The Adventure continues...
One had to leave 'Allt for Sverige' - The Great Swedish Adventure, the reality show, which continues this coming Sunday, Nov. 13. Poll favorites at Nordstjernan so far?
Not surprisingly - since they've received a lot of coverage in the first programs of the series – Eric Chellen and Brian Gerard are still faring well on the list, with 11% and 17% of the votes so far (Eric likely lost a bit of ground after catching meatballs dropped from a flag pole in the latest episode. He should definitely have chosen the Pippi Longstocking hockey challenge instead!)
At the top right now is Janice Babcock, with a whopping 35% of the votes - it could be her excellent handling of horse logging timber. Sadly, the sympathetic Jennifer Grannis from Fla., sister of Shastin had to leave after failing miserably in the same challenge. (Poll is located at Nordstjernan Start Page. Guy, Jennifer, pretty much everyone introduced in the first episode of the series received some votes. Some of our readers came up with helpful advice on how to correctly translate “lagom” others felt Shastin should have kept the Swedish spelling Kerstin (we never thought of that but, of course, Shastin’s name is an anglification of its Swedish origin).
Most commented everywhere? The Kalles Kaviar tube mistaken for tooth paste and Brian's comments on the sound of köttbullar... "..sounds like 'bs'."
Some complained that the series isn't showing on SVT Play. It does run on SVT WORLD, however, and nothing beats watching Swedish TV in real time. To keep up with the language and
Meet the contestants in the reality show ”The great Swedish adventure” - Allt för Sverige. Starts October 30 on SVT World - your way of watching Swedish TV at home, in the U.S. and Canada. Order your decoder through SVT WORLD and use code nordstjernan to receive an extra 20% off of regular prices on your subscription to SVT World now.ADVERTISEMENT
Eat rotten fish. Be forced to swim in ice cold water. Be compelled to drink too much of the traditional flavored spirit Aquavit...
These are tasks ten Americans fear they will have to complete to win the chance to meet their Swedish relatives in the reality show, ”The Great Swedish Adventure,” which will be broadcast on Sweden’s television SVT.
Ten American contestants with Swedish ancestry were in Sweden this summer to compete in a new Swedish reality show. We met up with the group at their arrival to Scandinavia.
In the years 1846-1930, 1.3 million Swedish people immigrated to America to build a better life for their families. Today, over 4 million Americans claimSwedish heritage.
Ten American contestants with Swedish ancestry were narrowed down from a pool of more than 3,000 U.S. applicants. The contestants traveled to Sweden in the summer of 2011 to compete in extreme cultural challenges to discover their rich and fascinating Swedish roots.
Their distinct personalities have been hand-picked through auditions, but they share the same basic criteria: They've never been to Sweden, they are competitive and they share an eagerness to find their Swedish roots and see the motherland of their ancestors, Sweden.
The production team has located the ten contestants' families in Sweden. But the stiff terms indicate if they lose the game they are not allowed to continue searching and must immediately return to the U.S. However, they are of course allowed to return to Sweden in another context.
All contestants are very goal-oriented, all ready to win. One thing you cannot mistake: They don't consider this a shallow reality show or their fifteen minutes of fame. It is a way of trying to connect with their origin and get to know who they really are, and the winner will actually meet their relatives this summer. One thing is for sure, however—even a loss would not stop the remaining nine from continuing the search for their lost families. Nordstjernan met the excited, jet-lagged contestants in Denmark just before they crossed the border to Sweden for the first time in their life.
Janis Babcock, a medium who speaks with ghosts, has learned Swedish just to be able to get further in the competition.
Occupation: “Angel therapist” medium between angels and humans
From: Apple Valley, Minnesota
My tree goes back to the 15th century; I hope they can take me further! I am 50 percent Swedish—my grandfathers were Swedish.
We Americans want to explore our roots because most people immigrated to America under hardship conditions. There is sadness with some Americans that they are so disconnected from their homeland. It is important to us to find roots.
I was picked because I am very sincere about wanting to know about my ancestors, plus I cry all the time which makes for good TV. I am a spiritual intuitive so I think they find that interesting. I can speak with ghosts and spirits of all kinds.
Of course I will win—I want it the most. I will do what ever it takes. Eat stinky fish? Yes, just bring it.
I have been learning Swedish: I can say ”Hej,” "God morgon,” "Hur mår du?” ”Fin dag idag.” (Hello, Good morning, How are you, Nice day today). I have also read a lot of books and searched on the Internet about Sweden.
I will bring home more information for my family as well as a lay of the land for a future trip for my son. I would love to get my son into school here, to give him a global view. I am not here to be on a silly show but to find the home of my blood. I am here to further my understanding of my heritage and my culture. I am also here to kick some butt. I want all Swedes to know there is sadness in our ancestors leaving home. We are sincere in our pursuits of connection to the homeland.
