Alt for Norge – Challenge 1 – Lom

The day of the first challenge was sunny and beautiful. As usual, the mamas told us what to wear – which that day was our wind pants, warm jackets, and either a red, blue, or white hat they had given us to show which team we were on. I was to be on the red team with Brandon, Kent, and Candice. We were the first team to be filmed that day, and as usual, the setup for filming took forever. We hung out about 200 feet from the filming location and we could see that a small course had been set up in front of the Stave Kirke. Finally, the director came to tell us the rules of the first challenge. We were not allowed to run. We had to stay together. At each “station” there would be a puzzle to solve. Once we had come to an answer as a group, we would grab the puzzle piece we thought was correct and go on to the next station. After all the stations, we would try to put the puzzle pieces together and if they fit, we were done. If they did not fit, we had to figure out where we had gone wrong and fix it. Meanwhile, we would be timed. The team with the slowest time would be in danger of being eliminated.

We knew that this challenge would be testing what we already knew about Norway. I knew a few things from my upbringing and some studying I had done before I came – but I had no idea what kinds of information they would be wanting! I just had to hope and pray I had some knowledge that would be helpful to my team.

The first station turned out to be easy – it asked questions about the Norwegian National anthem, locations in Oslo, and government. I knew all the answers at this station.

The next station asked “what was typical Norwegian.” We agreed on an answer that I thought was very good and I felt confident of our answer.

The third station had locations and we were to guess which were Norwegian. This one, I had no idea. We just guessed.

The fourth station was on a bus and the bus driver asked us “Where would the Norwegian sit?” There were puzzle pieces scattered throughout the bus.We all agreed that the Norwegian would sit alone. But the question came down to whether the Norwegian would sit by the window alone or sit on the aisle seat alone. I immediately decided the aisle seat was right and grabbed that piece. Everyone knows that if you don’t want anyone to sit by you, you sit on the aisle seat!  (I thought this station was really cool. The answer to this was so natural. I felt like I had been studying for this challenge my whole life).

We speed-walked to the place where we were to put our puzzle together and found that we had three of the four pieces correct, as we suspected. We went back and got another puzzle piece from the location station and fortunately, we guessed correctly this time. We were done!

As we walked back to the room where the other teams were, we decided to look really downcast – like we thought we hadn’t done well at all.  However, we all felt really great about how quickly we completed the course.

Once the challenge got started, it didn’t take long until all the teams were done and we were being interviewed individually again. Four different times I was interviewed about how I felt I had done and how our team had done. Finally, they brought us all together for the results.

It felt as ridiculous and exciting as I imagined it would – to be there with the cameras trained on us and waiting for the results. I had so much fun doing the challenge and I was pretty confident we had won. Other teams would have had to do it perfectly to have beaten us since we only made one error. Candice was standing next to me and she was so nervous – her breathing was getting heavier and heavier as Henriette slowly began to announce who had come in last place, then third place. Finally, it was down to us and one other team.

“The winner for today’s challenge is, Team Red!”

It was pretty cool!  We cheered! We shouted!  We rejoiced! We embraced! Oh sweet victory! And we knew none of us on our team would be the dreaded first person to go home. I was so glad about that and so glad that I contributed to the victory.

It became very clear that day that this competition was anyone’s to win. It all depended on what kinds of challenges came your way and who your teammates were. We were all smart and capable and gifted in our own ways.The challenges were very fair. Only time would tell how long any of us would be there. But that day – I was really happy to have tasted victory and to be able to not even worry about the next challenge because our victory had ensured we didn’t even have to compete in the next round.

That night we ate supper with the crew and celebrated that the first episode was now complete. The next day we would journey to a new place and another new episode of Alt for Norge.

 

 

 

Alt for Norge – Lom

The night on the mountain was so very long. I don’t think I really slept at all. I needed to go to the bathroom all night but I wasn’t about to leave the shelter of our tent to go out into the blowing snow. I was freezing as it was! Marshell kept getting up to put wood in our little stove that seemed to emanate very little heat. I was so thankful she did because I felt frozen in place and just longed for morning to come. Finally, daylight came and along with it came the cameras. Of course, they wanted to get us on film first thing in the morning. I was not in the mood but I plastered on my smile and got ready to greet the day. As they were filming us talking about how poorly we slept, our tent began to blow over. We hustled to get our stuff together and our snowsuits on and then they put all of us in another tent while they filmed for a couple more hours. It seemed interminable.

Finally, they put us on snowmobiles and sleds to go down the mountain. This was pretty cool – I kept thinking about how my nephews, who are snowmobile aficionodos, would have loved to be there in that moment. It was seriously beautiful zipping down the mountainside on the back of that snowmobile.

Before we knew it, we were at a small resort where apparently the camera crew had stayed overnight. There was a breakfast buffet and then they loaded us onto a bus to go somewhere else. After no sleep and no time to even brush my hair, I felt zero readiness to be on camera again, but I was finding out that my readiness had little to do with my circumstance when it came to reality television. I knew I just needed to smile and go with it.

They filmed us on the bus a bit and then we pulled into a town called Lom where we parked in a parking lot and did some more filming. Henriette taught us a Norwegian phrase or two and we were to try to repeat it. Then, it was lunch time and after that they divided us into small groups in which we were to go around Lom and talk to the locals. Brandon and I were paired together and I put on my extrovert face as we walked into a grocery store and tried to strike up conversations with patrons. Then, we went over to the Stave church in Lom. I asked if we could go over there when we were walking around the city with the director but I hadn’t realized they planned all along for us to go there. Brandon and I went into the Stave church and a woman gave us a tour. They filmed us there for quite a while and it was very moving to finally be in one of those old Stave churches. It was gorgeous.

Finally, the day was done and we could all go shower and get ready for supper. The next day we would be filming our first real challenge on Alt for Norge!

Alt for Norge – Roisheim

The next day we got up and were loaded onto a bus with the crew to head somewhere, of course no one would tell the cast anything about where we were going, they only told us what to bring with us. As we were riding along, I started to get excited because we were headed toward the area where my mother’s side of the family came from in Norway. I knew from watching the show that most weeks someone on the cast had something revealed to them about their family. I was a little teary-eyed at the thought of getting to see the farm where my great grandmother grew up. My own mother never got to see it and she always had wanted to do so. My mom died in 2011 and we always talked about making a trip to Norway together. My mom was the person I was closest to in the whole world and her loss is the greatest sadness of my life. As we rode along, I looked at the map and the gorgeous scenery and I felt so lucky that I was in the homeland of our ancestors.

Along the way we stopped in Lillehammer for lunch. It was a gorgeous day, but cool.  By late afternoon we made it to our destination for that day – Roisheim, a beautiful hotel out in the mountains not far from Lom.  http://www.dehistoriske.com/hotel/roisheim-hotell/

I was going to be sharing a room with Candice that evening so we got our stuff moved into our accommodations. Roisheim has quaint cabins all over its’ property and hiking trails as well. Before supper, many of us went on hikes and explored the beautiful setting.  Part way up one trail we came upon a tiny chapel in the woods.  Guy took my picture by it – that was nice.

 

We had an excellent supper and wine. Before bed we were told what to bring with us and wear the next day. We wouldn’t be staying at Roisheim again and we knew that all day the next day we would be filming part of the first episode.  Where would we go? What adventures were in store? I was nervous but happy to finally be exploring beautiful Norway in such a strange and wonderful way.