Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The Sagas continue: The last bus there
My Icelandic Lesson
So, there I am, on the bus, as the last other passenger leaves... and we gently careen into a little village.
I was panicking the whole way, but as the bus pulled in, I figured, "we must be here", plus it was pretty, so I hoped so, and we weren't just on the highway anymore. So, I asked the driver if we had arrived. But no no, the driver was just delivering something to a friend! The village was called Stykkisholmur, that didn't sound like Grundafjordur!
He got out, and so did a little girl, who I hadn't really noticed having been on the bus. I figured he must have been delivering her to her house, because she was small. This wasn't the case at all. After a few minutes both driver and the little girl hopped back on, and she was nibbling sweets.
I realized it must be the driver's little daughter, and how adorable, she was getting a ride with Dad. She sat right up with him, but then maybe she sensed my worry as I tried to ask her dad how much further, and he kept trying to reassure me all was fine. After a few minutes, the little girl, started, very casually at first, to seat hop!
She hopped her way to the row across from her dad, and peered over at me. I was writing.
Then she leaped over to the seats directly in front of me, and and stuck her face between the slats of the chairs to see what I was up to. I at this point I was also nibbling sweets..mine beat hers, I had chocolate..I offered her some. She happily accepted, and then offered me some of her candy..I think I tried one, and then politely declined anymore. It was some kind of black licorice, which I hate. But even the little girl was no fool. She knew good sweets when she offered them. She hardly nibbled anymore of her licorice, and soon my chocolate was gone:)
After a few minutes of us getting to know each other through the slats of the chair, she finally saw I was alright, and decided to sit next to me. I tried asking her stuff, and she me..Yes, one little problem, I don't speak any Icelandic, and she being just a wee child, naturally spoke no English.
So, she did what all logically minded people would do. She took my notebook, found an empty page, and proceeded to give me an Icelandic lesson via pictographs, or more precisely, drawings. We started with the basics. The weather as it was occurring at that moment, she pointed out the window, it was snowing, so she drew a little picture of snowflakes and then the Icelandic word for me. Then she decided on some animals that I should learn, naturally accompanied by her lovely drawings, sheep, cow, horse and snake. And just as quickly as it had begun, the lesson was done. And now it was time to confuse me completely. It was time for a game. I guess I know how my ESL students feel now, when the language has no relationship to their own. I felt pretty lost. She started drawing some kind of maze, or spiral, I'm not sure But what I was supposed to do, I really couldn't understand. For all I know, she was making the "rules" up right then and there. She just kept giggling. And finally I had to use an internationally recognized form of communication: ( another one being Esperanto, but yeah right!) and I sadly, I gestured, a shrug, meaning: " I don't understand, I'm sorry."
I wanted to play. It looked great. She was my first Icelandic friend!