Not to begin on a completely different topic, but yes, the lack of recent write-ups indicates the sad (?) truth: we have been busy!! Compared to last year, we have little down time, and it is such a welcome change.
We do miss our sojourns to the Icelandic countryside, but will hopefully recommence with those soon. The point is, we have been busy living our lives this year, rather than wondering at what point we would feel somewhat assimilated into this extremely family-oriented and close-knit society.
And speaking of Iceland, or its language, a certain someone is going to be fluent very soon. Little Kelsey has taken to speaking sentences in Icelandic, even at home. She can count to 20 (12-20 not in the right order) and easily switches between the languages. Not only does she answer correctly, but the nuances and cadences are correct, which brings me to my first point:
If you plan on spending your child's toddler/preschool years overseas or have thought about language immersion, go for it! I am not kidding when I say it is that pre-reading is the EASIEST time for them to learn a language. Why am I having any difficulty speaking when I can read some Icelandic? Well, because I try to pronounce based on what I read and my reading is, of course, rooted in the English language. Hence, I don't always put the emPHAsis on the right syLLAble.
Kelsey has no such notions. She hears the language correctly and repeats it. She learns the words by listening, not by reading and sounding out based on English language skills. I can only say it is a mind-expanding experience and if your child has the opportunity, exploit it (in a good way) for all it is worth.
Still wondering about the title? I found out tonight (sadly) that Toys R Us is coming to Iceland. They are going to build a huge store in the middle of the lava fields of Garðabaer. If you haven't seen the area, it is absolutely gorgeous and (for the most part) undisturbed. Just the other day, Cait and her friend Heiða spent an hour trekking through the lava fields by themselves, pretending they had to live off the land. They came back relaxed and happy with boxes of freshly-picked berries.
There is already the construction of a new Ikea disrupting the landscape. The lights of the blue and yellow superpower will soon shoot through the previously seamless view. Now I have learned that there will be another store glowing in the distance. As some of you already know, the lack of Toys R Us makes us very happy here.
Yes, we stock up in the States: on future gifts for friends and family. The kids are used to seeing unwrapped gifts in the 'gift closet' and know they will be used for distant birthday parties. What they are now not used to is the constant bombardment of toy commercials. They rarely, if ever, watch 'regular' tv here. I discovered the latest season of the Sopranos recently, but it doesn't come on until 10 p.m., hours after the girls have drifted off to sleep.
The sad thing is that the toys will be no less expensive here, yet people will flock to the store anyway. They will pay more for the Barbies that will clutter their homes and the computer games that will keep their kids inside on gorgeous days (which are sometimes rare here). I can only hope that Icelanders will choose to forego the 'cheaper' toys to prevent future expansion, if nothing else. I know we would be thrilled as after all, we left the States to see the rest of the world, not the States in the rest of the world.