North Dakota, USA
Barbara Olafson Aasen serves on the Board of Directors for Icelandic Roots. Barb was raised on the Olafson farm in Thingvalla Township, North Dakota. Her great-grandparents emigrated from Iceland to the United States in 1883. Family members still live and farm on the homestead. As a child on the farm, she heard her grandparents speaking Icelandic to the grandkids and to each other (she always thought they were arguing!). She remembers her amma saying Komdu hérna (“come here”) to her – probably when she was doing something she shouldn’t have been doing – and all the grandkids singing “God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again” in Icelandic to a pastor who was departing. In 2017, Barb traveled to Iceland with her sisters, Sunna and Brenda. She says it was surreal to visit the country and walk where her ancestors walked. She loved meeting everyone and says she was especially excited to find another person with her chin! She also enjoyed Iceland’s many waterfalls. Her favorite is Brúarfoss – “it’s not the biggest, but it is beautiful,” she says.
Barb graduated from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota with a Bachelor of Accountancy. She lives in Bismarck with her husband, Keith, and has a daughter, son, and two grandsons.