012.In short, a busy but enjoyable summer, I hope you had the same.

We postponed The Greater Chicago Icelandic Open until next summer.Instead, we had a mini golf outing at the Highlands of Elgin with great success. The following day we participated in the Scandinavian Day at Vasa Park in Elgin where Joni and Larry Shaw have done a great job representing IAC.Many volunteers showed up and helped sell Icelandic water and soda pop. The proceeds will go to the Scholarship Fund.

I am sad to announce that our great ambassador Hjálmar Hannesson is leaving his post for Iceland at the end of this month. I would like to thank him for all his support on our behalf and wish him all the best in the future. We welcome our new ambassador Guðmundur Arni Stefánsson and hope that he will enjoy success as the Icelandic ambassador to the United States.

Have a pleasant fall.

Einar Steinsson


From the Editor

Einar is always a tough act to follow because his message always shows the strong love for his country even when he and Lena have made a home thousands of miles to the west. There are so many Icelanders abroad, but almost everyone has this powerful loyalty to our little island whether we arrived a month or a decade ago or if we are connected through a great-grand-parent.

Ten years ago my family and I went on an outing with some uncles, aunts and cousins to see where my grandfather grew up, about an hour drive outside of Reykjavík. At one point of our journey, I found myself standing next to my aunt, who has lived in Iceland all her life, at one of the black beaches surrounded by the trademark raw lava rock, moss covered hills and the ocean. She simply said: "I always find this country to be so 'furðulegt'." It means "weird" but the way she said it with her eyes open wide facing a strong wind really meant "uniquely fascinating" in that you almost don't feel that it is real. I was glad that she said that because it let me know that we were looking at the surroundings the same way. If you live there all your life or visit once every few years, Iceland never fails to impress.

To segue a little bit, please be sure to 'like' us on facebook so that we can give you live updates on anything that´s going on with the IAC. If you like to post anything on our facebook page wall, feel free to send me an e-mail at

Christmas Tree Decoration and General Meeting

Please join us once again to decorate our Icelandic Christmas Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry on Sunday, November 13th at 1 PM. We will be sending you more information closer to the event and remember to check our facebook page!/IcelandicAssociationChicago for updates.

Our General Meeting will be held right after the Tree Decorating at 3 PM, at Medici on 57th street.Some of you may recall that we had a meeting there a few years ago.It’s a no nonsense, something for everyone, budget friendly, BYOB, a ‘where the food came from’ concerned type of place :-) We will head there right after decorating our Christmas Tree.There is plenty of street parking. Please sign up with Lena no later than Friday November 11 – You can send me an e-mail at or call 773-489-4621.

Medici on 57th
1327 E. 57th St.
Chicago, IL60637-1724

Hours: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: seven day
Open Late: Friday & Saturday till midnight, other nights till 11
Always-bustling University of Chicago hangout serving hearty, American-Italian, veggie-friendly cafe fare.

Our Review

The quintessential off-campus hangout, complete with carved wood booths and graffiti-covered walls. The reasonable prices at this long-standing Hyde Park gem make it a favorite among students and locals alike. Pizza toppings come both classic and designer (pesto, spinach, and goat cheese); hamburgers can be topped with jalapenos, bacon, or mushrooms in addition to cheese. There's an ample variety of other nibbles -- hummus, wings, chili, and spaghetti -- but no alcohol; instead there's fresh lemonade, milk shakes, and malts. Late night, it's a nice stop for a cup of tea and one of the luscious homemade desserts, like Gracie's apple pie, carrot layer cake, or warm and gooey pecan pie. Though many customers opt for delivery, the dining room is spacious, with an upstairs loft and an adjacent outdoor patio for warmer weather.

Scandinavian Day at Vasa Park

A big "thanks" to all who helped to make the day a great success. We sold Icelandic water and pop. Thanks to Jon Hofteig, who, once again, secured the water for us and all who manned our beverage booth - Andrew, Susan and family, Pam, Ole and family, Lena and Einar and Larry and Joni. We sold all our pop and most of the water. Many thanks to Icelandic Glacial for their donation of water to benefit our scholarship. We heard many good words about the water and the shape of the bottle.

The day began with a Worship Service. Joni Shaw was the organist and her daughter Dorothy Hall played her violin for the Service. This was followed by the opening ceremonies and procession of the flags. Einar carried the Icelandic flag and Madeleine Hall carried the banner for Iceland in the procession. Joni sang the Icelandic National Anthem, accompanied by daughter Dorothy on the violin while she played the piano. 9/11 was remembered during both the Worship Service and the Opening Ceremonies.

It was a beautiful day and a good time was had by all!


If you find yourself in Winnipeg in October, our L-H friends in Canada have invited us to join them for their Open House to celebrate the 125th anniversary on October 13th. The invitation is attached. The IAC and its members congratulate them on this monumental celebration!