Is this the San Francisco Bay?

If I squint hard enough, and imagine the hills being a bit taller, Grillstad looks a lot like Alameda. Trondheim fjord looks a lot like the San Francisco Bay. The hot summer sun feels the same, my bike seat feels the same, the breeze feels the same. And I can almost believe that I’m not really that far from my friends there. But on closer inspection the illusion falls apart; the city is in the wrong place (roughly behind me in this photo, but obscured by a hill), and the sun rises and sets at the wrong times. When I go for a run and get lost in the white pines, it feels a bit more like running with my dad in Massachusetts, until I turn a corner and hit rolling pastureland that looks like a miniature version of Tilden Park. Then the pines feel out of place – shouldn’t they be redwoods? Isn’t the giant cathedral-style building next to my lab supposed to be red brick, not gray? Isn’t the horse racing track closer to the water? And I swear the hill up to my lab used to be a little taller than that. Am I in Boston, Berkeley, or some weird mixture of both, arranged by aliens trying so desperately to make me feel like I’m in a familiar place?

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