Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rise Up Singing

As my time in Nome comes to an end, so do my awesome, awesome guitar lessons.

I am a little sad that August brings to a close the opportunity to learn from a very accomplished musician, Sarah C. Hanson. If you haven't checked out her store, Bearing Song, stop by for a quick visit (if you happen to live in Nome). If you can't make your way to the store, check out her newest c.d., Treasure A Storm Can Bring on CD Baby (it's also available on CD Universe and Amazon). This c.d. is quickly becoming the soundtrack to my eventual departure and is a mainstay in my truck's c.d. changer.

At any rate, I am feeling much more confident in my guitar skills and cannot wait to share my new found love of strumming with any new PC peps.

I am even more excited to share my rendition of Moondance with my mom, in which I have been working to "own" that song. I may not be the best singer on the block, but I think I can rock out with the best of them.

Thanks Sarah for helping me grow musically (and happy birthday)!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Served

I got served -

my staging packet! It came in the mail yesterday. Inside this hefty package was everything I need to know about my first day as Peace Corps Trainee and how to get there. Also, there's a compact disc with more info, another Volunteer handbook, a handbook for my family, and some miscellaneous paperwork.

Today, I am making travel arrangements to the East coast. Wish me luck - flying across the nation is not an easy feat.

Staging starts Saturday, September 20 at 1 p.m. Nowhere on the list does it say "Immunizations" - so now I am worried when they will stick that in (get it...stick it in...I am so funny). Ugh...I hate shots.

Anyway, after two days of fun, I leave the United States at 9:35 p.m. on Monday, September 22. I fly to Frankfurt and then on to Baku. I arrive in Baku at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

It's so on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let's Get Political


Tuesday was Primary Day here in Alaska. I love voting days - well, really, I love the sticker you get for voting. Stickers are cool.

The best thing about Primary Day was it turned out to be just one stop in the Tour D'Political for Nome. On Monday, my dad and I helped organize an Obama Rally (Obama's Alaska Office sent up a representative), Tuesday was Primary Day and another Obama event, Wednesday Alaska State Senator Donny Olson gave a Rotary presentation and on Friday, Alaska Senatorial Candidate and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich will be in Nome!

Although, I am leaving the country in 25 days, I am pretty excited about this year's political climate. I am ecstatic at the number of young people taking notice of today's issues. I cannot wait until November - well, actually 60 days earlier for me as I get a special Absentee Ballot!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Taboo Smaboo

Men, cover your ears.  Today, I am speaking to the ladies.

One of the bigger issues I have been facing is what to do at that special time of the month when I feel like my ovaries are in an epic battle with my uterus.

I am pretty sure any sort of feminine hygiene product is going to cause a ruckus and I am not sure about the access to hand washing water or trash cans...

That's why I was extremely relieved when one day, while perusing other Volunteer blogs, I found a comment about the Diva Cup.  After more online research, I found a great website that provided me with all the info I needed on menstrual cups.

Recently, I ordered the Mooncup UK and cannot wait to try it.  I'm a little scared, but I think everything will be fine.  Wish me luck...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hairdate #3

For those who are interested in my hair o'natural, here's a few pictures!

No Matt, I am still not channeling Angela Davis.

To get the super curl, I followed a pretty neat You Tube tutorial from Curly Chronicles. I am pretty enamored with this chick's style and am hoping to keep up my own positive and forward thinking hair regime.

On the super positive side, this look took me less than 15 minutes!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

CD Me

Over the past two months, correspondence from the Peace Corps has been a little...nonexistent. I figured that the PC peps knew they already had me by the boot straps and felt they could beg off a bit on the letter writing campaign.

Although, the Peace Corps hasn't been writing, I have been in regular contact with my graduate committee and UAF's Graduate School. Good news on that front, I am signed up, paid up, and ready to earn my first 3 credits out of a possible 12 credit PCMI load.

Okay, back to the point. I got a letter from the Peace Corps yesterday. I have been patiently waiting for my travel information, but on Monday, I received a letter and compact disc. The cd was chaulk full of info about AZ Volunteers, Staff and projects, not to mention a brief overview of upcoming expectations (such as no visble tattoos).

Overall, I am starting to get a bit nervous. At any rate, I am headed to Philadelphia in 30 days!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's Been Fun


One of the great things about Nome is the amount of "fun runs". If you are so inclined, you can probably schedule a run a week based solely on when a fun run happens to be scheduled during the summer.

This summer, I took part in as many runs as I possibly could. Unfortunately, as the summer winds down, so do the outside activities. Two weekends ago, I participated in my last Nome jaunt for the next two years.

