Day 57- Sunday, June 19, 2016 (DAY OFF in Oslo!) Today I got up early and went to the lobby where I grabbed every possible brochure with things to do around Oslo. I just had this urge to try and do as much as I could since I know this is all coming to an end and I don’t want to miss a thing. I wrote down all the places I wanted to see and things I wanted to do and planned since we would have today AND tomorrow off. Lauren wants to join me in some of my adventures so once I had found an advertisement for the Oslo Philharmonic that would be playing in a park nearby, we quickly got our things together and set off on a walk to find them. We had met with Brita who gave us some directions on the best way to walk there. The weather today was gorgeous so it was perfect! We knew we were getting close when we saw a bunch of people walking the same direction and we could hear the orchestra. I was SO EXCITED! Lauren told me she had never seen an orchestra before and so of course I made her sit in the front row with me. We sat on a blanket we brought from the hotel and enjoyed the most beautiful live music in a free Philharmonic concert in Oslo! We were feeling hungry after and found some amazing Indian street food in the park and nibbled as we walked home. Lauren and I decided to not end our relaxing day and went to the park near our hotel and laid in the sun, talked, and eventually laid down and rested for a bit. It was just what I needed. A day of seeing Oslo, and judging by the other Norwegians, we were doing what they would be doing on a Sunday in summer. We eventually made it back to the hotel where we got ready to go out to dinner with Johnny, Jeff, and Brita. We decided that since we had tomorrow off too and this would probably be our last chance to sort of go out on the town, we went back to London for some karaoke! We all sang and dedicated our songs to the group and people who had left already. Brita joined too which made it so fun! We met up with JK and Christian (camera guys on the crew) at their favorite bar we had been to a few times, Tilt, and played shuffle board until walking home. I didn’t want to stay out too late and didn’t’ have too much to drink since I wanted to go out and explore and do more tomorrow. I didn’t want to spend what could be my last free day in Oslo in bed sleeping! So off to bed so I can have an adventure tomorrow!
Day 58- Monday, June 20, 2016 (ANOTHER DAY OFF in Oslo!) I was so excited about today, since we have NEVER had this much time off before. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. We were given the option to not check in at lunch time today again since we have normally had to that on the days off in the past. This was great for me since I knew that I wanted to be out all day. I had a list of things I wanted to do so I didn’t wait for Lauren to wake up, I just got ready, snuck out and left her a note. I walked downtown (thank goodness for my cool lobby map) and even stopped at a Starbucks for a coffee to sip on while out and about. I felt so at home walking. I had quickly realized that the weather today wasn’t going to be as nice as yesterday’s so I might end up regretting wearing my jean shorts and Chaco sandals, but with our clothes in the laundry still, I didn’t really have any other options for clothes to wear. I just enjoyed my coffee and hoped for the best. At least I had my Jack Wolfskin jacket! I had remembered seeing a bunch of souvenir shops down by the city hall so I made my way down there to look for some things I might be able to bring home for my aunties. I loved so much of it, but felt that it was so expensive! I decided to make my way to the Viking Ship museum and the Norsk Folk Museum and would buy the gifts on the way back. I spent some time trying to figure out which boat would take me to Bigdoy where the museums were and after buying the wrong ferry ticket (at least it wasn’t too much money) I finally found the boat and ticket office. The boat there was so small, which is not what I expected. It started to get really rainy and I definitely got a lot of weird looks in my shorts and sandals at this point. I was able to follow the map to the Viking museum which was wonderful! I was so excited to be there knowing that all the pictures I took and things I saw and learned will be shared next year when I get to teach my exploration unit with my 5th graders. Next, I walked down the road to the Norsk Folk Museum. It started to rain at this time and now I was really getting strange looks about my shorts and sandals. Due to the weather and it being a Monday, the museum was almost completely empty. I loved walking around and reading all about the bunads, the knitting, the traditional patterns, the houses, and the gift shop was great. I wanted it all! I walked back to the boat to head back to Aker Brygge and it was so cold and rainy! The boat ride back to the city was chilly too since the boat wasn’t totally closed in. I sat in the back and watched as the boat drove away from the dock. It felt weird to think that is the last time I will be headed that way for a while. I stopped back in some souvenir shops and then found an electronic store where I was able to grab an extra memory card for my camera. I never thought I’d