Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


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Catching Up…Again!

I am a huge slacker. Plain and simple.

Since getting to AK, I have only turned my laptop on a few times. My iPhone is enough for most things, but clearly not for blogging as I haven’t posted much of anything for weeks!

Many apologies.

My boss and I picked up Vince and one of my employees in Anchorage earlier this week. He’s thrilled to be back; that boy LOVES Alaska! He doesn’t start working for another week, so he has just been hanging out.Vince's first night back in Alaska.

This weekend we drove the 2 hours to Denali and Healy to spend the night and go to a former co-worker’s annual wine party. It was a blast seeing everyone and enjoying free-flowing adult beverages, fancy appetizers, and their stunning view. Visiting our peeps in HealyUntitled#sunset over #denali #alaska

We also got to eat at our favorite dive bar/diner (Totem Inn). Their Monte Cristo sandwich is To.Die.For! Yum! #montecristo #denalieats #toteminn #alaska

About 2am this morning, I got a call from a friend that the Northern Lights were out. I bundled up and headed out into the below zero temps. They were indeed performing their usual swirling dance. Even though they weren’t super bright, they are still so beautiful and I am in awe every time I am lucky enough to see them.I didn’t have my Nikon with me, unfortunately, so I wasn’t able to get any photos. Untitled

 

Another weekend has come and gone far too quickly. Back to work tomorrow! We are planning on a more low key weekend next week. I have gone to Denali the past two weekends, and although the drive is beautiful, I am looking forward to sticking closer to home for awhile!

What have you been up to lately? I miss interacting with everyone! 

W.


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Alaska 2012: Going Out with a Bang

This has been the craziest week I have ever had in Alaska.

So many things have gone wrong that I can’t even keep track of them anymore!

Here’s a short list of the insanity that has permeated my last week in the 49th state:

  • Multiple power outages, including one that lasted nearly 7 hours (during which we also had no water at the lodge, or in the entire canyon for that matter). 1,000+ guests with no access to flushing toilets is BAD!
  • Crazy weather–High winds were the cause of the major power outage, but we also experienced snow at the higher elevations, rain, and even some sunshine; all just in the past week.
  • A shooting about 25 miles north of where I live (the Troopers shot and killed a man who had shot another man)
  • Some horrible cases of fraud against many of my co-workers (not going to go into more on that)
  • The biggest, and most inconvenient issue… Flooding/extremely high river levels–Many of the river systems in the interior of Alaska, and even as far south as Seward, experienced the highest water levels on record this week. The flooding of the Talkeetna River, and breach of the local levee, caused the small town of Talkeetna to be evacuated.

The Nenana River–which runs right through the heart of Denali and Healy–was a sight to behold. The normally slow-moving, glacier-fed river turned into a roiling, opaque, screaming mass of water overnight. I have never seen anything like it. There were entire pine trees being swept downstream at highway speeds.

By early Friday afternoon, it was clear that the river was doing some major damage. An entire portion of the Parks Highway (the only road linking Anchorage and Fairbanks) was being eaten away by the river. With each passing hour, the river grew ever higher and wider and eroded more and more of the embankment. By about 7:00p on Friday night, it was clear that the road was in serious trouble. I got the call to head back to the lodge (about a 15 minute drive from where I live) with an overnight bag–I would be spending the night at the hotel in case the road was closed.

That one night turned into two. Two scary, frustrating, and bizarre nights, to be sure. I was never worried for my safety or the safety of our lodge guests. My biggest concern was how I would be able to get back to my room in Healy, pack my bags, clean, and catch my transportation to Anchorage on Tuesday if the road were closed.

We all woke up this morning still not knowing if we had a functioning road or not or whether we would be spending a third night in-house. The Alaska Department of Transportation has been working around the clock to fix the road, and as of this evening when I was headed back to Healy (yep, didn’t have to spend another night at the lodge), everything seemed to be stabilized. Luckily, the river levels have started to go down and the DOT was able to drop large boulders and dirt onto the embankment to strengthen the road.

It has been truly amazing to see our company jump into action and solve problems and situations one after another. It certainly has taught us all some lessons and it was nothing if not exciting.

After all this, however, I am more than ready for the season to be over. I fly out of Anchorage late Tuesday night bound for Los Angeles. I’ll only be spending one night there (to apply for my Bulgarian visa) before heading back to Utah for a month-long visit with my family and friends.

It’s been a summer to remember!

Here are some photos I snapped of the highway before the crews started repair work:

I’m looking forward to sleeping in, going to a few movies, eating my favorite foods, and spending time with all my peeps before going back to Bulgaria in early November.

I hope you continue to follow my adventures!

W.

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Wordless Wednesday: Termination Dust

Yep. It’s that time o’ the season here in Denali.

Termination Dust* spells the end of summer and the quick approach of the long, mind-numbing cold that is to come.

*The first, light dusting of snow; on the very tips of the mountains.  It’s a warning. The first, big snow is just around the corner.  .

The vibrant fall colors against the fresh, white snow is stunning.

Fall’s appearance is quick, however, as it will soon yield to the ever-powerful Alaskan winter.

I’ll be long gone when that time comes.

Can’t say that I am sorry to say that!

W.

**Please link up your own WW post below!**

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Rain Showers & Rainbows

Rain showers and crisp, cool air moved into Denali about a week ago–a sure sign of Autumn’s arrival. The surrounding peaks even have a fine layer of snow on them–known as ‘Termination Dust’ to us Denali-ites.

Aw, fall. It’s intoxicating!

Yesterday was a day of rainbows.

I got off the bus in the morning and this beauty was right behind the lodge.

Later, on my ride home, this one–a full arc–was glowing brightly across the Healy Valley.

It was the brightest rainbow I have ever seen.

Too bad I only had my old Canon point-and-shoot with me to capture it. It was better than nothing, I suppose.

I ran inside to my room to grab my Nikon DSLR, but by the time I got back outside no more than 5 minutes later, the rainbow was gone.

This time of year is full of magical little moments.

Here’s to many more.

W.

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Happy Independence Day!

Nothing beats celebrating the birth of our nation like getting pie in the face! 😉

I’m too tired now from washing chocolate cream out of my hair and clothes as well as scrubbing my sunglasses and camera to write up a full post of the night’s activities.

But soon!

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Happy July 4th, everyone!

W.

 


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Happy Summer Solstice…err, a day late!

I’m a horrible Alaskan (I have an Alaskan driver’s license, so I consider myself a local–clearly undeservedly so!) and thought the Summer Solstice was today. Um, yeah. It was yesterday, June 20th.

Perhaps it was the fog I was in from the previous night’s events, but suffice it to say I noticed more of my pillow and bed than I did the amount of daylight outside.

Side Note: Just because a drink is blue, frozen, and comes with a cherry on top does not mean it is for the faint of heart!

Side Note, Part 2: I am beginning to think Mother Nature is playing a dirty trick on me. The weather has been gorgeous for days, but yesterday–my day off–it poured. Today it’s back to sunny skies and warm temps. Ugh.

The Summer Solstice is a big event in Alaska. With nearly 22 hours of daylight here in the interior, it’s a fun time of year. From here on out the daylight will get shorter and shorter, but for now the sun never really sets.

At night, it gets what I like to call “twilight-y.”

For instance, it’s nearly midnight as I write this and this is what the sky looks like from my window:

I can’t sleep with any light in my room, so it’s been fun arranging my blackout curtains so that not even a sliver of light leaks through.

Alaska is referred to as The Land of the Midnight Sun. It’s clear why…

Anywho. Happy late Solstice!

Hope the summer is treating you well, wherever you happen to find yourself.

W.

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