Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We're Moving To…Michigan!

The cat is out of the bag!! It's official folks. Our ferry tickets are purchased, our trip planning has begun, and the wait is finally over.  Now to pack up our house...

Honestly, I received some seriously incredible job offers from schools here in Alaska, but I just couldn't bring myself to take any of them.  I love Alaska and everything about it.  However, Alaska was always MY adventure.  When I first met Cody he was in the process of moving to Florida.  He changed his plans and decided to stay local to be with me, fast forward eight months and I had accepted a job in Alaska.  While he has loved Alaska, it has put many aspects of his life on hold. He had to give up music (he was a touring musician when we met) and college.  Both of these he will be immersing himself in as soon as we get to Michigan.  So, we will be moving so that he can get back on track and we can be closer to our family. I think it is going to be the best thing for both of us.

We will be living in the Saugatuck-area of Michigan.  It is truly one of my most favorite places in the world.  It is an artists haven on the western shore of the state.  As a child, I vacationed in this area every summer. Then, last year my dad retired to the area to live year-round.  We are planning on staying with him until we find a place that suits our needs (i.e. pet friendly and enough room for Cody's drum kit). I couldn't be more excited at the prospect of living in my childhood vacation haven!

It's been an incredible journey and I couldn't ask for anything more from Alaska.  Stay tuned to the blog for updates! Cody and I will be taking 15 days to camp our way through Canada in July and we will have a few more adventures in the mean time.  I plan to document every aspect of our journey :)

Have you ever visited western Michigan?
What is your favorite road trip to take? 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Great Alaskan Teaching Debate

For those of you that don't know, I am looking into pursuing alternative employment for next year.  My position is grant funded and the likelihood of losing our funding is pretty high.  As much as I would love to stay in Alaska, some questions and tough decisions have come up in regards to what I should do next year.  Basically, we've got three options to choose from.

Option 1: Move back to the midwest.  I have my teaching credentials in a couple of midwestern states.  Fortunately, I have my credential in Michigan.  Western Michigan, as well as the upper peninsula,  is my ideal location in that area of the world.  I've been applying and interviewing for various teaching positions throughout the western portion of the state.  No offers yet, but I've made it past the first round for a couple of them.

Option 2: Stay in Juneau and pursue alternative teaching options.  This is also a viable option.  I could wait to see what opens up with the school district here.  I could also look into additional Head Start classrooms, work with the department of education, or some clerical-type position.  I worry that none of these non-teaching options will pay enough to keep us in our current quality of life though.

Option 3: Pursue a teaching job elsewhere in Alaska.  This is a huge option and a very real possibility.  There are many great school districts in Alaska and I would be lucky to teach at any number of them.  Cody and I originally planned on living more rural (read about it here) and this may be the opportunity that we are looking for ideally.  I actually have two job offers on the table from Bush districts and I am highly considering this possibility.

These are all very real possibilities for us next year.  While we wait and see how our lives will play out, we are actively applying and interviewing with multiple districts and hoping to land the right position.   Stay tuned for an update…I assume that we will be deciding sometime in the next two weeks :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Basin Road & Mountain Trails

For the most part lately it has been sitting in the mid 50's and the skies have been overcast.  We've had some pretty good rainy days too.  Thankfully, these cool and overcast days are perfect for hiking. Some of my favorite days are the ones spent hiking on a drizzly day.

These pictures were snapped a couple of weekends ago.  Cody and I went to Basin Road, which is located in downtown Juneau.  Basin Road leads to a wide array of trail heads like Perseverance Trail, Mount Juneau, and Mount Roberts. These are all really great trails and vary in difficulty from easy to extremely difficult.  We wanted to hike Mount Roberts originally but realized that we had forgotten the dogs leash (no unleashed dogs at the top of the trail). So, we just hiked a mile or so of each trail.  Each trail is very diverse and this allowed us to see a ton of unique wildlife and scenery.  It ended up being a beautiful and relaxing day.

**Unfortunately, a hiker was lost on the Mount Roberts Trail not long after Cody and I hiked it.  It is unknown what happened to her but you can read about the story here and here.  Such a sobering reminder that nature is unpredictable, especially in the 49th state.  This incident has made me really buckle down on not hiking alone and always telling people where I am hiking.  I hope everyone makes sure to do this when they adventure outdoors!**

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The End of School

Well, it's the end of another school year.  For those of us that teach, we are busy packing up classrooms, grading last minute reports, and scrambling to store all of our "school" things in our homes.    My classroom officially closed last Thursday but I ended up spending most of the day on Friday organizing and cleaning.  I'm proud to say that it is completely finished and I am now on autopilot for the summer.

Last day of school with some amazing ladies. 
I am still unsure of what next year will bring for me.  My school is competing against eight other schools for the grant money that would keep my classroom funded for next year.  I am hopeful…but not naive about the situation.  I know that things may not work out but I've got my fingers crossed.  I can teach in Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan (legally-haha) so I am not without options if this job doesn't continue on for next year.

Until I find out the verdict for next year I plan on relaxing and enjoying life.  My in-laws will be in Alaska to visit Cody and I in less that a week.  That'll keep us plenty busy for about seven days and then three weeks after that my mom and her boyfriend will be in town to visit.  A month after that? My little brother will be swinging through the area.  It's going to be a busy summer but I am ready for it :)

Are you taking any cool vacations this summer? 
Do you work during the summer?  Why or why not?