Perhaps due to Sigur Rós or maybe the Panama Papers, Iceland has become a hubbub of immigration. According to Statistics Iceland, around 32,000 immigrants live in the country, which is almost 10% of the population. The Facebook group “Away From Home – Living In Iceland” provides a safe haven for these expats. Here, one is free to lament Icelandic social norms (“Why are they always tagging my house?”) or ask questions natives might find dumb (“Is there a place where I can take my injured bird?”). It’s a safe space where posters look to borrow camping supplies, search for running buddies, or advertise foreigner-friendly events.
Fittingly, moderation is strict—upon requesting to join, admins perform a thorough search to make sure that you actually live in Iceland. This is due to the influx of posts that—without this background check—would ensure lots of, e.g. “I hate Trump! I am moving to Iceland! Find me a job!” or “i herd dat dey r payin men to marry hot iceland women pls find me a wife.” For the record, Icelandic women are not that thirsty.
But the group is not without drama. Any mention of refugees or asylum seekers usually brings the scum to the surface.
Immigrants are a minority in this country, though, and so perhaps we should all take a tip from the ‘Shade: The Rusical’ episode of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. There, queens of all shades and sizes grasped hands and declared: “We are each other’s family, all 2,603,040 sisters. This is our land and we are the queens!” C’mon, if Laganga and Bianca could hug it out, the expats of this small island have no excuse. Yes, all 32,000 sisters—we are, as they would say in Icelandic, the útlendingar.