Friday, May 9, 2014

Hi from Alaska!

Welcome to my first blog post from Alaska!

I meant to write sooner, but due to so many factors like getting settled in, all day trainings, not being able to figure out the wireless in my room, my body still thinking it's in Texas and being exhausted all the time, I just haven't felt like blogging. So let me catch you up.

First, YES, Alaska is beautiful. Even though there's still patches of snow on the ground and the trees look dead and I'm in the middle of not so much a lodge as a resort (think wilderness Disney) ... it's gorgeous. The mountain view is breathtaking. You can't help but be happy when you look at it. The air is so fresh and crisp and smells faintly of pine. It doesn't get dark till after 10:30 and next month it will be later than that.

Second, on a human level, this experience has been so enriching already. You know the people that we usually think are invisible? The maids, the busboys, the dishwashers, the fry cooks, the servers, yes, *cough*, even the front desk clerks. I'm not proud to say I've gone through most of my whole life not giving any of these people a second glance, much less a second thought. It's almost like when you see them, they're not even there. Well now that's changed. Here, when I'm by myself thousands of miles away from home, they're my neighbors, my coworkers, and my friends. I haven't met a single unfriendly person since I've been here and it's been an important lesson in looking past someone's title to their beautiful spirit underneath.

One of the first people I met as we were waiting for the shuttle in Anchorage to take us to our resort was a middle aged man who will be working the early shift as a cook...the guy who makes your scrambled eggs and bacon in the morning. He's so nice and always has a friendly word when he sees me -- except for the day I wore my A&M sweatshirt, but that's another story.

I love the servers. They're cool and outgoing and have such interesting backstories coupled with an edgy attitude.

But there's a tie for the most adorable people I've met here so far: first up is the Jersey couple, a ridiculously good looking pair, probably in their early 20s, who are here on their first big adventure. The male of the couple has an enthusiasm that's contagious, is just so happy to be alive, and is nice to every single person he meets. The female of the pair is much more shy but every bit as sweet. Their jobs? To strip linens off the beds after guests leave. Glamorous? No. But it doesn't stand in their way of having a good time no matter where they are.

Also in the running for the most adorable pair isn't a couple in the romantic sense, but a pair of young guys, also in their early 20's, who I met this morning on the walk to breakfast. I had stopped to take a picture and they fell in step beside me, also with huge grins on their faces, and we started talking. They're from Bulgaria, college students here on an exchange program, and seemed just so happy to be alive. Their jobs? Dishwashers. Probably the dirtiest, crappiest, most thankless jobs in a restaurant, yet they just radiated enthusiasm and excitement.

Then there's me and my fellow front desk friends. Today we were issued our uniforms. Who would have ever thought I'd be wearing a hotel services uniform??? Not me! But when the four of us ladies were in the bathroom trying them on and laughing hysterically because of how we looked and how we all wanted to tie our scarves in different--and not company approved--ways, it was once again a reminder that you can have fun no matter what your job is or what you're doing as long as you have the right attitude.

If you're wondering, I had tied my scarf in a huge bow around my neck.

This was my boss's reaction when she saw it:
Her: You look so...
Me: Dapper?
Her: Clownish.

And then we all got free ice cream from the espresso stand. :)

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