This is my last blog entry, and I would like to take this opportunity to say, “Thank you.”
Thank you for sharing the meat from your freezer, the ice cream from your new ice cream machine, and the salmon from your catch that day. Thank you for welcoming me into your homes, and thank you for going out with me for coffee or lunch. Thank you for speaking in a calm voice when the plane didn’t arrive on time, and thank you for the rides to and from the Bering Air terminal. Thank you for showing me your favorite hiking spots and thank you for taking me along to explore new places. Thank you for sharing your family photos and memories of growing up in Western Alaska, and for hosting me on family outings at your family camp. Thank you for teaching me how to sew. Thank you for telling me about events that you have to experience in Nome, because this town is the only place you’ll be able to experience them. Thank you for telling me to “just do it.” Thank you for being patient with me, and thank you for teaching me how to ask the right questions.
And to my housemates, fellow volunteers, and new family: thank you for being so supportive over the past year. Thank you for adventuring with me, growing with me, and staying up late with me. We’ve all learned a lot since August, and I hope that we each keep that openness and curiosity wherever our next year takes us.
I have been overwhelmed by your generosity for the past year. Thank you for investing so much of your time, energy, and resources in me, and for showing me the beauty of this region. I will try to emulate your generosity after I leave, and I will do my best to educate people in the Lower 48 about life in Western Alaska. Thank you for a wonderful year on top of the world.