As I have progressed into a more adult life (notice I said “more adult” not “adult,” because I will be attempting to avoid reaching that stage for as long as possible), I have had to confront a reality of life that many others must at some point also face: working on Christmas. This is the second Christmas Eve that I have worked (the other was a crazy night of hostessing at Chinook’s Restaurant in Seattle in 2007) and tomorrow will be the first Christmas Day I have ever worked. Unlike my last working Christmas Eve, however, all is quiet at work and yesterday my supervisor declared it a do-nothing day. Actually the language was more colorful than that, but as I try to keep my blog relatively clean, I’ll just describe it that way! We indulged in watching some feminist youtube videos (I work at a women’s shelter, what do you expect?!) and ordered in sushi for lunch. It was beautiful. One of the judges in town even stopped by the shelter to drop off boxes of chocolates, how could it have been a bad day after that?! This morning after shift change with my co-worker, a 70-year-old Tlingit elder, I gave her a hug wishing her a Merry Christmas and hugging me back she said I was a blessing to the shelter. Which, on this Christmas Eve away from family and many friends, made me smile.
After being told a few times by my housemates that I need to improve my holiday spirit, I have been attempting to embrace these joyful moments and recognize how this time of year looks in a different place away from Seattle or Missouri, the only two other places I have ever spent this holiday before. We have attended and volunteered at all the appropriate Christmas parties these past two weeks, so I’ve been festive when needed. However, at work, where Christmas spirit is variable among co-workers, I have subjected them to my “January 10th” rant. Let me explain: Standing in my office one afternoon last week my co-worker said, “I’m not ready for Christmas!” To which I replied, “I’m ready for January 10th.” She inquired as to what was happening on January 10th and I responded, “Nothing! That’s why I’m looking forward to it! Christmas is over, people’s New Year’s resolutions have been broken so that illusion is gone, solstice has come and gone so we’re gaining daylight and we can all just move on to bigger and brighter things!” My co-workers were laughing, which really only encouraged me to continue down this road of honest expression, but I recognize that for those interested in fully embracing the holiday spirit, this is perhaps not the most productive of topics. So I’ve been trying to balance a little of both 🙂
To be fair, Sitka has been fun to experience this time of year. Swan Lake in town froze over completely while we had cold temperatures and clear skies for about a week straight. Once the ice was finally thick enough, everybody in town headed out to skate, walk, slip, and even give rides on a sled behind an electric wheelchair on the ice! On Monday, the kid’s first day off for Christmas break, the sunshine at lunch time made for perfect skating and Gina and I enjoyed a nice stroll around, across, and on top of the lake on foot!
And a moose got stuck in the ice!!
As JVs here we occasionally get the opportunity to housesit for people headed out of town. This past week we have had the pleasure of housesitting for a “Sitkalebrity” (a local celebrity in Sitka), Tango the Golden Retriever. His owners have written children’s books about him, which they sell at Old Harbor Books year round (one of my favorite locations in town connected to Backdoor Cafe, perfect!!) and also sell them on the street when the cruise ships are in town. Tango has quite a reputation and we’re honored to be filling his food dish and throwing the tennis ball for him this week. He even has his own website! http://www.sitkatango.com/?page_id=2 He joined us on our hike to a frozen waterfall last weekend and did a great job chasing squirrels and chewing on frozen sticks.
Nick and me at the falls on a lovely winter afternoon.
And I have promised Mr. Nicholas Campolettano a huge shout out on my blog because 1) he’s an awesome FJV from last year who returned to Sitka to work at the SAFV shelter again and 2) he sometimes brings me chai lattes from the Backdoor Cafe when he comes into work as he did today which is absolutely awesome!
That about sums up the JV Christmas report from Sitka, Alaska. All my housemates are here for the holiday as well and we’ll be celebrating together tonight with dinner and presents. I’ll finish off my 2010 posts with an annual blog post favorite that I started last year. Until then, I hope Santa treats you all well and of course, Merry Christmas!