So by now, most of you know: I am not returning to Gambell. There were multiple factors that influenced this decision, but in the end it was not a healthy situation. I DO NOT REGRET going to bush Alaska; I learned so much about myself, the Arctic, and Native Alaskan Culture. I wouldn't trade the past year for anything.
And yet, there comes a time when one must choose self-preservation over other alternatives. Being in nature is a deep part of me, a part that is unfulfilled in my current situation. I love the Sun, I love Light, I love trees, I love grass and solid ground beneath my feet, I love running outside with my dogs, and I don't mind the convenience of stores within 200 miles. I look forward to not living with my colleagues, to working in an organized and established school, and to having a hobby/life of my own again.
I will miss Alaska terribly, especially Southern Alaska. I could live in the Alaskan mountains forever and be blissfully happy! I really do want to come back and find a forever home, but now is not the season. I need to get some experience down South, and I need to figure out my graduate school plans. I also need to figure out whether I can afford to stay in the profession (both financially and mentally).
So this is a sign off . . . for now. As I join the Unemployed Teachers Club, I will only look back gratefully at the learning experience of a lifetime.