Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Nome, Alaska, United States
After getting burned out teaching high school in a tiny Alaskan town, I have moved on to being a child advocate in a small Alaskan town. The struggles are similar, but now I can buy milk at the store.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nome, Alaska

Recently, my mother posted on Facebook about how very few of her children were staying current with their blog posts. I reminded her that the URL for my blog is "Colleen in Alaska," and it was about my adventures teaching. Since I was both unemployed and not living in Alaska. I felt very justified in not updating this. Now I'm back in Alaska, and working with children again. So while the premise changes a little, the overall theme of the blog doesn't. Let's go back and recap the summer:

As my time in Akiachak came to a close, I looked for jobs on the road system, and also down in Washington. I didn't want to be more than one flight or a 4 hour drive from home. This limited me to areas with major airports, or Western Washington. 

I returned to Washington, moved back in with mom and dad, and started applying for jobs locally. I applied for jobs, and more jobs. I got an interview out at the ocean, and thought it went well, but... I also received rejection letters. Lots and lots of rejection letters. Some through e-mail, some were actually written on paper and mailed to me. They depressed me. A lot. I'm not sure how authors do it. I'd go through the mail, open a rejection, and go lay in my bed and cry for a while. It got bad. I got depressed. I kept filling out applications, but I figured nothing would happen. And I was right, nothing did.

Then a job opened up in my hometown, and I was stoked. This! This right here! This is the reason I hadn't gotten another job! I was destined to stay in Woolley, get a job, buy a house, get a dog, and live the rest of my life out as planned. Mom and I went to the open house that that particular school was hosting, only to find that they weren't actually hiring someone. They just had to post the job so they could hire the woman they already had picked out. And something in my broke. I couldn't even hold out until I was home to break down and sob. I felt like such a failure as a person. I couldn't get a job, I had few friends left in the area, and I didn't even have a dog.

I texted Matthew that night and asked if I could come to Utah for a week-long vacation. I'd been avoiding spending a lot of money, or taking too much time away from looking for work, after all, what if I went on a vacation and got a call for an interview!? 

So I gave up and went to Utah to visit family and friends. I had a fantastic time. I saw friends and family, I bought Kendall licorice, and we looked at horses. And, during that time, I was offered by four households to move in with them while I looked for work. And I know that my personal self esteem shouldn't be influenced by outside sources. I know that I shouldn't feel like a failure just because I was unemployed, and I shouldn't feel good about myself just because my friends loved me. Oh well, that's how it works.

One of the offers of residence was from one Miss Erin Margaret, in Nome. She owns and runs a coffee shop here, the Bering Tea. She needed a vacation, and wanted someone she trusted to oversee her employees and drink hot chocolate. I figured I was qualified for that. She also informed me that if I wanted, I could probably get a job or two while I was here. In fact, if you don't get a job in Nome, it's because you're not trying.

So I agreed to come up for a month. And once a couple people from a couple different HR departments found out I was coming, and with a strong recommendation from a different friend, I had people calling me. Then, this other friend, Traci, called me herself, and let me know that she had an opening for a child advocate at the Child Advocacy Center, which she ran. Since I already had an application in for Kawarek, the local non-profit, all I had to do was send my paperwork to her, and she offered me a job.

So now I'm in Nome, training to be a child advocate, and waiting for my boxes to show up. I'm renting a house with Erin, and looking into buying a 4-wheeler, which I can drive on the streets, all winter. This would be less expensive than shipping my truck up, and it gets better gas milage than a real car. I work half just about exactly half a mile from work, so while it's a nice walk home, the 8 am walk in is less than pleasant on some days. And soon we'll get snow.

More information to follow as I continue my training and become more integrated into life here in Nome.