So much to see and do, so much to tell. I hardly know where and how to begin. So, let start with the house. Those staying in the house are changing as this is the final week for most of those here now. Pam, a retired teacher from PA, left for Skagway yesterday. She spent two years in the Peace Corp and has been travelling all over (she is my age). I wish I’d had more time to get to know her. Kim, who is from VA, will be leaving very soon to backpack until the end of September. She is in her early 20’s. I almost forgot what that age felt like! She is full of energy and loves people. She is quite the hit at the visitor center as she is ready to chat anytime. A great people person! Lizzie is here until mid-August I believe. She works with the museum curator. Mid to late 20’s I’m guessing, very mature and settled. I will enjoy getting to know her over the coming weeks.
Cappie (her full name is Capitola), is a retired teacher from California (LA area). She is a breast cancer survivor determined to spend this year “off” the couch. 2014 for her was filled with chemo and recovery. She arrived on Sunday and we’ve shared a room this week so I’ve gotten to know more about her. She truly is a delight. Full of light and life. Positive, encouraging, determined and delightful! I think we will become good friends over this summer and possibly meet up again somewhere. Like me, this is her first volunteer experience so we are helping each other out and sharing information as we learn it. Here is a picture of her in uniform. She’ll take mine next week so I can post it as well. Doesn’t she look snazzy!
The majority of this week has been completing paperwork (just can’t get out of the basics no matter where you go and this is the government you know), toured the Russian Bishop House (a must see if you are ever in Sitka) and learned about “roving”. Rove work is a mandatory part of the Volunteer position here. It’s also the part that everyone loves. For an hour a day you must go somewhere in the park (walk a trail, meet cruise buses, see a demonstration, meander around, etc.) and visit with visitors. You count the number of people you meet and jot down that number when you return. The hand-held clicker counters are a must have and they are plentiful at the main desk. It was really great fun and I look forward to more of it. My only issue is that when you are “roving” you are in uniform and people ask you questions. I had a gentleman ask me where The Raptor Center was and I thought I knew. As I was directing him, Ranger James came up behind him on his bike and was shaking his head “no – no – no”. He stopped and graciously corrected my directions. Apparently I was directing him into the Indian River! Geez!
On the bookstore side of things, this involves Alaska Geographic, I hesitate to call it a gift ‘shop’. It’s more like a gift ‘rack’. Picture a welcome center in any small park where there is a counter to accommodate your needs. This counter has a shelf display and beside it there is a revolving rack with books about area interests (totem poles, walking trails, etc.), a national park 2015 tee-shirt, a few trinkets (magnets, patches, postcards, raven finger puppets, chocolate bars, etc.). My work for them includes keeping up with inventory, ordering stock, balancing the cash taken in and making deposits, and encouraging visitors to become members of the Alaska Geographic Society which supports the national parks.
I’m learning not just about Sitka history but also Sea Otters, Totem Poles, Native Beading, etc. My thoughts after 4 days of work is how will I ever remember all of this. I know I will though in time. I do have to keep telling myself to relax and not let my OCD tendencies take over.
Another first this week was attending the local melodrama production of The Story of Sheet’ka. The local arts guild production uses local actors, actresses, and set hands. Many of our volunteers participate. This drama is performed twice a year and while the same story, it changes a bit to incorporate current events as well as maintain the original story. One of our volunteer park rangers played Sarah Palin and she was darn good. The price was right . . . Seniors were $10! The entertainment just perfect.
I was given my official key to the Visitor Center and Russian Bishop House on Tuesday with strict instructions to not lose it. There was lots of stories about the one who lost it in years past and how that was not a good thing. I carefully put it away in a safe location, knowing I would NOT be losing this key! The next morning as I prepared to leave for work . . . wait for it . . . could NOT find my key. I looked everywhere. Every jacket pocket, every pair of pants, took the mattress off the bed to see if it had slipped off the bed. Panic was taking me over. Finally I had to step aside and let it go as it was time to leave for work. Fortunately, I didn’t need to use it that day as I sure didn’t want to admit I’d lost it after less than 12 hours!!!! Good news though, I found it in my wallet late afternoon when I went for money to buy a snack. I know I aged 5 years that day.
My days off are Thursdays and Fridays. Cappie and I have scheduled a hatchery tour on the 17th of July and I’m working on getting us a kayak trip set up soon. Going to get a deep sea fishing expedition planned for sometime soon too.
So much to do and so much to see. As I sit here in the library looking out over the ocean my heart is warm with thoughts of friends and family. God is good. He gives us family and friends to warm our hearts, faith to keep us steady, and a beautiful world to enjoy. Blessings to all of you. Happy 4th of July!!