Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Homesickness: Top Ten

The top ten things that make me homesick to think about (in no particular order):

1. Food. Most specifically, the favorite restaurants that my friends, family, and I regularly visit in Anchorage. The Spenard Roadhouse, Middle Way, Kaladis... I miss a delicious burger, medium-rare, with exciting combinations (like bacon blue cheese) that you just don't find here. Mmm, bacon jam! The pizzas on the menu at Moose's Tooth have ingredients that make my mouth water and that show a level of culinary creativity that I am just plain missing here. What is not to like about 20+ syrups to choose from to make a latte or Italian soda more interesting? OH. And frozen yoghurt at the airport. 

2. Swimming laps in the West High pool. After so many years of swim practice, the West pool has a special place in my heart and remains the most meditative place. I miss the 5am bike ride through the snow to empty parking lot and the morning greetings between the other lap swim regulars. Admittedly, I prefer to drive to the pool these days, but the feeling of counting strokes, breaths, and flip turns is positively delightful.

3. Driving down Minnesota Drive late a night with the local radio on. Wherever I may be headed, I love to enjoy the feeling of my car under me while the few cars on the road dance with each other between the lanes. And after a week I know every song by heart and can sing along, with no one around to hear it. 

4. Geographical formations. One year, a friend was visiting me in Alaska and when we turned from our neighborhood onto Northern Lights going East she gasped. The mountains feel like protective giants watching over the city. I miss rolling my bike out the door an pushing up and down the hills of the coastal trail. I miss seeing the boundary where the city slipped into the ocean in the '64 earthquake and feeling the intense power of the earth. I miss looking out across massive glaciers and admiring their everlasting patience.

5. Quilts. My mom is a quilter. Have you ever seen one of those beautiful, colorful quilts that makes you think of curling up in a little cabin in the woods? Well I was lucky enough to have a mama who made me one when I was just a little kiddo. And then she made me like 3 more. And then there were the ones for the living room, ones for the TV room, ones for the guests, ones for my parents' bedroom, ones for friends, ones for teachers, ones for the cabin. I have no clue how many quilts we have or how many have been made in our house (we sometimes had quilting parties). That feeling of curling up under a warm blanket on a cool winter evening is so much more wonderful when you are curling up under a blanket of love and care. And it's pretty.

6. Orienteering. My second-favorite sport involves maps, compasses, mud, and bug spray. Every Wednesday of the summer season the Arctic Orienteering Club holds orienteering meets. They hangs flags in obscure corners of the forest just so that you can sprint through the underbrush and wade through wetlands in a race with 30 people you may never see during the event to try and find those hidden flags. Navigation has always excited me, and although it's pretty cool to plot courses for our ship, I really miss trying to interpret which 3-yard hill could be that one green patch on the map while running through nature.

7. Solitude. Anchorage is a city, but Alaska is a vast wilderness. There is something fascinating about traveling for miles and not seeing another soul. I love planning where you will get gas because eventually you will be two far from a gas station to think twice. I love walking over tundra in the foothills of Denali and seeing no man-made trails around. I love the internal quiet that comes over you when you realize the sheer expanse of nature around you.

8. Coffee. When I watch someone make a shot of espresso I try to gauge how many pounds of pressure they are using to press down the grounds. I watch the shot glass filling and try to see the three layers of important stuff. I love how Alaska is home to so many little drive-through coffee shacks that I can make pro/con lists and collect punch cards from my favorites. And although I really like my plain-old coffee or simple latte, I love seeing the seasonal creations and crazy names. Besides, coffee is yummy. AND there's something about coffee in Germany that is... just different. And don't you dare say something about how 'well that's because coffee much stronger in Germany' or whatever. Cuz no. Coffee is more complicated than that. And deserves more respect than that.

9. Fashion. Well, Alaskan fashion. Alaskans are not know for good fashion sense. Rather... the opposite. However, we have a few things down: colorful skirt/tights/clogs combinations; winter skirts (yeeeah!); hand-made, local jewelry; winter sandals (as long as there's no fresh snow, why not?); mukluks, kuspuks, Alaska Grown, State-Fair-products and everything Alaskan.

10. Winter. Yeah, this one makes sense, right? sheesh. Alaskans. Did you know that when the first snow comes I tend to run outside and dance around? I have run out of class, AFS events and peaceful evenings in my apartment to do this. Snow makes me feel cozy inside. The crisp winter air is a fresh reminder of how beauty hides everywhere we look. Have you ever looked outside your window in the dark of winter and seen the brightness that snow shares with the world despite the darkness around it. Have you ever seen the vast white wilderness around you sparkle before your eyes? Ugh. I love squeaky snow under my boots, I love frost on my eyelashes, I love the sight of undisturbed fresh show on the street. And I really miss putting on my skis, V2ing across the stadium and feeling like I am flying...

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful... I may have teared up a little. :')