It has been a while since my last post, and I apologize. I really intended to write more over the holidays, but I was much busier than I thought visiting family and finishing my NaNoNovel (more on that later!) I visited family on the East Coast in the Lower 48 for just over a month during the holidays. It has been exciting and overwhelming all at once. I didn’t realize how I had gotten used to the slower lifestyle in Alaska until I touched down in Anchorage. Don’t get me wrong- I walked straight to Starbucks and ordered a Venti Eggnog Latte and couldn’t have been happier about that- but I was also super aware of the fact that there were more people in the airport than my entire village.
I left Alaska about 10 days before my husband and flew to Syracuse New York with our dog. I think I was more stressed out about her flying for the first time than I was about the 24+ hour trip. I actually had to leave our village on Monday afternoon, visited the DMV to get my Alaska Driver’s license and then I checked into my hotel with the puppy. Our flight the next morning was the first one out of Bethel, which was why we had to go in the day before. A charter from the village wouldn’t be able to get us early enough. Logistics are complicated out here, and I can’t wait until we own our own 4-wheeler and can drive around ourselves. Anyway, I left the village on Monday afternoon and after 5 planes, 2 taxi rides, 1 airport train, and another airport bus transfer I arrived in Syracuse New York where my mother was waiting to pick up me and the dog.
They lost my luggage, but considering the fact that the dog and I were safe, and we had missed the blizzard by a couple hours I was totally okay. My mother drove us to The Gristmill, a truck stop diner that I love. Real eggs, hot chocolate, bacon, sausage never tasted so good.
I gained back all the weight I had lost in Alaska by going back to eating fast food. It’s interesting how I crave things while I’m away and can’t have them, but then they seem like so much less of a priority when I can just hop in my car and be there in five minutes. Regardless I ate far more fast food than I should have, and it was interesting to actually feel how it affected my body. I felt sick after some of my old favorites. Something I couldn’t get enough of though was espresso. I miss that so much while I am in Alaska, and while I have some instant, it just isn’t the same. Too bad espresso machines are so super expensive!
Spending time with family was wonderful, and made me realize how many people read my blog (beside just my mom!) So now I will have to play catch up, and make sure I keep writing.
Christmas was wonderful, and I got to spend time with lots of my family, both in PA and NY. Logistically, things are more difficult nowadays, but I wouldn’t trade the time for anything. The break also included my birthday on New Year’s Day. Normally, I just have some friends over at home and have a small party there, but this year was different. I don’t really have a place that is my own on the East Coast, so I decided that for the first time in my life (other than the very first year!) I would venture outside of my home on New Year’s Eve.
I’m glad I did. I got together with some of my oldest friends from childhood and my sister and husband and we went to the casino. It was overwhelming and fun, and we had a great time- even sprinting outside from the car to the door without coats in the frigid weather.
I feel so blessed to have such amazing friends and family. Everyone took the time out of their busy schedules to meet with us, and talk for a while made me feel so at home. Thank you.
We also got some good shopping done and mailed it all back so it was here when we arrived back in Napaskiak. I was literally hauling cases of canned goods into our cart to mail flat rate back to the village. I am planning a blog post or two about what grocery shopping is like in the bush, so just wait.
Returning to the village on January 13th there were fireworks for Russian New Year that had been delayed. They were beautiful in addition to the bonfire that everyone came out for down by the frozen river. It seemed to be the perfect end to our vacation. Nathan is back to school this morning, and I am back to the daily writing as well. Stay tuned!