Chapter 8: LA part 7 – The End is Near

Recording date:


Tuesday 18th of November 2003.

As I sit here in a living room filled with chaos of Christine’s boxes and furniture. I helped her move her stuff out of storage yesterday and into the house we are now staying at. She is renting a room, or rather we both are for the moment. I have many times through my life faced the chaos of boxes and furniture around me, and it reminds me of the times we have moved. This move brings up anger and frustration that I on occasion lash out on Christine telling her to have a garage sale of her stuff that she does not need any longer. But I have come to the realization that this issue is not really about her selling things, but me having an issue of facing chaos. It is so much about becoming at peace in any situation. Having her and her stuff around is one challenge of finding peace when I see chaos. It is coming to the realization that under the surface there is peace, even if on the surface I see only chaos.

Sunday – 30th of November.

I sit here in the living room on Christine’s brown and black striped sofa, with laptop in front of me on her heavy oak wood table not knowing if I will be living in the US in the next few months (my work permit from Augsburg College will expire on January 12th 2004) or head back to Norway. We are both sharing a room in a house in Playa Del Ray, which is close to the airport and beach. About half an hour south of Santa Monica. Before we moved in four people lived together as room mates, when suddenly Christine and I moved in.

I find it fascinating to have two others around me as mirrors to my own life. They are also going through their own tests of faith in relation to what they are both trying to accomplish. Scott in discovering that there is more to life than money as he has to cope with having extremely little in the last few months. He is the middle man of multiple extremely large loan deals, and he is waiting for one of them to go through so he can get his fee. He has spent the last three weeks sleeping in his car. I tell him over and over again that I see the difference in him and how he is becoming a better person because of the tough period he is going through. But I find it harder to see the improvement with Christine as she is working on finding financing for various movie projects. All three of us are waiting to continue the next step in our lives, and have over time become stronger intertwined with each other in our struggles to get to the place where we need to be.

With Christine’s clutter I shut myself off playing a computer game, to in ways avoid her and her clutter, but with so much chaos around I also sink into my own chaos deep inside. Sinking into depression for the last few weeks is one that I am not so used to. Not having a space, a room of my own has been very hard, but I came to the realization yesterday that through my own hardships I wake up to more strength inside. I finished reading the book “Adventurers Among Spiritual Intelligences” by Timothy Wyllie. Originally called “Dolphins, Telepathy and Underwater Birthing” which is what it is about. It mentions how a Russian, Igor Charkovsky a pioneer on underwater birthing how he dunks new borns into ice cold water to the brink of death to get their motor skills and spiritual senses to develop further. This reminds me of how far someone has to go in their own chaos or darkness before a new realization awakens. Sometimes we just have to go through some very difficult situations to get something inside of ourselves to wake up again, as the infants almost drown we can almost drown in our own chaos, but from it arises the phoenix out of the ashes of chaos. Someone who goes through difficult times will be stronger than one who has not. Since in the times of struggle one has to find extra strength to get through. When the realization hit me that the last few weeks of sharing a room with Christine how many times I had failed the test of learning to deal with her clutter, and how she herself did not deal with it even when she said that she would.   I am suddenly ok with it now tolerating her mess in another way then I did a few days ago, knowing that to find peace inside in any situation is the real answer I seek, and have now found. I feel so much stronger then I have in a very long time, because of the aha realization that came to me yesterday of how going through chaos brings with it a new strength and understanding.   I have had one extra job in the last few weeks, and that I mentioned in the last e-mail I sent out. It seems I had a final three days of working as an extra, and that was on the movie Taxi a few weeks ago, but it is not over yet, and I know that God brings me through many types of experiences. I feel that the last month has been a final test before whatever is about to happen that will either help me continue as an actor here in Los Angeles or bring me back to Norway and do whatever I am meant to do there.   I have gone to many different screenings where I have seen actors and other crew members of the specific movie talk about their experience while making the movie. Just today I saw Whale Rider with a following Q(uestion) & A(nswer) session with the main lead, a 13 year old girl from New Zealand and the Director. I do not know what the future will bring, but I have decided to head back to Minneapolis on the 12th of December. If that happens or not I will find out as it gets closer. My life is totally open to the guidance that I receive from God to the path that is mine to walk on.

2nd of December.

I worked on an independent movie called Glory Days as an extra in Filmore north of Los Angeles. It was a train scene and we sat in another car some of the day just relaxing and talking. I met a nice girl there (as I usually do on set) and in the final scene at the end of the day we were paired up together to sit on a bench in the sun and when  “action and then “background” was called we walked closer to the camera and then turned to go into the train station building. So we sat for a while and talked, and enjoyed each others company as we waited for another retake.

