It’s hard to believe that it is time for our little (or not so little compared to the size of this small town) group to leave Bethel and head to Seward, Alaska for a few days of tourist-y fun before leaving for the lower 48.
Some members of our team have taken to saying “ily” (you can find a definition for this term here) to one another, and so with this last blog coming from Bethel I want to share just what I love about B-town.
- The kindness of its residents; not only have the people we have interviewed welcomed us into their personal narratives, but others have taken us boating, hosted us at their fish camp, or cooked for us. Even little gestures, like shouting hello at us from a nearby house or asking if we have enough room in our car while we are piling in and offering to give rides, are the norm here and for sure one of the things I’ll miss most.
- Being able to experience another culture so intimately and witnessing their struggles and values system in action.
- Going on walks at 10:30 pm because the sun doesn’t set until 2 am.
- Getting to wear my rain boots all the time because there are few paved roads in Bethel and the constant rain means walking everywhere through the mud.
- Having the opportunity to try different foods like freshly caught salmon, Eskimo ice cream, moose, seal, and fried bread.
- Going on boat rides in the Kuskokwim river.
- Being a member of the peanut gallery (aka one of the resident comedians) with my good friend, Mari. Also just being able to spend so much time with Mari in general-she’s the best!
- Having a nightly slumber party and sleeping on a shared bed with Catherine and Erin- so cozy in the cold Sunday school room!
- Sharing a knowing look with Dr. Z when we are both taking notes during an interview and hear a good quote.
- Being just a short car ride away from the beautiful, vast tundra. As my friend Kari described, “it’s like walking on a squishy mattress!”
- Getting theology lessons from our Jesuit tag-along Tony. Today he told me that the lesson of the book of Job is really that it is sometimes the youngest who can teach the most, and then gave me a high-five because I’m the only teenager and youngest member of the group.
- Spending so much time with my team who has become like my family! From Catherine’s humor, Hayley’s sweetness, Madeline’s sass, and Hannah’s tenacity, our group has a great dynamic and I could not imagine a more wonderful bunch to make this journey with.
Looking forward to fun adventures in Seward and our editing room! Thanks to Bethel I will be heading home with muddier boots and a happier heart.