The topic that has been on my mind lately is teaching in the Alaskan Bush….let's rewind. In 2010, I was living near St. Louis (going to college) and I desperately needed a little adventure. So, I took a job working for a commercial fishing company (accepted the job off of CraigsList-seriously) and I boarded a plane to a fishing village in Bristol Bay, Alaska. It was a small, rural town with a mostly native population and virtually no resources. I ended up having the summer of my life! I wrote a few blog entries about it in my previous, and short-lived blog, Naknek Grime: A Summer in Bristol Bay Alaska.
|Flying through the mountains near Anchorage.|
|General Store in Naknek, AK.|
|Ruins of a Russian Orthodox Church.|
|Overlooking the ocean in the middle of summer.|
|F/V Oly aka the boat that ruled my life for three months.|
Upon graduating college I dreamt of going back to Alaskan Bush and teaching in a culturally and economically diverse school, which may or may not have electricity and indoor plumbing. However, I had a fiance to consider and Cody still needed to finish college and adjust to living 3,000miles away from his family. So, we settled on moving to Juneau, Alaska. In Juneau he could adjust to living away from home and still attend University of Alaska Southeast.
We LOVE Juneau and every aspect of living here. We have made great friends, we love our home, and we love our jobs (honestly, we both are in love with our jobs). Our weekends are packed with fun activities and we are always exploring and finding new skills that we didn't know we possessed. Juneau has truly been the greatest adventure we've had as a couple thus far.
|Cody and I hiking in Juneau, AK.|
|Walking across the ice on Douglas Island, AK.|
But, there is still something missing. I am not helping the demographic that I have always dreamed of helping. I do work for the native corporation through the school system in Juneau but I am not working for those truly rural students. I wanted to immerse myself wholly in their culture and spend a year living a truly minimalist life. Juneau is still a city, even if it is a fairly primitive one compared to cities in the Lower 48. Stores sell regularly priced goods, students graduate and attend college, plumbing is indoors, and all of the creature comforts are available in some way or another.
So, here we stand at a crossroads. I know that I will spend at least one more year in Juneau, because I do love it here and really can't imagine living anywhere else at the moment. But, maybe next year, or the year after that, Cody and I are going to try to move to central or northern Alaska (possibly north of the Arctic Circle). Believe me, it will be the source of much (healthy) debate in our household over the next year because it is such a huge decision. But, I really wanted to share my thoughts about the love I have for the Bush.
|Spending the day fishing after finishing an 18hour shift. In love with life. Bristol Bay, 2010.|
There are so many incredible places to visit in this huge state. Alaska is home to some of the most amazing wildlife and the most amazing sights imaginable. Bears wander onto our school playground, moose graze on the sides of the road, eagles nest directly outside of our apartment. Alaska (and everywhere I have been in this state) truly feels like home.
So, we will see where the next year takes us. It may be here in Juneau or we may be heading north of the Arctic Circle by next May. We plan on going where the tides take us. Right now, it looks like they may take us as far north as we can go without a passport. It may seems crazy to some people, but to us it just seems like the next great adventure.