I’ve been home for two weeks now, and I’m slowly getting over the culture shock.
But, after five months in Alaska—and two weeks back in Oregon—I’m finding some things about ‘civilized’ life rather odd. I mean, how strange is this? I’m back in a place where it’s important to look for cars before crossing a road.
In Port Alsworth, we had to look out for airplanes.
Actually, it feels odd to have roads here instead of airstrips connected by two or three intersecting gravel lanes—not to mention what it feels like to ride in a car. I could count on one hand the number of times I rode in a car or truck in Port Alsworth this summer. Now I’m driving at least a couple times each week.
The move from a four-wheeler to a 15-passenger van is almost just as strange.
I do have to drive now if I want to go on a hike, but at least I don't have to worry about avoiding bears anymore.
And there's fresh fruit, unlimited Internet, free time…
Well, we did get free time at the lodge, in between working odd hours. Still, it was always limited by the next project on hand—prepping for dinner, turning on the fuel pump for a pilot, getting to bed at a decent hour so that we could start breakfast prep by 6:30 or 7:00 next morning.
Some things make me happy—no more fuel pumps, no more running down to the Cache so someone can buy a 50-cent lollipop, no more ironing sheets and tablecloths before we use them. Instead, I can stop by Walmart on my way home from tutoring. My decision process at the store takes just as long as ever, but I can pick things up myself and not wait for them to get mailed in.
One of these days I'll even check some books out at the library again.
Oh, and we don’t use decorative napkin folds at home. Now that’s kind of strange.
I’m getting used to it. Slowly.