On Tuesday morning I thought about posting during the wee hours before work. I had gotten up early to bring Andrew to work (think 7 am) and had a couple hours before I had to get going on my day. As I was driving home from his squadron, I thought "I'm going to to blog about this morning, to let everyone know that although it is only 7 am here, the noonday sun is already in full bloom..." Meaning that yes, although it was 7 am, the sun was approximately at 11 o'clock in the sky already...and had been for quite some time. But wanting more sleep got the better of me and I hunkered down under the covers, trying my best to keep out the sunlight (even through the blinds) and get just a few more winks of sleep.
The sun has been setting later and later up here. It is currently 9:35 pm as I write this and if you just looked outside, you might think it was still five or six in the afternoon. Just this morning Andrew woke up with the sun...at 2:30 am. Crazy right?
Work has been going alright. I've been getting to know one of the girls on the book-floor named Emily a little better. She is a really neat person and I think when Andrew is gone to MA for Joe's wedding I am going to invite her out to do something...or just have her over. Sarah (from hospitality house) and I went for a little stroll through a small park/playground with her son John on Wednesday at 11 in Eagle River. We also visited the Eagle River Library, located just across the street. We ate lunch together at one of the picnic tables in the park before she had to leave for work. Sunday Andrew and I are going to check out a church with them in Chugach (the town where they live) and then possibly have lunch with them afterwards at their house. The lunch is still up in the air because Andrew and I are trying to coordinate with Alex and a few guys from his shop about hiking Flattop on Sunday afternoon.
Tonight at Hospitality night we had an impromtu game night (we didn't stay for it) at Wes and Elaine's. It was wonderful to eat dinner outside on a picnic table in the sunshine. And to be able to talk with some of the women there...although Andrew was still there and listening in. Then the group shaved Wes' head in honor of his sister Nicole, who has breast cancer. She just finished her first round of Chemo and is quickly approaching her second, more intense round. Her hair hasn't started falling out yet, but Wes wanted to do this in honor of her. So we shaved his head and one of the guys videoed it live for Nicole through their phones.
We also had a time of prayer over three couple who are pcs-ing these next couple weeks. Leandra and Paul, and their son Adam are leaving shortly and this is their last night here with the group. They are going to South Carolina. A couple of weeks ago they went on leave over there to try to find a house (which they did). I didn't give a memory during the sharing time, but afterwards I told Leandra that I really appreciate her friendship, even though we didn't see much of each other outside Thursday evenings. She was one of the first people to talk to me there and actually hold a conversation and care about me as a person. She and her family even came to our little house-warming party even though they could only stay an hour because of getting ready to leave for S. Carolina to look for a house. She is a wonderful woman of God and I do wish she and her family would be here longer so that I could get to know her more. We took a picture together and she gave me her mailing address so we can be snail mail buddies!
One of the things I've been praying about regularly is that God would send me a friend. I know that friends - good friends - take time to build as two people learn about each other and grow - both individually and together. And I am grateful that Sarah and I have been friendly and doing a couple things together here and there. Masha (I went to church with her in high school) lives just down the street, and although I've really only talked with her in passing...when we are both out getting our mail or when she drives by in the truck... I am grateful that she is here if I need her, and that she was a familiar face to me when I first moved up here.
A lot of the women in the hospitality house are wonderful women as well...although I don't know them as well. Some of them are new-ishly married (not quite as new as Andrew and I) while most have at least four years under there belt...and some have been married for much longer. I would love to get to know more of these women...but the thing I'm noticing with the majority of the people I am becoming friendly with here is that they all have kids. I don't. And we will not for some time. And they all have young kids. Under five. Which means that if I want to hang out with them, one-on-one and spend some girl time together....if it isn't in the evening when the husbands are home to watch the kids, they come with momma to wherever she goes. Not necessarily a bad thing...but I just don't have that connection to them.
Most of the staff at Barnes & Noble are young college kids working to support their weekend and/or nightly bar-hopping habits. Which is also not my scene. The same goes for alot of the guys Andrew has in his shop. I know that I am going to be hard pressed to find a friend right off the bat that really clicks with me, someone who challenges me in my faith like Kelly (Hansen) Eisbacher. I miss the lifelong friendship that comes from knowing someone most of your growing up years and later throughout the college years and even now...and being able to talk about anything like Krystal (Bulak) Blodgett. It will take time to develop a close friendship where we can sleep over each other's house, sleeping in the same bed and wearing the same clothes like I have with Jaadin (VanAmburg) Anderson.
And yet, no one can replace the relationships with family I've left behind. Granted, some of them have the opportunity to visit me this year. I miss going over to the Skinner's on Saturday evenings, after they've had their ritual Sabbath and staying late into the night playing card games, watching movies ('you mean you've NEVER seen Toy Story 2? Or 3?'), drinking tea and chatting about life with the older girls. I suppose it will be different the next time around, since Krista has gotten married and moved out as well.
I miss going up the street to sit with Grammie on the couch and watch Cops or Animal Cops or whatever else we feel like. Towards the end, we got back into playing Mexican Train Dominoes and I've been missing the time spent with her.
I miss going up the street for weekly (and sometimes more) dinners with Dad, Sam, Grammie and sometimes whoever else decided the show up. I miss visiting Laura's house for dinner and a full-bellied laughing session after playing Bananagrams on her dining room table, or learning how to make simple yet delicious desserts and eating it around her fire pit.
I miss my Grandparent's house in Connecticut. I spent a year of my life there, going to school and working odd jobs. I got to know them so well during that year, and now I am gone. Even when I moved back to my mom's house, or I worked in Becket MA last fall, I still made regular trips down to see them. Watching Oprah with Grampa at four in the afternoons (when she was still airing her show). Helping Gramma cook in the kitchen or listening to her tell stories of her life growing up and how she met Grampa and fell in love.
I miss my aunt Laura and her crazy diet changes, depending on the season of her body-building program. I miss walking at Topsmead and being calm in nature. I miss the boardwalk at White Memorial...and the staff who are so generous and wonderful to work with even though I could only do one teaching session last summer...and it was greatly a lot of trial and error. But it was recorded anyway and took in stride with a smile. (search Campfire cooking with Caitlin on youtube).
I miss my friend Johnie, my first and really only friend while living in Connecticut. And going out for Thai food with him. And game nights at his apartment with Sarah and her son...and hiking/walking through the park around town and drinking Moscato wine... (thanks for getting me hooked! You should also try the Sweet Red...I think I like it better than the white)!
So let's just say that although this is a new adventure for me and Andrew - being in Alaska, being married, being away from those places and faces most familiar to us - I have to say that I do really miss home. I knew this would come sooner or later, and I suppose that having this realization come sooner means I can admit that I am having trouble with transitioning and I can ask for help. Those back home can pray and those here (wherever they may be) can be encouraging me throughout this time here. It will be easier to enjoy these three years here once I realize that family and close friendships and familiar places on the East Coast mean a whole lot to me. And I suppose I have realized that. I just don't like asking for help.
On a side note, tomorrow Andrew and I will be married for exactly three months! Yay!