Before I begin my post today I have to comment on the bravery of our youth. Unfortunately, I did not participate in the marches yesterday. I honestly believe that there are more guns than people on this island. I was also informed that it would likely hinder my job with my clients in a lot of ways, so I keep to myself. And by that, I mean I go on social media and retween/reblog/regram and write. These young adults are warriors standing up to bullies. One time in high school me and a friend went around our school hanging posters and creating a Facebook page trying to get people not to vote for one of our classmates who was running for the school board. I thought I was political and involved. Yeesh. This demonstration has proved me wrong. Kids came out in droves yesterday. And so many spoke… publicly… I AM SO IMPRESSED AND INSPIRED. To these young adults, with all your vigor and fight, it is the first time in a long time I could feel change. The youth will save us all from ourselves and I believe that. I was never vocal when I needed to be. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I found a platform that I felt safe/comfortable using my voice. I wish I learned at an earlier age that adults can be wrong and that it happens more often than we think. Yesterdays demonstration was a reminder to me that we are all more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. A sincere thank you to the kids that have found their voice and reminded me of mine. I support you. #MARCHFOROURLIVES
Speaking of more guns than people on this island, on today’s agenda I have decided that I would like to discuss island life. A strange life. A beautiful life. A ‘how the eff did I get here?’ life. Prince of Wales Island, Alaska is unlike anything I have ever heard of. First of all, it is a huge. In fact, it is the fourth largest island in the United States (my source is Wikipedia for that, but I don’t get paid to write this so take that as you may). I haven’t explored much of the island, but I hear it is beautiful. I am waiting for it to warm up just a tad, so I am not just seeing the beauty through my car windows. It rains like most of the time, even in winter, because FUN FACT it is a rain forest. I thought this would get to me, but it really doesn’t. The nice days are extra nice. When the sun is out it is like I am a whole new person. It’s pretty amazing. If you are into nature and/or extremes this place is for you. There are so many little bits and pieces of living on a island that just do not happen on the mainland.
I have officially been here for a little over 3 months and some days it feels as though it has been 3 years and other days it feels like it has been 3 days. Time feels different here. We literally have our own time zone, something I was unaware of until I moved here. I call my friends back on the east coast and they are hopping into bed just as I am finishing work. Scheduling phone calls with people in different time zones is a nightmare. The other reason time feels different here is because we all live on island time. Island time is this fantastic notion that there is no such thing as being in a rush. Work starts at 8, so as long as you are there before 8:30, you good. I bet y’all could get used to that. Going from NYC where everyone is always in a rush to island time has been a difficult transition for me. I am voted most likely to be the first to an event. I am working on slowing down, but I think subway anxiety just never leaves you.
When people see the island, most assume “cost of living must be so low!” HA! Joke is on them. Everything, and I mean everything, we have on the island has to be shipped to us. What does this mean? It means that groceries are outrageous. For my tax refund this year, I decided I can use all my extra cash to by fresh fruits. However, the upside to this is that I am basically only spending money on groceries and rent. There is not really clothing stores here and online ordering has always been troublesome for me. I am short and fat. I don’t like those odds without being able to try something on. Fast food is nonexistent as well. This is a saving grace for me. The only thing we have is two pizza places and a diner. Honestly, (please don’t shun me) pizza is not my favorite. I’d rather have a sandwich. Yeezy, do I miss my sandwich places. Sometimes I dream of a sub from Jersey Mikes or Cousins. I’m pretty sure my first trip off the island I will gain 100 lbs. just because I will be so overwhelmed with my options of fast food I will eat them all. I’m cool with it. As I said though, talk about a money saver. I spent way more than I care to admit on fast food in NYC. I was the queen of grubhub and front door wine delivery. I miss these things while simultaneously being so thankful they are not available to me.
