1. The most common item sold for fundraisers? Toilet paper. One day in my gym's parking lot, there were at least a dozen cars with loads and loads of Sam's Club-sized packages of toilet paper. "What is going on!?" I asked. "Oh, probably a fundraiser," my Icelandic friend replied. "A fundraiser?" I asked. "Yes, we always sell toilet paper for fundraisers. That's the first thing we think of! Do you not sell toilet papers for fundraisers in America?" I replied, "No, we sell raffle tickets, coupon booklets, pepperoni rolls, and cookie dough." "Oh, we don't have any of those. Just toilet paper," she said.
2. It rains sideways. A normal downpour is not dramatic enough. Iceland has to add freezing rain, high wind, and horizontal rain to the mix. When I first moved to my new flat, the door kept leaking each time it rained. The landlord explained, "It's a door made it Denmark. It doesn't like the rain in Iceland because it isn't vertical."
3. I wrote about this briefly in my last post, but there lots of American, British, and Scandinavian imports in grocery stores. I was trying to translate the ingredients on some cereal by using Google Translate: Icelandic to English. Google translate informed me that it was actually Danish, not Icelandic. I've also noticed Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish products, also without translation. There are imports from all over Europe, I purchased eye makeup applicators imported from Germany, almond milk from Italy, and granola bars from England. Most surprising to me as an American, is the obsession with Doritos. They are everywhere! I don't even like Doritos so I wasn't looking for them, but they have such a loud presence it is hard to avoid them!
4. This goes along with number 3, but it is so exciting that it warrants its own number. Not only are there a couple of Celestial Seasonings teas at Hagkaup, but the Danish store Søstrene Grenes All Over the World Handelskompagnie featured a whole wall of Celestial Seasonings tea! Maybe this is only exciting to fellow Coloradans who have visited the tea factory tour in Boulder three times like me, but I digress.
I'm sure over the coming months I'll be met with even more surprises. What other surprises have I missed about life in Iceland?
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Hi, I’m Crystal! Just like you, I love to travel. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 24 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Travels, Crystal
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