may the odds be ever in your favor

My JV year began with a four-leaf clover.

It was the first night of orientation, and I found it in a field. I wasn’t even looking for it—I just glanced down to admire my new TOMS, and there it was: the first four-leaf clover I can ever remember finding. I wasn’t even this lucky during my four months in Ireland. The odds are in my favor!

(We’re going to forget temporarily that “the luck of the Irish” is an ironic phrase. My people have had it rough. I mean, remember the Disney Channel movie? That kid’s luck when WAY south when he found out he was Irish. But I’m pretty sure the ending was warm and fuzzy, so let’s focus on that. I think I AM lucky to be Irish, and I think that clover was an auspicious beginning to a great year.)

Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day, everyone. While you spent your holidays in bustling cities festooned in green, soaking up the sun with thousands of your closest friends, I was in a small town on a cold, gray, rainy island—because I’m Irish, and that’s how we roll. I think Sitka is pretty much constantly channeling Ireland, weather-wise. Fashion-wise, not so much. Nobody in Dublin would be caught dead in a raincoat. Nobody in Sitka would be caught dead using an umbrella. Debate! Discuss!

Anyway, my St. Patrick’s Day in a nutshell:

  • The sun came out for a while.
  • I learned that the Dropkick Murphys make an excellent running playlist.
  • Patrick got a plastic green hat in the mail. My dad has one of those things. He wore it, along with Kelly green socks and a green carnation, to my school musical every St. Patrick’s Day. He also liked to complain to our director when the tickets weren’t green on March 17th. (How did I still get cast in things?!) After the first 10 years or so, the director finally got it down. At least I’ve left a legacy.
  • Patrick got into grad school at BC! Take it to the Heights! Commence constant playing of “For Boston” on a loop forever and ever.
  • ANNE CAME HOME!!!

Anne went home to Chicago the week before St. Patrick’s Day; I survived her absence only because I magically gained the ability to watch Hulu in my bed. (My favorite LOST episodes! Season 1 of Community! No sleep!) Hulu disappeared as soon as Anne came back. Hey Anne, are you my conscience?

All in all, a fine holiday—though of course, I missed Boston. And the Irish pub at Downtown Disney. And, um, Ireland. In that order. It SNOWED here the next day, which I didn’t love, and then everyone posted photos of their big-city shenanigans, with the sunshine and the short sleeves, and I just kept looking outside and wondering where spring was hiding.

Ohhh. There it is.

I found you, spring! Actually, spring break found you. Schools took a vacation last week, and apparently, so did the rain clouds. Remember that one time when it was sunny all week and I didn’t take pictures? I think I made up for it.

Maybe that’s because I had no idea how long the sun would last. Weather.com kept lowering my expectations, telling me it would be “partly cloudy tomorrow, chance of rain” and it NEVER WAS. Every day dawned as sunny as the last…and I woke up every day convinced that the sun was preparing to leave me, determined to feel its warmth while I could. So hey, meteorologists, thanks for your pessimism. It led to a beautiful week.

Instead of sleeping in, I spent my mornings strolling the shore near Totem Park, watching the sun rise and the flocks of seagulls take flight all at once, like they’d been choreographed. Instead of surfing the internet, I spent my lunch breaks sitting on a rock, watching little waves break beneath my feet. I took a seriously unnecessary amount of pictures to document these occasions. I also decided that I NEED to be near water. In my life, moving forward, I need to be on the water. Maybe I just love how it catches the light.

Mostly, I spent this week feeling grateful. I’m here, I’m alive, I’m in Alaska, and I can go anywhere from here. Even that four-leaf clover can’t explain how I got so lucky.

Other goings-on in my life:

  • We volunteered at the Wearable Arts Show a few weeks ago—just another chapter in Sitka’s ongoing love letter to costumes and absurdity. There were some brilliantly detailed, finely crafted, Tim Gunn-caliber outfits. There was also a woman in a wedding dress made of paper towel tubes, “marrying” a fish in a top hat.

Sitka, WHAT ARE YOU

But I think my favorite act was the first one: an old man, wearing a suit covered in luggage ties, dancing down the runway with reckless abandon. Forget the serious designers! Bring back the old man!

  • We’ve got an unofficial JV House Book Club going on, and its name is Hunger Games. Anne should be done with Mockingjay in a matter of hours, at which point we all will have finished the series. Ever the International Studies major, Anne can’t wait to discuss the social and geopolitical implications. Ever the English major, I just wanna break down the love triangle. But mostly, I can’t wait for us all to SEE THE MOVIE (tonight!). Technically, I already saw it on Saturday with the students I work with, but I need to see it again to get past everything the filmmakers changed share it with the people I know best in this crazy town. The movie was filmed near my fabulous, beautiful, totally-not-violent camp; last June, as I was jamming out to J-Beibs with my 7th-graders, these kids were just down the road killing each other. No big deal. AT LAST the world will see the mountains I’ve called home for 13 summers! Meanwhile, I will try not to point and whisper, “I’ve been there!” every time I see someplace I recognize. (So if I’ve lounged in a pool beneath a waterfall, and Peeta’s lounged in that same pool beneath that same waterfall, then by the transitive property…) I also had a dream that I was in the Hunger Games. Disney World was the Arena, which is actually my best-case scenario. When it comes to Disney, I am the definition of a Career.
  • But of course, I’m not actually in the games, because Sitka would never let a JV go hungry. We got a box of cookies earlier this month, and I came home after dance on Saturday to a garbage bag full of tortilla chips and cheese puffs. Generosity has never seemed so dangerous.
  • I keep having dreams about sunshine and beaches, sunburns and sundresses (aaannnd obviously the Hunger Games. And I dreamed that my brother killed a guy in a planetarium. I’d like to blame the semi-expired food products, but it’s probably just the late-night Bones marathons). My subconscious wants warmth. Too bad I’ve made no progress on my life plans. All I’ve got so far is Live Near Water. Is that a start?

Happy springtime, friends. And may the odds be ever in your favor.

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