Sunday, March 1, 2015

Newfoundland part 3: The Beginning and the End

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Monday was my last day in Newfoundland, so I was determined to make the most of it. My friend had class in the morning, so I took the city bus into town to wander the streets and take in the sights one last time. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Newfoundland part 2: When in Bonavista...

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Saturday morning we woke up early, packed the car, and headed out to the small ski area where my friend works as a cross country ski instructor. Since I've never skied before and my friend didn't have time to teach me before work, I contented myself with hiking the ski trails in the morning while he taught his class.

It was the windiest day! Gusting at 30mph the air felt about 5 degrees with blowing snow blurring my vision and making my ears and chin ache. The trees provided some buffer, but whenever I came to a crossroads in the trail, I had to quickly trudge-scamper through the snow to get to the next sheltered spot. I spent the last 40 minutes or so waiting in the chalet by the warm stove, content that I had seen as much of the trails as I could that day.

Once my friend got back, we hopped back in the car and took off up the TransCanada highway, heading to the rural village of Bonavista, about 3.5 hours north...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Newfoundland part 1: From Northwest to Northeast

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

One of my favorite things about Alaska are the serendipitous opportunities that come up that you never would have expected -- some even coming up years later. And that's exactly how I found myself on the island of Newfoundland this past weekend. 

Working in Nome, AK for two summers I made so many great friends, one of whom happened to be a student going to college in St. John's, NL. We stayed in touch over the last couple years; he always invited me to come to Canada, I always said I would someday. Finally sucked in by my wanderlust again, I decided to make that "someday" last Thursday. I booked the cheapest ticket I could find, loaded my backpack, and took off for a whirlwind weekend with my friend I hadn't seen in two years on the opposite side of the continent from where we first met. Whoever would've guessed!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Inspiration for the (Female) Adventurer's Soul

I confess: I'm a sucker for a good story with a strong heroine, and we're not talking Scarlett O'Hara here. We're talking that rare breed of female lead that somehow seems to elude most mainstream media, disproportionate to the number of male protagonists that dominate our literary landscape and cultural narratives.

Although this topic is of mild interest to me, until now I have typically shied away from addressing it, frankly because I don't want to be pegged as some feminist whining about the patriarchy. That's not why I'm writing this. I am writing it because I think there are a lot of other people out there -- men and women alike -- who enjoy hearing the stories of female characters just as much as I do, and just as much as we all like stories about male characters.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Hiking in Oregon

This year I've spent the holidays in central Oregon, and it is WAY too gorgeous here to keep it all to myself so I wanted to share a few pictures. Yesterday I went on a hike with Peter and his sister up to Black Butte, a mountain that peaks at 6,400'. I've never seen such vivid colors in my whole life! Here are a few of the highlights:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving and the folly of profligate consumerism

I didn't expect my jaw to drop today when I ran out for a quick trip to the store to return an unneeded item. But drop, it did, when I parked at the shopping center and saw a line of tents set up in front of Best Buy. Today is Wednesday, two days before Black Friday, and a day before Thanksgiving.

I wasn't even ashamed to stride up and snap this photo in front of the crowds of shoppers already shuffling in and out of the stores. I felt a wave of nausea as I turned away from taking the photo to hear a family next to me bribing their child with candy. It was as if every disgusting stereotype of American consumerism was happening right then and there in the worst way. And it's not even Black Friday yet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Power of Kindness and a Very Small Instrument

In Nome, I learned to swing dance. In Sitka, I learned to play the ukulele. I guess I like to take up completely irrelevant skills whenever I go to a new place. I think it's becoming my new thing. In both cases though, these opportunities were afforded to me by incredibly generous people in incredibly serendipitous situations, so I wanted to take some time to pay my respects to my ukulele guru from this summer.

Her name is Jeannie and she's a little fireball of energy. With her signature buzz-cut hair, baggy overalls she wears all the time and contagious smile, she's hard to miss. And indeed, she has made a lasting impression on me and the entire town of Sitka.