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Hi, I’m Oliver

by on September 24, 2011

Since it isn‘t assued that anyone will read this, I‘m not sure how much use an introduction will serve. I think I‘ll just conduct this as with any other conversation with myself; informal and partially in my head.

My name is Oliver, sort of. You see, I‘m from Iceland, where language has stayed the same for over 1000 years. My name is Ólafur, which in most civilized countries has changed over the centuries to Oliver. Since most foreigners have a hard time with Ólafur (you‘re not pronouncing it right, trust me), I either use Oli or Oliver. Since people can‘t pronounce Oli either (still not right), I use Oliver when dealing with people of a differing nationality than mine. You can also call me Snugglebutt.

I was born in Reykjavík, in a year undisclosed. My parents decided, that in order for me to be bilingual, that I needed to stay there until age 4. After mastering the Icelandic language, I was transposed to the west coast of the United States. San Diego to be exact. Their master plan was in phase 2, I had begun to learn English.

From age 4 to 12 I was assimilated into american society. It went well; I got good grades, I was successful in a number of different sports, and got to know a few youngsters who I called my friends. However, as I grew up, my parents saw that the plan of integrating me into american society had a few flaws. Americans are a notoriously short people, and at the age of 12 I was over 6 feet tall. This posed a problem. I had also inherited my mother‘s skin, and was unable to tan, even in the warm climate of southern california. Compared to my american colleagues, I was definitely different.

Because of my alien appearance, my parents made a snap judgement, and moved me back to Iceland at age 12. I was back in the valley of giants. The difference between the american and icelandic school systems could almost be classified as capitalist versus socialist. In the american school system I had been allowed to excel, to work hard, achieve good grades and get into good programs. In the icelandic school system I was held back as much as humanly possible, so I wouldn‘t reach beyond the other children.

I will never forget when I realized this difference. I had always gotten perfect grades, until the 8th grade. I wrote an essay for chemistry class which was as my other essays, quite good. The teacher however gave me a 95% grade. As every other essay I had written had garnered a 100% grade, I was befuddled. I asked the teacher about it, and his response will be etched into my memory for years to come. He said „No matter how good it is, it can always be better.“ I saw that no matter how much work I did, no matter how much I applied myself, I would never get a grade of 100%. I also saw my friends‘ essays, which were definitely far inferior to mine, getting grades not that much worse than mine. I decided on that day not to exert my academic self farther than was needed.

I got passable grades all through school, getting into a good junior college, dropping out, finishing another junior college, then finally applying to the University of Iceland. I didn‘t really have a plan for the future, just that I liked being in school, as it was so easy. I applied to the English department; as I already knew English, I thought that this would be quite easy.

My parents had divorced by this time, and I grew quite close to my father. I lived with my mother, but closeness isn‘t measured in meters. I went to dinner with my father every Friday night, and for the first few years a movie after as well. In later years we liked to go for a drive through downtown Reykjavík after dinner. That gave us a chance to discuss everything that was important to us each week. My father was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and died in april 2007. He will always be my closest friend and inspiration.

My father was an entrepreneur, and I inherited his business, which I still manage. I might not be the stereotypical businessman, but business is booming, even through a depression. Work doesn‘t fulfill me completely, so I decided to start this blog. I‘ve always loved writing, and in my English studies at the University of Iceland I wrote a short story about my father shortly after he passed away. It was called „personal therapy,“ which I agree with. Writing for me is a way to get my thoughts and feelings out without actually having to verbalize.

I decided to include Lesley as my blogging partner. I stiffed her on a trip to europe in 2010, and she still likes me. Weird, right? Anyways, as she‘s a veteran blogger, she can probably show me a few things, and since she‘s an avid reader, I wanted to include her input.

We‘ll definitely be reviewing and blogging about very different things, but I think that‘s part of the appeal. We‘ll be talking about things like books, movies, games, philosophy, emotions, current events, and if you‘re lucky, garden gnomes.

Hope you stick around. This blog will include my heart and soul. Enjoy.

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From → Personal

2 Comments
  1. wordsfallfrommyeyes permalink

    What a fantastic introduction. I should have done something like that! I’ve only been on WordPress a month, but it’s good for expression. I think it would have been enormously disrupting for you to return to Iceland at 12. Also, that you couldn’t excel there, that’s just wrong. Glad you’re in successful business now, though.

  2. Nice introduction 🙂

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