use so much storage, but it’s good to know I have extra room to take pictures for the last of my trip here. I started the walk back to the hotel and really wanted to just take a taxi but I chickened out of asking one, then almost asked another farther along in my walk then finally was so close to the hotel I just finished walking. I met everyone in the lobby like always for dinner and we walked down to the Lucky Bird, where we ate the night before my trip to Rissa. It was definitely a much quieter dinner with just the 4 of us and Brita. It was very strange to think about what it was like when all 12 of us were still here. After dinner, I kept it low key and went back to the hotel and decided to re-pack everything while watching some tv. Lauren went to bed, but my packing was taking so long- I had to make some tough decisions in terms of leaving some things behind and donating them at the hotel rather than bringing them home since I needed the space for the new souvenirs and for the weight limit! Finally heading to bed now and am nervous for what is to come tomorrow knowing that it will be the first in 3 final competitions to make it to the end, to win AFN.
Day 59- Tuesday, June 21, 2016 (Day 1 filming Episode 10, the finale!) We started our day by driving to a place near the water and very close to the Kon Tiki museum. We found our way being filmed down to a dark where we boarded a small boat. This boat we learned was a ferry to the small island just off shore. It is known as the shortest ferry ride ever! We of course did some filming over and over of us riding the boat and getting off the boat and walking towards the building. Next there was our individual interviews where they started to ask us about what we thought we might be doing today. I have course I’m so nervous about being in the finale and want so badly to win that I don’t even remember what I said in my interview. I kept wondering whether or not we would be doing a competition today or not since we weren’t told to dress in a way that might indicate there would be a competition. Next, we walked towards a restaurant that was on this island and we all started to guess that we might be doing a competition in the kitchen or serving in a restaurant. We discovered that we would be having beautiful brunch on a small peninsula where a table and chairs have been set up for us. It was of course of the most delicious seafood, even though I don’t love all seafood it was wonderful! Next, the waitress brought out an iPad and handed it to Johnny and immediately we were all very intrigued and curious. I assumed it would be from, Fridtjof, but it was in fact short videos for each of us from our actual relatives in Norway. Once Johnny hit play and I heard his family talking to him and telling him how excited they were to possibly meet him I couldn’t contain myself. It wasn’t even my family and I was already crying. This I knew was something very special that the show had never done before and I already felt so grateful that in this moment, and made me motivated even more to win alt for Norge. After our brunch we were taken back to the mainland and then brought to a beautiful house on the water that was right next to the museum. I can hardly believe that this house was a place that someone actually lived in across the water from Oslo. It had a private beach front property! We ended up waiting inside the house for what felt like forever knowing that a competition was coming but we could not figure out where it would be or why we were in this beautiful house. I feel like most of every day while being on the show has been like this. Always guessing and always trying to figure out where we will go next and what we will do only to find out how wrong and far away from the actual reality we were. We finally learned that this would be a quiz competition with all four of us similar to the two quiz competitions that I was in for individual challenges. My heart was racing from the moment we got this news since those are the only two types of competitions I had ever done, and although I had done well, they are so nerve-racking knowing they will be right there next to me each of my closest friends on this journey all trying to secure a spot to continue on in this journey. It was so hot today and when we walked out to the grass backyard where a board was set up for this competition, I was feeling grateful for the nice weather. It was funny to think that in the beginning of this journey I was wearing long John underwear under every outfit with two or three coats, a hat, and gloves and here I am now today in a skirt and a tank top and I’m perfectly comfortable. This kind of weather makes me fall more in love with Norway even though I know it’s not always like this. The competition was going to begin and we were told that the first three people to reach six points each will be secured in the next round of the finals and the person who does not reach six points or who is the last will be eliminated from the competition and sent home. The board was covered with photographs of images of things that we had experienced or seen throughout are almost 10 week journey. Right away I remembered seeing a competition like this in past seasons and I already knew