Day 22- Sunday May 15, 2016 (episode 4 filming day 1)
I look back in my journal today all I wrote was bullet points because I was so tired and busy! But I will do my best to retell what I remember!
Today after eating a breakfast and are dormitory, we were told to walk down by the water across from our rooms to get out of the boat called Victoria and we were going to be riding through the telemark canal! While we were on the boat we were told a message on the loudspeaker that we would be going up a waterfall. We had no idea what that meant but we knew that we probably would find out later. As we rode back-and-forth weird something from the shore it sounded like a woman singing. From far away I could tell that she was wearing a beautiful Norwegian dress, a Bunad! We were told that we would be taking a small boat to shore to meet her and it was a bit terrifying since we had to climb down a ladder off he side of the boat!. We had to go about four people at a time and Christopher, our producer, rode all of us to shore.
Once we got to sure we met the woman who was doing a traditional cow call. It’s what people used to get their cows to come in at the end of the day. We found out our competition would be to make a rap for the cows and we would have to try to get all six cows to cross the centerline in our field in 15 minutes. The team that managed to get the most cows to cross would win. We did some fun slow-motion shots in our outfits that were supposed to look like farmers and rappers combined. The challenge was to win for an advantage for the next competition tomorrow. When we gather to find out the results I was feeling pretty nervous since our blue team only managed to get one cow to cross the centerline. However, Fridtjof told us that our one cow was enough to win it! Blue team wins! My voice really hurt after all that cow calling and I feel like all it did was trudge up all of my cold that I can feel coming on.
We ended the night by getting back on the Victoria boat and riding up the waterfall. It ended up being the most beautiful sunset trip up with the locks. It was incredible to think that this was built so many years ago. Thomas and I spent some time outside chatting and having a glass of whiskey before bed. It was really fun to spend time talking with him about Dan and sharing our story. It makes me miss him even more but so grateful that I get to be here and so grateful for him to be home taking care of my girls so I can learn everything I can about where I come from. Tomorrow is another adventure!
Day 23- Monday may 16, 2016 (day 2 filming episode 4)
Today we started with more filming on the boat but In a different location. After a long day yesterday, I could really feel my cold coming back while on and off the boat, mostly congestion. We did some filming like we were on the boat yesterday and quickly went into our first part of the team challenge. It was to gather as much information about the different fairytales as possible that were given to us in a fairytale book all written in Norwegian and had about 25 minutes to walk around talking to people and get them to tell us the main parts of each story. We talked to some great people but really ran short on time getting information about the last story. We had 10 more minutes to study on film and then could study on the one and a half hour drive to our next destination to do the challenge. When we arrived we found out that we would be doing a blindfolded challenge where we describe to our team what we are touching and they have to guess what it is. We will get more points if we can give the name of the fairytale too. When they told us this I was super discouraged because we spent so much of the time trying to remember details about each story that we didn’t practice the titles at all. We didn’t go first so we had a lot of time to sit and think, but we really didn’t know the titles so what good was that?
When it came time to do the challenge we started off knowing the first item very quickly but did not know the name of the story. Next we guessed the horn and the title quickly and that made us really happy. Next Johnny described what we knew was a cat, but Johnny accidentally said the name of the object so we missed that point. We did get the name of the title though, we guessed fox tail instead of cow tail since we had no idea what other item it could be. When we heard that story we were told it was a cow’s butt and had no idea that it could be a cows tail. When results came I was so nervous. I just want to feel a win! I want to know I’m safe here another week! Fridtjof told us it was only one point difference between the team that one and the team that lost and I knew we didn’t get it that one point we needed was lost on the cat, and if we had tied we would’ve won because we had one the cow called challenge and team advantage. Again, I was crushed. I will have to face another individual challenge and win to stay here. I can’t leave yet. I came to get answers and find out more about about my family and that’s what I’m here to do. After a torturous reshoot of our loss at least three more times from many different angles with the cameras we were told that we we needed to change because we needed to finish our fairytale day with a fairytale dinner! We almost immediately knew it would be bunads, but you also never know with Alt For Norge!
