If you really know me, you will know that my life is a musical, and for the next 14 days, I will have “Con Te Partiro” performed by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman stuck in my head. As a matter of fact, while reading this, you can click the play button on that YouTube video and listen as you read my story.
The time has come for many goodbyes down here in Wisconsin. However, the next two weeks will be filled with both hellos and goodbyes.
Just the other night, I was fortunate enough to meet and say hello to former Wisconsin US Senator Russ Feingold. He is running again in 2016.
What fun to tell Russ about my plans to move to Alaska and why. He did ask me if I was leaving due to all of the political contempt towards education and teachers over the last 5 years in Wisconsin. I told him absolutely, and if he can help turn things around in the future, then maybe I would return.
I also had to say goodbye to my good friend Todd.
There are many others that I have to say goodbye to, but I feel that instead of saying “goodbye”, I will simply say “later gator”.
My two best friends Margot and Jack are getting to know each other finally. It’s funny how we have friends that don’t know each other, but when they meet, they actually like the other, and the chemistry is a match. My best buds are in their 70’s and now that I am leaving, they need a new form of entertainment: each other. How sweet. It will be difficult to say goodbye to them, so I will save it for later.
What is fascinating, is the timing of all this. A few days ago, my sister-in-law just had a new daughter and I am a first time Aunt. So in that case, I get to say “hello” and “goodbye” at the same meeting later this week. How great for my brother and his darling wife. And yet, I am sad not to be apart of this new addition to our family for the first years.
This week has also brought a whirlwind of activity from the new people in my life!
The University of Alaska has a cultural immersion program called ACHIEVE (Alaska’s Cultural Heritage In Education is Vital for Excellence). I received a phone call from a guy named Carl, who set me up with a few people from an offshoot called WorldWideIDEA (WWIDEA). These really great WWIDEA people were able to help me and my husband get some airfare to Fairbanks.
I am now coming to Fairbanks 5 days early to be apart of the Howard Luke’s Gaalee’ya Spirit Camp outside of Fairbanks. We are going to participate in all kinds of activities and learn all about the Athabascan culture! This camp will also count for 3 credits toward the 6 total that I need for my 5-year Alaskan teaching license. I found out too, that there are several board members from the Yukon-Koyukuk School District that will be at this camp, and live in Nulato as well. This will be a great way to get an introduction of the new culture that I am entering into.
I have had great conversation with new people up in Alaska. The people of AK understand the difficulties that us greehorns have with transitioning and understanding the situation we are getting ourselves into. So a big thanks to all of my new friends up in Alaska. I can’t wait to finally see them all in person.
A little bluebird reminded me to thank everyone back here in my neck of the woods for all their encouragement and financial support over the years. To me, this of course, is the most important part of my entire story. Without my family and friends none of this would have been possible. My parents gave me support financially over my last semester as a student teacher. Without their help, I would not have been able to focus so diligently on my students and the many tasks at hand. I also wanted to thank my dear friends Julie Draves and her husband William for their willingness to hire me temporarily while I transition from student to teacher. This support allowed for me to spend crucial time on the hunt, as I have been told it was, by so many colleagues. Without my family and friends, none of this would have been possible, so from the deepest part of my sincerest intentions, I hope they know how much they mean to me.
Lastly, I would like to thank my professors in the Teacher Education Department at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Without their encouragement to take a risk and pursue my aspirations, I would not have succeeded in becoming the teacher that I am. I must point out my deepest inspirational encouragement came from Jose Vega, Camilla Horne, Florence Monsour, Brenda Wright, Hilary Pollack, Ben Tierney, Heather Delisle, Faye Perkins, Ken Olson, Vladimir Pavlov, Robyn Tiedeman, Terrance Manetter, John LeCapitan, Michael Martin, and of course, Tyler Koepke.
And know, to those who think that our hard earned tax dollars may be going to waste on my subsidized Federal loans, I can and will tell you this, they are being put to good use educating many students. My story is an excellent example of why this country needs the programs that are provided using our tax dollars. We are here to teach ALL children in this nation. I am specifically here to help the children in a very remote part of the nation. They have less opportunity than their lower 48 counterparts. At least I’m not a Bankster…yes, I’m taking from society, but it is also a process of social structure that recycles an investment into people that are necessary for us to function, such as engineers, scientists, police, firemen, doctors and teachers – the real future guardians of this nation.