Hooray, I managed to get a job. As of Monday I will be a general skivvy at a mostly vegetarian café based in Kringlan, Reykjavík's horrible shopping mall. I mean, what's horrible about it is that it is a shopping mall. I'm sure it's fine if you like shopping malls, although for me they are like IKEA - I can feel my will to live ebbing from me as soon as I step inside. I'm sure I will get used to it, though! The café also has a premises on Laugavegur, but sadly it is no longer open and they are trying to sell it. 

I had a trial day yesterday, and after a while I got the hang of the cash register and the card-reading machine OK. It is not that hard, seriously I have no idea why advertisements for jobs in shops demand experience, you can learn it in less than an hour. I still don't know how to use the coffee machine, but I'm sure I am up to the task. Other things I will be doing include putting food on plates / in bowls, clearing tables and converting dirty cutlery/crockery that is in the wrong place into clean cutlery/crockery that is in the right place. And that's why you should go to university, kids, because it totally pays off. I know I sound like I have a massive entitlement complex and I'm sort of sorry, but it is only because all through my school days we were told: "Work hard in school, get good GCSEs, get good A-Levels, go to university, get a good degree and your reward will be a good job." Liars. I suppose they didn't count on the economic crash, though. 

No, but I am super pleased that I will be making some money and the job is fine, really. I get free lunch and cake, and I will be using my Icelandic a lot more than I am now (I am kind of slack about using it with my Icelandic friends, definitely not speaking it every day at this stage). It is my fault for learning to read poetry and conduct historical research instead of getting a marketable skill. Which incidentally I don't regret for one second - I love literature and history and I am really happy that I got to do that for four years. I just hope that one day in the future I will be lucky enough to work with what I love again. It's silly to expect these things to happen immediately, and nice to have a goal I suppose.

Anyway, to celebrate this important step on my journey to becoming a real human being, I went to Byko today and bought a toaster, because the house didn't have one and doing toast under the grill is stupid and takes ages.

The plug wouldn't work in the UK, so this toaster represents a big commitment to staying in Iceland.


  1. I agree it's not a job that uses the best of your skills, but it does have some advantages, mainly the being able to practice Icelandic. And you never know, job opportunities can come out nowhere and you might meet someone through this job that gets you to something bigger and better.

  2. Yes, also the free lunch. Bizarrely, it turns out that my new employer actually does know my old employers. One time she was round our house for coffee, but I had completely blanked it out and only discovered this on Thursday.

  3. I feel exactly the same about shopping malls! Once inside, I just long to run screaming out into the fresh air again.
    You will soon be excellent at the job and, with any luck, you will be the manager, and then running the whole chain, as they will realise you are so much better and cleverer than anyone else they have ever had doing it! (Amazingly, that's what started to happen to Tom when he worked in a sandwich bar in a mall in Plymouth one holiday. He went back to college instead.)
    By then, your Icelandic will be so fluent, you will be able to do something else.

  4. Congratulations on this important step to becoming a real human being! I've been to that shopping centre while on a trip to Reyk and eaten at that restaurant, lovely food and staff seemed really friendly too. I hope it's going well for you. We also went to the Tiger store there, fantastic. Marcus.

  5. Tiger is the best! I have no idea why tourists go to Kringlan, though. Why on earth did you do it? I can't think of anything there that you couldn't get downtown (there is even a Tiger on Laugavegur), and it would be much nicer.

    Alison, it's not a chain. And the owner works there as well, so I think it unlikely that I will become her manager. Also, the actual job is not stretching my Icelandic - I am already more fluent than it requires. Although talking to my co-workers is much more helpful.