Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I got picked up in Seattle by Nathan and some of his friends.  They spent some time wandering around Seattle, and then we dropped two of them off at the airport to fly home.  Their part of the roadtrip was over.  Nathan, his friend Tim, and I went to Nathan's college roommate's house that night.  The next morning after coffee and breakfast, we were off.
Breakfast with our host before heading out

Happy to get started

We spent quite awhile at the Canadian border talking to their security agents.  There was a friendly-looking one with a mustache and then a tall, grumpy-looking one.  Can you guess which one we got?  Yes, the grumpy one.  He questioned us for quite awhile and informed my brother tersely that he would be sent to jail and then deported and never allowed back into Canada if he was carrying any guns over the border.  After emptying the contents of our car and going through them, they were satisfied that we weren't arms smugglers and let us go.  I suppose we should be grateful that they at least put our stuff back.

Our first destination was Fort George, one of the largest (in a matter of speaking) towns before heading out into the wilderness.  We stopped were going to get a block heater installed that night before things got really cold, but the mechanic found a leaking water pump.  We had to spend an extra day there waiting for that to be fixed.  I wandered around the town a bit.  I had fun at the local natural history museum, a chocolate cafe, and the local library.  While at the library I read John Goff's book "Love Does."  I'm a big fan and would recommend it to everyone!

   1. Trying to fit in with the Canucks by having breakfast at Tim Hortons.
2. Making friends at the Fort George museum.

The next morning we hit the road again with our smancy new heater.  We were definitely going to use it.  The timeline is a little hazy (five days in the car will do that to you) but at some point we made it into the Yukon and from there made it into Alaska.  It was pretty chilly but gorgeous.  High up the trees come pre-flocked!

One night, in Tok Alaska, it was -45F!  Even with a new heater, the floor never heated up.  I had to keep my feet off the floor of the truck or they would freeze.  The air felt really strange to breath as well, kind of ticklish and dry.

1. -45F!
2. We were enveloped in a cloud whenever we opened the door.
3. Trying to stay warm.

The next day after our frigid night, we drove our last leg into Anchorage.  The way was beautiful, and I was so happy to be in my new home!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hanging in Seattle

The day after Thanksgiving at six in the morning, I was on a plane heading to Seattle.  I got to spend three days in the beautiful city!

After a layover in Chicago and two uneventful flights, I made it to my downtown hostel by three in the afternoon.  My hostel, The Green Tortoise, is located right by Pike's Place Market!  The staff were really nice, and I loved that they had green beds and bed curtains.  After checking in I couldn't decide if I was more exhausted (I only slept two hours the night before) or more hungry (I hadn't eaten since three thirty in the morning).  My hunger finally got the best of me and I headed out to find sustenance.

My humble abode

I tried to go to an Italian place that the girl at the hostel recommended, but I had a hard time finding it so I finally stumbled into a Thai place, ravenous.  I consumed one of my Thai favorites, Pad See Ew, and went out to explore.  I wandered through the rain, looking at different shops.  There was an extremely kitchen store that had cute gadgets, specialty food items, and a million different kinds of whisks!  If I had my own home and money, I would have been tempted to walk away with lots of things.  I explored for awhile, but I got too tired so I went back for a nap.  When I woke up. all I had time for was dinner and interesting conversations with other people at the hostel.

The next day I spent most of my time in the International District.  I mostly spent time eating and drinking, but I also had fun wandering around.  I spent a lot of time at Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore.  From the bookstore you can walk right into an enormous Japanese/international grocery store.  Man, I wish I had a store like that near me!

I had SO many things to eat!  I had almost all of my Hong Kong favorites.  I started out by getting egg tarts at a Chinese bakery.  There were a bunch of older Chinese people at the back tables, hanging out, reading papers, shooting the breeze.  I sat while I ate my egg tart, and was so happy to hear Cantonese again!  I asked the girl at the front if she knew where I could get Hong Kong style milk tea.  She directed me to a little shop around the block.  There's no way I could have found it on my own, since there was no English sign or visible English menu.  I think the people were a little confused that I only wanted milk tea, but I was in heaven.  I hadn't had HK style milk tea in so long, and I was pleased to see that their size was larger than in Hong Kong.  Later for lunch I had shrimp in egg sauce and was able to practice (albeit very badly) my quickly vanishing Canto with the ladies at that shop.  And then in the early evening, before heading back, I went to a bubble tea shop.  I was so happy that they had my favorite flavor, chocolate milk tea!  I've never seen that in the States before.  If only there were some in Anchorage...

