Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Where DO we go?!

Okay, so winter break is drawn to a close for us here in Tunt, and we are all back in our classrooms preparing for the inevitable onslaught of students who've been out of classrooms for three weeks and, because of Slavic celebrations, have been eating massive amounts of candy for the last several days. Even still, we're glad to see each other and a brief honeymoon will ensue while we tell about our various adventures..."WHERE DID YOU GO," they will ask us repeatedly, and we will tell them.

Getting away from the cold and dark continues to be important. By the the time the winter solstice slides in, we are all tired and in serious need of a break. We spent part of our time at the house in Kenai, and while it was relaxing, 5 hours of daylight fails to accommodate my tendencies to procrastinate. Even waking up at 8:00 means waiting until 10:00 for useable light, then it will be dark again at 4:30. You will get a spectacular sunrise, riotous sunset, and whatever activity you can do during that 5-hour slot in between. An 8-mile hike without snowshoes was NOT a good choice, but still, a learning experience.
Obligatory riotous sunset over Cook Inlet.

Our vacation is almost excessive, but I will not complain, since I am still on the receiving end of three weeks of uninterrupted absence from school, during which time I try to think about school as little as possible...with at least moderate success.

This year we split our time away from the village. The week from Christmas eve to New Year's Eve, we spent in Kenai. On New Year's Eve we flew to Tucson where desert nights cooled off to about 45 F and days warmed to 65 or so. Short sleeves and shorts weather if you insist, but it's definitely forced. Yes, I did don my cargo shorts and tee-shirts, because I DO insist. Winter is a relative thing.

The Border Fence! We used to collect pretty rocks in he washes along this stretch. Not so much anymore.  
In most other years, we have made our way to Austin for the holidays and while seeing friends and family is great, if central Texas is going to have winter weather, it usually falls right around the winter solstice. This is when Texas highways become hockey arenas, with heavily armored F-150's playing power forward, and Prius's and smart cars standing in as pucks. We are likely to get at least a few nice days, but getting away from winter unscathed is not a sure thing.

Hawaii was our destination last year, with our daughter, Senna, her honey, Matt and my mom included in the solar celebration. We ended up on the "Big Island,"with the whole gang after a week on Kauai by ourselves. I highly recommend this destination as an escape from the cold and dark. Winter didn't have a chance!

The schedule of a teacher gives us that same pattern of work and play that most of us grew up with.  It is not typical in the rest of the working world, I am finding more and more. Nor is it as desirable to everyone going on vacation, since summer is "high season," in many places (like Alaska tourist destinations)  or totally inappropriate "low season," like the Caribbean, anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, or the desert southwest. Austin in the summer was our home base in the summer for several years, but never really a great idea, and as soon as we realized how wonderful Alaskan summers can be, we acknowledged that it is just WRONG to leave Alaska in the summer time and after an epic road trip one year (17000 miles, Alaska to Maine and back again) bought our house in Kenai. Someday, we might actually get to live in it for more than two or three months a year.

Pastoral Stand-off?
Everyone was glad to see us, and were happy to be back in school...for now. We'll see how our energy level is holding up by....the end of...basketball season?

Happy New Year!

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