Guy Clark, a decorator who left his nights in Manhattan to be competing in decent places in Sweden
From: Middletown, New York
Occupation: Decorator and former jeweler
My family is from Torekov (a small community in southwest Sweden close to Båstad). They were sailors and seaman during the 18th century.
My masseur, who is Swedish, advised me to apply. I thought it was a great way to find my family and to understand why they immigrated to the U.S. I don't know anything about Sweden or Swedish traditions, so this has come to me as a gift, and now I have the possibility to find my new family.
They picked me because I am a bit nutty and have a crazy life!
I know I will win! I am determined and driven. I am good at foreseeing things—I am a little second sighted. I can feel that I will win, just as simple as that.
I want to be surprised, I want everything to be natural and fresh. I take everything as it is and I have not thought about what to expect.
I want to ask my relatives why they left us in America. I want to get the answer and learn something that can lead to something new for me. I am so excited!
Eric Chellen, a former model, whose great-grandfather was a body guard to the Swedish king.
From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Occupation: IT salesman
I have relatives in Sweden but I don't know them yet. I do know that my great-grandfather, Gustav, was a personal bodyguard to the king in the 1890s.
I'm competitive and really interested in seeing Sweden and finding more about my roots in Sweden, and finding living relatives.
I was always the clown when I was younger and I always say things straight out without second thoughts. I have experience, a competitive nature, I'm resourceful and physically and mentally strong. I have been traveling a lot and I am a survivor. However, I will finish with dignity and grace.
If my dad was alive he would be very proud of me to finally find out more about my family’s past. But now I can get a great story and experience to share with my family and friends, finding lost relatives and new friendships with others in the competition. Americans used to think Swedes were not friendly or open-hearted and act like robots, which is a misconception.
Shastin Corona, a police officer who loves when her adrenalin is pumping, and likes to brag about being Swedish.
From: St. Augustine, Florida
Occupation: Police officer
My father read about this on the Internet and thought my sister and I should apply. It is an opportunity to go to Sweden, because I could never afford it otherwise. I am proud to be Swedish. I love to tell everyone that I am Swedish, and in America it is really something good to be associated with Sweden.
I think they picked me because I am from the south and a police officer. I also think it is fun that my sister is also one of the contestants.
I have everything it takes to win. I am determined, have no fear and I love adrenaline. I'm going to do whatever it takes and my brain says I will win.
(If I win), I will tell my family about everything I explored here, and one day I may be able to take them to Sweden.
Brian Gerard, a pastor, is looking forward to bringing his family history back home and finding the best translation for the Swedish word “lagom.”
From: Louisville, Kentucky
My mother is Swedish, but I have never been to Sweden or met any relatives who live in Sweden.
I saw it on Facebook, and when I read "Now is your chance to become Swedish,” I just knew. I hope to learn what it means to be Swedish, learn about customs and see distant places, and learn what kind of interests Swedes have. I love the U.S. and my hometown, but it's still important to find out what my history looks like. I think this TV show really will show Americans' passion for the family and how much we prize our roots.
I have motivation, I am focused and determined. I don’t like to lose and no one in this group wants that. Because for us it's more than just a competition. This is a way of changing our whole families' histories.
I have not prepared myself for this competition. First of all we were not supposed to do that, and I also have two kids to take care of who come first. I will just take it as it comes.
I will bring my own family story home, not just the experience. I am so excited to find out what the Swedish word ”lagom” means, and when you can actually use it. I think it is a very common expression in Sweden but I have not found a English translation for it.
Jennifer Grannis, a housewife who has a strong interest in genealogy and will compete against her own sister.
From: Ponte Vedra, Florida
I am three-quarters Swedish. My grandparents are Swedish but they passed away early so I never had a chance to speak with them. That’s why I am here to find out more.
It was my mother who read about (the competition) and thought my sister (Shastin) and I should apply. I never thought we both would be picked as contestants.
I am very outgoing, friendly and I think us two sisters can make good TV. I will probably throw up after eating rotten fish or something like that, which is fun to watch, I guess.
I am just happy that one of us can find out more about our background and one of us has a good chance to win. But I am sure that I will win, I am so competitive.
I want to know how I became American. I want to know what they consider a fun treat in Sweden. Where do they take their kids? What's important for Swedish people? I will take every memory and lore back home to tell my husband and children. Hopefully one day I will be able to bring them Sweden.
Kirstin Highfield, a student who marks her Swedish heritage with a Dala horse tattooed on her back
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
I am 100 percent Swedish so my family always had Swedish touches in our houses and on holidays. I have not met any of my Swedish relatives, even though my cousin moved to Sweden a couple years ago.
I did not initially plan to apply and passed it on to my cousins. My mom asked me if I was going to apply and I realized it would be an amazing experience and I had no reason to not apply.
