We had breakfast, and then drove up to the same hill above down where we were the day before for interviews. Me, Kelsey, and Richard were filmed walking around discussing what the experience had meant to us so far, and how unfortunately, one of us would be headed home. We soon learn about the competition, and while I’m slightly disappointed that it’s not the National Anthem, I’m encouraged that it’s nothing art related. We’ll be required to run and answer questions about the week, and then repeat a 5 word tongue twister made up of our 5 answers. I should be fast at the running part, and am confident enough in my Norwegian abilities.
We draw straws, and Kelsey goes first. Richard and I hang out for a little bit, and not too much later Kelsey comes back obviously having done a bit of running. Richard goes second, and I use the opportunity to do a bunch of stretching. I’m really excited but trying to keep my cool.
Finally it’s my turn and I’m off sprinting! I quickly reel off the answers – Jo Nesbø, Tigerstaden, Åsgårdstrand, Nora, Skrik. I’m on a roll, and feeling fairly confident that if I can get the tongue twister in a reasonable amount of time that I’ll punch my ticket for another week in Norway. With that said I’m also aware that this completion could be very close. Running the course to get the answers almost certainly took me less than 90 seconds (84 seconds to be exact) – so spending too much time on the tongue twister could easily send you home.
Still going full throttle on adrenaline I somehow fall apart. I read the phrase, and then run 15 feet and repeat it to Fridtjof, only to be turned away. Apparently I was reading it perfect at the board, and then in front of him I kept flipping “Ibsens ripsbusker og andre buskevekster”. After somehow messing it up again and again and again I begin to think that perhaps it’s my pronunciation and I switch my focus onto how I’m saying my “S’s”.
As my struggles continue I see a pained look in Fridtjof’s eyes. I keep running back and forth but still keep getting the same result “I’m sorry Lars, I don’t understand what you’re saying”. In hindsight (REALLY easy to say, but totally different in the moment when you’re blood is pumping and your adrenaline is as high as ever and you’re fighting tooth and nail to stay in Norway), I should have slowed WAY down, and given up time to get the pronunciation right.
As I continue it begins to almost get comical – what could I possibly be doing wrong!? Finally at long last, I’m told that my answer was correct. It’s only after the fact I’m told I had been flipping or mixing up the “rips” and the “busk” – even looking back I didn’t’ remember doing so.
Once I finished, it’s pretty darn apparent I’d be headed home. I immediately audibly thanked all 18 crew members in the vicinity for what had been an incredible experience, and laughed at my atrocious performance. In a sense it was very calming, I had no nerves, I wasn’t worried, it just was what it was. I was real happy that Richard and Kelsey’s journeys would go on. Obviously it would have been really nice to win the lottery 10 weeks in a row – but my 6 weeks were so unforgettable, and one of the coolest experiences of my life.
We then had to do pick up shots and reshoot my failure from a bunch of angles. In a sense it was painful to be stabbed again and again and again – but more than anything it was hilarious. How many ways could Fridtjof possibly tell me my pronunciation was wrong?
We drove to a really cool park (maybe just another part of the same park we were already in… I think it’s Ekeberg) overlooking Oslo. Everyone is there, an inevitably, it’s announced that I’m going home. Had a done well on the competition and my elimination been unexpected, I may have taken it rough, but this was essentially a formality. I’d known for about 2 hours I’d be headed home.
I took out the behind the scenes camera and did one last ridiculous introduction which they got on camera. Kate and a few others were teary eyed, but I told that that it wasn’t allowed. It’s an absolutely beautiful day, we’ve had an incredible time, and all of their journeys get to continue. I’m genuinely really happy for everyone who gets to keep going on this adventure. They’re all very well deserving.
I don’t let them whisk me away suddenly like they have with the others, and I took the time to hug and thank each member of the crew individually. (I told them I’d be happy to reshoot the goodbye scene so I could do so.) (Writing this now back in the states… I’m SO appreciative of the fact that they put together such a cool montage of my goodbye as seen below.)
I say my last goodbyes, and then get taken back to the Grand Hotel where I’m asked to shoot my final scene in their 3 story penthouse luxury suite. (Room 700 – I can only imagine the names who have stayed here!)
Fridtjof comes into the room, thanks me for my time on the show, and then SURPRISE! An Alt For Norge book with my name on it. I’m sure my overacted fake surprise reaction will be a funny one. In the book I learn: that the Lia farm is still in the family, Halvard (Harry) Lien ski jumped in the 1924 Chamonix Olympics, my 3x great grandpa may have killed a guy by pushing him out a second story barn door, and that my Norwegian family is waiting and excited to hear from me. Definitely got a bit teary eyed there (even if my folks have met Ole and Solevig Granerud some 35 years ago.)
I chat with Kristoffer, Brita, and Martine about what I can and can’t say, when I’m allowed to add cast and crew on Facebook, etc. I’m told I’m flying out tomorrow, and that there’s a 0% chance them letting me stay and travel around Norway on my own. Damn!
A production assistant gives me a ride to the airport hotel, and I learn that not only will she be spending the night there, but she’ll also be driving me to the airport the next day, paying for my extra bags to be shipped home, and literally watching me until I’m through security! Man they take this stuff seriously! I head back to my hotel room, call my folks, and let’s just say that’s where Lars’ adventure ends. 😉 What an incredible ride.
Yet when one door closes, another often opens, and when one adventure ends, another often begins…