Monday, January 11, 2010

1541 Miles Traveled

There are no roads that go to Juneau. The ice fields and mountains are way too rugged for any pavement. When we drive from our house into town, I always look out the window and think how incredibly gigantic and empty Alaska is.
However, living in a relatively small house with twenty-one other people never allows you to feel very alone for long. In some situations, I think that these very close living environments could put me on edge, and make me grouchy. However, everyone here is so friendly and helpful and fun that it is more like a huge sleepover rather than a crowded bus ride. (But everyone has their moments…)
Two things have happened in the last day that have made me enjoy being part of a huge group. First, last night around ten, the wind was blowing and we were all snuggled up in the living room with books, or card games, or journals. Completely spontaneously, people began putting on their winter clothes and bundling up. “Going out?” a few said incredulously.
After a few minutes, we all were dressed and standing by the door. Swaffie claims to have spearheaded this event. We went out into the horizontally blowing snow and started a huge, group-wide snowball fight. The wind was blowing so strongly that each snowflake felt like a pin hitting your face. We ran wildly up the path onto the island, then out to the very point and looked out over the stormy water. All the flashlights were turned off, and we stood in the chilly stillness watching the waves hitting the snowy rocks.
As quickly as we had all gotten dressed, we ran back down the path back to the front of the house. We resumed our snowball fighting… then began to make larger and larger snowballs. A few people collaborated on a snowman, and suddenly there was a new, icy, four-foot tall member of our group.
The second event was much more subtle, but today we were driving out to the road over a particularly rough bit and our mini van’s wheels began to spin. David made one more attempt, but it looked like we were stuck. In second, the two guys sitting in the front of our van and three guys from the other van jumped out and ran to the back of the car to push us back up onto the road. As we became dislodged from the snow bank, Nate ran back to the other van, whooping with triumph.
Today we’re at the University of Alaska, Southeast. We are working on doing a bit of research for the biomes we have chosen to study individually, as well as working on our individual study plans. While our outdoor adventures are always fun, it’s a bit too windy and snowy today to spend much time outside. Maui is looking better and better each day…. But Denny plans to make hot chocolate lava cake tonight, which is a much better Alaskan dessert.
Note: I'm second to the left in the picture.

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