The next day I went to church and then walked over to Olympian Park.  It was a nice walk, but I think maybe the park is a little overrated.  Or maybe my expectations of the park's artwork were overblown.  I walked down the harbor and around the city.  I did a lot of walking!  I went up (literally, up a very tall hill) to a free museum.  Nearby there was a beautiful cathedral that had started exploring when the bells rang.  I looked at the schedule and saw that afternoon prayers were beginning, so I snuck in.  It's been awhile since I've been in a traditional service like that, and it was very refreshing.

The next morning I had to check out at eleven in the morning, and my brother was going to pick me up later.  I went with my bags to a cafe next door.  I was joined by some lovely people I met at the hostel, and we spent a nice couple of hours, drinking coffee and chatting.  It's always nice to meet new people!

New friends

I've always loved Seattle, and I'm so glad I could spend a couple days there relaxing and exploring.  I'd totally move there if it rained less.  I guess I'll just have to get someone else to move there so I can visit during the good weather.  Hm...sister?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Week

It's been a week since I arrived in Anchorage, chilly but happy.  The first thing we did, after dumping our stuff at Nathan's apartment, was head over to Moose's Tooth, a local pizza joint.  The pizza was fantastic, a great way to celebrate the end of our long trip.

The next day, I decided to explore the downtown area.  Nathan had run home on his lunch hour and kindly agreed to drop me off right in front of the visitor's center which so happens to be in a log cabin with grass growing on the roof.  Two nice elderly ladies helped me with maps and information about weather.  I walked around the streets for awhile, ducking into gift-shops now and then to warm up.  While it wasn't nearly as cold as Tok (-45!), Anchorage's 15F weather was still making me chilly.  After all, Arkansas had done nothing to prepare me for the cold--it was 73F on Thanksgiving Day!

I spent quite awhile at the second visitors center, or whatever it is, a small museum that also shows short movies about Alaska and Anchorage.  I watched two of them, one about the history of Alaska and another about different cultures in Sitka.  The workers there were very friendly, talking to me for quite awhile.  One man told me that in the spring, April I think, the raptors and eagles will come back, forming a giant flock.  He told me a place to go and watch, and I think I will!  Something to look forward to.

I walked around some more, stopping by the mall and in various shops, and decided that I needed a warming drink.  I chose a small cafe to get a latte and read some of the visitor center brochures.  After that, the sun was setting so I decided it was about time to catch the bus home.  I found the bus station with no problem but had to wait a half an hour for my bus.  It seems that most of the people here yell "thank you" to the bus driver as they get off.  I kind of like that.  :)

I visited the public library later in the week.  It's on the same bus route that takes me downtown, so it's very convenient.  I really like that library!  It has four levels with lots of seating and windows.  The selection seems quite grand as well!  They have a cafe on the ground level.  I asked if they were hiring, and the lady told me to drop off an application, which I later did.

So now I'm just searching for jobs!  I've sent off many applications and have had one interview already.  Since I haven't gotten a car yet, I two times I've had to walk about four miles to get there and back.  I think that it will help me acclimate, since it was 5F at the time.  The first time I wore regular leggings under my jeans, and my legs were so cold!  Also, I had on a hoodie.  The hood kept my ears and head nice and warm but then I didn't have a scarf, so the bottom of my face froze!  The next time I wore my flannel-lined leggings and wore a hat and scarf instead of a hoodie.  I could wrap the scarf around the bottom of my face which kept it warm, although then my breath did make a bit of ice on the scarf.  The second time I was pretty warm, so I think it was a success!  I also found a pretty nice thrift store that's only a mile away.  I bought a sweater, a sweatshirt, and a book.  I should probably get more winter clothes!

We're staying at one of my brother's friend's house since our stuff is being shipped and hasn't arrived.  We're hoping that it will come in this week so I can get to rearranging and the like.  Well, lots to do, but I'm enjoying my first week in Anchorage.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Yukon Ho!

This title is a bit of a lie.  I probably should've written this post a week ago, but I didn't have much time during all the moving craziness, and now I just can't resist this Calvin and Hobbes reference.  Basically, I'm in Anchorage now!  Yep, I've moved to Alaska.

My brother got transferred to Anchorage with his job and he asked if I wanted to come along.  I've wanted to live in Alaska since high school, so I said of course!  And now I'm here.

