From Iceland — Connecting Expats

Connecting Expats

Published March 13, 2013

Connecting Expats

New arrivals scouting for job offers, teachers offering Icelandic lessons… and one lady asking where she can find a live chicken to eat! These are just some of the notices posted by members of a Facebook group specially created to help foreigners making their home in Iceland.
“I met a friend at school back in 2008 who told me about this great new thing called Facebook—it was the coolest thing in the U.S. and was just opening to everyone,” says Koleen Berman, who founded the page that year. “People were making groups for everything, so I made myself a group—even though it would be ages before Iceland caught onto Facebook.”
Persuaded by her husband to leave her native Canada on promises of “a perfect island that was only slightly more windy than Saskatchewan,” Koleen moved to Iceland with her children six years ago.
“I called the group ‘Away From Home—Living In Iceland’ because that’s exactly how I felt,” Koleen explains. “The homesickness was setting in, and I needed to do something.”
Koleen says the group started small, consisting mostly of women who came to Iceland with their Icelandic husbands. “So we shared recipes, went on shopping trips and had play dates,” she recalls about the early days when the group numbered about 10.
As the network has expanded to 2,000 members, however, so has its purpose for expatriates, who can find pub quizzes at English Pub and book clubs through the group. “Most of all though,” Koleen says, “it’s a place for questions and discussions.”
Those questions and discussions certainly show off a rich variety of interests and passions. One member recently offered to give away a few kilos of spare mackerel while another offered a seat available on the Multicultural Council of Reykjavík.
Among the everyday services and products members have recently requested help in finding are chicken wire, horseradish, fat burner supplement, cloth diaper services—and a live chicken to kill and eat.
The group struggled to help the member looking for the chicken and she conceded she’d just have to wait until she visited home—sticking for now to the dressed variety. Koleen admits that the group has changed a lot, but she says she is happy with the direction that it has taken.
“There have not been too many quirky messages in the group,” one of the moderators, Angelique Kelley, nonetheless insists. “I get a lot of private messages from people asking me to help them find jobs. I have had students who are going to the University of Iceland asking for help to find apartments, but most ask in the open group.”
Angelique was born and raised in Chicago, the daughter of an Icelandic mother and a U.S. Navy father who was stationed at Keflavík in the 1960s. “I came to Iceland in 1987 for my grandmother’s 60th birthday, and the family convinced me to stay so I could learn the language and get to know them,” she explains. “I was young and crazy, and had nothing going on back home so I decided to stay.”
She met her husband, who she calls her “Viking,” in Grundarfjörður whilst working in a fish factory, saving money to return home to the States. Twenty-five years later, she has two daughters and a granddaughter to her name, and is an active volunteer for organisations in Reykjavík.
“The group really brings expats together and it is a lifeline for a lot of people coming to Iceland,” Angelique proudly concludes. “We have tried to keep people informed of happenings, and it seems now that more and more people are just sharing information themselves, which is great.”
Compiled by Thomas L. Moir
Amongst the dozens of posts the Away From Home group receives daily are some pretty weird and wonderful ones. Here are our favourites:
“Here I am to sell an UNI gender Bicyle 12″ Animator Brand, suitable for 2+ to 5. Asking Price Isk. 5.000(Can be accept close figures) Current status — No Air in front wheel!!”
“Digital Scales just 1000 kr in great condition….”   
    -“is it going to say i am 50kg?”
“Slip-sliding awaaaay…”
    -“..was meant to post this on my main page.,.. 
..but everyone should be careful out there!”
“I have one 15 ounce can of pumpkin, perfect for bread or pie. For sale for 1.000 ISK OBO. But I’m leaving Iceland tomorrow…”
“Anyone interested for vouchers for wax of armpit, i bought it on hopkaup for about 450 isk one, the value is 1400 isk, i have 3 vouchers and i will not be able to make it”
“omg puppy farts are vile. And adorable.”
    -“Try giving him some waffles. Then they’ll get 
REALLY nasty.”
    -“are they for sale?”
    -“hahahahah! We once had a situation where we actually had to leave the house. I know what you mean!”
“The long-run supply curve for a product is horizontal with ATC = 400. Market demand is defined as P = 1,000 – 4Q. The market is competitive and is in long-run equilibrium with 50 firms in the industry. If demand increases to P = 1,240 – 4Q, how many firms will be in the industry at the new long-run equilibrium?”
“Anyone know of a carpet cleaning company please? Someone who will come to Hafnarfjordur and clean and stain remove a white square of carpet about 10 metres by 10 metres.? Please. The carpet is really important to find a cleaner”
    -“you need the 5X steam mop”
    -“I need a friggin lot of things right now”
“I need to get a UK satellite and its LMB and cables down off the roof. Can anyone tell me of someone who can do it, Other than my husband, please.”
“Hi folks, just wondering if anyone knows if it’s possible to buy kangaroo sausages/steaks in Reykjavik?”
“Anyone possibly interested in adopting a homeless cat ? He is a very beautiful, proud fully grown male. Has been trying to squat at my workplace for quite some time now. He really needs a home !”
    -“Uh, that is my cat – and my building is right in the background of the picture If he is giving you trouble please call me at 661-4627 but please rest assured he is not homeless.”

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