Joylene told me about a Fashion Mart on Olympic and 9th where she has received a few modeling jobs, so that seems something to check out.  I signed up with Explore Talent and one of the guys from it called me back and told me that I would get a free photo shoot if I signed up with the pro package which for three months cost about $90 so heck as I get a free photo shoot why not. I need some more pictures anyway, and hopefully they will turn out so that I can use them. The photo shoot is in Long Beach on Saturday at 4pm.

I happen to come across a Fashion Show in Florida and I signed up as a contestant. Someone from the show will call me on Friday at 12am for an interview.

Friday 4th of December.

I dropped by Kinkos around 11 am to print out a short letter that I wrote to include with a headshot, ZED modeling card (double postcard size containing 5 of my modeling pictures) and my business card with my picture on. This package was made for a restaurant in Beverly Hills that are looking for a model. I read about this on and e-mailed them and received an automatic reply that I was to send in material. I chose to drop by their restaurant instead. Since I was on Beverly Drive which runs parallel to Rodeo Drive I figured that I might as well drop by a few stores in this very exclusive and pricey area with by business card. In every store that said that I had dropped by a restaurant up the street with some modeling pictures and now I was walking around handing out my business cards. Most seemed intrigued by me, but I also believe that many will just throw out the card. I plan to sometime go to additional stores and hand out more of my business cards.

As I sat in the car outside Kinkos the time struck 12 and I waited for the call to come for the phone interview for Fashion Rock in Orlando. I waited a little longer then I drove over to a taco place, as I was finishing up in the drive through the call came in and I quickly parked in their lot. I was set over to Sean the Event Coordinator and we had a pleasant and long talk about life. He has similar ways to look at life so the talk stretched over more time than most others he has had a phone interview with. He told me a few times that I should do great, but during something like a Fashion Rock where 100’s of model/acting agencies come to find potentials it comes down to oneself and networking. It seems like the Fashion Rock is a high profile event in the modeling, acting, and music industry as many famous people drop by. Sean told me that I was in if I wanted, so I said yes that I wanted to come to that. I am now reserved for the event 26-28 of March 2004. That will be exciting to attend. By that time the process for me to get a Green Card should be good on it’s way, as my dad and I plan on applying for the card through him as he has very recently become an American citizen. One biggest reason for him to become an American citizen was because of me that I am here in the US on my temporary work visa which expires January 12th. I do not know if I need to go back to Norway for a certain amount of time (which I would not mind, it just would be a bit inconvenient for now though) or if I can stay here in the US while the application form is processed. We’ll find out as we go….

This evening I saw a pre-screening of “Cheaper by the Dozen” and I am exhausted from watching it, as the pacing is very rapid and feels like one long deep breath. I could barely see myself at the end in the stand behind the kids as they threw down their signs and ran out to hug their dad (Steve Martin). This was the first movie I was an extra in, and that job I got back in May the day I signed up at an extra company called Jeff Olan Casting.

Sunday 7th of December.

As I begin the climb up the next mountain it begins to feel familiar to what I done before. I have quit working with ISM model management company as they have not been able to provide any auditions or jobs for me. I do believe they have too many models working for them, so that most of us do not get any jobs. I have also quit Image models where I had my pictures on the internet. They submitted me for auditions but nothing came out of that either, and it cost me a fee for their monthly service. This time I “happen” to come across an internet service called that provides a free web space for models and actors, or more correct those of us who are working on having a career in it. I signed up for the free space and noticed as I did that they also offer a premium package with a monthly fee much smaller than imagemodels. This is similar to get a sample taste at the store and then having the opportunity to purchase a bigger piece. I said to heck with paying I burned my fingers once and was not planing on doing so again. But the next day Robert one of the guys who work at ExploreTalent called me up and really wanted me to purchase the premium package as he liked my look. He told me that he was willing to pay for a photo shoot for me to get me to sign up for the plan that cost something. (They do actually give you a photo shoot if you sign up for the premium package but he wanted me to get it done asap, as he wanted to get me going asap, which I of course did not mind at all) Spending around $100 for a few months of service from this site to get a free photo shoot is worth it so I said yes, as I do need some additional photos to my portfolio. A few days later I was in Long Beach in a huge warehouse space that use for their photo shoots. The shoot went great, well I am a bit tense these days and they told me a few times to relax my shoulders, with thinking about my uncertain future not knowing if I will be able to continue working after January 12th when my work permit expires. They use digital cameras so I was able to look at my pictures on the computer monitor a few minutes after the shoot, and as the photographer said a few times after we were done with the three looks, you should get into this, meaning he liked what he saw.

