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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Traveling is Really about People...Meeting New Ones and Reconnecting with Old Ones.

I slept maybe 3 hours. I do not know why. I could've slept all day, but for some reason I woke up well before lunch. The wanderer inside me knew it was in a new, interesting place with little time. The sun was looking wonderful and sublime up in that sapphire sky, reflecting off the snow and all. I had to see this place that I'd always wanted to come to. Because it was March, however, the strange overabundance of day or night that Alaska is notorious for was not occuring . Day and night were in agreeance on how much time they had during the day. They had a deal, I guess you could say, just like most anyplace else.

So I phoned Andrea who I knew lived in the area. Though, I was taking a chance for I knew that she was probably very busy being a mother and all. And I was lucky, for she happened to be on her way to Anchorage anyway. They lived some way out. But she would be glad to pick me up at the Puffin Inn.

Excited about seeing my old friend and colleage, I went into the lobby of the Puffin Inn to wait. And there I found the two Japanese girls from the previous night, planning to go on their own excursion of this strange place fate had brought them, while the fires of their home country raged. They had maps in hand and strangely enough, had this cheery disposition. Both of these girls were about 20 and at the University. One was studying Japanese Literature. Later in our travels, I tried name tossing several names of authors around. But my knowledge of Japanese Literature being scant. I probably only confused her and myself. The other girl was studying Elementary Education and she was interested in the fact that I was going to Korea to teach children. She loved kids, you could tell, for whenever waiting in line, she'd glow any time a child was around. Their names was something very similiar like "Situka and Sutika". The consonants being all the same but the vowels being a pinch different. Oddly enough, they didn't even know each other before all this happened. Though they seemed inseparable. The Japanese Literature girl was traveling back from Disney World. The Education girl was traveling back from visiting some of her family in Ohio. Its just that this horrible catastrophe threw both their lives together. I would be willing to bet that they are best friends now. Dark times have a way of doing that. Since Andrea was driving in to pick me up, I offered them a ride to downtown Anchorage; I was sure Andrea wouldn't mind. And its better than them having to call a taxi.

When Andrea arrived they climbed in the back. Both of them sitting on either side of Andrea's daughter Clara who was in her car seat. The Education girl was beaming at how cute Clara was. And then we all rode to the central part of Anchorage, which was smaller than I had first thought. Andrea gave them clear directions on what there was all to see in town. They left going on their own and then Andrea, Clara and I traveled across town to meet Andrea's husband, James, for lunch.

I had first met Andrea way back in Texas at that missionary school I went to. At that time, I found it very cool that I knew someone from the Alaskan wilderness. She wore her dress long and her hair almost as long. She was probably the most mature person in our class, though I think she was only 18 at the time. She was a brilliant student. During our classes, we were at the top of our classes. I was a wild, creative person who for once in my life, if only once, decided to apply myself. But like a comet fizzles out. She was just a great student. Responsible, dutiful, and sharp. She was home-schooled and getting good grades and earning the respect of those older were probably 2nd nature to her. Then we ended being on the same team to Russia. She was in love with Russia from the beginning, had actually known a thing or two about the language and the people before she even knew she was going there. She proved a person full of wisdom and moral strength when there. I greatly respected her.

I recall before the days of Russia, when we were living in Texas, walking into Andrea's room. And seeing this young man in a framed picture sitting on her desk.
"Who's this?" I asked.
"Oh, that's James."
"Your boyfriend?'
"No. Just..(long pause)...James. A friend."
Right then and there, I knew something was up.
(She might've even had a flower beside the portrait but this could be in my imagination).
But she continued to talk about this friend back home in Alaska. How they had went to the same church and probably had the same snow ball fights outside of it when children.
And he even, a year later, went through the same missionary program and ended up going to the Ukraine. And after they had both got back to their home sweet home of Alaska. They got married and now they had their child, Clara. Wonderful news. It was good reconnecting with the both of them. For I had not seen Andrea since a few weeks after I got back from Russia, what seemed like ages ago. Though, it was strange, unforeseen circumstances that brought me hither. But how else does Brian Harrison wind up knocking on one's door?


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