I tried. I really did.
But still, I'm not too ashamed to say that my homesickness has gotten the better of me. I'm on my way back. Maybe I didn't give this all enough time, or maybe I did... either way, I'm not at all comfortable. Not at all happy. Alone, even when I'm not alone. I haven't been through this level of depressed in a very, very long time.
Don't get me wrong - the scenery, at the very least, here in Alaska is nothing short of amazing. But I find it far less appealing when there's no one here to share it with.
I miss Aaron something fierce, and miss not being around Sierra and both sets of parents. I don't like that the few of my close friends aren't accessible. I certainly like a degree of isolation... but I've come to realize that I prefer it on my own terms instead not having a choice. I think maybe if I wasn't attached to anyone, or if I were single, this loneliness wouldn't be such an issue.
I know now. I know that I can't do these longer solo things without repercussions. I know now that I should stick to my multi-day solo adventures instead of the prospect of multi-month excursions. For the longer journeys, I at least need Aaron with me... for that's where I find true enjoyment in it. I know now.
My regret in this trip isn't going... the travel, for what it was, has been great. My only regret that I've wasted the money. But a learning experience is a learning experience... regardless how costly. Once home, it's back to find work that will keep me happy (unlike my last job). Somewhere that I want to go every day. Somewhere where I can belong.
All that aside, I spent time with a really nice family these last few days:
Cheryl and Bill Wood and all 5 of their children are great.
Their home and their life is chaotic, but they seem to be really great
at managing and working through everything that goes on during the day
at Dogwood Gardens. Bill works in construction. He's very much into
his greenhouse and his dogs and mushing. Cheryl is a stay-at-home mom
who home-schools 4 out of 5 of their children. She loves to cook/bake -
and she's VERY good at it. Their oldest son, Denzel, is 16 and a
sophomore in a Fairbanks public high-school. He is into painting/drawing. Kiana, newly
15, is an aspiring CNA. After she graduates and gets her degree, she
wants to work in the Philippines. The three youngest children were
adopted and have been living within the Wood household since last fall.
They are biological siblings that are from the Philippines. The
oldest, Mac (pronounced Moc) is 9. He's a very smart young man, and
quick to pick up on information and quite the conversationalist. The middle boy is Luis, who is 7. He is a
special-needs child who was born with cerebral palsy. However, despite
his issues, he's always got a smile on his face and a very uplifting
personality. The youngest is Angel, who is 5. She has so much energy,
and is quite competitive for everything. Cheryl's biggest challenge
with Angel is to channel all that energy into something positive. Some days it seems to be more of a challenge than others.
The family is into everything homegrown, they take advantage of reusing everything possible, and are very "green." They compost vegetable waste by giving it to their 5 chickens/2 ducks, give any meat scraps to the sled dogs, and they burn most paper/cardboard in their wood-burning stoves. They don't seem to throw away much in to the trash, and rarely use anything disposable. They also buy in bulk, which saves them a ton of money... and with 5 kids, it makes sense. We're talking about 2.5 gallons of peanut butter at a time, 5 gallon buckets of dish soap, etc. Their operation is admirable - and if nothing else, I'd like to take some of their practice home with me. We don't generate much trash, but every little bit helps.
Despite this family's awesomeness, I didn't feel comfortable being there. Have you ever been in a house or room full of people, and still feel like you didn't belong? Yeah. That was me. I felt like I was intruding even though I was an invited guest. So that, on top of the homesickness... all that is what is bringing me back.
I am very thankful for the opportunity to try this... super thankful for the support at home particularly. I truly hope I am not disappointing anyone, but after much consideration, sleeplessness, tears, everything... the only time I finally felt okay is when I knew I was coming home. Call it epic fail or lesson learned... either way, I learned a lot about a lot, and I'll do better next time.