Marathon Monday isn’t like what you saw on the news. It’s one of those days when everything feels lighter. The whole city comes alive with things to celebrate: the runners, the Red Sox, the city, the way the sun feels on shoulders that spent all winter beneath a coat. But the best part of it is the names. Some people have countries or organizations on their shirts, but most have their names. The thing to do on Marathon Monday is to stand at mile 21 and call them out. Cheer people on. Sometimes they look back at you and smile, or look a little more determined, or thank you. It’s humbling. The smiles and the thank yous are all very humbling, because they’re the superhumans running 26.2 miles, and you’re the one standing there calling out a name. But what you’re doing is still important. That’s what Marathon Monday is about. If you’re not running the race, you stand by and support the ones who are. There’s always something good to do.
Back in September, one of my roommates had a dream that our time in Sitka was coming to an end. TV cameras were there to document the occasion (oh dream logic, how I love you). An interviewer pointed his mic at me and asked, “You just finished JVC—what are you going to do next?” I turned to the camera in my Packer jersey, raised my arms to the sky, and said, “I’m going to DISNEY WORLD!”
It didn’t take long at all for my roommates to know me.
I like very much when kids say ridiculous things. I like it so much that I’ve been keeping a list. Enjoy.
I think Alaska has warped me. I’m not talking about my gradual desensitization to the rain, how tired I am of salmon, how I’ve stopped allotting any time for commutes, or how I’ve lost all sense of appropriate personal boundaries after a year with these people.
I’m talking about fashion.
I’d like to start by acknowledging that my best friend from home is currently in Mexico, where the sun is shining on her shoulders and David Boreanaz’s abs. At the same time. In the same place. In the same pool. I don’t know why I’m friends with her; she’s always doing things like this—casually lounging in a pool in Mexico, five feet away from the actor whose shirtless photo has on multiple occasions been my laptop background (which made for some awkward moments last year when my computer crashed and I had to take it to BC Tech Support guys). I can’t compete with that. Nothing in my life seems cool anymore! This cute parade means nothing to me!
So there’s this volcano near Sitka. Mt. Edgecumbe. It’s dormant. On cloudy days you can’t even see it, but on sunny days it’s on every horizon, a striking, majestic, empty thing. What once was dangerous now just sits there looking nice for tourists, like a military fortress turned into a museum.
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.)
As promised, I really did watch the sunrise over a glacier in Juneau.
This counts as a sunrise in Southeast Alaska. Continue reading
This post—I feel I should apologize upfront—will not be particularly Alaskan. I know you’re all here for stories of shotguns and glaciers and bears (oh my), and when I encounter any of those things, I promise to write all about it. I’m also sorry to keep talking about football…I’m just not sorry enough to stop.
It’s just that I think I’m finally ready to talk about the Packers. Continue reading
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. Continue reading