It’s crazy how two towns in the same country can be so different. Just under four months ago, t-shirts at work were the norm. After work, we’d crunch through the snow to the river’s edge, we’d go on adventures, and we’d visit friends. In the Bush, some coworkers were more than just people you work with—they were family.
But I’ve traded the Bush life for the business life. I traded Northern Lights for bright city lights. Sadly, I traded clean, crisp, cold air for humid, hot, sultry air. I traded nature’s adventure for urban adventure. I traded sweatpants for slacks and rain boots for cute flats. I traded walking on boardwalks for driving on highways. I traded dried and canned foods for fresh groceries.
When Kimberly and I craved fresh meat in Newtok, we would (being silly and serious at the same time) grab a slingshot and go on the hunt for birds. When I’m hungry in Dallas (or any normal place), I open my fridge, which is conveniently stocked with food that I picked up at a grocery store.
The differences between Newtok and Richardson are night and day, hot and cold (literally and metaphorically).
Although I’m no corporate executive or anything even remotely close to that (my sad wardrobe, my cubicle, and my old car can attest to this), I’ve suddenly slipped into this badge-wearing, heel-clicking, coffee-inhaling lifestyle that’s a 180 from the lifestyle I lived just months ago.
If my current coworkers knew that, at my last professional job, I wore jeans and rubber boots to work, they’d be a little shocked and confused. It’s humbling to realize that some people don’t even know that places like Newtok exist; what a tragedy it must be to know nothing about Crisco sandwiches, dried fish, and Eskimo ice cream! Then again, when my Newtok friends found out I’m working in an eleven-story building dealing with bank software everyday, they were pretty surprised as well. And what a transition it has been.
When my current coworkers ask me what I did before I worked here, I tell them I lived in Alaska with my sister for a while, working as a substitute teacher. Just for now, I keep the juicy details under wraps. Yes, I’ll eventually share my stories and memories with them when the time is right. But I don’t want those five months to simply become stories I tell strangers for interesting conversation. So for now, I sip my coffee, type at the computer, and smile at the memory of my last home.
Meanwhile, I’m making sure to take advantage of this mighty metropolis and all of its beauties and perks. ….. But you’ll have to wait a little while to read about that!