Fight or Flight

Hello all!

I’m writing this while laying on my parents’ couch. Ahh, I can’t remember last time was I able to lay down and just relax. I’ve already mentioned the fact that I’ve had less than five hours of actual free time since September, right? Well, anyway, my point is that I made it back to Norway! Yay!

But things didn’t look too bright when I checked in at the airport in Sioux Falls, and they told me I’d miss my next flight because of a two-hour delay, and that I’d have to get a hotel in Chicago before I could fly out the next day.

The next day?! Uh uh, I wasn’t in the mood for that, and you already know I’m too competitive for my own good, so what did I do?

Well, as soon as I landed in Chicago, I ran. And I mean — I RAN! I can honestly say I haven’t run that fast since before I quit track. I was also wearing a dress coat, boots, a scarf and a handbag, while wheeling my carry-on suitcase next to me, so yeah, things could have been more comfortable, to say the least!

My outfit looked something like this. Very athletic.


As I dug out my best stride, people started cheering, and I heard several “oh-my-God”s and “wow”s underway. Yup, it must’ve looked pretty bizarre, especially considering my clothes, but the thought of possibly having to wait another full day before I could even begin the 24-hour journey, made my primal instincts kick into full overdrive.

About a mile later, I nearly threw up out of exhaustion, but through blurred contact lenses I could see a lady waving a huge sign with “Munich” on it. She yelled, “just run, you’re almost there.”

The climax of this story is that I did make it. The gate crew had just locked the doors, but after quick phone call they let me in. I could feel sweat run down my back and I coughed for the next 20 minutes — but I was on my way home for Christmas!

About 20 hours later, the whole thing repeated itself. This time — because my luggage got lost in Oslo — and I had to run across the whole airport to get a ticket for the night’s last flight. But I’ll spare you the details of how I could feel the plane-food crawl its way up my throat and how I almost— okay, okay, I said I’d spare you, so, yeah. I got the last seat, and made it to Haugesund where my dear family was waiting. Hallelujah!

24 hours after I left Dakota I didn’t exactly feel at my freshest. #sweatyisthenewskinny

I can hereby confirm that the “fight of flight response” is real, and since we’re talking about airplanes I thought the title was appropriate. Consider this a follow-up to my earlier post: Sweaty is the New Skinny.

Bless you,

Opening Night, Homeless Awareness Week and Blizzards

Good afternoon darlings,

First of all, thank you for the incredible response on my last post! The number of views reached an all-time high, in fact, it doubled the previous record. Wow, I’m still a little blown away actually. Thank you!

Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week
Over the Bridge was screened at a Sioux Falls Homeless memorial on Wednesday. I had my hands full with tech rehearsals and was unable to be there, but I’m happy I could still contribute. Also, this is a great time to get involved in volunteer work for the homeless. If you live in the area, The Bishop Dudley House is the perfect place to start.

As a sidenote, I want to share that the winter came to Augustana today —

Trying to do a photoshoot during a blizzard was a bad idea, but Naras pulled it off. Photo: Naras Prameswari.

— I went running in shorts and a t-shirt just three days ago. Oh well, South Dakota…


Trying to look like I’m not choking on the wind #Blizzard Photo: Naras Prameswari.

Opening Night
Other than trying to cope with the weather, I’ve spent most of this week preparing for the “7×7 plus 1” show. If this is your first time reading the blog, I want to assure you that I’m NOT talking about a math contest. I’m actually directing my first play ever, and it will be presented as a part of the “7×7 plus 1” show this weekend. Opening Night is just hours away now!

This is my play! “Precipice” starring Anita Raile and Coleman Peterson.

Come to the Edit Mortensen Center Theatre at 7:30 PM tonight, Saturday and Sunday!

I’ve sacrificed my morning workouts for this, so that itself should be reason enough for you to come. But seriously, we’ve all worked really hard, and I’m excited to see all my theatre friends show their work!


Sweaty is the New Skinny

Good evening, dear readers!

Last time you heard from me I was out on the East Coast, but I’m back in Sioux Falls — with less free time than I thought was possible, haha. Like I mentioned earlier, I worked three weeks ahead on my homework before I left for LA, but I had to take all the midterm exams and do all the projects after I got back, so needless to say, I haven’t had much time to keep the blog alive. But you’re here, and that means you forgave me. So, welcome to you all!

I thought Over the Bridge was ready to be put to bed after LA, but I’ve been invited to show it at the Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell on Thursday, and then there will be two more screenings here in Sioux Falls before Christmas. I’ll tell you more about it later.

This is how we roll at Augustana 📷🎥#photography #class #photojournalism #canyouspotme hint: #whiteconverse 😏

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Another new thing is that I’m directing my first theatre show! This whole theatre thing has really grown on me — it wasn’t that long ago I thought it was a … rather… weird form of art, but after picking up a theatre minor to help me improve my directing skills, I’ve really learned to love it. It’s so much fun, and I’m very excited to present the play “Precipice” on the Augustana main stage next weekend. It’s a short play that will be shown together with seven other short plays, so it should be pretty cool. More about that later too.

