Is this what being an adult is like? Are we all just faking it until we make it? Or…just keep faking it?
Living in Seward has been quite the culture shock. Viewing through the lens of someone that avoids eye contact as much as possible with people I don’t know. But that’s the thing, everyone here knows who you are eventually. Like my editor, who is also on city council. The teller at the bank chats her up. No less than five people in the grocery store will accost her with greetings and questions about the road conditions. The coffee shop girl congratulates her on her husband’s retirement. This is a tiny, tiny town with big, big ears.
I’ve had a lot of new terms and old terms in new context thrown at me: Seward Marine Industrial Center, Coastal Villages, Shell Oil, BP, charity competitions sponsored by oil companies, Alaska Permanent Fund checks, Save the Bristol Bay commercials. they’re-called-snowmachines-not-snowmobiles, Yupik people and language, Qutekcak Native Tribe, breakup.
Not the tear-drenched, love songs on replay breakup. Breakup like the one people take bets on up here to guess when spring has finally arrived.
People here count each minute of extra daylight. It’s rather precious. It’s been getting lighter earlier and earlier every day.
I saw my first bald eagle. It was amazing. And first moose! It just trotted into the road on my way to the gym with one of the councilwomen.
So far I’ve interview the city manager, assistant city manager, the harbormaster, and the fire chief and not one has made me feel silly or childlike and in fact I think that we are all faking it.
Whenever I ask a question I am surprised I get a genuine answer because I’m waiting for the moment for someone to shove their chair back, point a finger at me and declare, “Liar! You are not a real journalist! I will not answer the questions of a phony!”
But they don’t. And that’s pretty cool.
I’m having dreams of Florida every night and I do miss the sunshine and palm trees and not having to wear socks or layers. But I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would. For now it’s an adventure.
I hop on the elliptical at 6 a.m. while the distinguished ladies of the Seward council work the stationary bike and treadmill and talk about work drama and people such as Mike Chenault and Lindsey Holmes like they’re next-door neighbors and I am generally quite astonished and pleased to be included in conversations and taken seriously and shown pictures of grandchildren.
As the assistant city manager put it, this is a state that is geographically big and politically small.
The other day I had a meeting at City Hall so I pulled on my Xtratuffs and walked through the snow to “downtown” Seward — a mile away from the house.
I arrived at 9 a.m. but my interview was at 10 a.m. so I went to get a coffee from the Sea Bean and walked down to Resurrection Bay. I swiped some snow off of a rock and sat down and watched the Alaska sun rise over the mountains.
It’s still surreal that I’m here.