Ein af þeim

There are sometimes those rare moments when you suddenly see yourself from someone else's perspective. Or well it is rare for me, I don't make a lot of effort to understand how other people see me or categorize me. But I can think of a few times, when I've been flocked in with a group of people or compared to a woman I would never myself identify with. That's when I realize I've done a bad job representing myself, or being true to myself. Like catching a glimpse of myself on the dancefloor and realizing wow, I really need to work on my moves.

Something like this happened to me when I was in Iceland last November. My American family was with me, and they were being cool, listening to my advice and generally trusting me to set the schedule of what we should do while we were in Iceland and in Reykjavik. Reykjavik of course never feels as much like home to me as Reykjanesbær, especially 101, so staying in "Welcome Apartments" was not my cup of tea. And then I got pretty annoyed when I was at a cafe in downtown, working on a presentation I was giving about Iceland's landnám, and I ran into someone from the foreign ministry. I had seen her a few weeks earlier, when she had come to the Scandinavian Cultural Center as part of the Taste of Iceland events in Seattle during October last year. She was sitting with someone I recognized but couldn't exactly place - probably a politician. Anyhow, I decided to say hi, and I guess I must have chosen to speak in English just to make sure she recognized me. We chatted for a moment, and then I went back to drinking my coffee and she went back to her conversation. And that's when it happened. I heard her explaining to her companion that I ran a center in the United States for Scandinavian Americans and that I was a real fan of all things Icelandic. To which he replied, "jæja, er hún ein af þeim?"

I don't know why that bothered me so much, but it did. Like seeing myself dancing like an idiot. And yet I was very grateful to have it pointed out to me.


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