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Goodbye Hlemmur

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Hlemmur is the terminal bus station for Reykjavík centre close to my house. I always had a soft spot for this station as it has a nice retro look and it was one of the few non-commercial places where people could meet and hang out.



As it is a place where many people wait for connections one would think that having an indoor place for people to wait, buy tickets, check the time table and so on makes sense. But then this is Stræto. The company which never replaced the shelter at the bus station next to my work which got flattened by a storm in 2015.

Stræto decided that Hlemmur is not cost-effective (Stræto is a private company) and gave/sold (I'm not certain which) it to the city. The city decided to ask for ideas for Hlemmur on Betri Reykjavík, an online citizen consultation forum and it was decided that Hlemmur should be changed into a food market. This leads me to conclude the following:

People who have time to use a platform like Betri Reykjavík ∩ People who go to work by bus = 0


and/or

People who have time to use a platform like Betri Reykjavík ∩ People who care about the availability of non-commercial spaces = 0


I'm bitter, because the whole winter Hlemmur, the bus station where I wait for the bus to work, had no inside waiting option, while the bus station from work in the middle of a freaking field did not even have a basic shelter.




Aaaand she's back!

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Hello again! My many, many readers (ehem) probably wondered what happened to me the last few months. After I celebrated my 15 years of Stockholm syndrome I had a bit of an existential crisis and did not particularly feel like blogging. But just like the sun, I'm back bitches!




15 years of Iceland in my life

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This month 15 years ago I moved to Iceland for the first time. Starry eyed and excited to discover this country full of volcanoes, horses, glaciers and adventure.

I left several times, for studies, to travel and live somewhere else (China and South-America) for a year, but coming back was always the path of least resistance when it was time to return to grown up life. Sometimes I had applied to several jobs in several countries, but Iceland was the one that replied, sometimes I was offered a job in Iceland before I had even started looking. Suddenly I noticed I had fully migrated to Iceland in a similar manner as normal people end up returning home after mucking about in the world for a bit.

My relationship with Iceland is complicated. It is the place I have considered home the past 15 years and the place were I have felt least save from all the places I have visited. It sometimes feel like living in a house and forever be treated like a temporary guest, even though you have lived there for years.

I had a small get together for my 15 years of Iceland and here were some ideas for names of the event:

  • "Christina has been 15 years in Iceland and really doesn't know how to feel about it but definitely needs a beer" party

  • Christina's celebration of Stockholm syndrome

  • Sunken cost fallacy feast

  • Christina drinks to a multitude of bad life decisions




Sjálfstæði!

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Iceland is obsessed with sjálfstæði (=independence).

It is the argument to end every argument:
Whaling might not be a good idea -> but sjálfstæði!
Let us have a discussion about an entry into the EU -> but sjálfstæði!

It is the major self definition of Icelandic culture:
See Laxness "Independent People" for a deconstruction. Though written well before 2008 it showcases how the culture of obsession with sjálfstæði! was one of the contributors of the economic crisis in Iceland.

Finally it can be used to advertise anything, like microwave food:

1944, food for independent Icelanders

Sjálfstæði!
Posted on - Categories: Iceland


The President who wants to be King

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There is a presidential election this summer. The Icelandic President holds more somewhat more power in the legislative process than presidents in other European countries, as the Icelandic constitution was heavily based on the Danish constitutional monarchy and is basically bicameral with a parliament and a president.
The current president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has been in power for 20 year. He had announced not to run again, but changed his mind this week, citing the recent "unrest" and need for stability as a reason.
To me the current president is an example of Icelandic exceptional thinking. He praised the banks and speculators who ended up ruining the Icelandic economy as entrepreneurs and risk takers describing their high risk business tactics as unique Icelandic adventurism that can set an example for other businesses.
He repeated the "Iceland as an example for the world" sentiment in a speech in March. This time he was referring to the unique Icelandic creativity, naming the Jungle Bar, a snack bar made out of insects as an example:

I was present at an awards ceremony when the design award was given to some guys who have made insects into food. We have 9 billion people in the world, and one of the key solutions to food security and hunger in the world is that we start looking at the insects in a new way. There’s a fundamental challenge in the world regarding health and poverty, and it took the design people to put it on the map in this way.
http://grapevine.is/news/2016/03/18/icelandic-president-praises-pirate-party-as-political-innovators/



Insects as food, invented in Iceland in 2016, going to solve world hunger. Head meet desk.
Posted on - Categories: Iceland


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