unheimlich

Last night, I hosted a speaker from Landsvirkjun at my work at PLU. Árni Gunnarson came as the featured speaker of our exhibition opening; he was already in Portland for a conference on geothermal energy. It was a very interesting talk, and went well with the theme of the exhibition - Nordic Eco: Steps toward Sustainability. I was pleased how the exhibition came together and with the opportunity to meet Árni, who is clearly a hard-working, conscientious sort of person, with a open and friendly demeanor.

There were however two very odd moments for me personally. One was that Árni told me something about California which I knew absolutely nothing about. He said there was a very large and productive geothermal area in Northern California, just north of the Napa Valley. I kept asking him to repeat this information, it seemed so odd to me that someone who grew up in California and had gone to school in the Bay Area, such as myself, could have somehow missed ever hearing about something that significant. Although I don't overly identify with being California, I also don't expect people from other parts of the world to know more about it than me. So that was strange.

But the other moment has really stuck with me as more uncomfortable, in fact I'll probably try to discuss it with the counselor I am seeing, since it was so strange. There was Árni giving his informative, fact-filled talk about geothermal energy utilization in Iceland, and I broke into tears. Would you like to know why? He showed an aerial photo of Laugardalur, marked with circles showing all the geothermal pumping stations in that section of Reykjavík. This was certainly not intended to bring the audience to tears. But for me, it did. Because as I looked at the photo, I recognized exactly and precisely every road in the image, every building. I remembered so clearly waiting at the light at the intersection there, with the Apple store on my left, Hotel Esja on my right, and Hotel Nordica straight ahead.

And then the overwhelming feeling of missing Iceland hit me.  I am unheimlich, literally out of my home.

Comments

Jono said…
I also get that way in seeing those places in Iceland and Norway. North America has never really felt like "home" to me. Glad I am not alone.

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