Theatre does come in handy whenever Halloween is around the corner as well. Flashback to the past:

#halloween #throwback #maleficent #costume #2014

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Even if it’s tons of fun, I’ve been craving an hour of free time. You know, just one hour where you can relax, scroll through facebook, watch an episode on Netflix or go grocery shopping (Wal-mart makes me relaxed, I know it’s weird), but with all the projects and exams it seemed like a long shot. I was, therefore, delighted to learn that daylight-saving was coming up, and I got a whole extra hour! You’ll never appreciate something like that until you’ve skipped three weeks of the semester and have to catch up on the 504 hours you lost while traveling, haha.

Since this is not a fashion blog, I’ll also take the freedom to share a a time-saving tip I discovered last week:

I’ve been wearing running shoes and leggings everyday lately, because you see, walking to class, walking to meetings and walking to the cafeteria is simply too slow. I won’t get there in time if I just walk, so I’ve been running. Not only do I get to my appointments a little faster, I also save that hour I’d normally be spending at the gym. Win, win.

Paparazzi shot by: Naras Prameswari

And if you add the weight of your backpack, camera bag and theatre props in the plastic bag you get a full body workout!

We all know sweaty is the new skinny, right?


Instant connection

You know that feeling when you meet someone, and you just have an instant connection? You can stare at each other for the longest of times, and the seconds seem to be floating away like soap bubbles on a windy day. It doesn’t feel awkward, but you’re still not sure when he’ll make a move. The thoughts are running through your head, and the adrenalin is pumping in your veins. For a moment you forget about everything else. You move closer. He looks at you, and you’re trying to read his mind through his hazel-brown eyes. No moves. He just looks at you, and you ask yourself: Is he intimidated by me? Did I go too fast? Am I getting too close? What happens next? Could I have done anything differently?

Well, these are the thoughts running through the head of a photographer standing face to face — face to camera lens — with a wild animal.

You see, I’ve never been much of an animal person, because I happen to be allergic to every little fury creature out there, but lately I’ve been approached by a number of “wild” animals and we’ve had some pretty intimate moments together, so I figured I’d share it with you all, haha!

You all know I stumbled upon a hedgehog a few weeks ago, right?


Well, nothing too extraordinary about that. But on Tuesday, I met this little guy when I was out photographing in Falls Park!


We stared at each other for a long time. It’s fascinating how close he let me come before he realized he had to somewhere he had to be, and left.

Rachel spotted him first, but I was fortunate enough to get some real close-ups of him. (I refer to him as “him” because I don’t know what he is … Chipmunk-squrriel-rat-thingy?)

And yesterday, I was almost ran over by four deer when I was out running! Yes, FOUR DEER! (Or deers like I initially wrote, but apparently there are no s‘s in the plural form of deer, so…)

Even as exciting as it sounds, it was actually a less pleasant experience, at least compared to the majestic moments I had with the squrriel-thingy the day before.

It was an early morning and I enjoyed the sound of my own running shoes crunching on the gravel path in Sertoma Park when I heard some intense crackling, and suddenly saw the deer cross the path right in front of me. Out of pure instinct I grabbed my phone and snapped a number of blurry pictures before they got too far away.

Unfortunately I had just updated the software on my iPhone the day before, so by the time I finally managed to access the camera, two of them had already run off. But I did get these two!



When you spend the majority of your time either running from class to class, studying or attending meetings and classes indoors, it’s pretty refreshing to meet beings who don’t give a crap about how stressed you are, or how much homework you have. They’re just there, and you get to visit their world for a second or two. Simply beautiful.

Have a blessed evening,

Changing things up for a new semester

Good morning!

Since last time I’ve left Norway and arrived on campus to start my senior year at Augustana. It’s crazy how fast these past two years have gone by! Well, I could probably go on and on reflecting over those two amazing years, but that’ll have to be a subject for another post. The point is that it feels great to be back, and I’m excited to take on this school year!

Making of "200for200" Fundraiser Vides (2015)

I’ve also been thinking a lot lately, about the near and distant future, and everything else (10-hour flights across the Atlantic are great for that sort of reflecting) As a result, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll have to change things up a bit. I have a tendency to take on tons of projects at the same time, which I think is a good thing, but to continue doing that I’ll have to eliminate or moderate some things from my life.

Last semester I took 16 credits at school, worked as a section editor in the yearbook, was involved in the Augustana theatre, trained for a half-marathon, updated the blog/social media frequently, attended film events/screenings, did several TV/radio/paper-interviews, and fundraised money for film festivals — while also trying to have a social life. That was a lot!

I’ve realized that this wonderful thing called film is incredibly time-consuming, and if I want to pursue that further, I’ll have to make some changes:

– I’ll stop chasing performance with my training, because in the filmmaking world it doesn’t matter how fast I can run a marathon, and when placed on top of everything else I do, it exhausts me and keeps me from doing other things. I’ll stay in shape, but without the extreme commitment I’ve had in the past. My six-week exercise quarantine really opened my eyes about that!

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 17.42.35
Brookings Half Marathon with my dear friend Matthew Housiaux.

So why am I telling you this? Well, because my next point directly affects you.

– I’ll moderate my activity on social media (Instagram: marialavelle1) I’ll only post stuff when have time and really want to. The same goes for blogging. I would all recommend you to click on the subscribe button up in the right column ——>
That way you can stay tuned without having to stop by the blog twice a day — It’ll let you know when I post something new!

I hope you all have a wonderful first day of fall!



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