I am both happy and a bit disappointed to report that nothing in the last month has been anything like I described in my last post. I thought perhaps with the winter darkness I would be all the more encouraged to post regularly, but I think instead the lack of daylight has perhaps thwarted my writing enthusiasm. We are also not taking weekend outings on boats and hiking to beautiful viewpoints quite as frequently which might have something to do with my lack of bragging on my blog!
Things have calmed here, it is dark, and I live on an island in Alaska. It’s times like these when I am tempted to ask myself, “Who thought this was a good idea?” But, all is well and feels relatively normal. I think it’s funny the reactions that I get from people when I say I’m in Alaska for the winter. If I may, I’m just going to dispel a couple of rumors. First, I live about fifty feet from the ocean in the very southern part of Alaska, which means it really doesn’t snow here much. In fact, this year, Seattle has already received more snow than we have here in town. So, no, it’s not really snowy here. I experienced colder temperatures and far more snow when I lived in Spokane! Second, it is not dark here all the time. The perception that the sun never rises in Alaska in winter would apply more to a place like Barrow, Alaska which is in the Arctic Circle, not Sitka which is basically on coastline that should belong to British Columbia.
Thanksgiving came and went without too much uproar. I worked during the day and found myself cooking two turkeys with a resident in a wheelchair. It was quite an experience, especially considering I had never cooked a turkey before! She was the enthusiasm, I was the hands and legs, and together we pulled it off! Since the resident had experienced just a few more Thanksgivings than I, she offered her expertise and even share her secret of putting bacon on the outside of the turkey, YUM! After getting off work I joined my housemates and we headed to the teen foster home here where my housemate, Holly, works. She has been slaving away in the kitchen all day cooking for us and the teens there, so we got to join in on the typical Thanksgiving meal that left us groaning with joy, which, in my opinion, is just the way it should be! This was my first Thanksgiving away from home (just as this will be my first Christmas away from home and family as well), but there was no shortage of turkey and stuffing. I also had my first visitor to Sitka! Braden, a JV in Anchorage, came to Sitka for Thanksgiving weekend where we did almost everything there was to do in Sitka in November in three days. The list isn’t too extensive, but we packed it in and had a great weekend!
Otherwise, the routine here has continued like normal with work and various community events like the Grind, trips to Baranof Island Brewing Co. (which has quickly become a local favorite since opening last spring!), watching the Gonzaga basketball team embarrass themselves (not in the Top 25 anymore!) at local establishments that have cable, and a “NashVegas” party for my housemate, Jackie, to celebrate her 23rd birthday. I’m enjoying being here on the island and avoiding most of the crazy holiday consumerism. There isn’t a mall here, no Wal-Mart, no hours of waiting for sales on Black Friday. Town is lit with festive lights on the main roads and there’s a twinkle of holiday spirit as you walk the streets at night. Other than that, it’s pretty quiet and the days when fisherman and tourists filled the local roads and waters seem long ago! This past week, my housemates and I celebrated our four month Sitka anniversary, which means we are officially 1/3 of the way finished with our year long commitment to JVC. I’m certainly not counting down in any way, but rather looking back. In some ways, it feels very successful to have been here for these four months so far, and in other ways, it feels like we have a long way to go! All I know is, come December 21, I will be greeting the solstice with enthusiasm like never before! I hope this Advent season finds you well.