May 3, 2016 Day 10
We got to the airport and were handed our boarding passes which told us we were flying to Stavanger! The flight was short and easy and smooth. We had dinner in the hotel lobby when we got there. We are staying at the brand-new Clarion Hotel next to the airport. The food was great! I’m exhausted and feeling a bit nauseated, but I think I will feel better in the morning. I'm rooming with Lauren for the second night in a row. She's great! She always does make me laugh. Hoping for a great day tomorrow and a win! Fridtjof seems really excited for this week!
Day 11- Wed. May 4, 2016 (episode 2- Filming Day 1)
I slept through my alarm so I missed breakfast. Thank goodness I have my ISA bars! We drove into Stavanger and got out right next week cruise ship. That would not be where we are going but it was fun to get a first look at Stavanger this way. We spent the first hour filming shots of us walking down the pier and toward something, we didn’t know what though! When we got to a top of the walkway we saw an easel with a sign that said school was in session – there was a sign that said “Norwegian for dummies”! It was so cool! It had a dictionary any Rus hat on it! We got so excited so we walked into a school looking building where Fridtjof was waiting and it was set up like a classroom. We had a mini lesson and were told we be graduating and celebrating like a real Norwegian Russ! We also were told we would have a real exam so we need to study. We left and went to a great off-camera lunch with everyone. They reassured us the quiz would not be today and to relax and go with the flow since we all seem stressed and were hoping to get our study books back so we could study all the material!
After lunch we were brought to a really neat park by the water where the Russ were waiting for us! We walked around the corner and we saw a couple roofs fans and a ton of kids in Roos outfits! We also saw a table full of Roos outfit blue and red for each team. They told us we were going to be “baptized” to become a real Ruth!
The baptism was us dunking our faces into a bowl of water then into a bowl of flour and then we had to kiss the nose of a dead pig! I was scared to put my face into the water but I did it! I’m so proud! They handed me my Russ outfit and that’s when we put them on. We thankfully all had long underwear on since we were just changing in the middle of the parking lot. After we were all dressed, we gathered with our teams and Fridtjof told us we are now a real “Russ”! He said we were almost real Russ, but we needed a good Russebil to drive around in so that’s when we saw two red and blue vans pull up and I knew we’d be doing some sort of decorating challenge! We had to pretend to run up and get in and for some reason I jumped into the driver seat and realized it was a stick shift! Ha! Looks like I’m doing this! We had to do a few takes of us jumping in the vans and they wanted to get some shots of us driving around! Ah! I was so nervous but we did it! Next, Fridtjof told us that our challenge was to pimp out the vans and we would be judged by real Russ tomorrow. The losing team would have to take the final exam the next day, but it actually wouldn't be until Saturday. This made me so nervous since I really don't want to go home yet. We then we're gathered and like always there is a lot of waiting. We were given 1000 kroner to buy things for our van to "pimp” it out. Because our team won, we had 300 extra kroner to spend at the store. There was a lot of waiting and then we finally drove to the store and were able to shop. Johnny had an idea about a play on Stavanger by adding “banger.” Definitely a sexual thing, but we thought the russ would like it. We couldn’t do any talking about our ideas until we got into the store. Once in there I was a little bummed to see it was just a hardware store. We found some things and headed out to the van where we sat and ate pizza for dinner while the blue team shopped.
Next we drove to a farm where our vans were parked on the field that basically overlooked the ocean and the beach. It was sunset and so gorgeous. We flew out of our car and started working as fast as we could! The film crew filmed us for a while and we finally stopped around 11 PM and went back to the hotel. Thank goodness they gave us food and a beer! We will film more tomorrow.
Day 12-Thursday May 5, 2016 (Episode 2- day 2 of filming)
Today started early by going back to the “campsite” where they had set up tents and we pretended to come out of them like we were waking up having slept in them. We were told we had about two more hours to work on our van and then we be headed to our actual voting of the vans. I was feeling nervous all day about who would win. I wouldn’t feel really confident then I would feel worried back-and-forth over and over. I finally finished all the vinyl on all of the seats and Brittany, Heidi, Jeff, Johnny, and Derrick all worked hard on all the other aspects. I was feeling really proud of all of our work and our van!
We drove to a gas station where we ended up waiting for a long time. We did some shots of us driving and I was so nervous to be driving a stick shift on the public streets of Stavanger. Very different than driving around the parking lot a couple of times! There may have been a little bit of an incident while I was driving, but that will be a story told only in person. I’m so embarrassed I don’t even want to remember it in writing!
