Three-month thoughts

So I have been back in California now for a little over three months, or to put it another way, I have been away from Iceland now for three months. When I was younger, I so idealized Iceland; it was for me the greatest place on earth, the only place I ever wanted to go and indeed the only place I ever went. The language, the people, the landscape leaps and bounds above the rest. California by contrast seemed to me fake and crowded and frightening. I was literally so happy to move out of California, when I was in my mid 20s.

My opinion of California had improved somewhat when I moved back in 2004. Then I was living in Carlsbad, near San Diego, and getting to take walks on the beach most evenings certainly helped me focus on the good things about the state. And I began to appreciate why some people might even think California was the best place on the planet to live, with no desire whatsoever to even travel anywhere else. But still my esteem for all things Icelandic kept me from being too enthusiastic for Californian.

During the more than three years I have lived in Iceland, I came to actually learn the language, get a good grip on how the politics and culture work, met lots of people, and just basically got to know the place. My idealization has been, I feel, replaced by understanding. Now even though I am away from iceland, I feel like it is still with me.

The strange thing to me now, being back in the Bay Area of California, is that I have a much stronger urge to understand California than I ever did before. It seems to me I hardly know the place at all, even though I have lived in California for more than 30 years, and in this area for almost 5 years. Perhaps it is about time I finally get to know it, not just as a tourist appreciating some of the magnificent sights like Yosemite or Del Mar, but as a local who really understands what is going on.

I do not suppose Iceland will consider that too disloyal of me.


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