Posted by: merrymission | February 20, 2012

Update

It has been almost 2 months since our last blog! Time speeds by on a mission! The other senior couple, who lives in Reykjavík, will be going home in the middle of May.  We were thinking they would be here until about the time we return, but as it is we will meet a new couple and make more friends.

After a strong wind we were drifted in

About a foot and a half outside our livingroom window we had a drift about 2 feet high.

This winter was very snowy and windy.  Several times we had to shovel part of our street to be able to leave. We also had to shovel the snow away from our doorway so we could leave and also to keep the snow from falling inside. One friend had to exit her house by the back door, shovel the snow from her front door, and by 10:30 am had to reshovel it to be able to use her front door!

In our last blog we explained about Christmas in Iceland.  Now we will explain about New Years and more.  New Year’s Eve is a time of celebration.  All the missionaries gathered at the Callaway’s, the  Reykjavík senior couple, for dinner and games.  Later in the evening we went to visit a family and watch the fireworks.  They live on a hill and have a wonderful view.  From close by their house we could watch 270 degrees of fireworks.  I thought the city of Reykjavík put on a fireworks display, but that is not so.  Almost everyone who lives in the area shoot off fireworks! The population is about 114,000 people. If even half shoot off fireworks, that is a huge show. From where we stood, we could watch fireworks in Reykjavík, Garðabær, Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður, and other suburbs in the greater Reykjavík area.

Fireworks is such an important tradition that most of the people of Iceland celebrate this way.  After the fireworks are over, other celebrations continue, of course.  We missionaries had permission from our president to stay out until 1 am to watch, but then we needed to be home. Thankfully, we from Selfoss had places to stay in Reykjavík. One of our branch members told us that when she was in Utah for her first New Year’s Eve celebration there, she was so shocked when everyone left the dance by 1 am and went home!  In Iceland things just begin.Unfortunately, I don’t know how to take good pictures at night.  Just realize that there were fireworks all around. Even behind us someone was in an unpopulated area shooting off fireworks.

From January 18th or 20th for about a month is the Þórrablót time when those that want eat Þórramatur do so.  Matur is the Icelandic word for food. This time of the year is traditionally when the “rotten” or “sour” food is eaten. In the “olden” times, before modern preservation methods, food was preserved in whey and other ways. This allowed people to survive when food was scarce   It is actually not bad tasting. The best of it is most of the lamb products. The smoked lamb meat taste good; also the lamb liver is good, both fresh and marinated in whey. The marinated lamb testicles, to my way of thinking, were not that good.  The whale blubber tastes ok; the shark is the worst of all the Þórramatur. The process that makes the food taste “rotten” is the marinating in whey. However, at potluck after church the second Sunday this month, a sister brought a fish soup that had whey in it. It was delicious! I am now going to experiment with cooking with whey. We can buy whey in the grocery stores here. If I learn to like cooking with it, I will have to start making cottage cheese at home so we can have whey. I’ve never seen it for sale in our stores.

This week–today, we’re told–is pastry day. We have to go to bakeries to check out the new pastries they have available. What a wonderful tradition after Þórramatur time.

LATER

We went to all three bakeries in our two towns–and have tried the special, whipped-cream-filled buns.  Delicious! We have extra to share and for tomorrow.  Also, one of our investigators, who is a chef, invited us over for buns he has made.  We are trying all sorts of new and fun foods. The Þórramatur is new and the pastries are fun.

The Merry’s

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