When it was finally time to go we had to drive through some street into a big lot where there were other responses and a giant one with Roos sitting all over it! It was so cool to see! We were quickly taken away for interviews and had to wait behind the big bus while the russ voted. When we were finally able to come to the front and wait for results from free Jeff, I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. Fridtjof started to announce and then stopped, like they always do so they can adjust the camera!ugh! Then he announced "the winner is team…….BLUE!”
I thought I might collapse then and there. Now I know I will have to pass some quiz in order to keep my spot here. I started to cry and I was so embarrassed for it. I couldn’t keep it together. I got some water and tried to stop crying but I couldn’t. They of course wisk me away to do a quick interview which happens pretty much anytime I cry. I understand why though, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
They asked me to join everyone in the russ area which is the last thing I want to do. They reassure me we will have time to study, but that I will be doing some Russ events so try to enjoy it. What!? I couldn’t wrap my mind around this, but I tried really hard and danced, had a beer, went on a tour of the bus and one of the russ even dumped a bottle of beer on my head! Yuck! Next we were given a card with russeknuter (silly tasks that earn you knots in your hat) and were told we were going to do some of these and they would film it. I was happy to find out that some of them, the more "interesting" ones, like running around in your underwear would be done by a group that wanted to. I did the challenge of eating chocolate pudding out of a diaper which was gross, but fun. As well as getting people to do the Macarena in the Square which is hard since they are pretty shy. I also did one where we wrote fake parking tickets and put them on windows. I tried hard to have fun so I could remember this fun, even if I don’t get to stay. After this we went back to the bus and I got to be part of the “say goodbye” to the blue team while they stay and party and I go back to the campsite-where we really are sleeping in tonight. I’m feeling so emotional but I’m not excited at all about sleeping outside on the ground in the cold extremely windy area, but again it’s all part of the process.
After saying goodbye it was a quiet drive back to the campsite. They sent a film crew to film us as we study for 30 minutes. That’s it then it was time for bed. I could straighten my legs in the tent and I had to put two sets of long johns on to stay warm, but I was happy to be in Norway. I’m trying to stay positive and can’t wait to study more tomorrow.
Day 13- Friday May 6, 2016 (Episode 2- Day 3 filming)
Today was a short day. We learned that Heidi would be going on a day trip to visit her family which meant no studying during that time she was gone. We did get one hour to study. In that hour on film I made flashcards as fast as I could. I am feeling good about a lot of what’s in the book, but there are a few sentences still don’t know very well and that is freaking me out.
We finally went back to the hotel and a hot shower felt glorious followed by some aquavit! That was for my nerves. We got to go into the city of Stavanger for dinner and that was fun. I tried to keep my mind on where I was and being in the moment instead of worrying.
Once back at the hotel we had about an hour and a half to study, then it was done. No more studying was allowed and tomorrow would be the quiz. We decided to all watch each other’s audition videos which was awesome! Brita set the videos up on her laptop in the lobby for us to watch. That help me to calm down and just reminded me how blessed I am to be here. I ended the night reading my Bible. Staying focused and trying to relax and be calm before tomorrow’s quiz.
Day 14- Saturday May 7, 2016 (Episode 2- day 4 and last day of filming)
Today was a rough start due to all my nerves. We had to meet and be ready to go by 8:15 AM. I tried to eat breakfast but just couldn’t. The only thing that helped call me down was to read my Bible and pray. We didn’t get any more time to study so off we went to a school about 10 minutes away. More waiting as we did interviews before our quiz and for the cameras to be ready. I was doing nervous tap dancing and pacing in the school cafeteria as we waited to go into the classroom. Nikolai came out and gave us the instructions and rules. We would need to say our name if we knew the answer. A correct answer get you two points and a wrong answer get you zero points and the other players will get a chance to answer the question with multiple choice answers to choose from. I was still really nervous but kept thinking of my mom and at the last minute grab her picture for my Bible and placed in my shirt near my heart. I kept reciting Philippians 4:13 in my mind and ask God for strength and to call my anxious heart.
