Thursday, July 19, 2012

Whew where to start?

Ive been very busy with work which hasnt really allowed me to update this as much as Id like but hey Im making money so I cant complain right? Right. Well lately I have been hanging out with a friend/coworker named Eileen, and we have been trying to do things on our day off to get to know more of Anchorage and Alaska. We drove out to Girdwood to see the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center which was really exciting, they have animals like, Brown bears, black bears, caribou, elk, moose, owls, bald eagles, baby orphaned mooses, lynx, buffalo, and musk ox. It was a lot of fun and probably would have been even better if we were not freezing in the cold wind and the rain. That is one thing I have gotten used to is that the weather around here changes so fast. Before we left the weather was chill but somewhat sunny and overcast off and on but driving out to Girdwood it started to get more and more cold and rainy and windy...needless to say we were unprepared, but we had fun none the less. We also decided to go see Portage Glacier since we were so close. Here are some photos of both


We have also gone to a place called Bear Tooth Theater that is also a pub and grill, you go and get ticketsfor the movie they are showing at either 5:30 or 7:40 because different movies play at each time since there is only one screen. So you kind of have to plan a head for what movie is playing what day and what time you want to go then once you get your tickets you can order something to eat and drink and they give you a cone. When they let you into the theater you place your cone on a bench table in front of you and about 5 minutes before the movie arrives they bring you the food, and you can eat dinner and watch the movie. Its super awesome! there is a upstairs balcony area which I prefer and the normal downstairs area where you can reserve booths for a group if you are planning on drinking beer, all alcohol has to stay on the lower level for obvious reasons. But it is sooo much fun and I wish they had more places like this in other areas. There is also a normal restaurant area where you can just go for dinner because the food they have is amazingly delicious!

Well thats it for now, I'll try to update soon!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Highland Games

                Yesterday I went to the Alaska Scottish Highland Games and it was SO MUCH FUN!! I went with my friend Nazario, and coworker friend Karyn and her husband Alec who is native Eskimo. Before the games when we were having breakfast he was telling us all about living in a small part of Alaska and how he comes from a town where they live off of the land and whale hunt. I know what you might be thinking oh whale hunting is so horrible and yes those vicious whaling boats are awful. But for the natives of Alaska that is how they survive, they use every part of the whale and other animals that they hunt nothing goes to waste and everything is respected.
                For the people who live in the small rural parts of Alaska they don’t have groceries stores everything is flown in and one onion can cost about $8 just because its been shipped in on seaplanes. So trust me when I saw nothing goes to waste and Alec told us a lot of great stories, even one about someone he knew I think it was a cousin who had hunted a whale and as he was going to kill it he fell off the boat into the water (waters up here are so cold that you can die within minutes of being exposed if you are not wearing a survival suit) when he fell into the water the whale pushed him up back into the boat with his nose. Talk about amazing…how could you have nothing but respect and admiration for an animal that not only feeds you and your entire village, but saves your life even though it knows you are going to hunt it for food. Amazing if you ask me.  So anyway after breakfast Alec took us to their place where he had some Muktuk in the freezer for us to try if we wanted. Muktuk is the Eskimo word for whale blubber, which they eat. Of course I was a little leery of trying it but what the heck when was I going to get another chance to eat whale blubber!? So he took some out and sliced it up and what you do is sprinkle a little salt on it and then chew it. I have to admit it was very interesting, chewy a bit oily but not gross it was pretty good. I also tried a piece of cooked whale meat which was salty and fishy tasting I didn’t really like that very much. But it was an interesting experience and it was nice of Alec to share that with us.  Here is a photo of the Muktuk this part was a piece of flipper which Alec said are more chewy than the rest of the blubber parts which are more tender when cooked and eaten.

                Then we were off to the Highland Games! It was in this place called Eagle River which is a cute little town tucked away among beautiful mountains. The weather was perfect it was sunny with some clouds but mostly sunny as evident by the sunburn I got even though I thought I was being careful and put on sunscreen. There were lots of men in kilts and I do have to admit if I saw a guy wearing a kilt I might think it was a little odd, but at the highland games its highly attractive haha they really wear them well.

Here are some photos from the games:

All in all it was a great day I had fun going with my friend/coworker Karyn and her husband Alec.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Things I am learning about Alaska.
  •    People think its ok to mow their lawns at 10pm because the sun is still out.
  • Black out curtains make ALL the difference in a good night’s sleep. Especially for someone like me who needs to feel like Im sleeping in a cave I hate little lights from clocks and things shining in my face.
  • Safeways are called Carrs, which is weird and makes me feel like Im going to by groceries at an auto supply store.
  • People actually leave more than a cars space in-between cars and don’t tailgate due to winter driving habits where doing that could cause a major accident.
  • Mosquitoes are the worst…the absolute WORST
  • Its not out of the ordinary to see a moose standing on the side of the road among all the trees.
  • TREES! There are so many patches of trees and forest areas among houses and living areas its so awesome.
  • No I cannot “see Russia from my house” and I didn’t think I would hear that joke as much as I did moving up here haha
  • Yes you should be very loud and talkative when you are on a walk because you may run into a moose standing in the foliage and you don’t want to surprise any wildlife.
  • They have magpies here not ravens or crows, and there are a lot of them.
  • Buildings may look very rundown and crappy on the outside (due to snow and weather damage) but are really awesome on the inside.
  • People here are SUPER nice and your neighbors really do want to meet you and say hello to you when they see you outside. 

