Thursday, July 7, 2016

On Returning For A Second Year...

Well, we're on Week 5 here at the lodge which in and of itself is crazy. June flew by and I'm sure July will as well. I had planned to post something on Day 1, but with the new expansion things have been especially crazy around here. Coming back was a strange mix of new and old; as if familiar and unfamiliar were playing tug-of-war all around me. I think my biggest mistake was thinking everything would be the same as it was last year, because although most of the crew was here last year we are working in a new kitchen and living in a new crew quarters. It was a weird adjustment where I didn't know where anything was or what was left to be done and I felt like a new employee all over again. Once the season got started things felt a lot more normal, and especially once we got past the first few weeks of new guests. The first two weeks are almost completely new guests and it's always great to meet new people and watch them go from silent at dinner on the first night to chatting like old friends on the last night, but having the returning guests here is so nice. It was a welcome change this year that instead of saying, "Hello, my name is Molly..." this season I get to say "Hi, it's so nice to see you again..." And working with people that I've already spent a season working with makes everything so much easier.

Last year I wrote an Alaska Bucket List before I left and I was lucky to cross every item off the list, so this year I have a new list:

  1. See the orcas. I see Humpback Whales every day, but I never seem to be around when the orcas are seen. This year I plan to change that.
  2. See a bear. I am the only person left who hasn't seen a bear.
  3. Catch a big Halibut. The biggest one I've ever caught is 33 lbs. That's not big.
Coming back was a bigger adjustment than I thought it would be, but it's definitely easier than it was coming up here the first time. Already knowing the job, the crew, and a lot of the guests makes everything a little easier. I can't believe we're already 1/3 of the way through the season, it's flying by (fun fact: my 21st birthday is in 44 days. Woohoo!). Each day has its ups and downs but as long as the good days outweigh the bad it'll all be worth it in the end. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Quick(ish) Shoutout to Saturday

I've been on this planet for a little over twenty years, two whole decades. Within each of those years were fifty-two weeks, each containing one Saturday. So far, I have experienced roughly one thousand and forty Saturdays. That's a lot of Saturdays. Some were more exciting then others. Some I don't remember because I was simply to young to retain the knowledge. Some were spent in bed with a bowl of popcorn and the whole of Netflix at my fingertips; endless hours of entertainment and it didn't matter when I went to sleep because I didn't have school the next day. Some were spent sleeping over at a friend's house playing Mario until we shouted ourselves hoarse. Some were spent staying out late dancing in crowded rooms with too many people and going to Zips at two AM, which is always fun, even when they give you regular fries instead of curly fries. But no matter how they're spent, Saturday nights are something every person looks forward to.

Saturday is the best day of the week, and here is why you should agree with me:
  1. Friday has school. Sure, you can still do something fun that night, but you still have to spend the day in school and school isn't exactly hours of fun.  
  2. You don't have to do homework on Saturday. Sunday is the day when you kick yourself and swear that next weekend you won't save all of your home for Sunday night at 9:00 PM, and you have an entire week to forget why you hated yourself come Sunday.
  3. By the time Sunday rolls around you're already counting down to the next weekend. Sure, you say you're looking forward to Friday (see point 1), but still.
While I'd like to credit everything to Saturday, I must give credit where credit is due. Saturday is only as fun as those you surround yourself with. Some nights it's a laptop and a bowl of popcorn. Other nights it is a choice few favorite people. The nights that always stick with me though are the ones where I just end up surrounded by a ton of people that I love. The unplanned nights, the ones where you aren't sure how you are going to pass the hours until you realize that they've already passed. That's the beauty of Saturday. It's the one day that you can throw the routine out the window and just let the night take control. So thank you Saturday for making all the other days worth getting out of bed for. We'll see you next weekend. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Open Door Policy...

The door to my dorm room is heavy. It's easier to just keep the door shut. Less noise gets through, I can do whatever I want, and nobody will bother me. It doesn't stay open by itself and not all door stops keep it open. But you miss out on so much when you leave your door shut. You don't meet anybody and there is no air flow so it gets stiflingly hot and you can't use the expensive, new duvet you bought for your bed. The key is to find the right door stop. Once you find a good door stop it's way easier to keep the door open.

