Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where? And Where Now?

Where have I been? - absent from blogging for a while yes, I just didn't make the time not that I didn't have the time that's for sure! I have for the last few months actually been spending some time with my G-parents. It has been great I was learning some cooking skills, oil painting, how to be a card shark, crocheting (sp?), and just having a good time overall. However it's hard for me to sit still and I had taken a part-time job as a nanny but lets be honest I felt like I wasn't progressing in life at all which I've been trying to think more about.

Then I got this lead for a job from my brother filled out everything, had a great phone interview, flew out to Chicago and thought I was for sure on my way to being a full on Adult. Unfortunately the company wasn't ready to move forward with me at this time. TRUTH: I had prayed that if the job wasn't right to NOT let them offer it to me because it was too good to pass up and I would for sure say yes.

Now I'm just trying to pray for understanding at this time in my life as to where I should be and what I should be doing? I'm headed down to Utah because it seemed the most obvious place of friends, family, and job opportunities for the time being.

But now I face this dilema - and please feel free to comment WHAT DO I DO NOW? I am trying to look for full time "settled" jobs and feel like maybe moving every 6 months is not what I should be doing anymore. At the same time I love working in Alaska it's beautiful, it's good money - but I've already done it twice now and I feel like I've had a good run and would not regret leaving it for now and what it's been. I will be 26 this Spring so what do I do now.

Family + Football = Forever?

After I got back from Alaska I spent a bit of time visiting my family in their new home. Then Dad got the great idea to drive down to Utah for a little football. It had been a while since I watched a game at the stadium but it was fun to visit campus and cheer on the Cougs!

Alcan - we meet again!

For the third time thus far I was able to drive the Alaska - Canada Highway! It is beautiful but what a different trip this time. We slept in the car every night - sorry Benji the first night I picked a terrible place and we were woken up by these loud groups of people that we were afraid were going to steal something from the back of the truck). But of course once we got into Canada first chance we got we bought ourselves some Wonderbars, this same gas station said they didn't have these back in April - lame.

We just drove through the day and it was beautiful - luckily we only went 65 mph so that the car wouldn't break down again and we got great gas mileage but this FAKE cop car cut out did give us quite the scare still. We had to turn around to get a picture!

Of course we saw lots of animals on the way

We finally got to milepost zero

And in quite the oppostie of last year when it was warm and beautiful most of the way down - this time we hit snow!

The waterfall was pretty but freezing!

The Columbia Icefield wasn't as beautiful because there wasn't really a contrast in the landscape.

And Lake Louise was all clouded in, I tried to describe it for them but they promised they'd come back too.

But even so the trip was still completely beautiful and we were blessed to have the opportunity to drive it yet again!

Turning Out the Lights in Alaska!

My very last week this summer I was assigned the longest tour. We literally were the last ones from our company still working and the last ones to leave Fairbanks, AK - so it's essentially the tour the turns out the lights. My boss was so nice to pair me the last week with my Tour Director B.F.F. and it turned out to be the best way to end the season and one of my favorite tours.

We had a boat tour the first day in our itinerary and the weather was beautiful (the last time it was pouring). Still no whales but it was so nice to be on the water with unbelievable clear blue skies.
Then after we got back to the lodge my roommate came down to visit and we drove to the Exit Glacier right there in Seward which was beautiful and I can't believe I had never taken the time to go before.
One of my last train trips I was on with one of my favorite conductors and finally got a picture with my own camera (we joke about how many pictures there are of us floating around peoples photo ablums in their homes across America).
Mt. McKinley was out and stunning the whole time (the last time I had seen it from Talkeetna was over summer soltice when I was with Laura the last time - she must be lucky).
We saw the Northern Lights both nights we were in Denali because it had actually gotten dark at night - our groups saw tons of animals in the park, and best of all we had the BEST groups EVER. They were so nice and everybody from both busses got along great with each other and were just truly appreciative oh how much they were blessed on the last week of tourism. It was an amazing way to end the summer!

Riley Creek Bridge

I am "one of THOSE people"! The kind that had been given great opportunities to travel and visit places all over the place and do some really cool things but I totally take for granted the areas that I live. My friend A.L. got so mad at me when I lived in Utah for over 5 years and had never been to Moab (finally went with her), Zion's or Bryce Canyon (still never been).
Alaska was kind of the same way I see a BIG part of it - but it's usually the same part all the time and I can get in the habit of not making an extra time to get out and explore just for myself. But the fall colors were too perfect and with some great company we had a great hike down by the Riley Creek.

Helicopter Flight in Fall

I was on tour in Denali on a hold over day just after the height of the fall colors and a tour director was able to get on a helicopter flight in the morning while I helped some of her guests with their excursions so she offered to return the favor and I put in a request - luckily after the weather cleared they were flying and had one spot left so I literally jumped at the chance and I'm so glad that I did, seriously one of my highlights of the summer. (The pictures don't even do it close to justice)!

Alaska State Fair

Of course we had to go out an afternoon to Palmer, Alaska for the State Fair - my ulitmate favorite are the giant vegetables they grow with all the sunlight that they get during the summer. (unfortunately the family musical group that I LOVED last summer didn't make it back - tear!)

We then had to get some fair food and take some pics in the cut-outs provided (oh we went to the lumberjack show - Yo HO - it was the same as last year I didn't take any pictures).

Finally we went into one building after looking at the art displays and animals too and I leave for a few minutes to go to the bathroom and when I come back all the boys have been enticed to try this muscle stimulator machine. Later they got talked into this meditation booth as well (I think I watched the vit-a-mix demo while I was waiting - and the guy was creepy), I was afraid if I left them again they might join a cult - But you know the usual fair experience.

All by myself - SURPRISE!

So I picked up a tour where it was only going to be a one bus move so I was going to be the only tour director on our pattern - not really a big deal except that one night I would be all by myself at the Alyeska Resort (no other tours were there and my bus driver left too). Luckily my roommate and friend Hana had the night off so she drove down to stay with me and we got ourselves tram tickets up to where the ski lodge is! Nice to kind of be a tourist while your on tour and thanks Hana for coming to hang out!

We took the tram up to go for a little hike - who knew it'd be dangerous!

Thanks for driving down Hana - view of glaciers and hotel below!

To Share is Sweet

My friends Levi, Mandee, and Joe came up to visit me in Alaska (Levi once lived here). It was so fun and we had some great friends that let us stay at their house while they were out of town. We spent the little time that we had doing as much as we could, and we took way to many pictures so I'll try to sum it up!

We started with the Trolley tour of Anchorage then drove to Potter's Marsh

Then we went to the Wildlife Conservation Center to check out some animals!

We headed to hike up to Bryon Glacier

The next day we went to the Alaska Native Center to get our "totem on"

And tried on some native sunglasses

Then we stopped where Levi could've stayed the whole trip - The Aviation Museum!

Levi is in Heaven and told us about EVERY plane and small detail - but it was really cool!

We went down to Girdwood to hike the Winner Creek Trail and went across the tram over the glacial runoff

We stopped by the Anchorage Museum (no pics) and then rented bikes from Paublo to ride along the coast and watch planes take off overhead!
(By the way Uncle Paul happened to be in town and so he game with us)

Thank you so much for coming it was a great couple days and I'm glad I was able to share some of my favorite things with you!