Tuesday, November 27


"Hold on tight"
Aniak, AK
November 2007

Little by little things are changing and taking a more definite shape for us in this wild little corner of the planet. It helps that all of the changes are positive so far. Today I know that the day life takes me away from here, I will miss this little town in the Alaska Bush, my beautiful cabin, and the life I lead here.

One of the most interesting changes these days has to do with my relationship with cold. Up until not long ago, 32F was very very cold for me. In fact, it was freezing cold! Today, 32F is not really all that cold, just chilly. I go out to get some wood with a light sweater on at 32F and I don't feel cold. On the contrary, it feels cool and comfortable. That to me is quite interesting, believe me.

Other surprising changes which I am very grateful for, have stemmed out of my increased socialization as of lately. I have met a woman in town who is also a massage therapist. Who could have imagined that there would be two massage therapists in town and I would have the opportunity to trade and take care of myself in this amazing way. The first time we tried each other out, we were sold. So now every Sunday we meet at home. One week she gets a massage, the following week, I get one. From the table, we jump directly into a steam bath that David has been preparing for us. Well, he really prepares it for himself, but we go in first, just because he likes it so much hotter than ours. So hot, I would almost define it as masochist.

As if finding her had not been enough, it turns out that she has a child who is close to Naím in age. He is a very sweet boy and we've already found out that they get along great, so I'm sure they will be spending some play time together.

So little by little, we are creating an interesting little community around us. Without it, winters here would be much more difficult. Winters that every now and then, surprise us with cool and comfortable days, at 32F.

Changes are so amazing! We fear them so much (or at least I do!). Oh, the famous fear of the unknown! And then I realize that once I decide to live those changes truly being present, when I least expect it, I feel just fine and end up perceiving them as positive in my life.

It is true that humans have an incredible capacity of adaptation to the environment. We can get used to anything, regardless of how impossible it seems before living through it. And aren't we lucky it is this way?

Tuesday, November 20


Aniak, AK
November 2007

Ice is endlessly fascinating.

Sunday, November 18

Ice and frozen rivers

"New Ice"
Aniak, AK
November 2007

My solitary trip yesterday to the Post Office ended up being a lovely experience, despite the chill factor that turned those -4F to a crazy -50 something degrees. The sun, the blue sky, and the amazing amount of light thanks to the reflection of the snow made my day. I love this winter combination of sun and snow. It sure beats the hell out of the gloomy skies and rain tht I'm accostumed to.

I took my camera with me and I found out that the river had completely stopped. Ice was jammed up all over the surface and there were open waters here and there. Quiet waters, trapped among the ice, calmly surrendering to the inevitable transformation that lies ahead.

Ice is absolutely fascinating. It takes the most amazing shapes. The small and apparently unimportant things sometimes hide a beauty that is only revealed to those who take the time to stop and look.

Saturday, November 17

Adventures on a Saturday

Aniak, AK
November 2007

First thing I do every morning as soon as I land in the kitchen to make breakfast, is check the outdoor thermometer. Today, I freaked out. Not other than -4F. I will admit I am a little scared of going outside in this kind of weather. So just because of that, that is exactly what I am going to do. So I can start shaking away this fear. As Eleanor Roosevelt wisely stated: "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face... do the thing you think you cannot do." I should add that aside from gaining strength, courage, and confidence, I also gain resistance to cold weather in this particular case.

So, I will bundle up really well so I can go on my ATV and not freeze in thirty seconds. And when I say really well, I mean really well, because taking into consideration the chill factor and all, I will be feeling some -40F in my face.

Imagine that, a simple drive to the Post Office on a Saturday morning, turns into a personal challenge and a great adventure!

Wednesday, November 7

I like Mondays

Aniak, Alaska
November 2007

One would imagine that in the Alaska Bush, living many adventures to tell your friends every single day should be easy. In reality, when one lives her life mostly dedicated to the care of the home and its inhabitants, be it in Alaska or wherever, most of the adventures end up smelling like dirty diapers and fried onions.

The adaptation process to my new housewife life style is not being easy. Mostly because for over 20 years I have been defining myself as a professional working woman, financially independent and gastronomically unfit. To change this definition for one that implies doing house chores all day long, being financially dependent on my husband, and cooking every day brings along quite a share of internal re-structuring. It becomes an eclectic process that includes getting over old sticky prejudices or developing a previously inexistent creativity in areas that used to be abandoned in my life, say the kitchen. These new learnings add a transcendental and necessary touch to this process, since its most mundane side can be compared to the act of making a bead necklace without having tied a knot at the end of the string. When I believe I am close to the end and I lift up my work to look at it proudly, all the beads roll all over the floor and I must start all over again. And again... and again...

And then there is the mother area, that leaves no choice but to reinvent yourself from the ground. I have never felt so at home and so out of place and incompetent, all at once. It seems so easy to know exactly what you would do before you actually have any kids. And then they show up in your life, with their smiles that melt universes, those tantrums that test the strongest patiences, and those things only they can come up with, which leave you shocked, or laughing uncontrollably, or both at once. And life changes, because even if they say that life doesn't have to change with children, it does. For good, for bad, for everything...

And finally.. Monday arrives! With it's bad reputation, bringing me back to a part of my self. A part I left behind a while back, that feels good, that brings out the best in me, that I was missing, and that I recognize as authentically mine. Thanks to the opportunity of starting to offer yoga classes in town and later attend a women's group that blends craft making with talks and laughter, life in Aniak is taking on a different color.

These recently started activities offer me a lot. Yoga classes give me the chance to have somewhat of a professional life (even though I'm not really a yoga teacher and I don't even charge for the classes), to feel again like I am collaborating to the wellbeing of others, and to finish getting rid of my fear of leading groups. The women's group gives me the chance to get back to working with my hands making crafts, something I have always been passionate about and I had forgotten somewhere along the way. My first craft is turning into a trappers fur hat, made out of fox, to make sure that at least my ideas and ears don't freeze this winter. But the most important thing is that both groups give me the chance to meet some of the people that live here and start having a social life.

On Mondays I get back a part of myself that I need in order to keep on moving forward. It is being the key element in helping me reach that precarious balance between giving to others and giving to myself. Because without this balance it is so easy to lose myself and end up being swallowed by life, instead of living it fully.

I like Mondays.