As news from Boston reach Switzerland I could not help but think of Oslo, July 2011. 2011 I went on holidays with my parents and two of my siblings, and for 2 weeks we toured Norway and Sweden in a camper. This was the first time in years that I went away with them, and all in all we had a really lovely time. Great weather, the two countries are beautiful and I enjoyed spending time with the family.
We started in Oslo, and returned on July 22, in the afternoon, for a night there before we were going to travel back home. Around 3 p.m. my little brother, my mother and I were dropped off in front of our hotel and my father and my sister went out to return our camper to a place outside of the city. Half an hour later there was an explosion, close enough and strong enough to make our building shake. There was smoke, a little fire, too, that we could see from our hotel room window.
For 30 minutes we tried to search for information about what had happened. We wished that it was just an accident, a gas tank that exploded, anything other than a planned attack. We turned on the TV, switching between different Norwegian channels until after what felt like an eternity different newspapers and channels started talking about a probable attack.
At this point we tried to reach my father and sister, who we knew would be okay but who still had to get back into the city, and Michael, who knew we were supposed to be in Oslo that night.
Being there in Oslo, so close to the attack, even though we knew we were safe was really scary. When I hear of these attacks in the news, they do touch me, but only the experience in Oslo brought to my awareness that this could happen anywhere, anytime, and to me, too.
That night, we left the hotel to have something to eat, at the nearest place possible. It was there, over pizza, that we saw what heard of a shooting outside of Oslo. It took a while longer to news reaching us properly.
In moments like this one, when you feel your mortality, and you realize that actually you are never truly safe, you just want to be with the people that matter the most to you.
But then life continues, and the shock of being close to such an attack wears off. We are not eternally grateful to have been save this time. Only when I hear of similar events do those feelings come back a little, and I try and hug the people I love a little thighter. I hope you and your families and friends are all safe. Not just this week.