Richard, Joni, and I were brought to this awesome old house at the museum where we were filming and our clothes were all laid out! It was amazing! I ofcourse cried when I saw it and couldn’t wait to put it on. We got dressed, Ane helped! We stepped out and got to look at ourselves in the mirror. It was incredible. We did some shots of all of us together and then we’re whisked off to an incredible hotel where we would stay for two more nights called the Dalen Hotel. It is an incredible historical hotel and we walked into a lobby where we heard piano music playing and in the restaurant where we ate it looked like a ball room and was a true candlelit dinner waiting for us! We ate a beautiful dinner that was off camera which felt a bit refreshing for the moment. I everyone was nervous that we were going to spill any of the lasagna dinner on our fancy clothes so a lot of the crew were helping to drape us with tons of napkins just in case! We looked a bit silly, but we did not care we were so hungry and so excited to be there.
We were told to be ready in our rooms at 9:30 in the morning. I’m not sure what will be doing tomorrow, but I’m going to try really hard not to be upset about losing and try to enjoy the fact that I will be in Norway on 17 May! Hip hip hurrah!
Day 24- Tuesday may 17, 2016 ( day 3 filming episode 4)
I’m in Norway on 17 May! Today we started with a wake up call or visit for Joni and I. When we woke up to a door knob and film crew of course, and Fridtjof delivered a letter to Joni about her family and she would be taking a trip there today! Next, we were with the into our bunads and met outback of the hotel for pictures and filming with Fridtjof. He told us we would be part of the parade today! We walk to the street and saw the parade coming and got to join in. The children had a small band and stop in front of the nursing home and performed. It was so great to see the community come out and be part of the celebration. Everywhere I look, I see little girls that look like Ella and Jolie and it really tugs at my heart strings to see them in the parade in little bunads.
We marched in the parade and it was so fun! We then went back up to the museum for more interviews. I ofcourse lost it, again, during my interview. I think my eyes are so puffy right now, but oh well.
We walked down to the waterfront in the evening where there were two smallish wooden boats. We got in them in a man with a hard-on her violin was at the front of mine. He played while we were rode out and back again re-creating a famous painting I think called the Hardangers bruden or something. It was so beautiful and a moment I would never forget for the rest of my life! Next we were filming walking into the hotel where we would be having a dinner of romegrot, the traditional porridge in Norway. I kept saying how it had cream cheese in it when I meant to be saying sour cream. Oops! By now my cold I have been fighting was getting worse and worse and my throat was hurting bad. There were moments while we were waiting for filming in the hotel that I had to step outside because I was so hot in my dress and my throat was so dry. I of course stayed up late studying since tomorrow I have an individual competition that I’m so worried about. I’m praying for calmness encouraging myself!
Day 25- Wednesday May 18, 2016 (day 4 filming episode 4)
What a day! And so exhausted but happy! I made it through the individual competition today just barely. There were so many questions I kept re-thinking. That I knew them but didn’t say anything or adding an extra word on mine, making it wrong. But I’m here another week. The competition was all about our stave church and we had to keep it from burning. It was another quiz like the first competition that I had to take part in. This made me even more nervous since I knew everyone would be standing and watching again. We had the same rules about answering and getting two points or having an option to get one point for multiple choice. Joni did not start off well because she answered incorrectly right away. I got so close to finishing so many times but then I hesitated on many questions. When it came down to it Derek was the one who lost and had to say goodbye. It was so sad to say goodbye to him today
As always we did some filming of interviews after the competition and a group gathering to get out the Spirit award. It was delicious kransekake and apple juice for a picnic and even though it was cloudy and raining the view was gorgeous over the fjord. The spirit troll was hiding inside the kransekake and there were party poppers that included a clue about who would win the spiritual this week! We couldn’t figure out who it was but as Fridtjof came over to join us and he told us it was Lars! I’m so excited for him since he really deserves it! He has become a really great friend for me here and I’m so thankful to have a Nother Washington friend still with me. We were told next week is going to get a lot darker which has our mind reeling since we are not sure ever what to expect here. We are curious about what episode five has in store for us.