I am eager to win. I have a Swedish Dala horse tattooed on my back. How many Americans have that?
(My favorite tradition is) definitely Christmas Eve. But I am also a fan of Swedish food such as "potatis korv” (sausage of potato, beef, pork and onion my family makes) and Swedish pancakes.
I did not make it to the final cut at the audition and was a reserve. So when they called me up five days before we were supposed to fly to Sweden I was very surprised.
(I hope to bring home) knowledge of my family so I can share stories. I will be proud and happy to tell them for the rest of my life.
Greg Magnuson, a musician and actor who thinks he was chosen because he’s in a band with a very Swedish name.
From: Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Actor and musician
I am one-third Swedish and I have family in Göteborg and Skåne, but I don't know much about them.
I've always wanted to travel to Sweden and find out about my family heritage. This seemed like a great opportunity. I wanted to come for the adventure!
I'm honestly not sure (why I was picked). They seemed to like my family story and the fact that I was in a band named Magnuson (which is a common last name in Sweden—Magnusson). I am also competitive and a fast learner. I think all ten of us have the same desire to know our past, and know who we really are.
I will do my best to win but a lot is out of my control. But if I win, I think it will be because I did a lot of preparation. ”Jag har lärt mig lite svenska!” ("I have learned some Swedish!”), even if everyone’s English is amazing in Sweden. I have also read about Swedish history and also ate healthy and worked out daily.
(I hope to get) more information about my family and an opportunity to return. I really identify with the notion of "lagom"—meaning just enough. Let's bring more "lagom” to the U.S.!
Jessica Pleyel, a vegetarian animal keeper who is participating for her dad's sake. She may have to eat meat.
From: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Occupation: Student and animal keeper at Grand Rapids Zoo
My great-grandfather was high up in the Lutheran church. He ran off to America alone and changed his name. My dad didn’t give me Swedish traditions, so I see this as an opportunity to learn more.
My friend wrote on Facebook that she had applied, and then I also wanted to apply. She didn’t make the cut but I did, so I guess she is a little bit jealous.
We lost so much in Hurricane Katrina, and I am actually doing this for my dad—because I know how important heritage is for my father and I want to do this before something else horrible happens. That sounds tragic, I know. People are getting older and I want to tell my family about Sweden because I know how important it is for us.
I think they picked unique persons. I am very good at speaking as you can hear, and I dress funny as you can see. I have been studying Nordic art and culture, which makes me a well-prepared and strong contestant.
Sweden is so cool and I will tell everyone about it, especially my dad. Americans don’t do their research and think it is just Vikings and meatballs there. History is so important to us, and I will do whatever it takes to win and be able to meet my relatives.
I am a vegetarian, and I just heard about the fragmented herring, "lutfisk” and "sill” and that we maybe have to eat these things in a competition further on. Why don’t the Swedes eat fragmented plants instead? It is against my morals, but we will see.
Brett Ratell, a metal lover who prepared himself by learning Swedish swear words and hopes to meet his optimal relative: a metal freak who needs a haircut.
From: Bay City, Michigan
Occupation: Plastic bag maker at the Ziplok factory
My great-grandmother's family lived in Sweden, I think it was in Eskilstuna (close to Stockholm). We don't have any Swedish traditions at home, but I do remember just one time when I was little my grandmother gave me some nasty fish. Horrible.
It was not my idea from the start (to apply). My sister sent an email about it, which at first I did not open. But she could not stop nagging about it, so I finally opened the email and quickly applied. I was very surprised when they called me and said that I was one of the ten contestants. This is not really me—I never watch reality shows and I never thought I would ever participate in one.
I would say that I am not a normal American. I hate Nascar for instance. I am more into hockey and Formula One. As a metal fan, I love Swedish metal and the Swedish band In flames. I think my interest made me stand out from the rest.
Of course I will win because I am who I am. I have a secret weapon ... sounds a little bit corny, I know. I won't tell you what it is, but I can say that I have a huge chance to win.
I did watch a YouTube clip about how to swear in Swedish. But I am afraid that I can’t give you an example, the video was not a good teaching aid.
I hope to meet my relatives and I am so excited. Imagine if there is someone with the same blood as me who I can connect with—maybe a 40-year-old metal freak who needs a haircut. It would be a shame if we never meet, wouldn’t it?
The original casting presentation: The Great Swedish Adventure
Go to SVT WORLD-ORDER and use code nordstjernan to receive an extra 20% off of regular prices on your subscription. For more info, see SVT WORLD
The same program was a huge success in Norway. Here is a sample of
"The great Norway adventure” in which contestants eat pig heads:
Alt for Norge - "smalahove"
Individual portraits photographed by Hanna Aqvilin; Groups by Andreas Hillergren/SVT