First of all, I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming support I have received since my last update. This transition has been difficult and after my last post, I received so much love, encouraging words, and just a ton of support, so thank you all immensely for that.
These past couple of weeks has been filled with tragedy, tears, triumphs, laughs, and adventures.
On September 18th, a former JV and best friend of my housemate, was killed in a biking accident. He was biking with a friend from Oregon to New Jersey raising money and awareness about JVC Northwest. He was just outside of Denver when a woman on drugs crossed into the bike lane and ran into him. On Thursday, I woke up to the sound of my housemate sobbing on the deck. She had a rough day at service the day before and I thought it was getting to her so I just sat with her while she was on the phone. After she hung up, she turned to me and told me that Eunjey was killed. I couldn't believe it. I had met him at orientation and just heard my housemate talking on the phone with him the day prior to the accident. Everyone in the house decided to take shifts to stay with our housemate so she wouldn't be alone. As a community, we really came together to support her and to support each other. That night, our housemate flew home so she could be in the lower 48 with her family and friends that also knew Eunjey. It felt like a piece of our community was missing, but our housemate came back about three weeks later. We are trying to be as supportive as possible for our housemate and to respect her needs in order to start this healing process.
It's been quite the jolt of reality for our community, but as I mentioned, we have really come together for each other. We are constantly praying for our housemate and Eunjey's family. We are learning a lot about ourselves and about each other, and are thankful to be in an environment that is so supportive and respectful that, personally, I feel is such a safe space.
Please keep our community and our housemate in your prayers as we continue to process this and try to learn how to live with this new reality. Eunjey was full of wonderfulness and will be greatly missed by many.
With having this tragedy strike us, we have realized how great of a community Sitka is and the volunteering community in Sitka as well. We have been getting to know the other AmeriCorps volunteers and friends of the volunteers better and it has been quite fun. As our friendships grow, so do the fun times. I am constantly being reminded of how each person has such an unique story and how interesting people are.
This last month has also been filled with visitors! Former JVs and our Program Coordinator have come into town. It's been fun showing them around town and it has made me realize how integrated to the town we are getting! We are being recognized everywhere and it's fun actually knowing people in town. I have never lived in a town this small, and while I am slowly realizing I'm really more of a city girl, it's been fun living in this small town culture.
I have been busy with lots of activities and adventures this past month. It has been making this transition a bit easier and a lot more fun! In the midst of many rainy days, we have been blessed with some nice sunny ones where we were able to drive up to Harbor Mountain and then the next day we hiked the ridge line, the beauty is beyond words and the pictures only capture a fraction of the beauty, but I just have to share.
Fun fact about Xtratufs (sort of;) they are known as "Sitka Tennis Shoes." I thought at first they were only called that in Sitka, but then learned they are known as Sitka Tennis Shoes even up in Anchorage, Seward, and other towns up there!
Also in the next group of photos, there was an incredible double rainbow earlier this month. I guess even though it rains pretty much every day, there is some beauty to it as well. Again, these pictures hardly touch the marvel that it was.
October 18th was Alaska Day!! Basically, Sitka is the only place it is celebrated because the transfer of the land happened here. On October 18th, 1869, Russia sold the U.S. the land Alaska is today and it's one of the favorite holidays of Sitkans! There was a parade, lots of activities, seafood chowder, and then a great night scene at the bars with the Seattle Fire Fighter Bag Pipers in town!