Ok, after months of talking about it, I’m officially in Alaska! And let’s be honest, it feels like October in Seattle. After a journey from Portland to Seattle to Ketchikan (where we celebrated getting to Alaska with an Alaskan Amber at the airport during our layover!), we arrived in Sitka last night to 8-9 cheering supporters welcoming us to the one room/gate airport. I’ve flown into several different airports, but I honestly felt like we were making a water landing. So far, it’s pretty surreal to be here. I’ve been incredibly tired since arriving (which might have something to do with the 5 hours of sleep in the meadow on the last night at orientation that we got when we slept outside to watch the meteor shower). We’ve walked around a good portion of town, went to the Catholic church this morning where we were introduced and welcomed, and tried to get a general feel for the land. From what I can tell so far, Sitka feels to me like the San Juan Islands meets Astoria, Oregon meets Jackson, Wyoming. I’ve been here just now 24 hours so that’s just my initial impression and I’m sure it will change as time continues. Right now I’m sitting in the library where there is free wi-fi and two fishing boats are cruising by on the water that is about 30 feet out the door. For those of you in Seattle, it’s like having a library at Golden Gardens. It is really beautiful here with the water, even when it is gray, but we’re all excited to see the mountains around when the sun comes out. We don’t have to start work until a week from tomorrow, so for this week, we get the chance to get organized, acquainted, and familiar with all that is so new!
It’s funny to think that this time a week ago, I hadn’t even met my housemates that are now my only friends here with me. Last Monday, the six of us met at JVC: Northwest orientation where we spent 5 days learning about the values of JVC, meetings tons of new people (most of whom we will not see throughout the year), and generally preparing to head off to our year of service. I should know by now that orientation in general, no matter what it’s for, is a time of awkward excitement and anticipation. I’ve said many times before that there is no amount of money you could pay me to relive freshman orientation at GU. However, I don’t quite feel that way about JVC orientation even though it was a lot of people to meet and information to process all at one time. I enjoyed as many moments as possible in the meadow in the sun knowing that my tan would quickly fade once I got here 🙂 And for those of you who got to see the fashion show, the new raincoat is working out wonderfully!
For now, we’re headed back home for dinner. More to come as I learn much much more this week!