My favorite movie is UP.

If none of you have ever heard of this cinematic masterpiece, educate yourselves on this delightful Disney work of art. A quick synopsis of the movie is as follows: a very old, very grumpy man refuses to go to a nursing home, so he turns his house into an aircraft using balloons. Mr. Carl Fredrickson (the grumpy old man referred to earlier), flies his home to Paradise Falls in South America – but there’s a twist. Like all Disney movies, it does not bode well for Mr. Fredrickson in the beginning of his journey, but we all know how Disney movies end.

Back to the twist.

A stowaway nestles his way into Carl’s house: Russell, a wilderness explorer (boy scout) trying to earn a new badge. How does he get the desired badge, you ask? Russell has to help an old person, whether that’s helping to carry groceries for someone or help the elderly across the street. Little did Russell know when he approached Mr. Fredrickson that he’d be “helping” him halfway across the world. Along the way disaster, fun, and adventure ensues.

I mention all of this not only because UP is my favorite movie, but because I recently have embarked on my own little adventure. But unfortunately, it isn’t South America and I haven’t flown there via fabulous balloon house.

My adventure is in Alaska surrounded by fresh air and moose. I mention the moose because on my commute to work (the reason I am in Alaska), they casually just chill on the side of the road. And by chill, I mean stand there while they eat grass looking at the cars passing by, judging you for missing your exit for the fifth time this week. I have never been away from home for this long before, but I am more than excited for this wonderful opportunity to be exposed to another culture – and boy does Alaska have culture!

I want to start by letting you know a little bit about Alaska. It is cold. Not cold as in Erie in December, but cold as in you want to curl up on the couch with a nice hot cup of tea and watch a movie kind. The sun is out for 20 hours a day.


By 20 hours I mean that the sun is up there in the sky, shining down on all the people in Alaska to remind them that the days are long here. Lastly, Alaska is full of diversity, culture, and good food.

Alaska is exactly how I imagined it would be and so much more. Before arriving here, I had not seen such breathtaking views or moose – and did you know that there are mountains just casually everywhere? Every time I step outside, the first thing I see is a backdrop of mountains across the bluest sky ever.

My heart and soul are full. I am happy.