Why Kenai, Alaska?
“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” ~Andre Gide
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing” ~Helen Keller
“My life and career is my own adventure” ~Dario Argento
“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold” ~Helen Keller
We so often get our ideas from the sayings and teachings of others; better yet, ideas come from our own actions, words, and experiences. So where did my idea to trek to Alaska come from? I like to think the story begins with Tracie Peterson’s book series The Song of Alaska.
While these books are set in a different time (1800s), the characters, setting, and story took root and decided to spark my interest. I haven’t always been determined to go to Alaska; the books simply inspired me to dream. It wasn’t until last fall (October 2011) that I started making my dream a reality.
Every month I get the ASHA Leader and enjoy perusing the theme-of-the-month, reading the latest EBP, and brainstorming ways to get our UWG NSSLHA in the Leader. At the very end of every issue are the Classifieds; it just so happens Alaska usually always has an opening, such as the one pictured to the right. Now, who wouldn’t want to sign up for that job?!
So I called this “Clayton Holland” fellow who is the Director of Pupil Services for the district (just fyi). He was the kindest person, who was more than happy to have me visit and observe the SLPs. Problem solved about where I would go in Alaska . I had a few other obstacles to overcome:
- Where can I find nearly $1,000 to buy a plane ticket, stay for a week, eat, and get around?
- Where would I stay?
- Who would I observe?
- When would I go between school, work, and extra commitments?
- Money Problems – RESOLVED – Over Christmas 2011, my dad tore down his old barn. He let me sell all the scrap metal and keep the profits. I made almost $600.
- Plane Ticket – RESOLVED – For 3 months I looked at plane tickets. The price was around $800 every single time I looked. I decided to use Kayak.com since I saw a commercial. I bought my round-trip airfare from Atlanta to Anchorage and back for $450.
- Where to Stay – RESOLVED – I posted on Facebook that I wanted to visit Kenai, Alaska and jokingly asked if anyone knew a person in the area. Well, this is what happens when the jokes on you…a professor here at UWG said his ex-wife used to live and work in Kenai as a School Psychologist. WOAH. He gave me her contact information to see if she knew anyone in the area since she had since moved away. WOAH. Not only did she say she knew someone in the area, she had written a book about her experience living and working in Kenai. WOAH!. (Her name is Debra Sanders, author of A Matter of Panche). I am now staying with her good friends who just so happen to be a retired school teacher and a retired principal who knows many of the SLPs in the district. God sure knows how to set things up.
- Getting Around – RESOLVED – The kind couple I’m staying with has offered to let me drive their car and/or take me wherever I want to go. They are picking me up at the Anchorage Airport, which is 2 and a half hours from their house. Such kind people.
- SLPs to Observe – RESOLVED – The wonderful woman I am staying with has given me the contact information for some Speech-Language Pathologists in the Kenai Peninsula District. I will be observing 3 different SLPs while I’m there. And I will get to meet this Mr. Holland who has these wonderful postings in the ASHA Leader every month.
- When to Go – RESOLVED – It just so happens, May 2 – 12 was the cheapest time to fly, best time to observe the SLPs, best time for work since I’ve completed many of my duties ahead of schedule, and it was what God had planned along.