Friday, January 16, 2015

Holidays, Revisited

This weekend we are headed to New Hampshire to see my cousin, ye olde Dartmouth professor. And I suspect I will have more photos to post from that excursion, and can thus no longer delay my Christmas/New Year recap. See below, you can probably deduce what's Oregon and what's Alaska:

It was good to be back in Anchorage for the first time in 6 years. I don't have many friends left there, but the ones who are still around have pretty cool jobs. One is a bush pilot. One is a petroleum engineer; she gets to travel a lot. 

While waiting for my flight up in Portland, I looked around the gate and realized how un-Alaskan I look these days with my peacoat and ankle boots. Alaskans are casual in the extreme. Driving around Anchorage, I was reminded of a thing I saw in Alaska as a kid and still exists today -- which is middle-aged women in sweats or jeans and loose t-shirts, no coat, who do their errands in apparel the rest of the country would only deem appropriate for warmer climes. 

I felt even more like a tourist once I was on the ground and had the urge to do all the tourist things: Look through art galleries for native art (none of which I could afford); we drove out to Girdwood one day and I made James pull over several times to take photos (but they turned out okay, right?!).

But I'm not a tourist. In fact, one evening James' family and I all went over to someone else's house for a big multi-family dinner. A woman who'd married into the family looked so familiar, but I couldn't place her. Finally I worked up the courage to ask her for the run down (who are your siblings? where'd you go to school?) Turns out, we'd gone to elementary school together. In fact, we were in the same class for a whole year and I attended her birthday sleepover. I could remember all sorts of strange facts about her, once I knew her maiden name - like that during sixth grade her family had vacationed to Fiji. Anchorage is still a small town.

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