|Boating on Six Mile!|
Last week, after a seemingly never ending year, the reality of the upcoming summer break hit me like a freight train. My stress level was through the roof as I wrapped things up in my classroom, helped prepare for my student’s graduation ceremony, began packing for my summer travels, and cleaned up my apartment for the arrival of our last set of visitors. Ever patient with me, Sam continued to remind me that I was supposed to be enjoying myself and not stressing so much as the semester came to a close. He made sure not to let me dwell in my stress and we got outside quite a bit last week. We were even able to get out for a boat ride on Six Mile as the ice finally decided to thaw. Though I appreciated experiencing a normal Alaskan winter, I’ve been ready for spring and summer weather for the past month or so.
|Photo Cred.: Captain Wayne|
Last week brought with it some beautiful weather, which was just what I was hoping for as my Dad and Meg were coming to spend the weekend. On Thursday, it was all I could do not to pace back and forth as I waited for their plane to land. I hop on our little "puddle jumpers” all the time, but knowing that your parents are flying in them sure does raise your heart rate and stress levels! Luckily, the day proved to be mild in terms of wind and before I knew it, they were climbing out of the plane and I was able to relax a bit. Of course, over the next few days, I felt like an overprotective parent as I ensured they both had enough layers, were being cautious when out on the hondas, and that Sam was cooking nut-free foods in an effort to ensure both parents would survive their trip to the village.
That evening, after taking a walk and a short boat ride, we had a relaxed night as Dad and Meg were drained from their day of traveling. Friday brought with it warm temperatures and clear skies that allowed us to drive the hondas on some back trails and all the way up to Lake Clark. The day also brought with it an insider look at how a graduation takes place in the villages. That night, we went to school for my student’s graduation ceremony. Our “Class of 2017” consisted of just one student, and I’ve been anxious for this day for weeks. Our gym was a packed house and we had people watching as we live streamed through our Facebook page. My Superintendent, Ty, was able to fly in to speak and present my student’s diploma. It was a bit strange and surreal as I was helping people find seats and making sure everything was ready, to turn around and see my parents and Ty deep in conversation..
While I normally would have been concerned about that conversation, my momma bear nerves were on hyperdrive and I had bigger things to worry about. Earlier in the evening, Ty joked that I was a wreck because my "first baby” was leaving home. Though I’ve had one student graduate this year, I didn’t work nearly as long or as closely with her as I did with the young man that was graduating. The ceremony was short, as most village graduations are, but it was beautiful and I tried to soak up every minute to ensure that I won’t soon forget it. I was glad that Dad and Meg could be there to see it and that they were able to meet half of the village, including all of my students. Afterwards, there was a live band dance at the community building to celebrate the graduation and though Sam and I only stopped in for about an hour, it was a fun time! Live band dances are a big deal in the villages, so there were a bunch of people there and it was nice to see everyone enjoying themselves and having some carefree fun.
|Dad tackling his first |
steep Bear Creek Trail hill!
The rest of the weekend was spent outside adventuring. Saturday brought with it some off and on rain showers, but we still spent quite a bit of time outside. On Sunday and Monday we spent our time seeing the sights in Newhalen. Both my dad and Meg got a kick out of how we get hondas back and forth across the river on the boat, and by Monday morning, they had mastered the crossing process. We were able to get out to see Tazimna Falls, the Gorge, introduce them to some of our Newhalen friends, and traverse Bear Creek Trail, which is by far my favorite. I will say that there are some rather steep and extreme hills on this trail and I was hesitant to let my Dad drive up and down them. However, since he’s the grown up and the dad, he told me to be quiet, relax, and to let him do his thing. I think his inner teenager came out to play and he very much enjoyed mastering each hill. Meg and I were happy to watch the boys tackle the hills as we got our exercise for the day in walking up and down said hills.
|Ferrying hondas on Sam's water taxi!|
Before I knew it, Tuesday morning approached and our East Coast visitors were climbing back into a plane and heading back to Pennsylvania. I was sad to see them go, but content in the knowledge that I would see them in just a few days. Once they left, I got back to school and spent the next day and a half making sure I was packed up and ready to go. It is always bittersweet to finish the school year, but I am comforted knowing that I will be working with the same students next year, unless any move over the summer. After saying our "see you laters” and ensuring my kiddos that I would be returning in August, I was ready to put this school year behind me. Though I am looking forward to returning in a few months, this summer break will provide a much needed respite from the village.
|Happy Graduation Ricky!|
As I write this, I have been back on the east coast for a little over 24 hours, and have already had a great time visiting with my family. Last night I was able to visit with my mom and see Katie’s progress in her gymnastics routines. I then spent a little while with my Dad, Meg, and some family friends. This morning, we traveled to Elizabethtown College to see my younger brother, Ricky, graduate. Not only was it great to see and celebrate with Ricky, but I was also able to visit with Nikki, Frank, Jason, and Ashley. It is rare that we are all together at the same time, so to get this reunion on my first full day home was a pleasant treat. This summer is already off to a great start! While I hope to get some rest this summer, it promises to be another busy one. Some of the highlights for the summer include the following:
|My sweet girl/Jr. Bridesmaid<3|
-Hip surgery this week to repair a honda accident/running related injury. In the surgery spectrum, it is a minor one, but this will keep me off my feet for a bit. However, if all goes well, I will be back to running in just a few months!
-A trip to Michigan to see Sam’s sister, brother-in-law, and niece.
-Wedding dress shopping and other wedding planning!
-Spending the month of July in Juneau as I begin my master’s program.
-Traveling to Greenville, South Carolina to spend time with some close friends.
-My fingers are crossed for a beach trip at some point!
-A trip to Florida to see the future in-laws (I love being able to say that!).
I am sure there will be many day trips and more visits than I count, but I have the best intentions to be more active in my blogging than I was last summer! Until then, and as always, thanks for following along with my journey!