Monday, August 19, 2013

Mr. Norwegian: Part Three

It's chilly standing in the cold night air speaking with Mr. Norwegian. Part of me is thinking that he’s a very pleasant young man in appearance and manners. And the other part of me is thinking that I need to make sure we get all of his information for the rental company ... in case we never hear from him again. He's talking about having borrowed his friend's car and wanting to pay for damages instead of going through the police and insurance company. And I'm weighing my want to trust him against the possibility of me needing to pay for the collision if I wrongly judge his character.

Unfortunately, Mr. Norwegian was driving his Swedish friend's car. 
Fortunately, there wasn't much damage to his car. 
Unfortunately, there was significant damage to our car. 
Fortunately, his friend has insurance. 
Unfortunately, having insurance pay for an at-fault collision would raise his friend's premium dramatically and probably ruin their relationship. 
Fortunately, he is financially able to handle the cost of the collision if we agree to settle privately.
Unfortunately, we need a police report for the rental car agency.

Fortunately, he respects our decision to call the police.

Mr. Norwegian's Serbian language skills are adequate but when going to jail for causing a collision is on the line, it's important to have a native speaker in your corner. He called his Serbian roommates. As we continue to talk with him, we find out that Mr. Norwegian is in Belgrade working in a hospital emergency room as part of his medical training. He will become a doctor in the next couple of years. 

Thinking of the wonderful ER doctor who sewed up Jovana's hand last year, I can totally picture Mr. Norwegian working in the same position. Even in the middle of a crisis, he is both calm and genuine. It’s endearing. He could have driven off. He could have been angry. He could have done a number of things, but instead he decided to get to know us a little better.  I'm sure he probably never imagined that someone else may go to the ER because of something he did.

The police dispatched to our scene arrive. I'm back to sitting in the car and feeling warmer already with the door closed. I look in the back seat. My girls haven't woken up and Anja is patiently sitting. She's never been in a collision before or even been pulled over by the police. This particular situation seems to be an ideal learning ground. Adults all acting mature. It's a relief, really.

Jovana starts writing out what happened. Mr. Norwegian takes a breathalyzer test. Clean. The officer taps on out window. Now it's Jovana's turn. She blows into the device. And is also alcohol-free. No surprise there. The crash wasn't as bad as it could have been. No one got hurt. Or died. Or even needed the ER. It's just a money issue. That's okay. I believe we were divinely protected.

Jovana gets hands on training in incident reporting.
Mr. Norwegian genuinely feels bad to have put a kink in our evening plans. It takes an hour or more to get all the paperwork done and be on our way. He leans in the window and offers to take us all out to dinner to make up for our inconvenience. What? Who does that? The gesture is well received. 

Did I mention that Mr. Norwegian is good looking? Intelligent. Calm under pressure. Maybe in his mid-20s. Yes, this is the type of guy we want for Jovana. We exchanged phone numbers.

Jocelyn was surprised to find out the next morning that we'd been in a collision.
She'd gone back to sleep after the initial impact.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to take Mr. Norwegian up on his offer before we were scheduled to go to Slovenia 36 hours later.  
Fortunately, we arranged to exchange our smashed car before we left town.
Unfortunately, the smashed car was a Škoda.
Fortunately, names are humorous. ┼ákoda  means “darn it” or “bummer” in Slovene.
Unfortunately, we didn't get a copy of the police report to give to the rental agency.
Fortunately, Mr. Norwegian had already been in and arranged payment
Unfortunately, our rental agency didn't haven any other cars available in the peak season.
Fortunately, rental agencies are friends with each other and loan cars between themselves.

The next morning, my girls and I leave for Slovenia in a roomy Chevrolet.

While we were gone Jovana and Mr. Norwegian continued to text each other. The timing for meeting up would be tight. Jovana's in her final days of her undergraduate studies. After we return from Slovenia, we’ll only have one free evening before my husband and sons come to join us on our Balkan adventure. Two days later Jovana will take her final exams for college and that same afternoon, we’ll all leave for Macedonia. 

When we come back to Belgrade, Jovana will pack her bags and have one day before flying to Germany. She'll be gone for 6 months while doing an internship with an insurance company. That doesn't even take into consideration Mr. Norwegian's work schedule. Yikes! Timing this meet up will definitely be tight. And puts a damper on my plans for their happily ever after.

Yet still I dream. I picture them at a party together. They looked fantastic. Heads turned as they walked into the room. In a more private moment, someone would ask them how they met. She would say, “on the street” and he would add, “I just ran into her.” They'd look at each other and smile. Because very few people knew the whole truth.

To my delight, Jovana and Mr. Norwegian meet up a couple of days before we get back. He dresses up. She doesn't. It doesn't matter, they have easy conversation and enjoy each other's company. Interestingly, Mr. Norwegian is familiar with the Pacific Northwest. His sister lived and worked in Bellevue…the same city where the main office to our driving school is located. And where Jovana interned last summer. Sharing a connection over two continents convinces me even more that these two are meant for each other.

He's 30, she tells me. "Well, at least he looks young," I say.  They exchange a few more texts. And then one evening in Macedonia, Mr. Norwegian sends Jovana a Facebook friend request. I push. I plead. "Jovana, did you accept it yet?" She didn't. Not too soon, she tells me. "But he is your destiny!" Bridget, calm down. Nothing will come of this. I'm leaving. He's in Serbia. Then he'll leave. "Jovana! Life if full of challenges and you've just gotten a peek into how this guy handles a crisis. You want someone like that."


  1. My daughter just started driving school in Oxnard. When we was doing her range test another one of the cars had a girl in it that had no idea what was going on. My daughter could hear the other girl revving her engine and new she had no idea what was going out. Right as the girl put the car in drive while still revving the gas my daughter pulled into reverse and helped prevent an accident. I am glad her dad helped teach her to drive before that point! Teaching kids to drive is so nerve recking!

  2. What's the end of the story?! You can't stop there! This could be better than a chick flick! Dang, the way you described the Norwegian I'm practically ready to get in a fender-bender myself ;) Not really... but close. Thanks for posting!

    Jenn |

  3. Nice story and quite interesting too .Teaching kids to drive is so nerve recking! And thank you for making me conscious of thing kind of thing.


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