The Sunshine Blogger Award

I finally got a chance in between postgraduate homework, end of the school wind down, moving, and running around home to pop into Tumbleweed Souls for some quality time. To my surprise, Keely from Chasing Piggens had nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award – “an award given to bloggers by their peers for being creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.”

Thank you Keely for letting me know that you nominated me and for the wonderful questions that gave me a chance to reflect on my first year and a half of Alaskan life while preparing for the upcoming year in a new (yet familiar) Alaskan town! To see her original post, click here.

For those of you that enjoy reading up on anything Alaska related, Keely has wonderful stories that seem to match my original Alaskan adventure expectations more closely than my actual reality! With beautiful prose and colorful detail, it makes me want to walk in her footsteps! Such a great blog and I can’t wait to see what Fairbanks has in store for her!

Keely’s Questions:

Why Alaska?

Why Alaska? What a great question and one that most people who make their way to Alaska being asked (both by themselves and others). When I first made the choice to move to Alaska, I summed it up in this post: Next Stop Alaska.

I have always craved adventure and while I was living in Brasil, with the end of the school year and my inevitable return to the U.S. in November approaching quickly, my mom dealt with my anxiety and lack of plan by asking “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”.

The short answer is that nothing immediately popped up in my head. The longer answer is through some reflection, list making, and a need for health insurance, I knew I wanted to return to the elementary classroom at least for a while. I chose Alaska off a list of places that I wanted to visit in the next five years. What better time than the present to live in a state that I always wanted to explore?

How does your experience compare to your expectations?

My experience has been nothing like my expectations. I knew it would be difficult, but after my experiences teaching in cultures that were different than my own, after dealing with a myriad of academic and behavioral challenges, after living with a wide assortment of people, after experiencing turbulent and violent times in Venezuela, and after traveling and living in different languages, cultures, and countries, I thought that I would be able to handle it with some ease and perspective. It isn’t that I’m not “handling it”, but it is so much more emotionally draining and difficult than I imagined.

I didn’t plan on staying in my first school past the four months of my first school year (Jan-May), however, I chose to return for another full school year and I’m glad I did. I got a chance to see beautiful northern lights, snag fish with students, pick berries casually on the side of the runway, watch seals and whales play nearby, adopt a puppy for 48 hours, and get to know the people and place better.

The adventures of day to day living and the ones available somewhat meet my expectations. I imagined that I would be exploring mountains and forests, hiking, fishing, and hunting all of the time. However, in reality, I lived on a treeless island surrounded by tundra and mountains in the distance. I have had some wonderful opportunities to explore, hike, snowshoe, ski, and fish both as a chaperone and in a noneducator role. In the beginning I felt a lack of ability to get out and explore and I felt stifled by my new found lack of independence. Recently, while traveling through the area that will be my home next year, I got to take a Honda out past city limits and later partake in seal processing at a friend of a friend’s camp. I look forward for the adventuring to continue and hopefully increase! (It’s also time to invest in some vehicles to aid in these adventures.)

Imagine a bucket. What’s it used for?

Right now, I’m picturing a bright mustard colored bucket with a black lid that opens to serve as a toilet seat, also known as a honey bucket. Not surprising as this is both the emergency bucket for lockdowns in our school classrooms, what was used on our Youth Leader spring camping trip the year I chaperoned, and the primary plumbing system of Kivalina.

If you could design your ideal care package, what would be in it?

My ideal care package would have fruit (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries). It would have a gallon of whole milk, some of my mom’s homemade salsa and dad’s homemade venison jerky, and it would have a good book to read! (In a completely ideal world, it would also have some delicious Brazilian açaí, made just the way I like it.)

What is one thing you buy just about every single time you go to the grocery store?

I have a few different answers for this one depending on the location.

In the village native store, I would try and only go to the store once a week and I would try to go on Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays and pick up the new Arctic Sounder so that I could do the crossword.

Every time I would go to our hub village, Kotzebue, and I would go to their A/C, I would usually buy a gallon of Kirkland whole milk (for $10) and a prepackaged salad. When I went to Kotzebue less often, I would also stock up on a semester’s worth of meat.