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of crazy.  I had Thanksgiving at my sister's in Siloam, and my brother and a roommate were able to join us.  The next morning (at 6:09) my flight left XNA for Seattle!  I was pretty excited to fly out of XNA, since I always fly out of Tulsa.  I liked the rocking chairs.  I was able to rock and zone out while waiting for my flight.  I did a lot of zoning, since I had gone to bed at one the night before and gotten up at three.  My time in Seattle was quite wonderful!  I'll have to write a post about it later when I can get my picture software sorted out (curse you Apple!).

I was there three days, waiting for Nathan to pick me up.  He and three friends road-tripped up to Seattle, where they picked me up.  Two of them flew back to Tulsa while Nathan, I and one other friend kept going up through Canada.  Yes, we drove through British Columbia and the Yukon in late November/early December.  Yukon ho!

Well, on the bright side, we're alive!  We just made it to Anchorage this afternoon.  I have lots of pictures and stories to share but that'll have to come at a later time.  The sun is setting around four, so I get tired early.  Good night!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On Music

I've been thinking about music a lot lately.  I've always loved music.  I took piano lessons for years and was also in band for a good part of my life.  I love listening to music as well, especially if I'm in the car where I can crank the volume and sing at the top of my lungs.  Music is so big to me that it's sometimes painful when someone is talking to me when a favorite song is playing.

While I love music, I am pretty particular.  My tastes are very eclectic (ska, symphonic metal, hardcore punk, Kpop, classical, etc.), but there are also a lot of things that I dislike.  I tend to despise "shoe-gazer" music or stuff that's too slow or mellow.  When I hear Bittersweet Symphony I want to scream.  I also can't stand country.  I could go on, but you probably get the picture.

I used to be even more picky.  Recently I've come to appreciate more and more styles of music.  I think I used to be more judgmental about music I didn't like.  "It's not hard enough."  "Pop is lame." "They're just wannabes."  Although I still have strong likes and dislikes, I'm coming to appreciate lots of different things.  Sometimes I wouldn't want to like certain artists or genres because they didn't seem to fit with other things I like.  Since I like punk and metalcore, I certainly can't like Kelly Clarkson, right?  Maybe it's just because I'm older, but now I have no problem admitting that I like Kelly Clarkson.

Part of that is because I'm trying to give different genres and artists a chance before passing immediate judgment.  Part of that is I care less of trying to please people.  While I still wouldn't wear a Kpop shirt to a metal show, I proudly like both.  The other part is that now I don't try to judge all music by the same ruler.  I used to disparage pop music because it wasn't as musically complex, edgy or lyrically compelling as some other genres.  Now I think that that doesn't matter.  There are times when I want meaty lyrics and inspiring instrumentals, but there are also times when I want to dance around with my friends and sing about the weekend.  Both are good but they made are for very different purposes.

I've also been thinking about song-writing recently and realized that my view on that has also changed. Most Americans, at least those who care about music, prefer bands that write their own songs.  They tend to scoff at musicians who just perform others' work, seeing them as lame at best and talentless fakes at worst.  I used to have that same attitude, but I'm not so sure anymore.

Sure, I think it's awesome when people can write and perform their own music.  That takes a great deal of talent and hard work, and I take my hat off to such musicians.  At the same time, I don't think performing someone else's song is necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes people are very good at writing songs but don't have the singing chops necessary to bring it to the world.  Should those songs be lost because their writer can't perform?  It seems to me that the collaboration between a singer and songwriter can only bring more to quality songs to the table.

I think the most important thing is that the singer or band choose songs carefully so that they are actually connecting with what they sing.  That connection and passion is important in any kind of music, no matter who writes it.

All that to say, I've really been trying to learn more about music recently.  No matter how much I've studied in the past, there's still so much to learn!  I've been having a good time discovering new facts and talents as well as surprising myself with new likes and ideas.  I'm sure I'll update you more in the future as to new things I'm learning.

Friday, September 14, 2012


It's been quite awhile since I last posted here.  It's not that I didn't have exciting adventures to post about; I had plenty of blog material.  Sometimes I would even think of how I would write up a particularly fun adventure but something would always stop me.

 I think that after consistently blogging for over a year, I was getting tired.  I want this blog to be a fun way to share my life and exercise my writing, but it had turned into a chore.  Now that I've had a nice break to relax work on other things, I feel ready to dive in again!

If this blog were a book, it's as if I've found it in a corner, picked it up, and blew the dust off the cover.  I've flipped through the pages, smiling at old memories and favorite passages.  Now it's time to add to the book.  I don't know if anyone is still there reading, but I'll be here writing.   Read along if you like.