I have wanted to go to Alaska for as long as I can remember. When I was little my dad commercial-fished salmon in Alaska during the summers, and it was always such an adventure to drop him off at the airport in May and get postcards from him while he was away (which I still have). My sisters and I were always so excited when we would go pick him up at the airport in September. He always looked different—thinner, more muscles and sometimes even facial hair—and he would bring back cool presents. Then we’d have everyone over to our house to look at slides of Alaska and his adventures fishing.
Then if you take into account that my dad was born in Anchorage and lived there for the first 5 years of his life, Alaska brought a certain sense of wonder and curiosity. His mom (my grandmother) is a Yup’ik Eskimo born and raised in Alaska. (And no, she didn’t live in an igloo.) I always wanted to learn more about my Yup’ik heritage, and Alaska was synonymous with that.
My dreams are finally becoming reality through a trip to Anchorage and Seattle paid for by my employer, the Sequoyah National Research Center. I am going to make contacts with Alaska Native corporations and organizations in an effort to (1) broaden our outreach to Alaska, (2) collect materials to bring back with me and (3) to conduct an oral history interview with my grandmother.
I can’t even explain how excited I am to have this opportunity, and I’m getting to share the trip with my dad! I will finally get to see the beauty of Alaska for myself and meet relatives I didn’t even know I had. I will get to see my grandmother for the first time in 20 years! And I hope to see a moose. 🙂 I hope you all enjoy reading about my journey these next few days as I experience the TRIP OF A LIFETIME.