This week has been such a mix of emotions. I never expected a small village to have such a big effect on me as Stebbins did. My outlook on life and teaching will be forever changed. Not only am I completely thankful for the experiences that I have been able to have in my life but I will be forever thankful for the people that have come into my life, thanks to these experiences. It’s so hard to express how the people in Stebbins have and will always mean to me. It’s not very often that you can only know someone for 3 months but feel like they’ve been your friends for a lifetime. From the moment I arrived in Anchorage, to today when I flew out, I knew that they would be in my life forever.
My first encounter in Anchorage beginning with Sarah S (counselor) and Robyn (St. Michael teacher), I honestly feel what tore down those walls of awkwardness that you have when you meet someone new was my complete breakdown in my hotel room. We had just finished a shopping trip to Costco, I had my groceries and my totes. Standing in my room trying to figure out how to pack everything (it’s not as easy to figure out on your own the first time). What goes on the plane with me? What do I mail? How do I keep the frozen-frozen, and the cold stuff not frozen? What weight does it have to be? What do I do with my luggage if I’m bringing the tote of food as luggage? I text so many questions that finally the reply was “Do you just need us to come down there and help you?” YES!!! I was so thankful I had these ladies! I don’t know what I would have done without them!! I seriously probably called BSSD and asked to go home. I literally thought to myself “I can’t do this, what am I thinking?” I know kind of crazy thoughts over just packing food and such but it was just the straw on a scary adventure I was doing on my own. As soon as Sarah and Robyn came to my rescue it was an immediate calm. Of course not till I cried and freaked out. They will never know how much their words helped me realize I could do this! All they told me was not to worry, they had been in my shoes once before, and they would help me with everything, we could do this. Then the calm set in and I knew from that moment on that I was doing the right thing. This is where I was supposed to be at the exact moment.
Arriving in Stebbins was slightly a train wreck as well but I wasn’t as stressed because I knew everything would work out now, after all I was here and I knew they wouldn’t leave me in the streets. When I first got there my house wasn’t ready and they were asking a couple of the teachers if I could stay with them until it was ready. Little did I know how close we would become in just a matter of weeks. Enter Rayna and Catera. These girls were soon not only going to be my friends but pretty much family while in Stebbins. They not only let me stay with them but they were wonderful and we had so much in common. Even after moving into my own house, if I wasn’t home you could find me at their house. We cooked dinners together, binged on movie watching, spent weekends not getting dressed all weekend and eating junk food, it was honestly like I never moved out. On the occasional weekend that I didn’t go to their house we seemed to always talk on Monday about how weird it was not hanging out, and it usually resulted in dinner that night. It was honestly crazy how much we had in common. We all broke out in song at the most craziest moments, and couldn’t get through a movie or TV show without researching what other shows the actors have been in or where they were now, and a good youtube video was always welcome during commercials.
With in my first few weeks a majority of the staff became not coworkers but friends. Sarah (3rd grade), Braxton (4th), Brenna (1st) , Catera (K), Rayna (2nd), Jamie (high school), Chris (Sped) and Sarah (counselor) excepted me into their tight circle. We did shadow hunters night, game nights, potlucks, hung out at community events, made plans for walks and weekends. The best part was just when we would get together and laugh and BS until late into the evening while snacking on food we all brought.
I can’t express how much every single one of them meant to me. While I always missed my home, family and friends I feel like they became the family I needed to keep me sane in a small village. I honestly feel like with out them I wouldn’t have made it. I became home sick and missed Ben so much but they were always there for me and able to “distract” me with lots of laughter and memories. I don’t think I could every express to them how much they mean to me. They always say that God brings people into your life for a reason, whether they are in your life for hours, weeks, months or years, there is a reason for everyone you meet. Even though we were only together for 3 months I feel like they were brought into my life to be a part of it forever! I mean were already making plans to meet up a few times next year, and I can’t wait till I can see them again.
If any of the Stebbins crew is reading this, then I just want to say “Thanks! …….Thanks for everything!!”