Ok, please tell me someone caught on to my bitchin' door metaphor?... anybody?... Bueller? No? Ok, let's get more literal:

Truth be told, college hasn't been an instant hit for me. I didn't instantly find a group of friends nor did I get involved with anything. College is hard. Not just the workload, but the actual concept of college is hard. All of a sudden I was living in this new building full of people I didn't know. I didn't know where to go for lunch or how to print out my Sociology homework. Everything was new and different and that feeling was rather disconcerting. It would be much easier to sit in my room and watch Netflix (which is something I have done often) than to go out into the hall and chat with the people who had their doors open. But when has anything truly good in life ever come easy? I'm paying too much to live at this school to just sit in my room with the door shut; I can do that at home for free. If you're going to feel like crap it might as well be because of something you did instead of something you didn't do. So I made a decision. I decided to do one thing each day that I wasn't 100% sure that I wanted to do. It doesn't matter how small the decision, just as long as it was something. Sometimes it's as small as leaving my (literal) door open for a few hours. One decision was to sign up for sorority recruitment. I spent four days smiling constantly and answering the same four questions over and over again. I was a nervous wreck through the entire process, but I don't regret doing it. I've met more people in the past two weeks than I met in my entire two years at SFCC. The increase in Instagram followers alone is reason enough to join. Another decision was to sign up for some volunteer work on campus. If I'm going to be here I might as well get my money's worth.

 I fully believe that you get back as much as you put in. I was sitting in my room with the door shut waiting for the college experience to come to me, but life doesn't work that way for most people; it certainly never has for me. It has taken some adjustment and I'm sure it won't be all smooth sailing from here but each bump along the way makes me stronger and I'm not alone in this adventure. I'm excited for college. I'm excited to find out who my Big is on Friday and I'm excited to be an AOII. I'm excited for college and I'm excited to be an Eagle.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Big Three of Life...

Strap in people we're going deep today. I have an answer to the Big Question: What is the meaning of life? This is a three part answer, this is a big question to answer so don't expect a quick answer... There are three things that give significance to our existence. Do these three things and I guarantee you a lifetime of happiness (dramatized for effect). Are you ready? Have I stalled enough? THE BIG THREE: See, Do, Learn. It's that simple. Need I go on? I'll go on.

1. SEE. Just see stuff. I, myself, have seen very little and I am attempting to amend that. You don't even have to go that far; though I recommend you do. Just get in your car or on your bike or whatever it is you use as transportation and go see stuff. Humans are creatures of habit, but I promise you that there is much more out there than the places where you are comfortable. There is only so much you can grow if you never leave the nest.

2. DO. Just do stuff. Having led a rather sedentary life this is a big one for me. Go hike through a forrest or jump out of a plane (wear a parachute), join a club, meet some new people, whatever gets you kneecap deep in human existence and exposed to more than just your own life. We have the internet so we think we know things about other people, but believe me when I tell you that nothing teaches you more about the world than experiencing it firsthand. So get moving and do stuff because there is a lot of stuff to do and not a whole lot of time to do it.

3. LEARN. None of this means anything if you don't learn from it. All the seeing and all the doing won't do you any good if you don't incorporate it into your existing. Every adventure is a lesson in disguise. You will learn from seeing and doing without even actively trying to. I am nearing the end of my time in Alaska and after 15 weeks of 20 different people I can definitely say I've learned a lot. I thought I had things pretty figured out when I left home, but man did the world show me up. There are so many people out there and so many things to learn from each of them. I have met people who very clearly live by the Big Three and others who have never left their safety bubble behind. I've found that the safety bubble people are the ones who's names I forget first. The people who have the biggest impact on the world are the ones who the world has most impacted. The human existence shouldn't just be about existing.

So, as you marinate in my wise words of wisdom think of all the seeing and doing and learning that you've done and also think about what you can still see, do, and learn. It's never too late to have the world prove you wrong about itself. Go forth and see, do, and learn. Live by the Big Three and I promise you will be wiser and happier with your life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Quick Update...

It's been over a month since I last posted anything, but I assure you that I have not forgotten or neglected my writing. I have a list of topics and several half-posts, not to mention the fact that I am surrounded by inspiration, but I'm also very picky about what I put out for others to see. Writing is something I've been doing for a very long time; my childhood notebooks are filled with unfinished stories and abandoned characters. Each time I sit down to write something I spend a solid hour moving commas and replacing adjectives. I would love to be able to post something at least once a week, and hopefully I get to that point, but for where I am right now I don't want to force anything. If I force myself to sit down and write something out, if I pencil it into a calendar I won't be writing in the quality that I strive to. So for now I am just posting as topics pop into my head. There is a section on my homepage that allows you to follow my blog by email if you find yourself interesting in my online ramblings.

So, in summary, I'm doing my best, I'm new at this, thank you for all your support and kind words over the last 6 posts, I look forward to writing more and I hope you look forward to reading it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How did this happen to you Molly?