that the timing will be everything for me to win this competition. If I waited too long for the question to be asked there’s a chance that someone else would have an opportunity to answer first, but if I wanted to answer to quickly there is the risk of not hearing the entire question and therefore not giving the correct answer. As the competition began I ran through every photograph and tried to think in my mind what question I thought might be asked about the Picture, so that when the question was asked if it even sounded somewhat familiar in my head of what I thought it would be I would say my name first to have the opportunity to answer first. The first few questions I was able to answer correctly and bring myself to head to four points. Next was a question that Johnny wanted to answer and he didn’t allow for the four question to be asked and he answered incorrectly giving me an opportunity to earn one point through multiple choice questions When I got that one right I was at five points and only needed to answer one more. One more question came and I answered correctly bringing me to seven points and the first person to be secured into the next round of the finals. I was so excited and also so relieved. This was a moment for me where I was able to affirm that I knew more than I thought I knew. It gave me some confidence going into whatever we might face tomorrow but it was the next 30 or 45 minutes that felt like eternity standing in the sun waiting for my fellow contestants to earn the next two spots in the finals. It went back-and-forth between Jeff, Lauren, and Johnny, for a while and it came down to Jeff and Lauren and only one or two points. It was one more question that Jeff was able to respond to you faster and secure the third spot meant Loren would not be continuing on in the finale. Of course I am devastated by this because she and I have become very close and I can’t imagine continuing on without her. It’s at this time that Fridtjof announces that Lauren will not be continuing on but she will be allowed to stay for the remainder of filming episode 10. We are all so excited we hugged her professionally and are also glad that this first competition of three is all done. We do some individual interviews to wrap up and of course want to film us seen the house for the first time even though we had already been in there waiting earlier. It’s funny how good we’ve gotten that these pretend scenes of reenacting our original reactions for the camera. It doesn’t really feel fake though since we acted just as we did when we first arrived but this time for the cameras instead of just us. Lauren and I walk upstairs to what would be our room and as we walk in I see a book on the bed with her name on it. We were so excited and sat down and Lauren was able to look at her book with her family tree, pictures, and contact information about her family here in Norway. I felt so honored that I got to be there with her for this moment. It was such A cool experience to see her discovering something she did not know about her family ever before. Our room had a beautiful enclosed balcony with a big bed and cushions on it and Lauren decided that that would be her home for the next day or so or however long we plan to be here, we never know how long we will be anywhere! Brita orders take out for us and we eat at a beautiful picnic table in the backyard overlooking the water that overlooks Oslo. Even after all this time I still can’t believe I’m experiencing all of this, that I get to see all of this. I have no idea what tomorrow holds but I’m going to try to go to bed and not be too nervous. I might take some time to go pray or to read and continue to be focused so that I can win this thing!
Day 60- Wednesday, June 22, 2016 (day 2 filming episode 10) Jeff, Johnny, and I all started off our morning being filmed coming into Oslo on the ferry from Bigdoy, there are beautiful house we were staying in is located. They filmed us getting off the ferry boat and then approaching Fridtjof. I think he said something about how are we doing, and have we learned any Norwegian, and of course what do we remember from our nine weeks here? We were told that we would have 30 minutes to walk around Oslo and ask people questions about the language or what we might need to know from our trip. The purpose of this was to do research for the competition that will come later in the day. All we knew that it was going to be language-based. At first I thought I might be OK since I knew a little bit of Norwegian before I came on the show but knowing that Johnny studied it for multiple years in college I was really nervous. Not to mention the show has always been very good about keeping things very fair so to me, even though it would be a language competition I did not know what it would be like or how I would do in the end. Especially with how nervous and anxiety ridden I have been lately. We travel to Vulcan park where we are given information about the competition while we eat lunch. There will be three stations. The first station will be two minutes of saying as many Norwegian words as you possibly can. The next station will be matching words which we later found out were “tur” words, and lastly we will be matching