In a little way, tomorrow we begin our journey.
A week ago, Jeff returned home from Virginia where he was somewhat misplaced for about two and a half months. Between the Great Government Shutdown and a few people misplacing a few pieces of paper, he was stuck. It was a grueling time of waiting and frustration, and I felt like it would never end. It had to though, and we all knew it. Eventually he was released to return home, but only after receiving orders for Ft. Wainwright, Alaska.
To most, the Last Frontier is just another state. However, after ample googling, hashtag hunting, and netflix indrogination, I quickly found that this "state" was more reminscent of the summer I spent in South Africa than just some other part of my native land. Never did I think, "Alaska... now that's where I want to put down roots for a few years, maybe even have a couple babies." Once, and only once, did I entertain the idea of taking an Alaskan cruise. While I was never much of a fan of the cold, whales sure did sound neat. Lucky for us, Fairbanks only holds the former. How neat.
All my Alaska-hating aside, my research has shown me how incredible this mysterious state of ours seems to be. Between the diverse and present wildlife (situation), and the pristine terrain, covered in pine trees and waterways, I could potentially see myself falling in love with this state. Not only that, but I have always had a fascination with tribal cultures, and Alaska does not come up short in the category of "I can't believe your people group learned to exist under those conditions so you're freaking awesome."
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared to leave home, to have babies without my dearest friends and family there, to leave my beloved church family, and to find myself alone on coffee dates that I would have otherwise been having with close friends. I'm also frantically searching for weather appropriate clothing as people have hinted at -60 degrees Fahrenheit days. Too cold to smile, whether you're happy our not! I'm mentally preparing avoid moose and come to grips with the fact that shooting a bear is a distinct possibility for me. I guess I'll cross those bridges when I get there!
For now though, I feel tired, and a little sad, and a little angry. I'm just my own melting pot of emotions. Jeff gets to pave the way without me, as I am photographing a wedding early this January. We've already seen all of our Kansas family, with Jeff saying goodbye for who knows how long to people that have truly changed our lives. Then, we drive to California and show our love until Jeff is sent away in early December. After his deployment last year, this will be our second consecutive Christmas apart... and I'm like... home-schooled giddy about Christmas this year. So celebrating without him will suck. Really though, it's a small sacrifice for an opportunity unlike any other. I get to explore a unique part of the world with my right hand man, that adventurous guy I get to call Husband. My mind is crazy with ideas of the trouble we can get into!
There are so many steps until we can call Alaska our home (moving our cars, selling our cars, packing our house, boarding our cat, hugging our family and meaning it, dodging winter storms, finding entertaining playlists, loving like there's no tomorrow), the smallest and hardest step is keeping it all together, remembering where I hold my joy, and choosing to love and build up. It's a lot. And you're welcome to pray for me. I feel like a hot mess. It feels like it will be months before Jeff and I will be able to stop moving and start being together again. However. We are starting. One step at a time.
Our first big step: taking this Wheatley train to Cali.
Tomorrow, finally, tomorrow... we begin our journey.
Follow it here: