Why do I chain 2 before starting the row?
I've not crocheted much for quite a while but if I remember correctly this is pretty common in crochet patterns. You'll only ch2 once at the beginning of the row. I usually ignored that unless it varied from what I thought was the norm.
Then, I work the bobble stitch, which I'm not doing correctly because it's not "bubbling" up, the work is staying flat.
The bobbles might not show up well until you've worked more of the pattern. Have you looked for a video for crochet bobble stitch? Crochet the Bobble Stitch
I always liked her videos. If you don't like hers, you can find another.
The 4th question is does the row basically go "hdc, bobble, hdc, bobble, etc."?
Row 2- ch2, turn, *hdc, bobble stitch repeat across, hdc 35 stitches
That's such a cute pattern I've considered digging out a hook and making at least one of them. Be sure to let us know if you need more help. There are other crocheters here so if I'm not helpful someone else should be.
ETA Sometimes I don't see earlier responses until after I've posted. I don't know why but it works that way. Operator Error on my part no doubt.