three pictures to spoken words. Jeff goes first and I go second. I wasn’t aware when the competition started that we would be running as much as we were in addition to the fact that we were running up stairs and down hill on cobblestone. We started our competition at the bottom of the stairwell and had to sprint to the top to the top to beginner two minutes of saying as many words as possible. It was while I was running up the stairs that I did something weird to my quad and it started to hurt really badly. I push through and after my two minutes was up I ran to my next challenge which was to match the compound words. I really felt like I only knew a handful and had to guess on the rest. Next I ran down hill to the picture station where people said a word and then I had to match the word with the correct picture and hand the picture to them. Of course it was the words from episode two that sounded exactly the same but had two different meetings. I had hoped at this point that my studying paid off and then I fully understood differences between each word and what they actually sounded like. And the competition was over I had to sprint back up to meet Fridtjof and then head off for my interview after my challenge. I was so nervous at this point that I didn’t feel good and now my leg was killing me after all that sprinting and running up the stairs and down hill that I needed to get an ice pack to see if it would help. It seems like forever until Johnny had finished his competition and his interview before we headed back to get the results. We met in this beautiful alley where the competition had taken place and I later learned was very close to our hotel that we always stayed at. How many times that I walk past the street and never noticed it? I wonder how many other streets are like this in Oslo that are cute and hidden? As we stood there and Fridtjof announced that even though Johnny had gotten all of the spoken words incorrect he still managed to win the competition-it was not a shock to me at all. Next I waited as he was to announce who would be moving onto the final challenge against Johnny. At this point I wasn’t feeling very hopeful because I didn’t feel confident about the spoken words and I very much so did not feel confident about the TUR words. After watching Jeff study for 11 hours in episode five, I could only imagine how much he had studied along the trip for other things like this. We waited for what felt like forever before he announced that Jeff would not be continuing on and that I would be moving onto the finale and competing against Johnny to win for Alt For Norge! Every moment like this is always two sided for me. I’ve grown to respect Jeff a lot and can relate with him on so many levels being away from my family and my husband just as he is away from his boys and his wife. I know after many conversations with him how badly he wanted this too. So there is this part of me that feels so excited and I can’t believe that it’s me, I get to do this, I get to move onto hopefully win, and he is done with his journey on the show. Knowing that Lauren was able to stay yesterday in the competition, I was hopeful that they will extend the offer to Jeff as well. I would love so much for him to stay, and of course they did. Jeff had been talking about the moment he would leave the show is the moment he would want to shave his beard for Molly, his wife. After The results and our interviews we were told we be walking over to the park to meet Lauren and give her the news of who is moving on to the finale. We found her at a blanket waiting for us with a basket of goodies. She jumped up and had party poppers and gold streamers flew everywhere! We told her that Jeff would no longer be participating in that the final two would be me and Johnny. In her basket she had some sushi for a snack and of course the hair trimmers for Jeff’s beard. Johnny lead the way and shaving Jeff’s beard, it was hilarious! I was able to get in there with some scissors too! When it was all said and done he looks like a new man! We barely recognize Jeff without his beard, but he seemed on the up and up after just being told he was out of the competition for good. Lauren and I ended the day by doing some filming around downtown Oslo. Apparently they needed some slow-motion footage of each of us for the finale episode. We were each filmed in different locations. Jeff and Johnny were found earlier in the day and now Lauren and I headed downtown for our filming. My location was at the top of the Oslo opera house. It was a sunny evening and it could not have been more gorgeous. It was windy but still so beautiful. Even though I knew I was on top of the opera house to be films for the episode, I tried my best to be in the moment looking over the city, over all that I had done, seen, and accomplished. Next, we went over to the barcode district where we filmed Loren in slow-motion on a really cool bridge. We headed back to the house for dinner after all the filming and I tried to calm down and relax before going to bed. But here I sit trying to calm down before tomorrow’s final competition and I’m just not sure I will be able to sleep at all. I have this urge to study the map feeling as though that’s the way the next competition might go. Since our first competition was all about all of the places we had been in scene and events we learned about, and the second competition was all about language I’m feeling as though the final one will have to do with locations. I have been watching and studying the map throughout every journey and every episode, so I think I will pull them about tonight and maybe studying it will help me calm down and go to sleep. All I know about tomorrow is that I need to be up and ready to go by 9 AM to film reality of Johnny and I “waking up”. Tomorrow’s the big day! It’s time to win out for Alt For Norge!
