Friday, February 29, 2008

Moving to Pelican, AK

     So for the few people I haven't told yet... I was sitting in front of my computer one day in late July, it was hot! Around 108, and I was realizing that the white brick house that I bought did get hot in the summer and that some kind of air conditioning was really needed. I was also very tired because I had woken up at 4:00 am to deliver 200 newspapers. I was not happy and there was nothing I was looking for online. So as I sometimes do, I ended up staring at the Google Page wondering what to type in. Sweat rolled down my face and I typed: Teaching Jobs in Alaska (in retrospect that was a strange thing to do, as great as google is there are much better job finder engines). I clicked and some interesting sites popped up. There was one that peaked my curiosity, it said: Secondary Generalist, Pelican. So being the unabashed person I am I dialed the number to find out what a Generalist is.

     I knew that I had dialed beyond the edge of the map when the voice on the other line said "Please hold for the Superintendent", I was shocked, I didn't want to waste this person's time! I just wanted to ask some secretary an unimportant question. Forty-five minutes later I did a search on Pelican and read everything I found. Within an hour I was talking with my wife (we have both thought about moving to Alaska more than once before...). The next day I called and spoke with Connie (the Superintendent) for another hour about the job and the town and what living is really like in Pelican. I said that I was interested in the job and set up a Teleconference interview.

     As if things weren't crazy enough already (remember this was the end of July as in a few weeks before School starts!) I was leaving on a camping trip to Yosemite the next day and knew there would be no cell service. So I checked out a hotel room for a few hours (never did it occur to me what the manager must have been thinking when I asked about it...) I had the interview and asked them to leave a message at my house to let me know about the job offer. The interview went well. The school called about an hour after the interview, they wanted me. So I spent a long time talking on the phone with my wife about actually moving to Alaska.

     Oh yeah, and I said that I would be able to be there in two weeks when the School year began. I left Yosemite a day early and got home and started packing. My packing was with one thought; how much do I have to have to survive for one year. Jenni and I had made the decision that we would give this crazy notion of rural Alaska a try for one year. So I gathered my things and started filling the garage with the rest of our things. Oh yeah, and by the way, my wife was also out of town while all this went on, she was at a family reunion. So when she got home we worked wildly to empty our house of our belongings.

Now most people that had heard about this thought we were crazy. One thing did comfort me immensely. You must be wondering now what I was going to do with my house. Well within two days we had not only found renters we could trust, but we had sold our car, which we would not need in Pelican.

So after a few days I drove to Seattle (in record time) and boarded a plane to The Last Frontier. To the credit of my amazing wife, I left two kids and a huge amount of work in Utah to finish in a week. She gathered family and friends to help her and got everything done. Then brought those two kids (7 and 7 months!) and 20 or so boxes over two thousand miles to this tiny little town that we were supposed to call home for at least the next 9 months!

And I can now say it was one of the best things we've ever done.