Monday, August 27, 2012

Alaska - Post 3 (among other things)

Here I am. A third post on a trip that began in June and it's the eve of the First Day of School - 2012/13. One is off to officially start her Middle School career and the other her Freshman year of High School. We have enjoyed multiple trips this summer and the girls each experienced their first summer camps through church. They are, of course, no stranger to camps for school but this was another first and was a successful part of summer.

I have not accomplished any goals this summer outside of making sure everyone had clean laundry to pack for the next trip, arrived at swim meets with sunscreen and sharpie markers, made sure there was adequate food to prevent starvation and outside of a trip for an infection, managed to keep Eiger x-ray free and ingesting approved objects.

This time last year, we were starting new schools, the girls were still on air mattresses and we had just seen our household goods arrive from Switzerland. Due to grade levels, we are virtually starting new schools again and there are still parts of the house that need to be finished or 'rearranged' from the initial dump and conceal that went with some of the unpacking.

I have a friend who's been sensitively open about blogging their move to NC. It's been hard for me to open up too much about the difficulty of this move as I haven't wished to seem ungrateful, unhappy, unpatriotic, spoiled or discontent.  Or heaven forbid, simply human and weak. Most days are really good. But there have been others. I'm just not always sure how to put it into words. Based on my blogging absence, I'm still figuring it out. JD - know you're not alone - I had a full blown panic attack in a Safeway parking lot last fall. Tears, hyperventilating - the works! And the Iowa move? Our first week I was ready to cry when I realized "Mother's" cookies did not exist in the HyVee cookie aisle and then was asked by the clerk if I wanted my items in a "sack." Excuse me?! I believe I responded "a bag is fine" for the next 3.5+ years. :) I hope I've turned into a sympathetic listening ear for anyone who's moved.  And still need a listening ear for our move! :)

Enough about me and my attempt to ignore the fact that I'll have a Freshman in HS tomorrow.  Let's go back to Alaska and indulge in a little make-believe.

North Pole, Alaska:  Just a short distance out of Fairbanks on the Alaskan Highway you can visit Santa AND his reindeer.  Santa himself told us he uses Siberian reindeer, not the caribou that are seen roaming the wilds of Alaska.  They are smaller in size with better temperament.  Good to know in case you are in the market for sled-pulling reindeer.
I know that Minnesota claims the mosquito as their "state bird" but we weren't taking any chances in a state that is about 2.5 x bigger than Texas.  Our guess was that their mosquitoes must also be supersized - in number at least.  Add to that the threat of horse flies - we hate horse flies!  Fortunately, we were only bothered in a couple stops - Fairbanks, AK and Beaver Creek, YT - by the bugs.  We were prepared not only with DEET products but the latest in mosquito-wear as modeled by Kendra:

We kept running into a large group of German tourists.  They were traveling in this converted Mercedes bus.  It had a 'dormitory' in back which had a pop-out for access to their individual sleeping slots (each had its own window) and near that blue covered table is the "kitchen" that is contained in those storage spaces.  I think they had brats in there........oh, 'brats' as in sausage, not 'brats' as in unruly children (now I'm thinking Hansel & Gretel...).  Enough, next picture.
There were more beautiful photo opportunities than I can possibly share on this blog.  Come have coffee with me and I'll share the photo album with you.
It didn't matter if the weather wasn't perfect:
My 3 favorite people to be stuck in an RV with:
Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory, Canada at approximately midnight.  Did I mention yet how I loved, LOVED the long days.  One gets used to sleeping with a pillow over ones head.

Beaver Creek, YT boasts approximately 140 people in the summer and goes to about 80 during winter.  Hmmm....while I tend to like less congested areas, I do like a degree of anonymity.  I think it would be hard to be anonymous in Beaver Creek. What I also learned on this trip was a respect for those who dare to live above the "lower 48."  It's not an easy place - it's hard, cold and there's no glamour.  We learned that most Fairbanks residents don't consider it "cold" out until its about -30F to -40F and approximately 45 - 50% of households still maintain out-houses because pipe maintenance during the long winter months is difficult.  You think?
I have more pictures.  For now, must get to bed so I can wake up and get kids to school - the Olson bus departs at 7am................


Susan said...

Imagine me, sitting on my Ikea sofa with a good cup of Nespresso - and I turn on Google Reader and there you are! with photos of Alaska no less!

What you would see is a big smile :-)

I wish you and I could sit at a St. Arbucks and just talk face to face; that would be good for both our souls, I'm thinkin'.

You are missed, I just have to say it again. Bless you as another year of school begins.

Katherine said...

I LOVE the iris photo!!!

Well, now I know who to call when I have my panic attack (if I ever move back to the U.S., or maybe even anywhere outside of CH). I feel for you, dear Susan!

Judy said...

I sure can relate to the stresses of moving and repatriating. Our latest move has been the absolute pits and that was 2 1/2 years ago. I could write a novel. Then there's the part where family and some friends have the "get over it already" mentality. Ouch. Anyway, thanks for being honest. I should try that a bit more on my blog.

ketchikanalaskafishing said...

oh that looks amazing. can't wait to see more!

Photos of Alaska