The cool thing about this fun run (the Dexter Challenge) was everyone had the option of biking it, running it or walking it. I chose to walk it (my dad and friend AnnieKate joined me). We had a great time arguing over cultural practices and quizzing AnnieKate on her upcoming driver's test.

I am going to miss these fun runs, but don't worry. Maybe I can plan one or two of my own in my next resting place!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hairdate #2

In Black American culture, it's known as the Big Chop (often abbreviated as the BC).

Saturday, I did the BC. Personally, I think I look cute. As some of you may know, I am a short hair type of girl. I hate feeling hair tickle my neck, but more importantly, I hate going through an entire bottle of conditioner a week.

Speaking of conditioner, did I mention I tried out a new brand of organic hair products and fell in love! It's Aubrey Organics and it rocks.

As my sister would say - Well, that was a non-sequitur - or maybe it wasn't. Sure made sense in my head.

P.S. A big shout out goes to Ruth Weiss at Golden Scissors!  Thank you for the awesome style!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bad Idea...Good Idea

As my time here in AK winds down, I am indulging in all my favorite Alaskan past times.

One such past time is canoing. I love it. I love meandering down a river, forgetting clocks and time, and simply enjoying the beauty of the land around me. With that intent in mind, Amy and I planned an adventurous down the Nome River - regardless of the weather.

Well, the weather was normal for Nome (sideways rain); however, the mounting of the canoe turned out to be an adventure in itself. Needless to say, we scrapped the canoe idea (check out the picture for a reason why) and instead enjoyed a pointless meandering down West Beach.

I love Nome in August (big fan of sideways rain) and had a great time chatting, beach combing, and viewing the sights (check out the row of gold miners on the beach. At least 6 camp sites showed their American pride with flapping flags).

Next grand adventure, blueberry picking and a hike or two!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Progress Report

Interested in the Life of Löki? Here's a progress update:
  1. I have accepted an invitation to serve in the country of Azerbaijan. Orientation starts September 21, 2008. Once sworn in (about 3 months after I arrive in country), I will serve from December 9, 2008 to December 9, 2010.
  2. I have no idea which AZ town/village I will eventually serve in. My Orientation is in Baku (the capital of Azerbaijan).
  3. I will be serving as a Youth Development Facilitator.  I think that means I will be doing exactly what I am doing here in Nome: Helping youth succeed. 
  4. My tentative last day in Alaska is September 13. After that, I hope to spend some time with my East Coast peps.
  5. Currently, my staging is set in Philadelphia (3 days of inoculations).
  6. I have amassed a pretty neat packing list. Comment me if you can think of anything I have missed.
  7. Using my handy packing list, I am almost done with the internet shopping and preparing of stuff. On August 23, I will be participating in a family style garage sale.  Don't worry Liana, I won't sell too much of my awesome clothing ;)
  8. Two weeks ago, I had my Living Will notarized.  I am still waiting for my sister to send back my Power of Attorney documents.  Sometime this week, I will write my Last Will & Testament.
  9. I finally registered for my 3 graduate credits. Each semester, my dad will continue to register me for 3 UAF graduate credits.
  10. I have decided to chop off my hair (or at least the relaxed parts).  I will do this right before I leave (wish me luck...or at least hope I don't freak out too much).
  11. My last day of work is September 5.
  12. My birthday is September 10 (more of that to follow in a separate post).
Not much else to say...any questions?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Light'er Up!


I (along with most of my friends) have been lamenting the end of my Nalgene. I was the first on the bandwagon of reusable water bottles and immediately jumped ship when I heard about the bad chemicals leeching into my water.

Unfortunately, this info left many of us with tons of Nalgenes. Luckily, I lost my Nalgene in a village awhile ago and decided to switch to a Sigg. This past week, a friend of mine needed to offload a Nalgene or two and I could not let her simply toss them in the trash.

That's why I got online and searched out a few ideas on how to use an old Nalgene. My favorite find? The Sol Light LightCap 2000! This awesome lid turns your Nalgene into a lantern with a simply twist of the wrist. There is a battery powered version available at REI, but this one runs on the sun's energy!

Other ideas include turning your Nalgene into a planting container or making it the keeper of odds and ends.

How do you plan to recycle your old Nalgene?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

If You Live...

I get this comment a lot: That'll be fun, if you live.

I am going to live. The Peace Corps is 100% proactive in its care for the welfare of a Volunteer. If I don't live, think of the party you will have at my wake - I jokes.

My point is that everyone needs to stop worrying (or at least stop worrying out loud). I think it is making my dad nervous.

