DAY 50 - The last day
I woke up in the airport hotel. In the moments as consciousness was returning to me I forgot. I forgot I had been eliminated. I forgot that this was the last day I would spend in my beloved Norway...I just forgot all that. Instead I awoke exhilarated, ready to meet the day, to experience and tackle whatever was before me, just like I had for the previous 49 days. But, then I remembered.
I just lay there then, as though the air above me had become so heavy that I could no longer move. Perhaps, if I didn't start moving, I would not have to leave? Now I was full of the realization that in a few moments, I would be leaving the landet av min forfedre. It was in short...a horrible feeling.
I am looking forward to seeing home. I want to hug my family, I want to see my dog and visit all the animals, I am looking forward to all that, yes. But at the same time it is so terribly bittersweet. I simply do not want to leave this place...this new home, this land where the bones of my ancestors rest, where they sweat and bled and laughed and cried in just such a way that many, many years later...I was born. If they had done anything different, perhaps I would have never existed? But I DO exist, because they existed! And, I love them. I love my ancestors and I love this country, and the people who live in it and keep it going. I love my Norwegian relatives even though I didn't get to meet them. I love Vebjørn Skogg and his lovely family who I stayed with in Stranda. I love those people at Bevø campgrounds who were so kind to us. I love my fellow cast members, and the people on the crew who put up with us everyday, The people at TV Norge, and O'Connor casting. Hmm...sounds like I love everybody. I guess right now, I do.
Getting over my wake up sadness now. Now the prevailing feeling is one of sheer gratitude. What a lucky, lucky man I am! I have had the experience of a lifetime, I have done and seen things I have yearned to since I was a small boy. I am so thankful to the Gods for bestowing this responsibility upon me.
I think maybe best of all...I have secured a spot in time that will become part of the legacy I leave for my descendants. It gives me great comfort and peace to know that my great, great, great, great grandchildren will have an opportunity to see me...to see me living, living as my full being in the land of my fore fathers! They will have a sense of who I am, because during this whole journey I made sure I was always myself. Hopefully, it will make them proud that they came from me...that is what I like to think.
At the airport now. I had some good talks with mama Christine, she has been very kind and understanding. My plane boards in a few moments. oh...this really sucks!
Did I do enough? Did I do the best I could? I have to ask myself these things, it's only natural. I can't think of any big misstep I made, I can't think of anything I would have done different...but, I feel like I am being punished, forced to leave this place I love...punished, for what? Intellectually I know the truth; I know I am not being punished, I just didn't win, and I have to leave now. Those are the rules and this is a game after all. I didn't win because it was time for me to go home...I cannot argue with that. My new destiny awaits me and I have an obligation to go see what it is, and embrace it the best I can.
The plane is starting to board now. I guess this is it. I will miss writing in this journal everyday...it has been quite a comfort, a good way to unravel my mind. I will write up to the last minute though...I'm not going to write on the plane, because I won't be in Norway then. This journal, this story is about a strange looking man who the Gods favored enough, to send him to the land of his fathers fathers father. As soon as I get on that plane, the story ends.
Oh...Norway!! Thank you, thank you so much! I will miss you, but I promise...I will return. I have so many memories right now. Like right before you die they say your life flashes before your eyes, well, right now all my memories of Norway are flashing before mine. I remember the faces of children that noticed me and smiled, I remember the kindnesses of store clerks, and hotel people, I remember the spectacular scenery's, the jokes, the tears and fears of my fellow Americans. In this moment it seems like I can remember everything.
This will be my last entry, I will be on the plane in less than a minute. I will close with this; I am so profoundly proud, and honored to be a descendant of this great country called Norway. I felt at home in a way I never have before, as though my DNA remembers, and was happy. You will always be a part of me Norge, always, until there is no breath left in my body. I will return, and when I do...it will be a happy day.
Good bye, and thank you
Tusen takk, Jeg elske deg