A clear, sun-filled, beautiful day at home in the woods. Being here turns my mood around 180 degrees.
Some places I have lived have always filled me with some sense of satisfaction. Many people will claim that happiness has nothing to do with “place” – but I have always felt otherwise. It is a big contributing factor. I was never happy living in the US for some reason, and while I had bounced around to different places looking for the right place (a place to feel at home, grounded), I landed in Iceland. To this day, although I don’t live there anymore, just being in Iceland and seeing the panorama across Faxaflói Bay or being back in the “subdivision” of Reykjavik in which I used to live (Seltjarnarnes), makes me feel at home (or rather, homesick). I don’t imagine ever moving back – but being there and the place/surroundings – affected how I felt.
Now that I split my time between my home in the Swedish woods and Gothenburg, and have been doing so for a year, I have no bad feelings toward Gothenburg – but I know that being at home is where I want and need to be. I don’t want to move to or be in the city even though a year ago that sounded like a good idea. Truth be told, I needed a change, but a move to the city was not the change I needed. Sometimes, though, you have to try something to see that it is not right for you.
Thinking back to the time in Seltjarnarnes, which I wrote briefly about the other day, reminiscing about baking there – it is hard to believe that I was only living in that apartment for two years. It was such a defining time, but such a short span of time.
For whatever reason, I watched quite a bit of television when I lived in Seltjarnarnes (2001-03) – my friend had given me a tv, and I often turned it on just for noise (this was before there were really great internet connections). For some reason MTV was the Israeli version, so I saw a lot of TV commercials in Hebrew – and every commercial break was this same one advertising (I suppose) a kind of “greatest hits of…” album for some unidentified Israeli musician. Since I cannot understand or read Hebrew, I had no idea who he was – nothing about the commercial could give me a clue as to his identity, but because of the ad’s ubiquity, I became obsessed with trying to find out who he was. It was not until 2009, when I was in Oslo, that I found out that this iconic singer is Arik Einstein. I am not even sure how I found out his identity – I think that I may have Googled “Israeli singer” and something like “Fiddler on the Roof” because one of the clips in the commercial I had seen looked like it could be some kind of musical, like “Fiddler on the Roof” – I know, it sounds like a crazy and stereotypical long shot. BUT… it actually led me to the name of some other Israeli musician, which in turn led me to a lot of information about other Israeli singers, which finally (FINALLY!) led me to a picture of the man I had seen in the commercial so many years earlier.
After that, I actually listened quite a bit to his music, much of which I really enjoyed. Quite by chance, yesterday I was looking for information about the musician Keren Ann, and she wrote on her Facebook page on 26 November that Arik Einstein had died. I would never have found out otherwise, so it was an interesting path of… chance. Like so much information discovery these days. I am thus remembering these old stories of how I first discovered this Israeli mystery man, found out who he was, and really came to appreciate the music. (My god the world is so much smaller, and information so much easier to find than in the “old days”. My mom and I used to go on pre-internet wild goose chases to find different music we would hear in tv commercials and shows. That was always a challenge. It is so much easier to find everything now, but then, our investigative and questioning skills are certainly suffering for it.)
RIP research and investigative skills (or at least the kind that are not online)! (And this is for the average person. Plenty of academic and scientists still do plenty of hands-on research and investigation and more traditional, well-trained journalists will follow leads and actually talk to people, track down other forms of information – as they should!)