Day 52- Tuesday, June 14, 2016 (Travel Day)
Today we had the morning off before our travel began for episode 9. I was feeling like I needed a few clothing items since the weather has changed so much and I only packed a couple tanks and one pair of shorts and the laundry person ruined a few tank tops so I needed to replace those too. So, I headed out for a super speedy shopping trip, which was so fun! I had to be fast since we had to meet Brita for lunch. I got the clothes I needed/wanted and found this store called TGR which I have decided was a favorite so far in Oslo. I bought some silly little travel type games to keep us busy while we wait and wait which is most of the time. I also picked up a neck pillows for Thomas and I in hopes of making the travel more comfortable. He was grateful and re-paid me for it when I brought it back for him.
Later in the afternoon, we all piled into a van and stated our drive to our destination. After 4 hours of driving south, we ended up in Grimstad which is an adorable little coastal city. We stayed at the Scandic hotel there and had dinner in the hotel restaurant downstairs. We ended low key after that knowing we'd be filming tomorrow.
Day 53- Wednesday, June 15, 2016 (Day 1 filming episode 9)
Today I was flustered so all I have are quick bullet points mentioning the day's highlights. In fact, looking at my journal now (after filming it all) this is how it is most days. This is the point where I start to hit a wall....I start to miss Dan and the girls so much and become so stressed and anxious with making it to the finale or to win the show, I don't do well with writing in my journal.
Today was our first competition. We were filmed walking through the cute streets of Grimstad and found Fridtjof who walked right past us. We were so confused but he explained that episode 9 is all about being typical norwegian and typically they don't want to ever engage in small talk so our competition will be to find our friend. We were given a sheet with all the qualities our friend has and had to find them amongst the people of Grimstad as fast as possible. The winner would win a phone call home. When I heard that, I lost it. The thought honestly never occurred to me, so once the idea of calling Dan popped into my head, I got so excited and wanted to win so badly.
We drew numbers and I went first. I thought I did okay, but I knew I didn't win when Johnny went and he was out and back so quickly, even with doing his interviews. I knew I hadn't been the fastest. After each person went, we walked to a restaurant for lunch where I could barely eat anything since I had so much anxiety about the results. Whoever wins, not only gets a phone call home, but they don't have to compete anymore, they are automatically in the finals.
We finally gathered for results and learned that Johnny won the first spot in the finals and a phone call home too. I was so devastated. I feel so happy for Johnny too, but flooded with sadness to have lost the chance to talk to Dan. I could really use the comfort of hearing his voice and him reassuring me I can do this. I think just knowing that I have to fight even harder tomorrow for the next spot has me so anxious too.
Next we are taken to the house where we will stay for the next couple nights. This house is incredible! When we walked up I could hardly believe the view. We walked in to find some wine and shrimp and bread for a snack. Johnny was in heaven!! I didn't care for any of it except the wine but I tried it. It was disgusting having to basically take the shrimp apart to eat it. Yuck!
Johnny then got to go outside to call home and since the house is full of windows and a gorgeous view, we could watch him (not hear him at all) as he called home. My heart hurt wishing I could call home, but I was so happy for Johnny to be able to hear his mom's voice and tell her the news that he made it to the finals!!
After filming was done, we settled in for the night at this neat house. We didn't have any tv but thankfully we still had Lars's speaker! Martine put on music and we danced and sang and just had so much fun together. Not thinking about tomorrow's competition, but rather just making super fun memories with each other. Jeff even got into the dancing around the kitchen, it was so much fun!!
Thomas and I ended the night on the porch overlooking the water having some "real" talk which is always good. He is like a brother to me on this trip. I'm glad I have him as a best friend here. I'm so glad I can talk to him about missing Dan and the girls and he just listens. I like to think I've been the listening ear he's needed while away too. I am hoping and praying that we both make it to the final four together.
Day 54- Thursday, June 16, 2016 (Day 2 filming episode 9)
Today everyone except Johnny had to be up and ready to drive into Grimstad from the summer house for our next competition. We met at the top of a hill next to a church. Fridtjof explained something called Janteloven to us and told us we'd be learning more about it. Our competition was to spend 15 minutes asking the locals as much as we could about the Janteloven 10 commandments, which were all in Norwegian. The thing that makes these challenges so hard for me is that you never know what it is to focus on? The Norwegian? The English translation? Will I need to know how to say them? Read them? Memorize them? It's a lot to take in in just 15 minutes. After we each get our 15 minutes to research, we are then told that the next part is to find all 10 commandments and "bury" them (since this tradition of Janteloven should no longer exist). I go first again and even though it isn't really about how fast, it's about how many you get right, I still run as fast as I can. I think I know all of them except 1 I was unsure about. I felt fairly confident, but not totally sure. After everyone has their turn, we gather for the results. I'm shocked to hear that I got them all correct and that it was between Lauren and I. They never said how fast we were, but I think I lose by only seconds. This is also where we learn that not only does Lauren have the next spot in the finals, she also gets a call home, so now I'm devastated again. I had no idea they would be allowing us to call home again. I of course cry and cry. I'm sure all of Norway will think of me as an emotional wreck when they finally watch all of this. Oh well.....