After a super fun 4 hour car ride back to Oslo with Ane, Petter, Johnny, Sindre, Christian, and Thomas, we all sort of dressed up to go out a bit. I know I should rest since I have not been feeling well but I hate to miss out on any time with friends. Not to mention it’s when I’m alone that I miss my family the most so I try to surround myself with people as much as possible. Tomorrow is looking like a day off for us so that will be nice. We were also told that the next day would be a filming day in the studio. We are all pretty excited about this since that is almost like getting two days off in a row
Day 26- Thursday May 19, 2016 DAY OFF
Since it was a day off it was pretty low-key in Oslo. I spent time writing a letter to Dan and definitely shed some tears today. I find that we are often so busy I don’t have time to dwell on the fact that I miss my family so much. Having a day off with not as much to do really brings to the surface all the feelings I’ve been having. I spent some time napping and resting and slowly got ready to go out to dinner. At our information meeting in the lobby before leaving for dinner Brita had an envelope for one of us and said she was going to film us as we got it. Then she said it facedown on the table and said my name! I couldn’t believe this! But we weren’t anywhere near where I’m from and yet I’m getting this letter! It said I would be going to Rissa tomorrow! I was so excited and so nervous. I was especially worried because I had just turned in all of my laundry and it wasn’t due to be back until 9 AM after I left. I don’t have anything to wear! Thankfully, Brita was able to call the laundry guy and have it promised to me by 11 PM.
We went out to dinner at a restaurant next to the hotel called the Lucky Bird. Everyone made plans to hang out after dinner for drinks at an 80s themed bar called Rebel bar. It was a lot of fun but I had to leave early so I could go to bed and be ready for the morning! Once I got back to the hotel though I was so nervous and excited that I only managed to get about 30 minutes of sleep.
Day 27- Friday May 20, 2016 – travel and filming in Rissa!
Wow! Where to even begin…….. I got picked up at 5am by Truls, Ingrid, and Øyvind. We caught a plane from Oslo to Trondheim which was less than an hour long. Next, we drove a rental car up to a town where we caught a ferry across the water. I loved this. It reminded me so much of home. It’s no wonder that burnt, my great grandpa loved and settled in Seattle. Next was about a 20 minute drive in line on this little type of peninsula where we were. We entered Rissa and it felt so weird to be there and see the sign that said Velkommen till Rissa! We found this cute little café in a small mall where we eat lunch before heading off to the family farm. I’m enjoying getting some extra time to get to know this crew, knowing that they are about to witness and film one of the most important and life-changing moments in my life.
As we drove to where my farm was I started to get really nervous and could feel the emotions really start to kick in. Ingrid and Truls went down our road and left Øyvind and I to wait for what felt like forever. When they came back, they gave me an envelope and told me my family farm was straight ahead, and to just walk and react as I felt and to look around the older buildings that were still there since the new owners had remodeled the farm house and the garage and barn. When I first approached and saw a large farm house that looks new, I also saw a smaller looking house that I couldn’t tell what it was, it was much too small to be lived in. As I turned more I could see an even bigger house That they definitely live or worked in. Both buildings were red and looked so old. I looked around and into windows and it look like they were old things in there and very lived in, and falling apart. I was told I could go inside which was incredible. There was an old wheel old fireplace some old laundry memorabilia and the fireplace was two-sided. I later learned that this house was the cooking house and they would make flatbread on the side where the stone was flat. Incredible! I’m standing where my great great grandparents had cooked and prepared meals, and my great grandpa probably run around while she cooked. I walked into a more modern part of the house that was still old but clearly an add on. There were stairs in the corner here to that led to another fairly new section of the house. When I came out, I got to sit on a neat log store chair in front of the house and read my letter. The tears at this point we’re on controllable but I did finally get to read a letter about where I come from. I letter was so sad and so interesting. To learn about Oscar, my great grandpa’s nephew who is an artist he was the one who added onto the cookhouse to turn it into an art studio. He even created the Stainglass and it is still in the door today, It was breathtaking! To learn that Bernt was the youngest of eight kids so he saw great fortune or excitement and leaving for America in 1905 1906 just after Norway gained independence made sense. What an incredible experience. I’m already feeling this amazing sense of peace having visited now. The woman that owns the house left snacks out for us and when we were chatting and thanking her, she invited me inside or she showed me the original farmhouse living room, original front door, original stairs, and more artwork that Oscar made over the woodstove that was a gorgeous Stone work art Mosaic. She surprised me next by giving me an original painting done by Oscar. It was hand painted on canvas and beautiful. I cried, she cried, and it was amazing. Next, we drove back to trying time for dinner and I even got to see the Nidaros church where there was achoir practicing inside which was incredible as well!
After I got back I was so exhausted yet so excited from the days events. I found out that the group was going out to the bars and I wanted to see them and tell them all about my day! I made my way to meet up with them with a couple of the group that stayed behind, and it was incredible night out with everyone. I know I’m going to be really exhausted tomorrow! I was told that we will be traveling again tomorrow, so I’m hoping I can sleep!