21 October 2005
“I come back,” I mumbled to the driver in broken Norwegian as I made my way back to the front of the bus. Stepping of the bottom step and over the snow banked high on the sidewalk, I quickly retrieved the backpack I had forgotten on the bench of the bus stop. As I turned to reboard the bus, the sound of airbrakes being released and the engine revving informed me that the driver had either not heard me or—what is more likely—had not understood what I had said. The bus pulled away from the curb and I sprinted after it, my long winter coat flapping at my knees. Reaching the bus, I began pounding on it as I ran alongside. I could see my would-be fellow passengers alerting the driver to brake, but to no avail. Inevitably, my feet found one of the street’s ubiquitous ice patches, and my chance at getting on the bus literally skidded to a stop. Laying facedown in a snow-filled gutter, the early afternoon dusk settling in as the low-flying winter sun tucked itself behind the Norwegian mountains, I realized just how far from home I really was.