The most fascinating transition on the island has been from winter to spring. I heard it all winter long: “Trust me, it is such a different place when it is spring. All of the sudden there will be whales, seals, otters, bears. [OH MY!] You won’t even recognize the island.” Granted, I have only gotten a glimpse of this, but they were not kidding. I saw my first whale and I was so excited I regressed to being a 2 year old. I was clapping and jumping around. I will not lie… winter is ROUGH here. The sun goes down at like 2pm. It is dark and cold and it was all the more difficult for me because I didn’t have a whole lot of friends because I was/am new. This was the depression cocktail my introvert half of me was looking for. I felt like I was hibernating with the bears. I barely remember the month of December which is v. unlike me because that is my favorite month (and [not] coincidentally the birthday month of moi, Britney, and Jay-z). I can’t even begin to imagine what summer is like here. One nice day with whales and I am a new woman. Rumor has it the sun stays out until 11pm. I am talking the literal opposite of winter. I am also hoping by next winter I will discover a hobby like jam making or something cool like that to occupy my dark days. I’ll use my summer energy to discover such hobby. *My idea of what is cool may vary from others*
Speaking of whales, the nature here is like living on front of national geographic. I see a minimum of 2 eagles a day, and that’s without leaving my apartment. I haven’t seen a bear yet, but I can’t wait. There are tree’s everywhere. Oh and did I mention it is an island, so there is also water everywhere. To quote a personal hero, Moana, “I’ve been staring at the edge of the water, ‘long as I can remember” & it really does call me. I am never as happy as I am when I am in, near, or around water. Good thing I chose an island I suppose. The views are instagram gold. I can’t go 2 days without posting a landscape photo. It’s an addiction. I love to capture the everyday beauty that exists here.
Speaking of beauty, one of my favorite parts of the island are the humans that occupy it. Sure, bears are great, but so are the people! If you would have told me that one day I would be living on an island where MAGA hats are common and guns are owned by everyone you know except for you and the other new person that moved to island, I probably would have been like “nah… I’m good.” Except living here has been a reminder that I believe most people are inherently good. I know this is the hopeless romantic in me and I also know I speak from a place of privilege, but if y’all could see it. I may not agree with their politics or ideals or religion, but if I am ever in a pickle here, I am not worried. It doesn’t matter where I am from or that I am new, people have invited me into their homes. People trust me with their kids. Everyone smiles and says hello to me. If I need something, I can go to my neighbors house and if they don’t have it, someone they know will. I could get all the help I could ever need here. I have not seen a community like this anywhere else I have lived. In New York, I spoke to my neighbors maybe twice and it was only because I was forced on the elevator with them and I hated every minute of it. Here, people talk to you all day long. They also don’t care that I am terrified of guns or have a Hillary picture next to my bed stand. They ask me about my day and how I am settling in and check-in on me. Complete strangers do this. I kid you not. Since I am heavily involved in politics and hope to one day be a politician, it can be hard to separate people from these two polar opposites we have created. I am an optimist through and through. Call me naive (as my first boss out of undergrad did) but I don’t really care. I believe that we as humans care about other humans, first and foremost. We need to break down walls. To do that we need to talk and remember that we all have beating hearts inside of us and we are all connected in this way. I was reminded of this as I watched Queer Eye and that beautiful moment between Karamo Brown, a black man, and Cory, a white cop. If we want to remind people of humanity, we have to demonstrate humanity to all. Not just those who we agree with. Don’t get me wrong, this island has it’s problems and not everyone gets along, but for the most part people have each others backs here. It is a magnificent thing to witness.
I did not expect to go on that rant. Sorry, not sorry.
So, just to recap:
- Island life is unlike any other life.
- What is time?
- ALL MY MONEY GOES TO GROCERIES
- I love subs.
- winter is rough
- summer is magic
- Prince of Wales is a beautiful place
- Instagram is my addiction
- Humans are humans
- Love wins
I hope this all made sense. I am still getting over a strange sickness and it has been making me wonky. Which reminds me, island life is also living in a petri dish of illness. If you have any questions about island life and my time in Alaska feel free to ask away! And if you are interested in seeing these views I speak of follow me on instagram: sarahlorrainerobinson