It’s belonged to others so far, others I’ve wished to join in the title, others I’ve felt sorry for that they bear its impending exit.
Yet today, it is ours and ours alone.
The last day.
Tomorrow, we depart from a place once foreign now familiar to a new unknown.
In our time here we’ve found an ever-changing yet ever-present family. We’ve fallen into a schedule and habits never before formed. Sunset surf? A trip into another world. Trivia Tuesday? One must defend one’s title.
We’ve cycled through schedules from early to bed, early to rise to late nights and lazy mornings and back around again and again. Even I, with my propensity for planning, have learned to let go and just be. A little bit.
This month in a place once unknown, now like home has been full of the ups and downs of, guess what? Life. Yet life in a very different setting.
It’s funny how wherever you go, there you are. Pardon the inspirational kitten poster, next to its philosophical counterpart behind my High School Guidance Counselor’s desk but it does ring true, doesn’t it? That kitten sure is cute (“Hang in there” she says, whilst hanging from a branch) and the philosophy? True.
We may live a life on the opposite side of the Equator but just like us, it too arrived in this polar opposite of places. It’s been wonderful to watch a life develop in even the most drastically different of places.
A place where clothes are a necessity but only for social graces and even then, arriving in a bathing suit and flip-flops is sometimes accessible. In Alaska, clothes are our partners in survival. They serve to spare us in our fight with the cold. Here, clothes create as small a layer as is deemed decent between oneself and the heat. In Alaska we chase the sun all day, here we find moments of respite in shade and prepare for the sun’s might. In Alaska we fight to keep groceries from freezing on the 8-hour drive home, here we fear they’ll spoil or melt in a ten-minute walk. Here, we run to the water to cool off, in Alaska our submersion might kill us.
Yet in all of the opposites, there is a similarity, an Ecualaska or Alascuador or whatever you might come up with of similarities in these drastically different places and within that strange, unexpected similarity we’ve found our rhythm. We’ve found our life in a place so far from where it lies.
Now, we bid it adieu.
Today will be spent soaking up the last rays we can absorb, surfing at sunset (hopefully, since I decided to throw my back out in a triumphant sleeping matching with a too big pillow gone wrong yesterday) and toasting one last time with the family over a shared dinner. Or not. Maybe, it will be spent reading. Either way, I expect a Goodbye Sunburn (check).
Adios, Canoa. You’ve been lovely. You’ve been simultaneously otherworldly and completely the same, drastically different and as familiar as my middle name. We adore you and hope to see you again soon.
Alaska, we are one step closer to your embrace.
But until then, onward, to Baños, Ecuador!
Thanks for this. I was an exchange student to Quito way back when. I bet the place has CHANGED a ton. So chalk me up as another Ecualaskan…
Will you climb the volcanos? That’s so fun.
Nancy Cook, MFA
Writing & Literature Faculty
Ales & Ideas Coordinator
Clatsop Community College
1671 Lexington Ave, T305E
Astoria, OR 97103
“Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do.” Rumi
I bet it has but I’m sure you’d find it to be awesome 👏🏿 We have greatly enjoyed it. We are headed to Baños and are pretty open to it all! I’ll keep you updated. Cheers to another Ecualaskan! ❤️
Re-entry is always strange. Glad you had a wonderful time. Now to wait patiently for break up. Safe travels home.
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Thank you! It is strange, isn’t it? Thankfully we have one week left, then California then Alaska so it will be a slower fade to cold and dark but it will be wonderful to be home either way. Best wishes to you and yours!