It’s unreal how big our days are. Every single one manages to in some way, shape, or form trop the last. We get to do things people would only dream of… but we’re literally doing them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The sheer amount of dollars, man hours, planning, and thought that goes into each of our DAYS in unfathomable. To be on the receiving end of this sort of production is so unreal. Hoping to stay on the show as long as possible is like hoping to win the lottery. Literally every single day feels like a new Make-a-Wish Foundation wish being granted to me. It’s all so unreal I still can’t really put it into words… though I try. Anyway, on to another day!

We drove to downtown Stavanger, and got filmed walking into town a number of times. Are we going on a boat? Perhaps pulpit rock? We’re clueless

Eventually we’re guided towards a sign that reads “Alt For Norge: Norwegian for Dummies” which is clearly for us… BUT THERE’S A RUSS HAT which most of us recognize from previous seasons of AFN. We walk into a school where lots of children are looking out at us from their classroom windows, and on top of that, we see tons of russers (graduating high school seniors) all around us.

We then walk into a classroom where Fridtjof awaits to give us our Norwegian lesson. Among the words things he teaches us, is the difference between “chain” and “vagina” in Norwegian (it’s “kjede” and “skjede” for those playing along at home), they’re very similar.

Fridtjof tells us we’ll be graduating from high school and living like high school seniors, which means that we’ll be participating in Russ! This is something I’d been hoping for and looking forward to, though I knew if it were a competition (like it has been in the past on the show), we’d be at a disadvantage with Joni who doesn’t really drink and may not be so willing to participate in debaucherous behavior.

We’re all taken out for another killer meal – a great lunch, before we’re forced to simply wait around for the crew to do their thing. We’ve come to learn that there’s usually a surprise around every corner… we just have to be patient and wait for the crew to set it up first. After walking through town we’re guided to a graffiti park that looks a lot like Gasworks in Seattle, and greeted by a huge number of Russers and their Russ party vans! We’re told we need to be baptized into the Russ in order to participate, which meant water on face… face in flour… and then kissing a real pig face, at which point we’d get a real official Russ outfit with our name on it, and Russ cards of ourselves!!! SOOOOOO much fun. I’m really looking forward to seeing post baptismal interview I gave completely covered in flour.

Baptized Into the Russ
Baptized Into the Russ

We’re then given time to interact with the Russers, trade cards, and give cards to kids who run up to us. (The Russ cards are like trading cards which have a picture of you on them, along with a couple silly phrases and fake contact information. It’s common for Russers to trade them, and for young kids to run around town collecting them.)

We reassemble and Fridtjof greets us to tell us our challenge. We need transportation if we want to be real Russers, so this will be a “Pimp My Ride” Russbuss challenge – we’d be decorating vans for the Russ to party in! Because the Red team won last week, they’ll have 1,300 Kroner to spend, while we only have 1,000! This is awesome, that’s a tiny advantage, as this will mainly come down to creativity. They have Jeff (amazing designer) and Heidi (professional artist), but we have Thomas which will help. I’m no artist at all but will do my best to assist their vision!

When we were talking with the Russers we noticed that their themes often tended to make fun of America. (There was a “Donald Hump” theme for example.) The Russers were also dying at a phrase that was written on Joni’s Russ card, which referenced a Norwegian skier whose name is apparently a term for giving a double handjob… so for the entertainment of half a million Norwegians, our but theme is “Taylor Shaft: Shake it Off”. Is this something I’d want my grandpa to see? Maybe not, but our judges are 18 year old Norwegians who were cracking up earlier at the idea. We had to take a risk, so why not?

We went a Home Depot type store, spent our 1,000 Kroner, and drove to a field with an unreal view, right on the ocean, with our busses on each side, and 6 tents set up perfectly. Would we by camping? We don’t know but it sure looks like it!

Off the bat Richard and I removed the middle row of seats, before being told no by producers. Tom painted the details on the outside of the van, I painted the headrests and made stencils, Richard made ski poles, Kelsey made a beautiful Taylor Shaft pink logo on the front of the van, Joni designed the heart hubcaps, Lauren did upholstery and lights… but there was one problem. The other car looked badass with flames and everything. We’ll just have to wait and see tomorrow morning.

We finally make our way back to the hotel at 11:15 PM and get the rundown on tomorrow. We’re told that we’ll only have an hour to finish the work on our vans tomorrow morning, and we were told that we’d be camping tomorrow night. What an absolutely unreal day.