In the interest of time and my sanity, the pictures above are in a gallery set up instead of in the post per usual. I know it makes loading a bit heavy right at the start but it makes things easier for me to post 🙂 If you have any questions about what is what, just ask! I promise many more pictures to come as I took easily 300+ pictures over the past week.
I’ve made it to my new home and in following with my original pledge to myself to be completely honest here, my first thought was, “Holy Crap, I MUST be crazy.” This was quickly followed with, Oh. My. God. Its beautiful here. More than I imagined.” And, “I wonder which one is my house.” But I should back up a bit.
For the past 10 days, I stayed in Sand Point, another small village/town here on the chain. Those mountains? Nelson Lagoon is across those, not uch more land and the other side of the lagoon. I worked for 10 days in this clinic with the clinic staff there and not only made good friends with the staff there but also got to do my first blood draw (marginally successful…sorry CD!), followed quickly by my second, third and fourth, all successful and the fourth went to be tested! Total joy and personal glowing enveloped. I also got to work thru the inside cover of my CHAM (the ‘bible’ of CHA’s…every patient starts with the inside cover.) And saw more patients in those few days than ever before. It was wonderful.
The other wonderful thing was the woman I stayed with. TR is a great friend who also shares the same birthday as I do. Her dog, Dayla and Sisu got on well, only 2 spats the entire time. TR and I spent time painting the house, making dinner and our evening watching “Numbers” and we had a great time all in all. We had a few days of absolutely beautiful weather and more days of heavy wind and rain than I care to remember. There were a few days of workers from the clinic were basically stuck…5 days actually, and it was really a long time for everyone. The morning I was supposed to leave dawned with heavy fog, only slightly lighter winds (40mph gusting to 70) and more than one person jokingly joined the pool about the odds of my getting out on the evening plane. There was no plane in the morning and the fact that there were hours where we couldn’t see the island less than 2 miles across the channel because the fog was so thick and there hadn’t seemed to me that there was any break in the wind, I was just about fully dejected before I even left for the airport. TR took me back to her house and then to the airport and, surprisingly, there was already 6 people there. The woman behind the counter checked me in and told me that the plane I wanted should be landing in about 30 minuets. I would make it to Cold Bay that night. And I did.
Its about a 40 minuet flight to Cold Bay in a rather ‘large’ plane (don’t ask, I have no idea what size it is) and we landed just before 6:30pm. I called BK, the medical director for my region and she came and picked me up and drove me just up the road to the Bearfoot Inn, a nice little place that Sisu and I called home for the night. The room was small but the shower was hot and there was Discovery Channel ☺ When I landed, there was a LOT of wind. Not an issue when you have a 747 sized paved runway like Cold Bay does but for landings in a place like Nelson Lagoon, the wind has to be on your side and not gusting too much. BK said that there was no way that I would leave tomorrow “if the wind is like this again like its supposed to be!”. I could hear it gusting all that night, pressing into the window, causing my door to click and ‘talk’ all night long to Sisus’ dismay. Rain too. But then, at 6am, when my alarm went off (because I forgot to turn it off), I realised that it was silent. There was no noise from the constant wind, more like intermittent, barely window rattling wind. There was a difference and I loved it. No rain just beautiful sky that promised a beautiful day. At 10:30am, we took off and all promises proved to be true.
That brings us up to now. My first thoughts were quickly followed by a big hug with MJ, my co-worker who is a CHP (Community Health Practitioner), and her sister KJ, who also works in the clinic with billing, and then I was taken for a tour of the town. 5 seconds later, I was stopping by my new house to drop off my things and see how work was going. They guys promised that they would be out of there at 5pm and it would be mine. I loved it already ☺ We went to the clinic and I had a tour of my new office and I was thrilled already. MJ and I went to the little post office and, I swear to you, my boxes took up 5/6 of the space in the back.. We made two trips from the PO to my house (just around the corner) and all my things were here. We took walks around town and I was introduced to just shy of all the people in town. Granted, its only 30 people at the moment, but still, that’s a lot of people to be meeting all at once. They only have one person whos name to remember while I have all 30. Its going to be wonderful.
I spent 80% of Saturday unpacking and organizing…actually a very easy thing to do when you have no shelves, tables, couches, dressers or a bed. The house seems incredibly empty and has a massive echo. Sunday was amazing and foolish me forgot to bring a camera. One of the men working on my house, employed by HUD, Don, borrowed another 4-wheeler (called a “bike” out here) and took me for a 10 mile ride down the beach. Oh. My. Gosh. 1st off, my hands have never been that tired. Not only holding on but pressing the throttle and keeping the pressure on it the entire way. 2nd, it was just so awesome to be flying down the beach, I really liked it, despite the loudness of the engine. I saw a million shore birds, spouting whales, the remains of a walrus carcass, complete with HUGE wolf prints, medium wolf prints and prints from a year old bear. Just amazing. On the way back, I started finding things. Agates, Japanese fishing floats, glass bottles and, of course, the most amazing finds always, glass fishing balls. Some even have their nets attached and each one is more special than the next. Just so special and I love each and every one of them. Now I have to do something with them so they can decorate my house tastefully. I’m so glad that I ignored my Mums voice in my head…”If everyone who came down this beach and took home a ball, there would be none left for anyone else.” Too bad. All mine ☺
This week has been a whirlwind of sorting out the clinic, seeing my first patient, setting up my routine with Sisu, trying to buy frozen food, learning the joys of the post office, figuring out my electricity, and generally getting the feel for how my life here is going to run. I love it already and there will be soon to come posts about each of the above.