Sunday, July 27, 2014

hello from alaska

I am so excited to be a part of this collaborative blog with some of my favorite bloggers! I actually got to meet a few of them in Vegas #dontbejelly #starstruck #luckyduck

So, first post...ahhh the pressure...of course, if you don't know who I am or have never heard of the Tongass National Forest, you're probably giving your computer screen a sour face at the word "Tongass" right now. It's okay, I'm about to get your head out of that gutter. It's pronounced "tawn-gus." Now, can we move on and never remember how you used to say it again?? Here's some proof in case you're still doubting it's actually the name of a forest.
A few things about me: I teach 2nd grade (this upcoming school year will be my 7th year). I started making and selling clipart almost exactly 1 year ago. I have been married 4 years, have a 2 year old son and am expecting another baby in November.
So, a little history. My great great grandparents arrived in Skagway, Southeast Alaska during the Gold Rush.  My great great grandfather made his living running a pack train (leading mules with people's luggage and supplies) on the Chilkoot Trail.  They eventually made their way to Juneau (not far away) and my family has been here ever since.
Juneau:
I work in an elementary school in the middle of a valley know as the Mendenhall Valley, which was carved by the Mendenhall Glacier.  This is one of the best views of the glacier...check out those beautiful and gigantic fireweed flowers in the foreground.
And here is a pic my brother took of the northern lights above the same  glacier (different viewpoint)...it was at 1:00 in the morning, I was sound asleep :)
And if you visit Juneau in the winter, you can even hike right across that same glacial lake and into an ice cave!
Or maybe posing in cool introspective thought next to an iceberg frozen on the lake is more your style...
A few misconceptions I should address sooner rather than later:
We do not live in igloos. We do not use dog sleds for transportation.  We accept the dollar.  Alaska is part of the United States, not a territory, but a STATE. It is connected to the rest of the continent and not in a little box next to Hawaii as your map might lead you to believe.  It is HUGE. Bigger than Texas.  If you know someone in Barrow and ask me if I know them, I might ask you if you know someone on the other side of the country. Yes, our population is small (Juneau has about 30k people), but we are spread out on a large scale.


The funny thing about our state, is that in addition to being shown as small on a map, it is never shown in the correct location.  Every year, students LIVING IN JUNEAU, think that we are an island off the coast of California (this is usually how a map displays Alaska).  Here's a little Alaska humor showing how crazy it would be if we just showed inaccurate maps everywhere:
 There are many very different regions of AK, and Southeast AK is along the coast...ocean, gigantic mountains everywhere, glaciers, spruce trees, the works.  Northern AK (Anchorage and beyond) is where you might picture tundra, moose, Eskimo, Iditarod....Juneau is very far way from that area and in fact, land-locked (travel in and out only by ferry or airplane).  I cannot count the number of times I have been talking to a customer service agent for a company that tells me "There is a store in Anchorage, you could go there."  Not likely, buddy.

Weather: We are in a rainforest, which means it rains. All. The. Time. Seriously. An average of 62 inches a year and during about 2/3 of the year. But...on the bright side, when it's sunny, you are reminded how lucky and fortunate you are to live in a tourist destination (we have anywhere from 2-5 cruise ships arrive daily from May-September).
 It snows on and off from about November to March, rains on and off throughout the other months.  May, June and July are our summer season months.  It is light out until about 10 or 11 pm in the summer, and is only dark for a few hours before the sun rises again....a crazy feeling when you are camping and the birds are singing in the middle of the night because it is getting light at 3!
Thankfully, I am able to take advantage of this beautiful city on occasion with my 2nd grade class. Last year, we were given a free whale watching cruise (courtesy of a super sweet grandparent who works for a boat charter company) #donthateme
So, if you ever decide to take a trip to Alaska, first, make sure it's May-July if you want a good chance of sunshine, then make sure you stop in Juneau and at least say hello to me!

You can follow my Facebook by clicking my logo below and Liking my Facebook page :) You may want to head over there right now and collect some clipart freebies from me and my clipart friends...look for the tab that says "Clipart Craze" and enjoy!

3 comments:

  1. Loved this post! I was in Juneau on July 9th on one of those cruises, and had a great time seeing the city. Being from central Florida, I enjoyed the cooler weather :) We had fantastic weather in Alaska - a small shower in Juneau and beautiful sunshine in Sitka and Ketchikan.

    Julie
    Math is Elementary

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  2. Yay! I'm from Alaska too. But I spent the majority of my time in Wasilla. My Dad is from Juneau, and I still have family there.
    ~Heather
    The Meek Moose

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  3. I love this post. All the pictures are wonderful! Welcome
    Matt

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