It is very uncertain right now as to how things will happen after the 12th of January. Perhaps I will need to go back to Norway for a little while, perhaps I should stay in Minnesota with my parents and have a vacation helping them and visiting friends if I am not allowed to work for a while until my Green Card that my dad the new American citizen and I are applying for gets more into order (whatever that means). Perhaps I am allowed to extend my work permit from Augsburg College. Yup this makes me tense. At the same time I have begun the climb up the new mountain and adding on to my portfolio with new headshots and new ZED (double postcard size 5 picture cards) cards. I am thinking I will wait with these things though, and might instead just head to Kinkos and print it out a few nice pictures for myself and do it cheaper than through Explore Talent.
Edit 14 july 2019: Here is my portfolio page at Explore Talent. I see that it is still there.

The new mountain in front of me is calling and with excited steps I continue my path up the rocky slope not knowing where it will lead, but having visions and dreams of what can be over the next hill, and also over the next mountain.

Tuesday 9th of December.

I met with Robert and the Art Director from ExploreTalent and told them that I could not purchase the ZED card as I was missing a good suit picture. I told them that my work permit is going to expire January 12th and that my future in acting in Los Angeles is uncertain, so with these various factors I had to cut back on all the print material. They become frustrated but Robert and the Art Director told me that I could come back next Saturday to the Photo studio (that will be the second Saturday in a row I will be taking pictures) and take a few suit pictures. Robert also checked into if they had already run my credit card which they already did, and he told me not to worry (as he is going to take care of it), and I replied but I do. So not only am I getting one photo shoot I will be getting another next Saturday, so it seems they really want me to be with them. I will in the end purchase prints for my portfolio but skip the ZED cards and headshots for now.

Later in the day as I was heading for the place where I have my mail box, and called up my dad. We talked for a bit about the application for the Green Card. He told me that the immigration office had told him that I need to leave the country when my work permit expires and when my Green Card is in order I can come back. It takes about 6 months for a family Green Card, which means as it seems right now I will need to spend that time in Norway (It might very well be a good thing, as it has been a while since I visited Norway). If I am able to extend my work permit, I do not know. If I will be able to attend the Fashion Rock event in Orlando 26-28th of March next year, I do not know.

Saturday the 20th December 2003.

Going back to Minneapolis.
I left Los Angeles at 5 am and was quickly on my way heading back to Minneapolis. I drove all day until late that night. I had seen a few police cars along the way and was quick to slow down. But I began to become arrogant and one time did not slow down enough. This time it waited for me. I knew from the moment that my brights hit the cop car that I was caught. As I drove by I constantly glanced in the rear view mirror to see if he was going to pull out after me. The police car pulled out from the dirt road between the opposing lanes in the major highway and slowly as a tiger following it’s prey come closer and closer until it suddenly decided to jump turning on it’s multi colored lights. I pulled over right away. I knew that I had been too arrogant as I had been so lucky along my journey up to that point. It had been a fast drive, but because of my arrogance it cost me $58 (the lowest speeding ticket I have ever heard of) driving 87 mph in a 75 mph zone between Denver and the border to Nebraska.

A few hours later far into the night I had to stop at a rest area and sleep in the cars for a while before I continued. I was eager to get back to Minneapolis. As I came into the midwest I saw snow again. It felt like winter. Los Angeles has one season, summer.

Going back to Norway.

1st of January 2004

My farvel party was held alongside the New Years Eve party event at the Norwegian Church – Mindekirken. As the last evening slowly disappeared and I said my final good byes to close friends at church, I knew that I would greatly miss some of their presence in my life. Through the pastor’s family I have learned much about passion and strength for life. I can not remember experiencing another family filled with so much love as I have with them, and as I think of them I feel deep inside how they have affected me, and how they will always be a part of me.

It was hard to let go, and when a close friend of mine drove me to the airport the words of “I do not want to go” a few words of a song that stood out was played on the radio. I grinned and said a short grunt sound and my friend knew what I had reacted to. Certain things in life stand out from everything else showing us our own thoughts at various times, and this was just another time that life had shown me what I was thinking at that specific moment.

I let go…..letting go of thoughts, letting go of friends, as people I love disappear out of my life, at least for this period of time. The journey continues in Norway, the country of my birth, the country that is close to me. The country where I am meant to figure out more of who I am. I need Norway.

I flew back to Norway. To a new life. Not knowing how to proceed, or what to do.

The journal continue in my Norway diary.

After thought almost 19 years later.

13 October 2022.

I went back to Norway and I am still living there. The Green Card process took a long time and for many years I just gave up on it. Just before Covid hit at the end of 2019 I continued the Green Card application process again. Currently all papers have been filled out. I do not know what the hold up is. Hopefully I will find out within a few months. The big question comes up.

Will I move back to the US when I get my Green Card?

I will feel inside what God wants with me, and follow the direction he gives. The Creator being the ultimate director of a movie called the life of Paal Joachim Romdahl.

Photo Booth 13 Oct 2022 Paal Joachim Romdahl
Picture taken with the application Photo Booth on my Mac. 13 Oct 2022 Paal Joachim Romdahl.