About four years ago, I started reading Icelandic blogs. Ones on Eyjan, ones on mbl.is, some on kanika.is, and on Blogg.gattin.is.
It started out as a productive way for me to learn modern Icelandic vocabulary. What I had learned in school at Berkeley was Old Norse; we don't teach modern Icelandic. And what I had learned at home from my family was rather simple conversation. No one talked to their half American cousin about Icelandic politics or government or laws.
So I have really learned so much reading Icelandic blogs. My language skills have improved immeasurably, but more importantly I feel like I have been given an amazing free course on Icelandic civics. It has been so interesting and enlightening, and well I really should thank everyone whose blog I read, which is basically any Icelandic blog I see. Ever since I was a young girl, I have wanted to understand Icelandic culture, which I recognized even then as totally distinct from American culture. Through reading your blogs, I feel so much closer to that goal, and it makes me happy.
Since I moved back to California last year, I have continued to read Icelandic blogs. The purpose now is a little different. When I lived in Iceland, it helped me participate in conversations with my friends and colleagues; blogs, much more so than the newspapers, kept me in the know about the important events and debates. Now, here in California, knowing about things like the election for bishop going on right now, or Bjarni's attempt to stop the indictment against Geir, is not called upon in normal conversation here, like it was in Iceland. No one else in California that I know is so up on current events in Iceland as I am. But still I keep reading the blogs. Partially this is because they still teach me new vocabulary and phrases; daily there is something I need to look up in the dictionary (especially from Jonas' frequent blogs- I suspect he makes up a lot of his own words.) I also keep reading because I very much miss Iceland, so it helps to get news of what is going on. But also it is out of habit. It is actually a hobby for me, a recreational activity. When I want to take a break from my dissertation, when I am sitting alone having a cup of tea, when I am bored, I read Icelandic blogs. I don't do it as thoroughly as I used to, and am now more selective about whose blog I read, but one thing hasn't changed. I still enjoy reading Icelandic blogs, and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.
Just because it is no longer a necessary part of my life does not mean I will be turning my back on the flow of ideas, freely and easily obtained with a click on a link.
Thank you, Icelandic bloggers, for all you have taught me.