Recap

No time to blog everything that's been happening lately = bullet points.  This will be modified into a detailed post...the list is so I don't forget :)
  • My little sister graduated from high school on June 13th
  • I flew to and from Chicago on June 14th to complete the visa application process at the French Consulate
  • My sister's grad party was June 16th
  • My grandparents flew out from California on June 17th 
  • I left on June 18th for a weekend in Alaska...which involved running a 10k at 10pm in a dragonfly costume
  • I landed at 5pm on June 21st and was at Girl Scout camp by 7pm
  • Camp ran until June 25
  • Post camp = a mad dash to get ready for Europe
  • My plane takes off in 28 hours
  • The "what did I get myself into" nerves are starting to kick in.
oh boy.

Real post time!


Being confined to a middle seat on a plane is a great excuse/containment chamber to catch up on some blogging.  (or at least it was until I landed in London, life took off, and I never actually completed the post.  Until now.)

Alaska
As I was bidding adieu to T-Hall for the last time in May, I mentioned to one of my girlfriends (and fellow RA) that if she wanted some company in Alaska over the summer (where she lives), I’d make it happen.  She took me up on the offer for the weekend of the summer solstice and so off to Fairbanks on the 2:45pm flight I went.  Or rather, attempted to go.

As the time to board approached, an announcement was made regarding a 1-2 hr flight delay due to a malfunctioning main-cabin pressurization system.  Being able to breathe at 30,000ft = kind of important, so the delay was taken amiably by everyone in the gate area.  As time ticked by, the problem was discovered to be more complex and the scheduled departure time on the gate’s LED board continually ticked backward…5pm.  6pm.  8pm.  9pm.  Million-dollar question: What time does the 2:45 flight depart?  11pm.

Knowing that I at least had a seat on the plane made things bearable and the 8 hour wait in the terminal wasn’t awful either—I made friends with a really cool mission trip group (funny story—they sat down right next to me as I was browsing a Cosmo headline article…I make great first impressions), and the MSP airport is a fantastic airport if you have to be stuck somewhere.  Good food, good music, and decent seating.  No complaints from me!

I finally landed in AK at 12:15 in the morning…but it looked like it was about 4 or 5pm back home.  Knowing about the amount of daylight in AK and experiencing it are two completely different things—it definitely made me do a double take.


On Saturday morning, we went to the Fairbanks Visitor’s center and the above-ground portion of the Alaska Pipeline.  As a professed tree-hugger/earth warrior, I didn’t expect to be as impressed by the pipeline as I was.  Seeing it in person and hearing about how much it meant to the Alaskan people was really cool--I'm glad that I got to experience it!

From there, we went to Creamer’s Field (a wildlife refuge), a farmer’s market for lunch, and then on a hunt for dragonfly wings.  Yes dragonfly wings.  Costumes were highly encouraged for Fairbank’s Midnight Sun 10K run, and as we were registered to run it that night, dragonfly costumes (in honor of the day’s dragonfly festival at Creamer’s field) were necessary.  Two stops later, we successfully returned home from our quest.  

The race that night was incredible.  It started at 10pm, wove through residential areas of Fairbanks, and over 3,000 people (many in costume!) turned out to run it.  Sadly, I wasn’t the person that had traveled the furthest for the race…so much for those 15 minutes of fame.  Regardless, it was a blast—the cheering fans were amazing, the costumes were epic (imagine a snake charmer attached to a cobra, the Incredibles, storm troopers, and the teenage mutant ninja turtles), and the overall experience of running a 6.4 mile race late at night was awesome.  The homemade strawberry rhubarb pie we ate after the race may have been even better though :)

We drove about 50 miles through beautiful Alaskan forests on Sunday to Chena Hot Springs, a natural sulfur hot springs.  After running the 10k and being on our feet all day Saturday, I couldn’t have asked for anything better than the day at the springs, a picnic lunch along a river, and a scenic drive.  Spotting some moose less than 10 feet from the car was pretty cool too!  Following our return to Fairbanks, my friend and I headed downtown for the Midnight Sun Festival to watch a band called “Sweating Honey” play (check them out!) and wander around the booths—it was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.


Monday came as it generally does—bright, early, and bringing the end of weekend fun.  I got on the plane around 7:30am (first class again!), landed at 4:30pm, was home around 5pm, switched duffle bags, and was at Girl Scout camp by 7pm.  On to the next adventure!

Camp


The classic Girl Scout song, “I’m alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic!” turns into “I’m tired, dirty, cranky, and I smell bad” by the end of the week.  Guaranteed.

This week was more difficult than most not due to jetlag but rather a looming sense of helplessness—the Girl Scout Council decided in April to sell the camp and they wouldn’t entertain the protests or proposals put forth by the scouting community to save it.  I won’t get too far into the subject (I can’t help but get riled up whenever I think about it), but nearly all of my best Girl Scout memories from the past 7 years have been at that property, making the prospect of losing it heartbreaking.


On the last day of camp I somehow managed to hold myself together amidst the faces of tears until the last bus carrying sobbing campers home passed by me…then I lost it.  I’m still holding onto the hope that the Council may change their minds, particularly since a buyer hasn’t yet been found and some new information about misrepresented data was presented to the board of directors, causing some interest into an inquiry.  Only time will tell what happens, but I’m certainly grateful for the time that I’ve had at the camp over the years.

En-route
Being a Delta Airlines girl has made me a plane snob…Icelandair (my ride to London via Reykjavík, Iceland) has rock-hard seats and a lack of free food on a transatlantic flight.  Icelandair’s redeeming feature?  Its napkins.  Mine says, “Ingólfer Arnarson was the first settler in Iceland, more than 1100 years ago.  His trip from Norway lasted four days and there were no napkins.”  No napkins?  Poor guy.

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