Day 61- Thursday June 23, 2016 (day 3 filming episode 10- FINAL competition) Today started with some filming of Johnny and I waking up which of course we’d already been awake, eat eaten, and I was pacing in nervousness until the film crew arrived. When it was my turn to film waking up I got into bed and close my eyes, what I didn’t know was that Marlon my interviewer had snuck something under my nightstand when my eyes were closed so when I did open them, and saw something there it was a total surprise. It was a scroll of some sort and I opened it up and it was a copy of my family tree which I had never seen before. This was something I was looking forward to seeing in my book that I know I would get eventually when I ended the show. I never expected to see it already, and with a note telling me that I could make history today. As always the emotional side of me overcame the competitive side of me and I found myself falling in bed looking at a family tree that not only had my great grandmother and great grandfather’s name on it from Norway but my mothers name, my name, and now both of my girls names. There is something to be said about looking at where you come that make you feel whole inside. The show was hoping I’m sure to spur me on as well as Johnny to do our best today and it did exactly that. Next, Johnny and I met Jeff and Loren downstairs for coffee and we’re films chatting around the table a bit before heading off to her competition. We left and drove towards Frogneparkken where the last competition will be held. They dropped Johnny and I off at a café near the entrance and told us they would be back in a bit because I needed to check on some things. As Johnny and I sat and a patio table at the café I wanted to share with him how proud of him I was and how I knew he would win today. Partly because I knew he was stronger than me physically, but also mentally and also in the area of knowledge of Norway. I was also feeling like if I just already retreated and already gave into the fact that I would not win it would make it easier in the end especially if I did not win. Johnny of course was fabulous and encouraging and it felt strange yet comforting to know that even though we both want to win this so badly were still able to sit and encourage one another on to do our best. That’s what this show has been about the whole time, all of 12 of us building family, wanting the same goal for ourselves and each other all at the same time. It’s pretty incredible if you think about it. Next Johnny and I were filmed doing some scenes walking up to the park sculptures and meeting free just for information about our competition. We were told that it would be a sort of matching competition having to do with all the places we’ve been in Norway. Still not clearly knowing what exactly we would be doing with your numbers and I would be first today. After more interviews of asking me questions like how I’m feeling? and do I think I will win? and what will I do if I lose? And of course another round of tears on my end it was finally my turn to go. I started to get really nervous that it would be a very physical competition since my leg was hurting so badly from yesterday’s competition still. I was basically blindfolded and brought to a big grass field and turned her away from whatever it was I was about to do. Basically I was told that when I turn around I will see a pile of objects And a map and I needed to bring one thing at a time over to the map to match. When I was finally told to start I ran and I could not believe the size of the map that lady before me. They had to literally mapped out an entire outline of Norway the size of a football field or at least that’s how big it felt. My goal was to match all the names of the places we are travel to you with the appropriate objects that represented what we have learned about in that episode in that location. I knew every location so I started to sort out all the different locations first so that I wouldn’t have to spend time later looking for the right place. Each time I would run a name of a location out to its post and back I would look at the items thinking about where they would go. I was trying to multitask, trying to move as fast as I could and my leg was burning and hurting so badly The entire time. Of course had a real human girl that I had to drag to the north part of the map and of course they also had the naked man from episode six that we had sketched at the end of the episode. At least I didn’t have to carry him! As soon as I figure out where everything went and double checked it I had to yell done! Soon as I