Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mr. Norwegian: Part One

Visibility in the center of Belgrade was low as we winded our way through the narrow streets headed for home. Jovana and her cousin Anja had just run in to pick up a take-out pizza. Kira, almost 2, refused to nap earlier in the day and needed extra amounts of attention. We were anxious to eat and end the day with a good night’s sleep.

The evening had turned torturous about the time my girls started throwing dirt from the potted plants at the mall, and got worse when they had to touch everything in the shops, then broke a necklace, wouldn't stop with the name calling in the car and had overall disobedience issues.  A fight had broken out earlier between Jocelyn, age 4 and Anja, 12. It didn't seem to matter that they’d been best of friends since we had arrived one week earlier. Or that we’d played games together in the arcade. They definitely weren't getting along now.
Anja, Jocelyn and Kira
There was a lull in the back seat commotion. Turning around, I realized the temporary cease-fire came from both Kira and Jocelyn falling asleep. Jovana and Anja returned. I held the pizza in my lap and felt its warmth. My stomach growled the moment the aroma hit my nose.  

I added Jovana to my rental car policy for times like these. She’s a conscientious driver and fully capable of getting me and my jet-lagged girls around. I was her driving instructor and helped her get her first license when she was an exchange student in our home almost five years ago. She improved her ability to handle road crazy by going home to Belgrade and learning to drive a stick shift in city traffic, which is not an easy task. It takes complete focus to get to any destination and avoid numerous hazards.

I've been trying to devise a plan for Jovana to come back to Seattle to live. She’s got a clean driving record and has almost had a license long enough to become eligible to be a driving instructor. Ooh, the perfect set up. She can come back to live with us and have a real job and earn enough money to get ahead when she comes back to Serbia. She can make in an hour in Seattle the same amount as she can make in a day as a student in Belgrade.

I offered her a job as an instructor at my driving school. Jovana’s dream has always been to teach teens how to drive. Ha ha. I’m not sure that’s anyone’s dream. But it’s fun and keeps you young. The conversation moved to her upcoming internship in an insurance company in Germany and what the possible future may hold.

We turned left from a dark side street onto the main road a few moments after the light turned green. Just a few more minutes and we’d be back to Jovana’s apartment. But, as soon as we entered the intersection we knew we were in trouble with no way to escape. 

3 comments:

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