That’s all I can think of right now Im sure I’ll be able to update this more as the weeks go by.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Yesterday (Sat June 9th whenever I get this posted) was the Alaska Run for Women, to support and raise money for breast cancer awareness. It’s a 5 mile walk or run you can be timed or untimed. I signed up for the 5 mile “party wave” group which means you do as little or as much as you want and you are untimed. I started off thinking I would just do as much as I could since I have a bad knee sometimes lots of hills and uneven grounds tend to aggravate it. The walk was hard Im not going to lie but it was also sooo beautiful. The first parts started off going basically right through downtown Anchorage and then lead to a coastal trail path that goes along the outside coast line of Anchorage which was really nice and lots of things to see. I am however extremely glad that I decided to put on some Deep Woods OFF! Or else I would have been eaten alive by mosquitoes. By mile 3 I was starting to get worn out but I decided to just keep going plus it was nice because there were people along the way cheering us on and even some people set up in certain areas that were playing music.  I came upon benches along the way I stopped and took 2 minute breaks at just to give my knee a rest but then kept going. On the 4th-5th mile we saw a mama moose out in this thicket of trees with her baby; which is really cool to see except you don’t want them to see you or get too close because they will attack especially around their young momma moose are very protective and will trample you until they think you are dead or no longer a threat. So we decided to say waaaay back and keep going along the trail to the finish line which ended back at the arena track that we started at. Finally when I reached the finish I was about ready to pass out on the grass of the track but made it back to the car and on our way home. It was really hard especially since I haven’t done something like that in forever and Im not in the best of shape BUT it was worth it and I felt good waking up the next morning…sore and stiff, but good.

Soon I’ll be starting orientation and then becoming oriented to my department at work, learning everything about the way they chart and patient care procedures and all that technical fun stuff. Im excited to get to know the people I’ll be working with on a daily basis.
Well now that I have finally been able to get around to some internet I can share what it’s been like in Alaska. My trip here was pretty exhausting from all the nerves and travel from one airport to another from Fresno, to Portland, to Seattle and finally Anchorage. Flying into Anchorage was one of the most beautiful sites; we flew over amazing mountain and a view of the whole Alaskan Peninsula that was so crystal clear visible as we were descending it almost looked fake. There was still tons of snow on these mountains which was really beautiful, then we crossed over some very lush green forest areas with lakes and puddles and soon enough we were in Anchorage at 10:45pm but it was still so light outside it felt more like 6pm. This whole daylight thing is going to throw me off for a while I can tell. You feel exhausted and you’re looking at the clock like “ok I know it says its midnight but it looks like a dusky 6am, I feel tired but I can’t sleep” very odd feeling. I see now why people invest in blackout curtains you have to shut out the light and be on a schedule of shutting your curtains/blinds so have some sort of difference between day time and night time.

Anyway the view from the second we stepped outside after claiming our baggage was just amazing, you’re literally surrounded by a beautiful snow topped mountains almost everywhere you look. Needless to say I couldn’t stop ooo’ing and aww’ing at how green and nice everything looked. Oh and the temperature…a crisp 59*! The next day Nazario (a guy from the valley who came up here for a job too and whom had been my travel buddy) and I decided we would walk to the nearest bus stop and see where it took us. The nice thing was it actually went downtown which was where we wanted to go anyway. So we go off the bus and walked down to a local place that is very famous in Anchorage and has also been on TV a few times. It’s called Humpy’s Alaskan Alehouse it’s a bar and grill, and has been featured on Man vs. Food for its food challenge the “Kodiak Arrest.” So we decided to grab some lunch which was delicious and then head down to the Anchorage Museum, seems like the right thing to do right? After about an hour and a half there (most of it running around the discovery hands on part of the museum) we decided to head back to the house we are staying at.

Oh and by the way the stories about the mosquitoes…ARE TRUE! They are everywhere right now and will carry you away as their food source if you are not careful, bug spray is highly recommended. I’ve been able to get away with wearing one of those Off Fans you clip on but only work really good if you are in once spot the whole time which is nice for reading outside. There is also a little park about a block from the house I want to check out, up here we get Canadian geese you can hear flying over honking and a lot of sea plane tours that fly over because they launch from a water area not too far from this house. I was happy to learn that this is a “sweet tea” state, I almost forget I am in a whole new state until little things like that make you go ‘oh yeaaaah I’m not in California anymore how do they do things here’ the no sales tax is nice too.

 Well this post as been long enough, until next time!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hello Everyone! So I decided to start a blog because I have recently decided to move from my quiet town in California the state where I have lived my whole life, to Alaska. Yes...Alaska, The Last Frontier! I am moving because I work in healthcare and was offered a job up there and I thought "why the heck not!" In this blog I will be sharing my experiences as a relocated Californian. I will also be sharing photos and things like that. This blog is mainly for my friends and family but if you are a stranger and happen upon it thats cool too. So let the countdown begin! in 3 days I will be on an airplane and on my way to Alaska!