So, we had a week with no rain.
An ENTIRE WEEK. With NO RAIN. 0% chance of precipitation, 100% chance of sunshine. It was an Alaskan miracle.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before the week of light, there was the week of Disney. There was also pie. There were also birthday shenanigans. Let’s discuss.
A few weeks ago, Patrick went to Anchorage to take the GREs. While he was busy preparing for his future, we were not. We picked up Captain Responsibility at the airport armed with the most obnoxious signs possible: pink and purple, covered in unicorns and rainbows and hearts. And smiles. I wish I could bake a cake filled with all of that stuff, and we’d all eat it and be happy.
As we were waiting for his plane, we had a realization. The Sitka airport has legendary pies. We were at the airport. 2+2=pie.
That night, the night before my actual birthday, I turned 23 with a homemade-by-Kat dinner, a slice of peanut butter pie, a game of Boggle, and Little Miss Sunshine. Who could ask for more? Kat even made me a “Birthday Queen” crown. Ohhh yesss. Little did she know that the Camp Illahee Birthday Queen song is—I don’t know how to put this—it’s kind of a big deal. I got unnecessarily excited and had to explain myself by singing the entire birthday medley to my roommates. That’s five minutes of their lives they’ll never get back.
The next day, the day of my birth (but not the day I turned 23. It’s a brain teaser), I kept alive my ‘this day must involve Disney’ tradition by watching Mulan at the high school. Yes, for my job. After Christmas break, students were treated to a week full of fun classes—and I got to teach one of them. I ended up reworking one of my favorite second-semester senior courses: BC’s ever-popular Disney class. We watched Disney movies and analyzed them. And that’s it. Wicked.
It was a fantastic birthday. (We even made pizza with gorgonzola cheese. Um, yes. Always yes. Gorgonzola is the greatest of the cheeses.) It was a fantastic week–but wait there’s more! Saturday night, after we worked the monthly Grind, I came home to find that my roommates had planned a surprise party. Their intention was for it to be a dance party, because they knew how disappointed I was by the New Year’s Eve DJ …but you know how sometimes you put 15 people in a room and tell them to dance and it just doesn’t work? We ended up playing Celebrity/ Bowl Full of Nouns/ Whatever Other Name You Have for That Game, which was 100% fine by me. It was a surprise party, and that’s what counts.
Besides, nobody had any energy to dance by that point. We’d all been outside all day BECAUSE IT WAS SUNNY. This brings me, at last, to the week of sunshine! IT WAS SUNNYYYYY. I don’t know how to fully impress upon you how important this is. The sun is great. It makes everything warmer and happier and better. Not warmer literally—it was actually really cold that week, by Sitka’s standards. The wind chill sometimes dropped below zero. But I’d choose 10 degrees and sunny over 35 and rainy any day.
For one glorious week, I walked out my front door to vibrant blue skies, sparkling harbors, and solid snow-covered mountaintops. At night, you could see all of the stars. In the morning, the moon swung low over white-capped mountains in a purple sky. I never wanted it to stop.
That didn’t make everything perfect. You know that scene in Finding Nemo where Dory and Marlin find a light in the darkest depths of the ocean? They wanna be that light’s BEST FRIEND. It makes them absurdly happy. Then they see that the light is actually attached to a super creepy angry predatory fish with giant pointy fangs who wants to EAT THEM. Good feeling’s gone. For me, the week of sun was both the light and the fish, and I had to find a way to accept both of them at once.
The day before the sun made its appearance, my afternoon at work was a minor nightmare. There was chaos everywhere, but all you really need to know is that one girl waited over an hour before casually mentioning that she had a contagious eye infection. She’d already been touching all of the markers.
The next day was breathtakingly clear. Anne and I took a long walk across the bridge. And then, of course, there was the surprise party.
Then the Packers lost. It’s still too raw to talk about (last night I went to trivia night at the Bayview, where every TV was set to a sports channel. They all made me sad. All of them. Even the ones that weren’t talking about football. Even the ones I could only see in reflections on the windows). I’m still sunk in a bit of post-game depression, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. I was really hopeful.
After the game, my roommates let me cry for a little while. Then they brought me a bowl of ice cream and watched Bones with me. I live with good people.
Maybe it’s because the Packers bummed me out. Maybe it’s because the eye infection debacle made me vow never to be a teacher. Maybe it’s because I’m suddenly a year older. In any case, I spent the whole week questioning myself, wondering where I’ll go after this and what I’m called to do with my life and whether I have what it takes to do good. (No, not “do well,” kiddies. Do GOOD.)
I think I’ve mentioned this, but it was beautiful outside. I went on walks and took a few pictures, but not too many. I’m trying this new thing where I look with my eyes and not just a lens. Still, please enjoy the pictures I did take.
Speaking of things that are really Alaskan, I went ice skating twice last week. The sun brought with it a cold snap, turning Swan Lake into an ideal skating rink. This was my second time skating outdoors, but my first on a fully natural lake (Frog Pond in Boston has a Zamboni, so I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t count). I first braved the ice on Wednesday night with my roommates—and about 30 neighborhood kids, which struck me as an adorably small-town occurrence. No parents. Just kids, having fun, skating more fearlessly than I was. On Thursday, I went back with the high school students (proof that this school is awesome) and enjoyed this beautiful view for an entire morning.
I also saw a toddler in a fuzzy chicken onesie, learning to skate with his mom. IN A ONESIE THAT LOOKED LIKE A CHICKEN. Never has there ever been anything more adorable. Ever.
You stay classy, Sitka.