Today is a big day; I face elimination. When I drew runes this morning, two came out together; Eihwaz and Ansuz. Both deeply powerful runes, I won't rush to any interpretation of them. Besides, any thing I interpret now would be influenced by my anxious state of mind as I get closer to finding out what the elimination challenge is.
Last night was our last night at Bevø camp grounds, and it was a great night, one of my most enjoyable in Norway actually. I stood around having beers and talking with good Norwegian men, my new friends. They were mostly around my age and they were truck drivers, carpenters, roofers and the like...real men, my kind of guys. When I get back to Norway I will surely have to visit these men again at Bevø.
Today we will leave Bevø at 0930 and go back to Oslo. There, we will get on a ship bound for Denmark. We have been told the elimination will happen on that ship, and it will happen today. Then afterwards we will sleep on the ship, I think it is a 16 hour voyage or something like that. When the ship arrives in Copenhagen the eliminated person will leave and those who remain will be able to explore Denmark for a bit before heading back to Norway.
The ship itself is a smaller sized cruise ship, it has a casino and nightclub and everything. So, I feel confident that the elimination challenge will have something to do with the hospitality aspect; like being the entertainment in the night club, or being a bartender...something like that.
(The ship to Denmark!)
I will not draw runes to see who is going home. I am just too close to it, it would be too difficult to be objective.
I went and said goodbye to the beautiful coastline at Bevø today, and thanked the wights of that land for their hospitality. I walked on beaches of huge solid granite monoliths amid the sandy spots, I gazed out at the shoreline dotted with granite islands that supported a population of struggling pine trees. I sat for a bit and watched the swans swimming by with their goslings in calm waters...it was beautiful.
However, sitting there in the beautiful quiet, I was trying to get rid of a "feeling" that had come over me. It was very strange; on one hand I remained confident and sure of myself and deliriously happy with my whole experience so far...but on the other hand, there was this sense of foreboding. It made me uneasy in light of what today was all about. I kept trying to shake the feeling, to think it out of my head...but it remained, curious. I normally have little trouble eliminating unwelcome thoughts.
Now it is 1408 in the afternoon, I am on the ship in my little cabin. In about 30 minutes we will find out what the challenge is. First we drew straws to get our order; Jonathan is going first, Jessica second, and me last. Now I am almost certain we will be performing...and if we are, I think it is a good thing to go last.
(My little cabin on the boat)
We were brought out to Henriette, we stood there while we got all the camera shots we needed. Then out walked the person that would be officiating over our elimination; he looked like an old Norwegian cowboy carrying a guitar. Turns out his name was Sputnik, and he had a real famous song back in 1986 that was wildly popular. He sand the song for us then, it sort of sounded like an American country tune, except it was in Norwegian.
Then we found out that each of us would have to learn a verse of the song, and the chorus, and perform it live with Sputnick on the stage of the ship nightclub. The audience would then vote for their favorite. The one with the least votes would have to leave Alt for Norge.
Initially I was thrilled! I sing a lot of karaoke, my family is very musical, I have no problem performing in front of people and I have a good memory!! It was as if this competition was tailor made for me. I almost felt it would be unfair to the other two.
I learned my verse quickly, in about 20 minutes, the chorus too. Feeling very confident, but that strange sense of foreboding was still lingering around from earlier. Weird.
Sputnik then did a little practice with each of us separately. That went really well, Sputnik seemed impressed with me, though I wasn't sure because he didn't speak a lick of English. There was something about him that reminded me of my dad, maybe it was the cowboy hat, and the age? Whatever it was, during one of my interviews on camera I was asked a question about him and the tears just came from nowhere. Seeing Sputnik just made me miss my dad a lot.
Next, we all did a rehearsal on stage live with Sputnik and the music. I wasn't concerned at all...I knew my verse well. When it was my turn for this practice something weird happened; the words that I knew so well just evaporated from my brain, they were just...gone. So, my rehearsal went terrible and now, for the first time I think since coming to Norway, I was nervous. Even weirder; as soon as I stepped down from the stage the words came back.
I immediately went into super practice mode, drilling these words into my brain over and over again. I am really good at memorizing things and I just could not figure out why the words left me on stage...nothing like this had ever happened to me before. It didn't make any sense, it even made me feel a little angry, and helpless, and scared that it would happen again when it really mattered.
Jonathan was quite nervous as well, Jessica was very focused, and I was still in super practice mode right up until the time of the competition. The other two were not bringing notes with them on stage. I was torn; What if I couldn't remember the words again?? Then I would look like an idiot, and lose! In the end I decided to just bring the words on a tiny piece of paper just so I could refer to them if I needed to.
Jonathan went first, it seemed like he slaughtered some of the words, but he danced and hopped around on stage a lot and seemed like he was having fun. Jessica did pretty good on the words and also employed a lot of physical antics; she even took off her boot and hit Sputnik on the head with it, the crowd (it was a packed house) really seemed to like her. Then I went, and, I sucked to make it real simple. By the time it was my turn I had become so paranoid and focused on the words...I got though the words, but that's all I did. I forgot to perform, I forgot to have fun. There was no dancing or showmanship from me. As soon as it was over I realized my shortcomings, and I was certain that I had lost. Like I told them in an interview; if I had been in the audience, I would not have voted for myself.
(The infamous performance that sent me home. See me reading my notes? Sputnik looks cool though.)
When the results were announced I really wanted to take it like a man, and I think I did a good job of that. I get emotional pretty easy, but usually only when I am touched or moved. When Henriette said I was going home I was sad, but I knew it before she said it, and I wanted to be strong for my friends that were left...because I knew they were going to be sad.
I was surprised though, at how emotional the others got. Even Todd, who I had not seen cry once during the whole show, was crying. I was told later that after I left it got very emotional. Apparently, these people really liked me. Todd and Jessica both gave me great compliments when they said goodbye. They told me their life was better because they knew me. Todd told me that knowing me made him a better man. They both said that they want to come and visit me and they want their families to know me, that they wanted me in their lives forever. Wow! I was blown away by that...and profoundly touched. I didn't see it until I watched the show, but sweet Amy said on camera through tears that I was the closest thing to a father she had known. Jonathan and CJ got a little blubbery as well.
The whole thing left me feeling so honored, and so humble. So happy, to realize that I had some impact on these other people that were strangers just a couple months ago, but who now were my dear friends. I can't really express it any more than that...I don't have the right words.
Since we were on a boat, I couldn't leave. So I was able to have one last night with the cast and crew, and I was really glad about that. Thor and Steinar, the producers, and several others on the crew told me some very nice things, some of them cried as well. Everyone on the crew was sad, and gushing with thanks and condolences. Mama Brita told me I was a great man, and cried. Camera men and sound guys were hugging me as though I was their relative. I am so honored, and surprised, that I was able to touch so many. Many of them predict I will be loved my Norway as well, we'll see about that I guess. I am so very, very, extremely touched and moved by it all.
As for me? I'm actually ok. My final conclusion is that I could not remember the words because I was not "allowed" to. My purpose here, and the deal I made with Freya had been fulfilled. It was simply time for me to go, so the universe is sending me on to my next adventure. It all happened exactly how and when it was supposed to. Of course I would have loved to stay...but that was obviously not the grand plan of things. I have no regrets. I was true to myself and my Gods, I did the best I could, and the best I was "allowed" to do. When my great, great grandchildren watch this someday, I hope it makes them proud.
(An emotional good bye with Henriette, before I came back to america.)