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Anchorage, Alaska - an If collab

30.11.2001

feeling kinda how a girl feels

this month's topic for If:

If you were given one cosmic 'get out of jail free' card that would allow you to undo one act from your past, which would you use it on? What outcome would you hope to result from that decision?

Anchorage, Alaska

ambience courtesy of Michelle Shocked...

easy. easy call. i'd undo one of the three major regrets in my life. i'd take that job in Alaska.

i've talked about this one before, i think. i had just graduated from college and still had aspirations of finding work in my field - museum studies. not a whole lot of choices out there for someone with a double major in anthropology and American studies, with a concentration in material culture. try finding that in the Help Wanted ads. so i had counted myself luck to have landed a 3 month contract with the state, teaching classes and setting up displays for a visitor's center. i had free reign over the content of both classes and displays. plus i had a cabin to live in for $75 a month. not a bad deal, eh? did i mention that the cabin was in a state park, and i worked at a state beach?

this all sounds pretty good, i think. and then about 3 weeks after i started, i got a call. Craig, one of my TAs from an anthro class, rang me up from Fairbanks.

first of all, i was thrilled to hear from him. sweet man, strawberry blond curly hair, and he wore a beautiful silver bracelet. yes, i had a huge crush on him.

and then he offered me a job.

*kicking self* and i turned it down. the responsible part of me said that i had to finish out the contract. he offered me a chance to become a curator's assistant at the museum up there. he really wanted me to work for him, thought i would fit in well, and wanted me up there. and i said no.

for one reason or another, we never reconnected. oh, well, maybe once. i remember hearing that he was doing well.

in a heartbeat, if i could go back to that one moment, sitting on the floor of my cabin, and say yes, i would.

what would i hope for? i picture myself washing dishes in my kitchen up there, looking out the window at a completely different landscape, thinking about the next curatorial project. i've been up there for over 10 years, and my career is going well. we've gotten some good press on the exhibits we do each year; last year, PBS did a show about the latest archeology exhibit, and interviewed me. i'm never crazy about the way i look on camera, but my family was thrilled to see me on TV.

i've moved up on the staff, even have a few people reporting to me now. grants, the necessary lifeblood of our work, make me a bit crazy. i hate filling out all that paperwork. but it has to get done, and we've won some good grants. and it's not a bad way to keep my writing skills up.

i've got a good circle of friends up here. Craig and his wife are close friends, and i love hanging out with their kids. there's a local coffee house around the corner where i spend my free nights, and most of the faces are familiar. i like my little house, and am proud of the fact that i've mastered the wood stove. the first season up here, it was a bit touch and go. and the work is satisfying. there are trade offs, to be sure. i don't get to see my family nearly as often as i'd like to, and i do miss the East Coast. but i figure i'll move back there eventually. you can take the girl out of New England, but you can't take the New England out of the girl, so they say. for now, my life is good.

yesterday :: tomorrow

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