Tuesday, October 16, 2012


so I used to write about being hot - now I'm going to write about being cold.

I am cold!

Today it was 29 degrees, not even cold at all by Alaska standards - but I spent the better part of the day in various levels of shivering. 

I need to learn how to dress.  I was always the girl that never got cold, that kept the AC at 68 and opened my windows in the winter.  I never bought coats or warm clothes and just went through winter's with hoodies, it was always too much bother to buy a warm coat and I would laugh at those who suggested it.  I even used to go barefoot in snow and liked the feel of frosted grass under my toes. 

But this is different.  this is cold!  Its probably because exactly one month ago - I was in Africa.  And I had acclimated so much that the heat that felt unbearable a year ago felt like a perfect temperature when I left.  Maybe I'll acclimate here too.  Acclimate.  I use that word a lot, but it has a quite literal and freezing meaning here. 

I feel like of shell shocked to be honest.  Its such a drastic change.  I'm just taking it slow, doing one thing at a time, trying to give myself time and space and not expect too much.  Today was the first big snow they have had here.  Its a wild and eerie and silent and calm. 

The snowflakes are falling in large lazy chrystalline clusters, the world is white and three inches of snow are stuck in feathery stacks on the the porch, the trees, the whole ridge. 

It is wonderful here.  Absolutely wonderful.  It will take some de cluttering of the spirit to be able jive with the solace and solitude of life here.  But it is beautiful.  I am staying in a log house that was built by hand by Betsy's husband in the 60's.  There are hard wood floors and huge picture windows overlooking the valley and a wrap around porch.  There is a perfect glowing wood stove and I've already spent several mesmerized hours toasting my feet with my hands wrapped around a cup of tea, watching the twisting orange flames lick around the crackling logs. 

There is art on the walls and plants on the window sill and 2 loving and enormous St. Bernard dogs lying like huge furry rugs in the living room.  My room is full of books and bookshelves - I spent part of today unpacking and arranging and now I have my little slice of home and sanctuary.  Items that once were stacked inside my mosquito net are tucked into a cabin in the Alaskan mountains. 

I'm wondering what on earth I'm doing here.  It is far from the edge of the Sahel.  Far from the poverty and corruption and the daily grind of unspeakable suffering.  This is a cute little town with a vibrant community, but I still miss Tchad.  I knew when I left that Africa would stay in my blood and it has.  I especially miss my friend Bronwyn - she is going through so much on the other side of the world and I wish we were holed up in her little house, slapping away mosquitos and ranting our frustrations or laughing hysterically as the situation requires.  I love you Bronwyn.  I miss you more than you can know. 

It looks like my daring gamble payed off and I won't have that much trouble finding a job.  I'm hoping I won't have to endure the dreaded soul suck of a 9-5, and I'm currently on a mission to discovery exactly how picky I can or cannot be.  Betsy is amazing - the lady I am house sitting for.  She is wise and kind and gentle with long silver hair and a robust laugh.  I want to be like her when I grow up.  She eats organic food, went to Berkeley in the early 60's and got a degree in Genetics and drove north from California one day, finally winding up in Alaska.  It seems like most people that come here end up staying.  I wonder if the same will happen to me. 

I already have had my first lessons in working a wood stove, cooking salmon, and driving in snow and ice.

Today we had lunch at this awesome place - had steaming cups of soup and fresh baked bread - I'm in love with Homer already. 

And did I mention - I'm cold? 

Cold but so so so soooooo grateful for the opportunity to be here!

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