I get asked this question almost daily because (almost daily) things just seem to happen to me. I trip over air, I drop 90% of the things that I try to hold in my hands and somehow any unstable ground within a mile manages to find it's way under my feet. Now don't ask me how these things always happen to me. I certainly do not plan any of them. I'm just an accident magnet. Take, for example, the events last Saturday night. We had just finished dinner and I was preparing to go kayaking with my fellow crew member Nicky. In my preparation I strongly debated whether or not to bring my cell phone because, being as accident prone as I am, I knew the likelyhood of me dropping it in the ocean was high, but it was a pretty night and I knew I would want to take a picture or two. So, despite my better judgement, I zipped my phone in my pocket and got in the kayak. About five minutes into my kayak ride I realized my jacket, and with it my phone, had been completely submerged in the water for the entire beginning of the trip. Swiftly, we returned to the lodge and I enclosed the waterlogged phone in a bag of rice. At this point I decided to continue the kayak ride anyways. Had I known then what would occur the rest of the night I would've just called it a night and gone to bed. But I didn't know, so we got back in the kayak and rode out to the logs marking entrance to the lodge.  Once on the logs we fished, to no avail, for roughly ten minutes before the log I was standing on decided to secede from its union with the other logs and break off on its own, Confederate stylez. Because of this secession I was dumped into the water. Nicky was in utter hysterics laughing at the situation I'd gotten myself into (To be fair I was laughing just as hard). Finally, I managed to get myself back up onto the log. The universe was clearly trying to send me a fairly obvious message to get my butt back to the lodge. So I listened. My boots; however, did not. Maybe ten feet further down the log my boots betrayed me and I slipped. Into the ocean. Again. In full view of the lodge house deck where about nine guests where being treated to drinks and a show. I received an obscene, albeit deserved, amount of mockery from this incident.

I don't know how I always manage to get myself into these situations, actually wait, I don't think that's a fair statement. I don't know how these situations always manage to find me. Eight other crew members at this lodge, but somehow everything always seems to happen to me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The first thing I learned in Alaska...

I'm sitting on the front porch of the lodge house, remnants of this morning's pancake toss still floating lazily on the surface of the water, it's peaceful and calm and almost everyone is asleep because we wake up at such an ungodly hour every day. But naps hate me, so I'm awake and staring at the ocean, which is something I find myself doing quite often. Spokane has its views but nothing can beat the ocean. It catches me off guard every time. Seriously, the ocean. If you're curious how I feel about the ocean just find the cheesiest, sappiest love story and just replace the names with Molly and ocean and you've just about got it. I sit at breakfast in the morning and stare out the bay window and see whales jumping in the distance and clouds resting in the mountains in the (further) distance. (man this post started out really literate but it's deteriorated rather quickly hasn't it?)
Anyways, back to the subject at hand. I'm sitting on the front porch, pancakes on water, you remember all this... the ocean is pretty. Pretty ocean = inspiration for blog post. So, after a heart stopping moment of nearly dropping my phone into the water (I heard that sigh mom) I started writing. And then it took me another week to finish writing because I work seven days a week and there isn't a ton of quiet time other than when everyone is asleep like they are right now. ANYWAYS. What I am thinking about as I sit by the ocean is all the people that I've met in my short time here. From the crew to the guests, it's been a constant surprise. So (to connect back to the title) the first thing I've learned in Alaska is this: never judge a book by it's cover. It's the first thing they teach you in school, it's also one of the biggest cliches out there, but cliches are highly underrated. When you step off a boat at a fishing lodge in Alaska and everyone you meet is wearing at least one article of Carhartt clothing you form a pretty specific idea about them, especially when you come into the situation expecting to have a specific opinion of all these people. But (almost) every single one of these people has surprised me. Coming from city life (Laclede, ID is considered city life up here) I was very wary of spending my summer with fishermen and crew members I assumed I would have nothing in common with, but as it turns out you really only need one thing in common as a base and friendship will grow from there. And, for me, that base is Sea Otter Sound Lodge. It's crazy how much you learn about people when you spend twenty four hours a day with them seven days a week. Now I've always considered myself a pretty accepting person, but after getting to know all these people I'm realizing that I do judge people. Everyone does. We group ourselves into categories to try and make sense of the world around us and we stick to our category. Well I can definitely say I've stepped outside my category, and I would encourage every person to step outside of their category as well, because not only will you learn a lot about another category, but also about yourself. And the more people I meet the more I realize that maybe these categories aren't all their made out to be. So far I have met several BP executives, the man who inspired the Deadliest Catch, a South African molecular biologist, a man attempting to cure Leukemia, and more Northern Californians than I can count. These are people who study and wear suits for a living, but they come up to Off The Grid, Alaska and spend five days in a boat wearing suits of plastic and fish guts. So don't judge a book by its cover, because categories are meaningless.

Well there. I seem to have gotten my point across. To sum it up, I'm learning so much about fishing, working hard, and about the world.