E-flections of an Educator

Sometimes Bad Things Happen to Good People

Posted on: July 22, 2011

So far, I’ve had an amazing vacation. We spent the first week in Stockholm. (You can see pictures in my public facebook album.) We visited the Royal Palace, the Vasa Museum, as well as the Nordic Museum. We saw many amazing sites in the city, and ate wonderful food. Since we are on vacation, we haven’t been too concerned about being “up and at ’em” too early. Today was different. We got an early start because we had an 8:30 train to Oslo.

The six-hour trip was uneventful, save for the customs agent who stopped by my seat to ask me questions; that was momentarily un-nerving. We got off the train in Lillestrøm, Norway, and had to board a bus for the remainder of the trip to the Oslo train station due to construction. When we arrived at the station, my sister got my mom and me settled at a coffee shop while she went to find out the location of our hotel and how best to get there.

I don’t really know how much time had passed; it was long enough to finish half a sandwich and a cup of coffee. We were just talking about what we might do over the next few days, when BOOOOOOM! in addition to the sound, we felt the percussion of the explosion, and saw the whole wall of the station shake. A group of young people at the top if the escalator started laughing–you know, the kind of nervous laughter when you don’t want to admit you are scared. I looked toward the exit in the direction if the sound, and saw people just outside the exit. But without really knowing the station, I had no way to know if this was normal. We saw a few people make some phone calls, but no one seemed particularly bothered.

I have to admit, the first brief thought I had was “bomb” but I quickly brushed that aside. I said with all the construction, maybe something very large, like a crane fell. I also thought maybe a train had crashed. Mom thought it sounded like someone lit an M-80. After a few minutes, three security guards went flying through the station, and came running back a few minutes later.

Not only did we not know what was going on, we had no idea about where my sister was in relation to the commotion. Turns out she was at the hotel getting us checked in when the explosion occurred, and alarms were sounding. She ran out of the hotel to find us. It was a relief to see her! However, in her haste to get to us, she had no idea of where she was, so it took us a few minutes to get bearings and find the hotel.

By the time we got there, reports were out that it was a bomb in the city center, very near to the hotel. You could see the stress and concern in the expressions of the staff. Two of them appeared to be doing a check of some kind, going in and out of various doors.

We settled into our rooms and found the English BBC station, where the initial reports were coming in. From our window, we could see some of the same buildings in the broadcasted shots. One of the first things I did was go to my Facebook account (and Twitter) and post that we were all safe.

After absorbing what was happening, it was time for dinner. But the restaurant near the hotel was closed. Everything at the train station was closed. The mall was closed. (Normally it would be open until about 8PM on Friday.)

We found a restaurant across the street that was open and serving. After we sat down, we realized that the window was all boarded up. When my sister asked if it happened today, the waiter said yes, “because you know what happened today.” He didn’t even want to speak of it.

One of the callers on the BBC broadcast said, “This doesn’t happen in Norway. We are the good guys.” Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And it sucks.


This picture was taken about 1 block from our hotel, around 8:00 PM the day of the bombing.


6 Responses to "Sometimes Bad Things Happen to Good People"

I’m glad you are all safe. You will see a face of society in the next few days in way perhaps uncapturable accept in the face of crisis. Please tell all in Norway that Michigan stands with them.

I was studying abroad in Paris in the early 90’s when there were lots of issues with bombings in the city. It was a surreal time to be there amid the chaos. There’s nothing quite like a post-event society. Be safe and try to enjoy all you can.

We were in car on our way home from CT together when we heard. Jenn Borgioli reminded us all that you were there. Thankful you are okay.

Linda – I didn’t know you were there! I echo everyone’s thoughts with my own thank god you are safe. How are things today?

Linda, I didn’t realize you were there. As others have said, I’m so glad to hear you’re all safe. Thinking about you and the others there … what a terrible situation!


When I heard this I wondered where you were, and also about another educator friend. So glad to hear you are both safe. And I am numb for the people of Norway. Praying they are able to find some peace.

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