Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Smakkest betur!

I have precisely 250 Icelandic Krona in my pocket and 17 minutes to use the internet. That means 17 means of staring squinty-eyed at a screen in a room that is somehow dark despite the fact that it has no blinds and the sun hasn't set yet. It's 10pm. Everyone around me is speaking Icelandic and playing first-person shooter games except for one guy who appears to be reading the news. Icelandic is a weird-sounding language. It's soft. It sounds like a mix of German and Arabic and Finnish and English mixed with whispering and a hint of baby-babble. I'm convinced that if I approached an Icelandic person and just started cooing like a pigeon that would be able to derive some kind of significance from it. I have only learned two phrases so far, but I'm very happy with this considering I have not be trying at all. The first phrase is "good day", which basically sounds like "good dog" in English, and the second is "smakkest betur" which means "tastes better". I'm also pretty sure the word "Pida" means "Wait."

Tomorrow I go to Helsinki, a place where I actually do speak a bit of the language. But not much. In my year of Finnish at UW I mostly learned how to tell my friend Bo he looked like a girl. Or that he looked like other things. I was a master of the verb construction "to look like". I once told the one Finnish person in the UW French Department as a way of a conversation starter, "Hello, I look like a farmer" which was met with a hearty guffaw. But I'm sure I'll still speak mostly English. In the grand scheme of things my Finnish is basically non-existent. It will be nice to get away from the wind though, and hopefully into some weather that is actually somewhat summer like. The wind here in Iceland is like nothing I've ever seen. I felt like I was skydiving uphill when I went hiking earlier. My cheeks were actually being puffed up with air despite my attempts to maintain a normal facial expression. So in this way, I am very excited for Finland. The only thing I need to do now is figure out what 275 krona can buy, especially because I haven't eaten dinner. I could murder a slice of pizza right now. Or some Indian food. Or some Thai. Maybe some Nepalese.

Smakkest betur!

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