If you really are concerned, read this (I copied this from a PDF the Peace Corps provides for Friends and Family):

KEY POINTS ABOUT SAFETY AND SECURITY IN THE PEACE CORPS

In matters of safety and security, the Peace Corps makes the following key assumptions:

Serving as a Volunteer Involves Safety and Security Risks

Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assaults do occur.

Volunteers Are Expected to Adopt a Culturally Appropriate Lifestyle to Promote Their Safety

Being a Volunteer requires changes in lifestyle preferences and habits in deference to host country cultural expectations and in order to minimize security risks. Choices in dress, living arrangements, means of travel, entertainment, and companionship may have a direct impact on how Volunteers are viewed, and thus treated, by their communities. Navigating the differences in gender relations may be one of the most sensitive and difficult lessons to learn, but one which could have a direct impact on the Volunteer's safety and the protection provided by the local community. Mature behavior and the exercise of sound judgment will enhance personal safety.

Each Peace Corps Post Maintains a Volunteer Safety Support System Designed to Minimize Safety Risks, as Prescribed by Peace Corps Policy

Fundamental to the Peace Corps approach to Volunteer safety is the fact that Volunteers can most effectively minimize their safety risks by building respectful relationships with those in their community. The Peace Corps has instituted a broad and systematic approach to increase Volunteers' capacity to keep themselves safe during their two-year service. This approach is based upon several fundamental tenets of Volunteer safety and security. These include: building relationships, sharing information, training, site development, incident reporting and response, and emergency communications and planning. Read more about these tenets here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dr. Stang & Roni ROCK!

I love Nome.  I love the people of Nome.  I love the community of Nome.  I love the essence of Nome.

Okay, okay.  I know I am going a little overboard here with love for Nome, but I've got to say, this town is awesome.  Besides small-town Alaska, where can you walk down the street and have the doctor who delivered you, your third grade teacher, and the local Iditarod celebrity call out your family nickname and ask you how your truck's transmission is working out?

Nome is great.  I can't begin to express my gratitute at having grown up in such a caring and loving town.  Just the other day, I went in for a quick dental adjustment and my dentist (the same guy whose worked on my chompers since I was knee high to a snow-go) gave me a Sonicare tooth brush, telling me to make sure I keep good care of my teeth while I serve in AZ.  How wicked sweet is that?

Thanks again Dr. Stang!  I have been seriously fretting over the lack of dental care I will receive over the next two years, but after reading all the online stuff about the Sonicare, I now feel like all of my worrying was for naught!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Löki Powered


So, if you've been reading this bloggy blog, you know I sold my truck to my dad a few weeks ago.

This past week, my dad sold his truck.

That means, we are back to a one car duo. That wouldn't be so bad, but for some silly reason, we both are ridiculously active people.

So, last week, I dug out one of my dad's ancient bikes, secured a just-as-ancient neon green helmet to my head, and took my first bike ride of the season.

Now, I don't mind rollin on 26's once in awhile, but I'm a pretty wobbly peddler. I did not learn to ride a bike until I was 12 and since it was not a mainstay of my young adult life, I never took the time to gain the confidence most of us walk away with after our countless tween tumbles. Thus, I am pretty darn scared of falling (hence, the helmet and strong consideration of strapping pillows to both sides of my body).

At any rate, I plan to peddle it for my remaining month in Alaska. That way, I can really say I have gone completely green (not to mention I got to get all my bike loving done now as PC Azerbaijan does not allow Volunteers to have bikes).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Gerbers Ain't For Babies

Check out the newest addition to my Peace Corps' In Preparation Packing Stack (i.e. the mountain of stuff hiding under my bed that I have collected for my upcoming PC adventure), a Gerber 07564 Pro Scout Needlenose with Tool Kit!I just received this nifty tool as a gift from my step-dad. I cannot wait to saw through some rope or rewire a small industrial city!

Thanks Gary for the super neat (and very thoughtful) gift!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bonds That Won't Break


I may be a bit biased, but my friends are the best group a friends a person can have. They aren't just my friends, they are my family, my co-conspirators, and often my inner voice of reason.

Last weekend, I joined Aggie, Sarah, Regina, Will, Meghan and Matt for our annual Team camping trip. This year's adventure was in Denali National Park, where we camped, indulged, rafted and generally wreaked havoc. Although, a few people were missing, we had a great time. We had Team t-shirts (special thanks to Regina for her awesome design), took over "the Bake" and warmed Brie on an open fire.

As we parted ways, the melancholy of the moment took over as we all realized a long separation is about to occur. Before the tears took hold, I was warmed by the fact that our bonds won't break and even if it takes two or three years, we will have another Team trip. After all, we are Team AK.