There weren’t many people on the plane from Los Angeles so I could stretch out across five seats and actually sleep as we crossed the Atlantic. Earlier in the flight, I had been allowed onto the flight deck just as we were flying over a nighttime St. Louis, glowing like a green and gold octopus far below us in the dark.
My six-hour layover at Heathrow had me frustrated by all the carry-on I had with me, inexperienced as I was with air travel. I was cheered by the company of a couple of nuns at lunch, and then later treated to a beer by a couple of Scotsmen. Absolutely nothing creepy about it; they were simply friendly fellow travelers.
It wasn’t until I was at the gate for the last SAS flight to Bergen, Norway, that my good mood disappeared. The room was cold, the people were cold. They were all stone-faced men in suits, with only a handful of exceptions, including this out of place 20-year-old female tourist. I felt terribly alone and almost wanted to not get on the plane.
Well after 11 PM on September 18th, 1981, my flight landed in Bergen. Sleepy grandparents picked me up in their old, beloved Mercedes 120D, and drove me home to an apartment I had never been to before. The bed in their guest room was familiar, though. It was the one from my girlhood room, from when we all lived outside of Bergen.
I was back in Norway after five years in California, and not feeling terribly sure about my trip. I did feel better after a good night’s sleep, and it was wonderful to be with Grandma and Grandpa again.
40 years ago today. Just like when I was a child, a temporary visit to Norway turned into permanent residency. I’ve enjoyed this second “visit” a lot more!
And I still have the bed. It’s in my guest room now.