Sunday, September 25, 2005

Back from Alaska

Peace Corps Update:
While I was in Alaska I received my staging packet in the mail. The biggest news was that I will be leaving a day earlier now. I will be leaving Sunday, October 9th. The rest of it was just health forms and a rundown on my staging. I will meet the other 6 volunteers who will be working with computers in Samoa. We will learn a few basic taboos about the culture, health risks and how to avoid them, talk about expectations, and discuss possible problems that will arise. We won't receive our immunizations until we arrive in Samoa. We won't find out which island we will live on until after the 2 months of training in Samoa. And we won't know exactly what we will be doing in country until we meet the PC staff in Samoa and they can access what our best skills and assets are.

My biggest fear is that I haven't worked with computers in awhile even though that's what I used to do. I am scared I won't be up to par, although everyone tells me not to worry about this. And sometimes I worry about my health. For those that know me I am always sick or injured, even now I have strep throat. So those are some concerns of mine; I am sure they will change once I arrive there no doubt. Just continue to keep me in your prayers and thoughts, I will sure be needing them soon.

In the meantime, I just arrived back from Alaska (16 days of travelling) with my dad, and I am leaving for DC. My flight to the staging is Sunday. I can't believe how close it's getting now... Only 14 more days. And I am still not ready packing wise. I am sure it will all come together though. :)

Road Trip Update:
Dad and I just arrive home tonight from our long trip to Alaska. We ended up hauling down the last part of the trip and arrived 2 days before we anticipated. I will post pictures tomorrow and also have a Peace Corps update.

For those of you who were unfamiliar with the itinerary for Alaska: Dad, mom and I left for Alaska Sept 9th on the Alaskan ferry from Bellingham. It heads north and stops in a couple of towns along the way. Ketchikan, Wrangell, and St Petersburg. The scenery was beautiful, but the 3 days on the boat was long and really boring. We read A LOT. I went a little stir crazy. Then we got off the boat in Juneau and spent a few days there. It is a really pretty town, but there were 5 cruise ships in (6 is average) and it was insane! We just had to get out of the downtown area. I guess that's normal from about April to the end of September. Mom flew home and dad and I took another boat to Valdez.

Overall, I would say it was fun. We slept in the back of dad's truck, pretty cold a few nights. We stayed with family in Fairbanks for a few nights. Which was fun, My dad's cousin (Mike) and her husband (Gary). Gary is a pilot and took us up for a ride in his plane on of the days. We went to Denali National Park and saw Mt McKinnely, which is rare. It's usually clouded over 80% of the time. The colors were amazing. We saw many moose, swans, a porcupine, a few black bears, dall sheep, and a grizzly on the side of the road. We saw the Northern lights only one night though, it was overcast the rest of the nights. My favorite part of the trip was in the Yukon when we took the Dempster Highway (unpaved) north to the Artic Circle. There was one part of the highway where it follows a river that comes between 3 mountain ranges, and it was snowing. It was so pretty. I have a few of my favorite pictures below.

Pictures of Alaska

Sunset in the Inner Passage

A quiet town in Canada

Ketchikan, Alaska

Mom and an iceberg

The Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau

Downtown Juneau, Alaska

Birds Eye View of Juneau

Costal Mountains, Alaska Sea

Yakutat Alaska and St Elias Mt

A nice Mt north of Valdez, Alaska

The foliage at Denali Natl Park

Mt McKinnelly

Front yard of our relatives house in Fairbanks

A bed made of ice at an Ice Castle

One of many moose we saw on the trip

Gary (a cousin) and his plane.

The Yukon River at sunset in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada

Mts near the Artic Circle

Dad and I at the Artic Circle

A Grizzly on the Dempster Hwy, near the Artic Circle