June: After 25 hours of travel, I finally arrived back to my Homeland. It was raining (go figure) and light (Oh, how I've missed Alaskan summers!) and my mom and sister and friends were waiting for me at the airport! I was in a happy delirium: happy to be with my family and delirious from lack of sleep.
My first few days were spent absorbing culture shock. I unpacked, and did laundry, and used the dryer! I drank the delicious fresh-brewed coffee I'd come to appreciate. I shared stories with my mom (my Dad was in China, so I hadn't seen him yet!) and reconnected with my friends. It was very twilight-zoney...to be in such a familiar place as such a different person. And to be such a different person while really not changing at all.
Also, my mom and I both joined a Ruhi Book 8 Study Circle, and that's been very fun. I continue to learn so much through the Ruhi sequence!
About a week after I got home, my dad did. We picked him up at the airport, with his 'chopsticks' and swollen knee (he had surgery a few weeks before taking an international trip to China). It was fun to hear about his adventures and yes, see the thousands of photos of his journey. It was best, though, just to have him back home.
July: My July started out with a trip to Girdwood and then to Seward to work at the Forest Fair and then the 4th of July. I got to see Kikkan Randall win Mt. Marathon!
|Dennis with his grandson eating ice cream!|
|Kikkan on the final stretch!|
My next trip was North. Elika works in what can charitably be described as a town (and not so charitably, a gas station/truck stop) on mile 175 of the Dalton Highway. Because of the amazing benefits that she gets by being an employee, her brother Zayn and I were able to visit her, live with her in a tent, and go to Deadhorse, Alaska (think oil fields and giant mosquitoes).
|Zayn and I on the 9-seater plane to Coldfoot!|
|Wasilla to Deadhorse. Coldfoot is where the dark green turns to white.|
This was truly an amazing experience. Not only to see Elika, because I missed her to almost-death (and still do) and spend time doing things together, but also to see what life is like above the Arctic Circle. It turns out, its a lot more Deet, and a lot more hiking, and a lot more living in a tent. There was very nice food, and very nice people, and a lot of adventures. Including....
|JUMPING IN THE ARCTIC OCEAN!|
|Post-jumping in the Arctic Ocean|
|Uke Jumping in the Arctic!|
|Coldfoot Emotional Twins!|
|Coming back from Deadhorse|
My next summer adventure was more of a tradition: SALMON. (for those that are not aware of this fact: my family dips our nets in Kenai every summer and then spends a few days putting fish up in our house. For that week or so, our lives kind of revolve around fish. And for good reason: these fish keep us fed for the next year! Hurrah for Omega 3!
|Dad, me, Kaden...and Fish!|
|Deep Sisterly conversations. Actually, I think we're singing songs to attract the fish, but it COULD be a deep conversation.|
mmm...the two tides we fished yielded 50 delicious salmon!
August brought more work and thinking about the future. It brought plans for this school year (UAF! COLLEGE!) and vacations (ITALY!?!?!?!?!?!? More on this later). It brought a lot of lists of things to take to college, things to buy, etc. It brought a roommate, and a room, and a PO Box, and a meal plan, and an Honors College, and geez, its only the 8th! I'm currently in Fairbanks, working at the Ice Cream Booth at the fair. I work here until the 14th, when I return home, pack frenetically, spend time with Elika, and then come back to Fairbanks for school!
The rest of my summer has been filled with friends, and family, and hiking, and enjoying all the beauties of Alaska.
|Climbing the Butte|
|The Butte in the Rain|