Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Left of the Rising Sun

A friend asked me what the title of my blog means, and so I thought I'd provide a short explanation.

I wanted my blog name to represent my Alaskan adventures, but I didn't necessarily want it to be so obvious.  I wanted something deeper (though this is partly due to the fact that all the obvious names were already taken.)  :-)

I chose the name after a quick study of the etymology of the word 'north.'  Wikipedia explains it easier than I can:

"The word north is traced to the Old High German nord, and the Proto-Indo-European unit ner-, meaning 'left' (or 'under').  Presumably a natural primitive description of its concept is 'to the left of the rising sun.'"

So there it is:  I'm a nerd and that's how nerds name their blogs--through an etymological study of key words.  And I'm strangely proud of such an accomplishment.

Stay safe, and Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One Step Closer

Here's the big news:  I have an interview with the Bering Strait School District on 5 January 2009!

I uploaded my resume to the Alaska Teacher Placement website, and I indicated that I was interested in a job with BSSD.  Within a week the BSSD personnel director found my resume and asked for an interview!  

It is actually a bit ironic.  I had planned on emailing him that weekend anyway in order to express my interest in BSSD, but he emailed me before I got the chance.  I was so surprised to see his name in my email inbox!  I was ecstatic for the rest of the day, and I am still pretty excited now.  I just emailed him my references and portfolio materials.

BSSD is my first choice, so I really hope this works out.  I need to go over some interview questions but I am not so nervous. I plan on just being myself and with any luck that will be enough.  

And for those of you that are wondering, no I am not flying up to Alaska for the interview.  We are going to Skype or phone the interview.  :-)  It's a long and expensive trip up there, and I need the money for the move next year!

Stay tuned for the details and results of my interview!


Monday, December 29, 2008

The Process and My Sanity

It is time for a serious update!  I have big news, but it deserves a post all of its own.  So, it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Today, I want to chronicle my journey thus far.  So many people have asked me:  Why Alaska?  How did you even think of Alaska?  Do you know how isolated Alaska is?  And many more people have wanted to ask me (though they usually self-edit and keep it to themselves):  Do you know what you are getting yourself into?  Are you crazy?!  How do you expect to get married now?

For those of you that are curious about the process, let me assure you that it is definitely a process.  At least it was for me.  The last thing that I wanted to do was accept a job near the Arctic Circle and hate every minute of it.  Then I would be stuck in a contract for a year freezing my toes off.

Simply put, I did my research.  I read every page on the Alaska Teacher Placement website at least three times, I googled every thing I could think of about teaching in the Alaskan Bush, and I read every Alaskan Bush Teacher blog that Google could find.  I also crunched the numbers (because I was worried that the moving expenses would overpower my school loan obligations).

Most importantly, I talked to people that teach in the Alaskan Bush right now.  Once I settled on a specific district, I found blogs written by teachers in that district.  I emailed one of those bloggers, and asked him if he would answer a few questions and give me some advice on the whole experience.  My first contact was able to connect me with other district contacts, and from there fate took care of the rest!  My emails with current teachers in Alaska helped me to decide once and for all if Alaska was the place for me.

I have told many people about my plan to teach in Alaska.  The responses that I have received are interesting.  Here is the breakdown:  My friends think it is exciting and a little outrageous.  A few think the idea is intriguing and worth some personal interest, though none of them were all that surprised.  My sister thinks the idea is awesome because she has always wanted to visit Alaska.  My education professors have been entirely supportive from the very beginning, and my other professors are concerned about my sanity.  My parents thought I was joking at first.  Then they moved to a state of concern followed by incredulity, and now I think they have settled on acceptance.  My extended family raised their collective eyebrows and glanced sideways at each other once I told them, which I think translates internationally to 'I'm skeptical.' 

Let me make this clear.  I am serious, I have done my research, I have prayed, I have thought, I have imagined, I have planned, I have read, I have studied, I have talked, I have questioned, and yet still I am sure that I want to teach in Alaska.  I have a decided future for now, and everybody should be so lucky!

As for my relationship status, I will admit that I struggled with this at first.  It is no secret that I am undeniably single.  I know this and I accept this because quite simply I have no control over it.  I was worried that I would not find a husband in rural Alaska; I was worried that I wouldn't be able to even date in rural Alaska.  I talked to a close friend about this, and I received amazing advice from her.  Basically, she said that I cannot put my life on hold just because I am single.  God can use me now, and I can enjoy my life single just as fully as I can married.  Though I know this to be true, it is helpful to hear someone else say this confidently.  And really, it is entirely logical.  I have spent 21 years in the populous Lower 48 without a boyfriend, so what difference does it really make where I am?  What God wills will be, and I will be content in this knowledge.

Well, that sums it all up.  Check the blog tomorrow for my big news!


Monday, December 1, 2008

The Start of Something New

I have a confession:  I am not a teacher in the Alaskan Bush. 

Not yet, anyway.

This blog will chronicle my journey to Alaska as an educator.  I have done the research and I have made an informed decision:  I want to teach in the arctic villages of rural Alaska.  Hopefully this blog can help someone else in a similar position.

And hopefully, I will accept a job up North within the next three to five months.  Then the real fun will begin.

I will try to update during each stage of my employment seeking process, as I think it will help others in their own quests to do the same.  Also, it helps me organize my thoughts.  

Until then, fair winds and following seas--