yelled that I was finished a Camera rest over to me and I burst into tears. Partly out of exhaustion, partly out of agony of my leg hurting and lastly, a part of me felt like I actually did pretty well. I felt like I might actually have a chance at winning this. Going into this competition I felt hopeless and I felt like a placeholder. I felt like I didn’t really even belong and He sort of “what’s the point?” Type attitude. But when I finished I felt confident in all of my placement of my objects and names, and I felt really great about how fast I had done it in. There was only one object that I wasn't sure about but I don't feel like it took me long to figure out where it went. Next they put everything back where it was and then I had to redo it all filming it all from another angle and also with a camera that was now in a crane over looking the entire map. I was fighting tears having to rerun everything knowing how bad my leg was hurting. When we were done filming more shots of me placing things at different angles I was finally able to go to my interview. It was during my interview that I realize that I most likely would not be winning. When asking me about my strategies and what I did step-by-step I was feeling so confident and so strongly about the chance that I might actually be able to win, I was caught off guard by a couple questions about one of the locations I had placed. Which of course had me start to second-guess what I had placed there, then that basically snowballed into all these thoughts of all the things that I might or might not have done well or not well or correctly or incorrectly. After my interview and of course more tears, now tears of sorrow because I really knew I wasn’t going to win, I walked back to the café. I sat with Jeff, Lauren, and Martine, and waited for Johnny to finish his competition and do his interview. More time passed and we were finally brought all back together again and cameras were finally set up for results. This time always passes so slowly and although I know the crew was always working so hard and as fast as they can it almost feels as though this is the time when they work the slowest. Johnny and I filmed more walking scenes in to hear the results. We stood side-by-side and waited. As Fridtjof said some nice things about both of us he reminded us that both of our families were preparing a party for us and a reunion for us. And when he announced that the winner of ALT FOR NORGE Is…… I had 1000 thoughts going to my mind. I kept thinking about how proud Dan would be of me for winning, I kept thinking about my mom and how proud she would be of me going on this journey for not just me but for her, and my girls. I thought about how I might actually have a chance at winning this. It wasn’t an unfair competition for me or in my mind. So it was win free Jeff said “Johnny” I am mediately crumpled and felt so defeated. Of course I was thrilled for Johnny though, as I’ve said it before, we were all in it for the same reasons and although I was losing and I would not be needing my family on this trip Johnny was going to be able to go and be reunited with family members he’s never met before. I cried a lot and Johnny hugged me for a long time because that’s the kind of friend he is. They whisked us both off for our interviews And I can barely speak. The tears just kept coming and coming and it was so hard because I could tell that the crew felt terribly for me. I could tell that the more I cried in the more upset I was more terrible they felt as though they could have done something about it, which of course they could not! That’s just how amazing all of the crew were as well. They always cared they never stop caring, and they were there for me even in this tough moment. They walked me out to a bench where my book was waiting for me. I was filmed looking at my book and of course more crying while looking at my book. After this I was finally able to calm down and I felt a sense of peace. I felt peace in knowing that I would no longer need to try and compete to get farther in this competition. I felt peace knowing that I had made it as far as anyone could’ve possibly made it other than winning, which actually felt pretty great! I felt peace in knowing that I just got to spend almost 10 weeks in Norway learning about the culture, the language, In my family piece by piece. Slowly my mind started to shift to my strong desire to get home to my babies into my husband. It took a while before everything was packed up and we were headed back to the hotel, but we made it back. I wasn’t in my room for longer than five minutes when there was a knock at the door and of course it was Jeff with a gin and tonic in hand. He’s always taking care of me it seems like. He knew exactly what I needed when I needed it. We will be heading out to dinner all together one last time in Oslo. Went to a really great Mexican restaurant where Jeff bought me yet again another gin and tonic. They were really helping me calm down and feel relaxed after the crazy day that just happened! After a while we made it back to the hotel and all four of us and Martine ended up in Johnny’s hotel room for a drink and they were all decided to go out on the town. I was so mentally and emotionally exhausted that I couldn’t even think about going out, but I made a drink and went back to the room to settle in for the night. I focused on getting things packed and situated knowing that it would only be a few days before I headed home to Bellingham. Before bed I was told that tomorrow would be the day that I get to call Dan. Now I’m not sure that I’ll be able to sleep tonight knowing that I’ll finally get to hear his voice. It feels comforting to know that I’ll be able to talk to him after all that has happened. After my leg hurting so badly, and the emotional anxiety and exhaustion I feel as though I’ve been hit by a semi truck. Time to go to sleep so that tomorrow comes faster and talking to Dan will come sooner.