Costco, is a special friend. At Costco, in Anchorage, I almost always end up buying two or more totes, a two gallon package of Kirkland whole milk (for $7), a few containers of half and half creamer for my roommate, peanut m&ms, chocolate covered almonds, and two packages of the big bag of Kale salad. There is also always the orders to fill of other people back in the village!

Do you have a favorite joke? What is it?

Another question that has multiple answers.

One of my all time favorite jokes is in Portuguese. It was one of the first that I learned while living in Mato Grosso and dealt with the accent from Minas Gerais (where I ended up living a few years later).

O que que a galinha mineira diz para a outra galinha mineira na cozinha?

“Pó pô pó?” …. “Pó pô.”

What did the chicken from Minas say to the other chicken from Minas in the kitchen?

“May I put in sugar?” … “Yes, you may.” (or also, bawk bawk bawk? bawk bawk.)

It does NOT at all translate well because it is a dialect and language specific linguistic joke, but in explanation, mineiros (people from Minas) tend to eat syllables and sounds by eliminating them from pronunciation. Pode por pó – May I put sugar (in coffee) – becomes Pó pô pó which is one of the onomatopoeias for the sound a chicken makes.

But, I also love memes and plays on words, so here is one with both:

Image result for pun jokes

What is something you can make, food or otherwise, that you are proud of?

I’m really proud of the quilts that I have learned to make over this past year. My roommate is a quilt master and I was lucky enough to be her apprentice. I made five baby quilts, one twin sized quilt (that I still have to bind), another baby quilt that I’m in the process of quilting, and started on panels on a super secret, super special, project.

I’m also pretty proud of the types of photographs I’ve been able to take and edit. I just started finding a way to sell prints. I also have started submitting certain photos and their story to National Geographic Your Shot and this month learned that out of 9,226 submissions my photo “Antlers in the Arctic” was one of 25 pieces selected for the assignment Take a Walk.

Antlers in the Arctic

What is one thing you are looking forward to right now?

I am looking forward to a quick trip to NYC to visit one of my best friends (and one who was around for the start of this blog, S.!)

I’m also looking forward to a road trip out west with another one of my best friends as we journey from Minnesota to Colorado in a roundabout way for another one of our best friend’s wedding! Big adventures on the horizon!

When you need to laugh, what is your go-to book, podcast, tv show or whatever?

The Ellen Show, Trevor Noah’s Daily Show, and the Late Show with James Corden are all things that I watch clips of when I need a good laugh. Sometimes, I’ll read or watch terribly awkward romantic comedies that make me cringe so hard I laugh.

What is your favorite extravagance?

A nice long hot shower or filling the bathtub with water. Due to the water situation where I was living, I always felt guilty about relaxing in that way (even if I only took two showers a week)! This was reserved for a really bad day or when I felt sick!

What is something that you miss already about winter?

Oh gosh, I miss getting bundled up and I miss winter sports and adventures that are particular to winter. Now that I’m in the lower 48, I miss the white blanket covering the ground (everything is so green and brown)! When I was in Kivalina a week ago, I missed the darkness a bit because the bright consistent sun reflecting off the ice and snow hurt my eyes!

My nominees:

Savannah from Sunshine with Savannah – It is a blog with a beautiful layout where she talks about her travels and personal growth.

Lit Lemon Books because the reviews are amazing and it is a great space to read up on YA and Middle Grade novels! (I also follow Lit Lemon Books on my book blog that is on a hiatus.)

Jesse from My World Wanders because there are so many places in the world that are explored through a lens and there are great travel tips as well as travel ideas!

Here are the rules, if you wish to play:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate up to 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog

My questions for you:

  1. What do you spend most of your time doing? (Not just your free time, but your time in general?)
  2. What does the world ‘home’ mean to you?
  3. Where do you consider your favorite place?
  4. What is your go to book genre? (If you don’t read books, do you read something else or have a specific movie or tv show genre you lean towards?)
  5. If you had to rename yourself, what name would you give yourself?
  6. How did your blog start and how long have you been at it?
  7. What is the most frustrating thing about blogging? Most rewarding?
  8. If you won fifty thousand dollars, what would you do with it?
  9. What hobbies do you pursue that you don’t share on your blog?
  10. What is one recommendation you would give your younger self?
  11. What is something that you do to relax and unwind?