We woke up Sunday morning before the alarm, and started our final load of laundry. We spent the morning kind of puttering around in a sort of rushed way, making sure everything was clean and packed. B had made the last trip to the post office on Saturday, with our final 2 boxes (we'd hoped to send back somewhere between 12 and 15, instead we got all the way to 20), so everything left in the apartment was either going in the trash or coming with us. But once we were completely packed, and the apartment spotless, there was nothing to do but wait and hope for the fog to clear. It was back and forth for a while - the sun would almost break through, then the haze would gather on the hills again - but finally, about 90 minutes after it was scheduled to, our plane landed and we left the Village for the last time.
As OFL drove the Honda through the muddy, melty streets, I felt a wave of sadness at our going. We waved good-bye to the people we passed, our students and neighbors, and at the same time that it was painful to think that we'll most likely never see any of them again, still I was so happy to be leaving. It was a hard year.
What finally helped us decide to go was the thought that, if we didn't go, we might always wonder what it might have been like, and maybe regret that we took the easier road and kept on doing what we'd been doing. I think that argument still holds, it was an experience like nothing else I've ever done. Also, I know that between the classes I was taking and the challenges my students presented, my teaching grew significantly. Besides those two rather vague, general comments, it's much too soon to reflect on what our year in Alaska meant, or how it changed us. I guess that understanding will unfold slowly.
It's strange and a little sad to be here, in the city we've thought of as home for the past 10 months, and not be able to actually go home yet. The plan, though, is to fly back to the east coast today, visit our parents for a few days, then drive back to Portland, visiting some friends along the way. I don't know B's plans, but I don't think I'll be posting about that trip on this blog. We called it ten months in Alaska, and that's what we did.
I wanted to say thank you to everyone who sent us packages or letters, or stayed in touch by phone or email. Contact with our friends and families and the real world helped us feel content and connected this year. Especially thanks to our parents who sent us many packages, and to my friend T.G., who, since hearing in December how lonely it got sometimes, sent me an email every single weekday with a song, a comic, or something else to cheer me. But thanks to everyone who sent us love and didn't forget us. We can't wait to see you.