Day 62-Friday June 24, 2016 day off before traveling home to US tomorrow The day started off nice and slow and we each had appointments with the psychologist. We had met with the psychologist when we first arrived and we had one more meeting planned for before we left. I was nervous about it because I just felt done with crying and feeling emotional. I felt like I had cried and felt like I was dealing with emotions every single day I was here I felt burned out and didn’t want to do it anymore. My time at the psychologist was very pleasant. He had excellent advice as to how to transition back to normal life with my girls and my husband. He gave great advice about what my girls might say or do or act like and how to respond. I was still feeling this incredible sense of peace though, and was getting excited about leaving Norway which I never thought I would feel. I love being here so much that I thought I would feel sad when the time came to leave. Obviously I wanted to get home to my family, but I thought there would be a sense of sadness to leave as well. My feeling today is that I’m excited to get home. I feel happy about all I have seen and done and feel so grateful for all the experiences I’ve had. The afternoon seemed to go by pretty slowly since I knew my phone call to Dan was at 3 PM. I did some more fiddling around and packing and walking around Oslo. I did some journaling as well since it’s been difficult to keep up with all that I wanted to write down in the last few days. When it was finally time to call Dan I couldn’t believe I was hearing his voice. I immediately started to cry knowing that hearing his voice was like a virtual hug being sent across the world to me. It was like a competition for each of us to share as much as we could in the 20 minutes on the phone we had. It’s amazing how long 9 ½ weeks is when you’re away from your favorite people in the world. We said as much as we could in 20 minutes and could not wait for tomorrow when we finally get to talk in person and hold each other again. Tonight would be her last night and also, our last night in Norway. We had a really fun finale party with delicious food, drinks, and fun with the crew that we had become so close with over the last 10 weeks or so. There was a slideshow of photos that were taken over the course of the show in addition to some video clips of some kind of bloopers or parts of the show that they had edited already. I can hardly believe what I was seeing. I can’t believe this is actually going to all become a TV show someday. That will be a whole other adventure that I should probably journal about to write down my feelings and thoughts as I watch it all unfold. It will be interesting to see what they included not include knowing that we spent four days filming an episode and then have to fit it all into one hour. We ended the night fairly late and now I’m in my hotel room for the last time getting ready to leave very early in the morning to head to the airport to start my journey home. I’m lucky that I get to fly the first long part of the journey with Lauren and Jeff by my side. I feel lucky about this knowing that every other person on the show has had to fly home alone. I can only imagine what that might’ve felt like. Some of them probably enjoyed it, where as someone like me would have felt even more sad on the eight hour flight back to the US. Saying goodbye to Brita at the airport was so difficult. She’s been so strong and such a great caretaker this entire journey and here she is standing in front of us crying. It really made me realize again, how close we have all become through this experience. These are lifelong friends, extended family that I will never forget and will always include as being part of my life forever. I finally made it into Seattle and Dan will drive down from Bellingham soon. I will obviously not journal about our reunion I’m sure you can imagine that a husband and wife who are best friends would be happy to see each other after 10 weeks of being apart. Now we wait, we wait for the final episodes to be prepared and begin to air in the fall. We still don’t know a start date yet, but I will enjoy the summer home with my family and I will gear up for a fall and winter full of adventures again as I finally get to share all that I have seen and done with my family and friends who supported me this entire way. Can’t express my gratitude towards all of them as well as all the people that made this show possible both on and off screen. ALT FOR NORGE!!!