Some years ago, Mr. C and I spent New Year’s Eve in Iceland. We had a little apartment right on the rocky coast of Seltjarnarnes.
Our landlord was French, and the apartment reminded me of something out of an Eric Rohmer film. We had his phone number in case the roof blew off. I don’t think that detail was in any Eric Rohmer movie.
Fears of roof-flying aside, we found that the apartment was situated perfectly because we had a flawless view of the Reykjavík coast, upon which Icelanders set large (think two-storey) bonfires on New Year’s Eve. We strolled down to one bonfire, glimpsing into the warmly lit windows of Reykjavík homes where New Year’s dinners were being enjoyed.
I knew only one Icelandic phrase at that time, and I used it throughout my stay: Gleðileg jól (Merry Christmas).
I used it after ordering waffles at one of the little cafes; I used it when someone mistook me for an Icelander and launched into a conversation with me (in Icelandic) about how I had an American husband.
But on December 31, it was time to upgrade, so I learned a new line: Gleðilegt ár. And now, I pull out that phrase again to wish all gentle readers a very happy new year. I hope that 2010 is filled with pleasures for you and yours.
Gleðilegt ár. Happy New Year.