That time my bag and laptop got stolen in Rome and I said “Fuck it, I’m going to Oslo to party with the Norwegians!”
A friend wrote to me about how I seem to get into the most unfortunate situations. There was that time my denim jacket and Yashica T4 film body was stolen in Sydney, Australia; and there were those several times when my luggage was misplaced by the airline. But most recently my backpack containing my MacBook Pro, several electronic accessories, and glasses were stolen while traveling from Milan to Rome via TrenItalia. The whole purpose of my trip was to spend a few days after Milan Men’s Fashion Week visiting the beautiful Roman coliseums and editing photos, but I found myself in a frantic running around Roma Termini with two luggage trying to find my backpack. The train carrier including its staff were not helpful as no one spoke English and everyone simply turned a blind eye. I finally went to the police station to file the stolen properties and sat down in disbelief with a sense of hopelessness and despair. I was in Rome alone and I’ve just lost a part of what I so called life with no travel insurance!
The police informed me that I could only wait to see if they found anything. I also learned that TrenItalia and Roma Termini didn’t have a “Lost and Found” facility, but rather all discovered items are handled by the City Council and Police department. “It can take up to a month before we find your bag if it’s not stolen” said one of the TrenItalia staff. I wasn’t pleased with the answer and realized I’ve exhausted all my energy and it was time to return to the apartment for some needed rest.
I’m at the apartment feeling lost and ordered pizza nearby but I lost my appetite after a few bites. My friend from Milan is making calls for me and I’m calling my credit card company to see if I’m eligible for any baggage incidental insurance. Later that night, I’m sitting on the bed in the dark gray painted and dimly lighted room and suddenly I wanted to break down and cry. Waiting alone as the clock ticked slowly in the apartment with nothing to do, no desire to explore Rome, and trying to patiently wait for any positive news was no help for my sanity. I kept reimagining the event in various scenarios – I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that – and it was driving me insane.
I contemplated about returning to New York earlier, but while speaking with a friend in Oslo, Norway, I asked her if she could accommodate my stay if I decided to visit. After looking through flight options, I said to myself, “Fuck It, I’m going to Oslo to party with the Norwegians!” I didn’t waste any time and was in Oslo the next day. As I touched foot in Oslo for the very first time filled, my boots crunched on the powdery-snowed pavement and took a deep breath of that cold brisk – it felt new and refreshing. I’ve always wanted to visit Oslo and it only took three hours to get from Rome to Oslo!
Not having my laptop meant not being able to work, but I was relieved spending time away from many of my devices. I was able to see my dear friend, Marianne, meet old and new friends, understand a bit more about the Norwegian culture, and explore a new city. At one point, I wasn’t even angry about Rome! Perhaps it was fortunate that my bag was stolen, although a costly stroke of serendipity, but I knew I would never made the trip to Oslo and see such beautiful city if it never happened.
On my last night in Oslo, I took long walk around Oslo and ventured to Olso Harbor. There was a floating dock with a lamppost that stood peacefully next to the horizon. It was cold and barely anyone was around, but I sat for an hour and gazed into the sky as it gradually changed colors into nightfall. Later, I walked back to meet with Marianne for dinner and happily looked forward to my next journey in Copenhagen.