If I were Icelandic, my name would be Scott Alansson

June 04, 2013

While I’ve already thanked Bjorn, I didn’t want to forget to thank several other people that I met on my trip to Iceland.

Thank you Karl and Elin for inviting me into your beautiful Reykjavik home Friday night for dinner. Karl, don’t worry about turning 30 tomorrow. Believe me, it’s not so bad. Just wait until you turn 40. After that, you’ll be susceptible to goofy business ideas that’ll have you flying around the planet.

Thank you Magnus for making me laugh so hard at dinner on Saturday night. I wish I could tell everyone about the pranks you described, but I don’t think my blog would be the appropriate forum. You made me feel like I was hanging out with an old friend.

Thank you Hronn (Bjorn’s mom) for letting me stay at your house on Tuesday. Thanks for breakfast and the excellent espresso. Starbucks would be wise to think twice about coming to Iceland after trying your coffee.
Thank you Torgrimur. I enjoyed visiting your dairy on the way to the Westfjords. I can see why your skyr (similar to yogurt, but not yogurt, extremely popular in Iceland), cheese and ice cream are so popular. You’ve got a cool cat, too. And I don’t like cats, so I never say stuff like that.

Thank you Halla for showing me your free-range lamb farm. I enjoyed warming up with you and your family inside your kitchen with homemade Asparagus soup and fresh baked bread. The little tour that you gave me into the valley, driving through the brook, won’t soon be forgotten.

Thank you to Bjorn’s father, Jon, for teaching me the ins and outs of harvesting Icelandic sea salt in the Westfjords.
Bjorn is lucky to have you working with him. I have a feeling that the next time I visit , you’ll have built a restaurant, hotel, gift shop and small village around the facility. Very impressive.

And finally, thank you Hilge for teaching me about Iceland’s interesting naming system. Last names in Iceland are not like Western family names that are passed down through the generations. In Iceland, you are named after your father. If your father’s name is Jon, and you are Jon’s son, your last name is Jonsson. If you are Jon’s daughter, your last name is Jonsdottir. (There are accents on the letters, but I can’t make that happen on my keyboard.)

For example, my dad’s name is Alan. My last name would be Alansson. Therefore, I’d be Scott Alansson. Icelanders are given given first and middles name too, so they often go by their full names.This naming system seems like it would be extremely confusing because so many people would have the same last name. But remember, the country only has 300,000 people. So it’s probably not that bad.

Additionally, all first and middle names that haven’t previously been used, must be approved by a naming board. I asked Hilge if any really unusual names (unusual for Iceland) have ever been approved. He said that “Elvis” once got through. So there are some Icelandic Elvises out there. And if you are really lucky (or unlucky depending on your opinion), you could be an Elvisdottir or an Elvisson.

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