Copy/ paste of my arrival email :) Click pictures to see larger.
“Well, I made it to Alaska!
So I got to Sitka on Thursday afternoon after a day of horrible horrible flights (starting at sunrise). I had gotten really sick the week before I left and was still miserable the day of travel. Luckily, on my flight into Sitka there were a bunch of old guys who were coming to alaska to fish and had various anti-nausea things to offer me so I managed not to throw up on the flight (their actual presence here is very widely debated- most people hate them because they spend their whole time drunk and aren’t very respectful of professional fisherman).. but it was a close one! Sorry for those of you who have emailed/texted me since I arrived- I don’t really have internet where I am staying and I spent the first 2 days in Alaska sleeping and running to the bathroom. I didn’t even step outside once. Fun times!
FINALLY on Saturday morning I woke up feeling great, and went for a run in Totem Park, an awesome park right on the water filled with huge trees, bald eagles, and large totem poles from the native tribe who lives here. After being sick for almost 2 weeks, it was nice to be outside finally, buuuuuut most of you know how I feel about running (not my favorite activity). I did it though! I also stopped by the river to see the Salmon spawning- the water is SO FILLED with salmon, you could watch them for hours.
By the time I got home to my friend Rhiannon’s house, where I am staying currently, it was a beautiful 70 degree sunny day. We decided that we would go check out the beach and maybe get a little swimming in (the water here is FREEZING, but bearable.. or so I’m told).
Before we got a chance to head out, I got 2 calls. The first one was from Mary Beth, the super awkward lady who currently lives in my future house. She said we could come over and look at it so I can start looking for furniture etc. It was super super cute! Very manageable, and we are going to make it very homey. :) Unfortunately, she also said that I can’t move in until the very end of August, a full 2 weeks later than we had originally planned :( So, I’ll be living on Rhiannon’s bedroom floor for almost a whole month!
The second call was from one of the other AmeriCorps volunteers who had gotten the big van and was taking a group of about 8 out on a hike. So, instead of the beach, I decided to meet my future coworkers, and headed out for the hike instead. Everyone was really nice and friendly, and after our hike we grilled some fish one of the girls had found in her freezer (lots of people here catch waaaay more fish than they can possibly eat, which they then give away, and so most people have pounds of fish in their freezer that they got for free… I’ve eaten fish 3 times already in my 4ish days here!). We hung out at the big AmeriCorps house, which is around the corner from Rhiannon’s house and my future house, and I had a great time! I am so glad to have a large group (there will be about 15 of us) of people my own age to hike, run, bike, and hang out with.
Sunday morning, I woke up early and met two of the guys on our bikes for a tour of Sitka! One of the guys is a new AmeriCorps volunteer like me, and the other is here for the summer fishing on one of the boats in town. He showed us around town, and we got to tour some awesome fishing boats, the harbors, and this great old wooden sail boat. I learned about the fishing season, and met some of the locals who basically earn their entire year’s wages during the summer fishing season. This year has been an AMAZING fishing season, with record numbers of Salmon and great weather (meaning that people can be out on the water longer).
After my bike tour, I headed down to the Sitka “State” fair, where I got to try some amazing food and met some more locals. Everyone was super friendly, and had really really really nice things to say about my boss, Ryan. It seems that I got lucky with my AmeriCorps placement, and just mentioning his name has me already welcomed and included into the community. I helped clean up after the fair, and they gave me a Banana Cream Pie as thanks. Yuuuuummmmm! :)
ANYWAY, that was a lot of info, and don’t worry, I wont send out huge emails every couple of days. I just wanted you all to see what it’s like to live here so far– lots of hiking, running, and talk about fish. The entire community is basically set up around fish and fishing, and with this unheard of weather, I’m trying to soak in as much sun as possible before it gets foggy and rainy.
I’m thinking about starting a blog (at the request of some) instead of sending emails. We’ll see if that happens, but if it does, I’ll obviously send a link.
Would love updates from you all as well! I miss California already, especially my kiddo Amelia, my kitty Henry, and delicious San Franciscan food.”