Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Confessions of a Pregnant American Living in Iceland

I wrote this blog around Christmastime before we made the announcement:
When I was in my first trimester with Darcy's pregnancy, Colby took me out to the German restaurant on Route 1 in Stafford.  The moment the food was served, I knew I was in trouble.  The new smells, the different flavors...after just ONE bite, I was done with my meal.  The rest of the evening was spent with one hand covering my mouth and one hand covering my nose.   The last 2 months have been like LIVING in the German restaurant.

In the past year I haven't really missed American food.  It wasn't until I got pregnant that I really began to despise the food that is here.  All the food suddenly feels very foreign and unfamiliar.  When something sounds good, I'm desperate to get it so I can get something in my upset, yet hungry stomach.  Take the other day for instance.  I'm reading a book and it in they describe a breakfast of eggs and hashbrowns.  HASHBROWNS....YES!  I think I could do that.  Poor Colby.  Step One:  Buy potatoes.  Step Two:  Buy a grater.  Step Three:  shred potatoes into frying pan. After Colby has been sent to the store and has slaved away in the kitchen, he presents me with white, finely grated, mushy potato patties.  After one bite, I realize that our grater is much too fine and--well, NEVER MIND--it is really applesauce that I want.   Now there is a mess to clean up, a frustrated husband, another errand to be run, and a cranky, HUNGRY, pregnant wife.  Welcome to our world.

I've concluded that the worst possible time to be in your first trimester pregnant in Iceland is December.  You have to understand, to Icelanders tradition trumps everything else.  For example, every 23rd of December they celebrate the fact that their ancestors ate the last of the old food before the holidays. On this day they eat skate, which is an incredibly stinky fish.  I didn't even leave the house on this day.

For the past few months all we've been hearing about is Hangikjot.  Hangikjot is smoked lamb that is always prepared during the Christmas season.  Because of how much it was talked about, I had pretty high expectations.  When we finally attended a Christmas party here, we were served the COLD meat
that had a STRONG smoked flavor and I was a little thrown off.   Upon finishing my virgin hangikjot experience, Icelanders hovered over me at the table with eager eyes and the inevitable question,

"So...what did you think?"

What do you do?


When we were invited over to a friend's house on Christmas Day, and I prayed on the ride over, "Oh, Lord...PLEASE...ANYTHING but hangikjot!"  When the door opened and the strong, smoked flavor flooded into the hallway where I was standing, I literally could not help it.  Tears just started streaming down my face.  Our poor hosts didn't know what to do.  I sat outside on the patio while they tried to air out the apartment, but their attempts were futile.  I spent the rest of the Christmas meal with a peppermint-scented towel covering my face.

I have recently begun to calculate the cost of flying over the ocean to eat a Five Guys burger.  I have never missed American food so much.  Luckily, a woman found our blog and contacted us because she was taking a trip to Iceland and wondered if we needed anything.  She came with Saltines and Mac-and-cheese and it has helped with my appetite since.  Everyone keeps saying and I keep remembering, "THIS TOO SHALL PASS!"


Josh and Jadey said...

Great photo of the girls on the blog.. Annie I completely understand, however I am in America and I can't stand and am aggravated at times with American food. I don't have weird cravings, I just want to eat all the time. Eat that is if I don't have to cook. For whatever reason cooking flips my stomach. I am ashamed to say our budget is no more due to eating out constantly. Yes, this too shall pass but not quickly enough. They put me on a medicine to stop the nausea because I was missing so much work. I hope you start to feeling better soon.

Anonymous said...

Annie - Send me your address and I will send some American food. Please email it to me....Or message me on facebook. You poor thing.

Anonymous said...

Lord almighty Annie,
I concur with the the skatta, I have never been pregnant and I still had dry heaves after I tried that...in front of Jón´s family...hovering over me. Merry Christmas!
Now..now..now..HANGIKJÖT...I hope thats the fetus´s influence... because oh my goodness that stuff is so good, I can just...oh I just love it, and actually had it sent to us this Christmas. It´s better warm though in my opinion.
I do know though all about the American food craving, it´s not that it´s late and you don´t want to drive, it´s not that you really shouldn´t spend the money...oh no...it´s because it´s just not in the country. I seriously considered more than once taking a carne asada burrito with me from California.