The Bus that Saved My Life

“I think the rain has stopped,” my Armenian tutor remarked as she peered out the window.

“Yeah, it looks okay,” I replied.

I hoisted my backpack to my shoulders and zipped up my jacket all the way, even if it meant it would poke me in the Adam’s apple.

As we said our goodbyes at the door, I slipped on my black leather shoes. These Merrells had a doomed fate from the day we laid eyes on them in Von Maur. They had already persevered through Water Day, cow poo, and countless miles on the craggy Armenian roads. But if they were to last for the whole 2 years, it would indeed be a feat to be reckoned with.

I strode out of my teacher’s home and immediately felt the sporadic rain drops. Upon further investigation, there was an ominous dark cloud heading my way. “Okay, I’ll just walk as fast as I can,” I thought, while considering the 15 minute journey ahead.
After scurrying past the tiny store where I normally fortify my cookie stash, I veered right off the main road. The pavement turned to gravel and dirt, which would take me all the way to the first school, near my house. I could see the raindrops tickling the puddles in the road. Now the wind was picking up. The “uh oh” feeling was just beginning to gain critical mass when an alarming lightening strike and corresponding sonic boom sealed the deal. This was not a good situation.

At this point I still had hope I could make it back in time. There were maybe 10 minutes left before I reached the safety of my house. Suddenly, that hope was dashed by a peculiar noise from afar. I heard what sounded like a large wind gusting through leaves in the distance. The noise grew stronger and stronger, until I saw, and then felt, the hail enveloping everything around me.

I was too far from my tutor’s house to go back, yet I was equally far from my own house. After a quick survey of my surroundings, I barreled through a large mud puddle into the only refuge in sight: the frame of a 40 year old bus. I climbed inside just as the hail reached its crescendo. The hail battered the broken windows of the bus and quickly accumulated on the various cardboard beer boxes that accompanied me.

The wind was fierce and the sky dark. As the hail turned into torrential rain, I wondered how I would get back. “What should I do?” I pondered, while stooping inside. I could go for it, but my backpack was full of books and a laptop. At the same time, the sky looked as if it could rain for hours.

I looked around and realized what a ridiculous situation I found myself in. Here I was, in Armenia, hunching over in the middle of a dilapidated soviet-era bus that had been completely stripped of all its components and filled with garbage, while a serious storm was taking place. As various Ladas plowed through the massive lakes that were forming on the road outside, I wondered if they could see the American hiding inside the bus.

My rock, my temple, my...bus

Then the rain began to break. My trust had been damaged, and I hesitated to exit my newfound fortress. A moment later a new round of hail stormed down. I had a moment of internal triumph for staying inside this glorious bus.

I looked at my watch. It had been 10 minutes of waiting. The wind and water were beginning to cut through my jacket. It was cold. The raindrops still pummeled the puddles in an intimidating fashion. It was quite a predicament, to be stuck in a bus neither here nor there in a storm that would last all night. I knew I had to make a break for it soon.

After 5 more minutes of waiting, the rain tapered to a moderate tempo. “This is it,” I thought, as I burst through the bus door like Kramer.

Running with a backpack is never easy. Running with a stuffed backpack in business casual while trying to avoid mud puddles is less easy, but funnier. Doing this in a foreign country during a downpour is possibly the funniest situation. The locals gave me an odd look as I jogged by. But when the rain resumed its monsoon quality a moment later, dignity seemed a small price to pay for dryness. The only thing left here was to sprint all the way home to safety. Despite burning lungs and tight legs, the imminent saturation was motivation enough to push me all the way down the road, through the school yard, and to the end of the alley where my host family lives.

As I scrambled inside the door, I explained to my dry family in terrible Armenian what just happened. All they could do was laugh. All I could do was wonder how odd they must think I am.

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6 Responses to “The Bus that Saved My Life”

  1. Gail Says:

    You’ve come a long way, buddy! The “old” Kevin would never have jumped into that bus—so I’m proud of you. And never fear, I’ll bring you some new shoes when I come visit (aren’t you glad we bought the Merrills instead of the more fashionable shoes???).

  2. Kelsey Says:

    Kevin! This is quite an update! At least the shoes got you back safely…and apparently your laptop survived?? But that bus totally reminds me the book/movie ‘Into the Wild’ and I’m glad the ending of your story is very different! 😉 thanks for keeping us amused over here in America. I’m always looking forward to your next adventure…and the humorous blog to follow! Love you!

  3. icenugget Says:

    The Merrells were the right choice in many ways! The laptop was 100% dry, thanks to my incredible speed. The bus reminded me of Into the Wild too! Except I didn’t eat some random berries before hopping in…

  4. Ace00X Says:

    You just need a team of German engineers to salvage that armored vehicle back to life! “Last one Zthere Gets No Beer TONIGHT!”

  5. icenugget Says:

    Ace, you BergTiger repair tank you!

  6. 2010 in review « IceNugget's Blog Says:

    […] The Bus that Saved My Life October 20105 comments 4 […]

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