Once we went in and took our seats I couldn’t keep my legs and feet still. We had a sponge, chalk, and chalkboard in front of us. We did a practice question and then it was time. It’s all sort of a blur, but I remember knowing the first question, but I didn’t chime in fast enough so that’s when I knew I would have to listen to the first couple words of the questions and just go for it. I answered to correctly and managed to get four points after about three questions! Next question I knew it Jeff answered first and the next one I knew, but Heidi called out first. She struggled and that’s when I knew I’d get to answer a multiple-choice question and that would get me to my five points. I needed to “graduate”. Once Heidi gave her final answer it was incorrect and we got the multiple-choice and I was smiling so big but I couldn’t help it! I was safe! Fridtjof went down the line and then said I graduated and I could go sit in back with everyone else. I was so happy, but after all that emotion I was still shaking. Then reality set in that one of these awesome people we’re going to be leaving. Johnny and Derek were the next two to graduate and joined in the back next to me. Jeff and Heidi were left and once Fridtjof asked the next question, they both answered so closely together but they had to review it in the camera. They came to the conclusion that it was impossible to tell and that they would need to do another question. Heidi answered the next one correctly leaving them both with three points each. One more right answer would decide the winner. Jeff was quick with the next answer and got the last two. He needed which meant Heidi was going home. I started to cry a bit when she was talking and it was really bad because she was saying her goodbyes on camera and I started to get a bloody nose. I had to sort of hide behind the group to stop it from bleeding. We’d said goodbye to Heidi and she was off.
There was a post challenge interviews and waiting as well. We had some quick sandwiches for lunch and we left the school to head to the pier for the last of the filming. We were dropped off by a dog on the water and the weather couldn’t have been better! It feels so good to know I did it! I really felt relaxed finally at even more happy when they laid out blankets for us and give a champagne and strawberries. Yum! Reach off showed up with the spiritual and I thought for sure it would be jeff after his spirit this week! He sure did kiss the pig! But it was me! I can’t believe it. This means I’m almost certainly going to be here for 17 May. I’m so excited for that! Now I can relax a bit, and I will get to spend Mother’s Day in Oslo in memory of my mom. Next we are whisked away pretty quickly so we could fly home to Oslo. We got in around 5:30 PM and went to a new hotel, the Scandic Vulcan. It was nice and in a cool part of town. We had about 15 minutes to check in and get all of our laundry together and be ready for dinner. I was given a single room on the top floor. I was so happy to have some private space to unwind after all those days of being anxious and worried
We walk to the really cool part of town do you have a yummy dinner. It was at a really good barbecue style burger and beer restaurant. It was really good Norwegian beer! Jeff bought a second round for everyone which was so nice. We walked around after dinner and I was really close to going to the club with everyone, but Thomas and I went back to the hotel for a beer in the lobby. After running into Lars and Richard who had found some very drunk Norwegian girls who were being very silly, I ended up falling asleep around 2:30 AM, so late!
Day 15- Sunday May 9, 2016- DAY OFF!! Mother’s Day
Wow! Our first day off was great. I stayed in bed most of the morning enjoying the view out my ninth floor room and listening to the church bells ringing. I got dressed and ready to meet everyone for lunch at 12:30. We all walked with Martine to a wonderful bakery and got sandwiches and drinks that we took to the park to eat. Jeff and Brittany aren’t feeling well and I woke up with a sort of sore throat as well. I’m really hoping it doesn’t turn into a full-blown cold.
After lunch some of us walked around and ended up going to a cool vintage store and then to a street market that was like a giant garage sale! I got a really cool cheese slicer to bring home for my Brunost. Since I wasn’t feeling great I spent the next couple of hours at home in my hotel room watching Harry Potter on TV and dozing in and out of sleep. I woke up around 5 PM and decided to get some fresh air so I walked around the block to a little beer place with tables outside called Fyrhus Kuba. It reminded me so much of Bellingham. I sat and enjoyed a beer in the sun and did some writing in my journal. It felt great. I was just wishing Dan were there with me.
Next we met for dinner and all walk to a Thai restaurant and it was delicious and great to have something a little different. A few people walked around more, but I wanted to be ready for tomorrow so I headed back to the hotel to get my laundry and watch a movie while I re-packed everything. We were told we would be traveling tomorrow for seven hours. We would need to bring all of our luggage this time and also that Kelsey would leave early with a film crew to go check out her roots and family history. I’m so excited for her! I am hoping my sore throat feels better tomorrow. I can’t wait to see where we go!
P. S. I opened my second week letter from Dan, it made me so happy to have a little something from home and a little letter I got from Ella was so sweet, it even said happy Mother’s Day!