Sunday, November 19, 2006

Back In Norway

I am awake with jet lag-- reflecting on a great trip. Without going into too much detail, we had a good work trip that bounced back and forth between San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. While we flew to SF last Sunday, I ended up doing all of the local driving-- it didn't make sense to take a taxi to Silicon Valley. Our days were packed with work meetings, and the travel flowed quite smoothly courtesy of our talking GPS. We rented a Corolla in SF, which was nice for the tighter urban driving downtown. Tuesday we flew back to San Diego on Southwest, then drove to Los Angeles at night to stay in Hollywood-- which is truly the armpit of America. I had no clue there were so many homeless people (or adult bookstores.... or tattoo parlors). Most of our Wednesday meetings were down in Ocean County. Thursday evening we drove back to San Diego and stayed back at the same hotel. All in all it was a great trip. I have eaten my fill of sushi. I know the CEO much better (it was just the two of us) and we managed to get along very well-- especially for spending so much travel time together. I am working out spending two months working in the US next year.

I have always loved California, so it isn't an entirely fair comparison to Norway. CA has mountains, dry weather, and we had record November heat (in the 90s). I left with some regret for having lived in the midwest for as long as I did. Then again, this move to Norway has proven that we can live anywhere and do anything. But the reality remains-- we can only really live in one place at a time. If we lived in CA, there would be some other place that I would fall in love with... or perhaps "passing infatuation" would be a better term. While I loved eating sushi and drinking cheap beer nightly, LA had nasty air pollution, and it takes at least a hour to drive anywhere. I can't imagine biking in LA. SF would take at least an hour to bike out of the city, and the weather isn't much better than in Norway. San Diego is a great place to get away, but I wonder what it would be like to live there.

All in all, the US is a country of tremendous opportunity. As passe as I thought I would find it (from a "been there done that" attitude--- where I found the UK and the Netherlands far more interesting for business prospects), I believe my job is perfect for me. I still need to be connected to the US. That doesn't mean that I want to move back. I just like the best of both worlds. I have always been the sort who wants everything both ways.

On a lighter note, despite my liberal and tolerant leanings, I can't help but be mindful of fellow passengers on planes. I had my aisle seat on a KLM 747 from LAX to Amsterdam. Two young bearded Muslim-looking guys sat down in the seats next to me. Both had their heads covered in caps. They seemed a little strange. As we took off, I noticed they were holding hands. I found it strange, but I had seen similar things in India. As the flight progressed, it became clear that these two were more than just friends. If their kissing didn't give it away, they left nothing to interpretation when they entered the lavatory together. I could not have more seriously been wrong about my initial impressions of them.

I slept most of the flight. After The Devil Wears Prada was over, the next thing I knew we were served breakfast and landed an hour later. It was the best transatlantic flight I have ever had. It seemed to last three hours in total. If only I could sleep now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've lived in San Diego all my life, and although I too have fantasies about living in other locales (Portland being the most enticing), I have doubts as to how well I would be able to adjust. I'm not saying I wouldn't ever be able to enjoy life somewhere else, I just think it would take me a LONG time to become completely comfortable with it, especially since every other place I've been seems more real and gritty than Southern California is.

I currently have no plans on leaving SD, and since my college graduation have determined that the only things that would ever get me to move somewhere else are the offer of a dream job or the love of a dream woman. Perhaps that will change as time goes on, but I don't think it will.