We head back to the hotel briefly before heading to a sports bar before dinner. I had a large cold beer and it tasted great after the days events! After dinner we headed back to the summer house and repeated last nights dance party and singing. It was the best way to blow off steam for sure! We are off to bed, except Lauren and Johnny who stay up later chatting on the patio. I so wish I didn't have to do another competition to try and fight my way into the finals.
Day 55- Friday, June 17, 2016 (Day 3 filming episode 9) Dan and I's 10 Year anniversary!!
Today we started off shooting some morning reality at the house. I cooked breakfast and made coffee for everone and we enjoyed our morning breakfast on the patio of this gorgeous place. The sun is out today and it felt glorious out there.
Jeff and Johnny did a "wake-up" reality and Johnny got a letter or something but I haven't heard any details about that yet. I look forward to chatting with him more about what exactly he got!
Next, they had Thomas and Jeff and I do some filming down at the water in front of the house. We learned about crab fishing and spend about 30 minutes doing that before Johnny came to tell us that Fridtjof left us something. I don’t' know why I keep expecting something different like, a "congratulations, we are taking 5 people to the finals!" But alas, all that it was were books with about 8 pages full of information on typical or basic Norwegian facts etc. We were each given about 10 or 12 minutes to study on camera in different locations around the house and then were told we'd be packing up and leaving the house to go back to the hotel. We each had longer interviews and then we packed up and headed out.
We traveled back to the Scandic and pretty much had the rest of the later afternoon off before we would meet up for a nice dinner at a local steakhouse. I keep thinking about Dan today and how much I'd love to be wandering this place with him.
I get my stuff together after settling in the new room and head out to walk around before the shops close. I find a knitting/fabric store where I found the most amazing sweater for Dan. I pictured giving it
to him for our anniversary! I enjoyed walking around a bit more and was so happy when I ran into a bridal store and went a long looking at all the wedding dresses in the windows. I thought it was so fascinating to have found a bridal shop on my anniversary when I hadn't seen anything wedding related my entire trip in Norway thus far!
We got dressed up a little, and I dressed and pretended I was meeting Dan for an anniversary dinner and we went to a great steakhouse for dinner! Johnny asked if I wanted to hang out in his room tonight since it will be our last night as the last 5, so of course I said yes, and we walked back to the hotel. We saw a note that Tom was on the roof overlooking the water so we chatted out there for a bit before heading to the room to hang out and listen to music and have a drink together. I was so surprised when they toasted to my anniversary and had a whole surprise waiting!! A Norwegian sweater!! It was so amazing and I was so grateful for this gift and especially for this group of people. I then spent a long time telling the story of how Dan and I met, and basically gushing about my amazing husband for a long time. It was fun to celebrate and it made it easier being so far away on our anniversary.
Day 56- Saturday, June 18, 2016 (Day 4 filming episode 9)
When we all gathered in the morning, I basically laughed out loud when we were told we would get 15 minutes to study the book of information before heading out to do the final competition. When we did finally leave, we drove not too far away to a sort of camp ground where they had stations set up. When Fridtjof and us filmed the opening part and he explained that we'd be eating waffles and drinking coffee and answering quiz questions I got super nervous. How am I supposed to compete against these boys with an eating type competition!?
When it was my turn to go, I ran and ate as fast as I could. My strategy was to make sure to get the answer right each time so I didn't have to eat more waffles or drink more coffee. And I did! Once I gave Fridtjof that final answer and he said I was correct, I yelled and hugged him I was so happy! Thankful it was over, we had to take a lunch break before we could do results. This break time between the competition and results is always so hard for me and after this competition I couldn't eat anything.....I don't think I will eat waffles for awhile either!
Once it was time for results, I was so worried, but also felt the most calm of all the competitions. I just needed to have done better than one person and that's when Fridtjof says I was the fastest!! Yes!! I did it!! I'm in the finals!!! It was the next part that I really wasn't ready for, Thomas was the slowest so he is going home today. I was so sad and couldn't believe it, but so excited for Jeff who I know wants to be here so badly too.
After the hugs goodbye to Tom, we were given a few minutes to put our swimsuits on under our clothes and were filmed opening a bottle of champagne and toasting to being in the finals! We then walked out/swam out to this floating dock as part of the celebration. I got cut all up my leg really badly by some muscles that were growing on the ladder. I went to step on the ladder to climb up, but as I brought my leg up, I couldn't see the muscles that were there and I just scraped them all the way up my leg and thigh, ouch!! I guess I will add it to my Norway list of battle wounds!
We stopped by the hotel to switch out drivers and we started on our 4 hour drive back to Oslo. We stopped along the way to eat and made it back to the Scandic Vulcan in time to drop off laundry before
bed. We can hardly believe it when we are told we have not one but two days off in Oslo tomorrow and the next day!!!
I can't decide if I should feel happy or anxious since this gives me time to get in my own head about the finals, and after saying goodbye to Thomas and missing my husband so badly, I'm feeling so tired and am wishing this would come to an end soon. Don't get me wrong, I want to win more than anything, but 'm starting to feel the toll it's taking on me and after three days of back to back competitions and so much stress and anxiety and emotions, I feel burnt out. I hope these two days off help me gain energy and feel restored to go forth and win!