I left Los Angeles (and my amazing and beautiful girlfriend, Lena) on the 24th of April, making the two-day solo drive back to Dodge City, KS where I got to see the family and a few friends, not to mention my 3-year-old nephew and 5-month-old niece! Then the parents drove me to Kansas City, where I hopped a plane and embarked on a 16-hour trip via airline(s) to Fairbanks. I met the cast of "The Music of Denali", my temporary family for the next half year. They're all great people, and all incredibly talented. We hopped on a tour bus and were carted down to Healy, where we started rehearsals the next day. We rehearsed for a little over a week (almost all of us learning multiple characters in the process), and just recently had our first day performing in front of two separate audiences: fellow employees who watch the show so they know how best to recommend it to guests.
|My new home until September|
|Mountain outside my dormroom window. These beautiful|
mountains surround the "Homestead", the employee dorms.
Taken at 1:30am, still sunny...
|The "small" mountain range separating Healy |
from Denali National Park
After reading all this, it would be understandable to assume I'm not happy here. I will say, it's been tough, especially regarding the phone and internet troubles -- isolation is the most underrated form of torture -- but it feels great to be working hard every day, and even though I'm spending most of my off time in a twin-sized bed in a dorm
room so tiny (approx. 10'x12') my roommate and I joke that it's more like a prison cell (we've nicknamed our room "Gitmo"), the claustrophobia dissipates the minute you step outside and take in the view.
There are mountains on almost every side of us in Healy, and the view only improves on the 30 min. drive to the Princess Lodges where we rehearse (and will eventually perform) the show. I've managed to squeeze off a few pictures en route to the theatre, and I can honestly say they do no justice to real thing. Every morning on the way to work, I say out loud: "Holy crap that's beautiful". It's amazing how beautiful the world can be when we just leave it alone and let it be.
|Mt. Healy from behind the "Music of Denali" Theater|
|The view from Princess Lodges, Denali National Park|
Oh, one last interesting item: currently, we are gaining 6-7 minutes of daylight everyday. By late June, it will be daylight all day AND all night long. We are close right now -- this is truly The Land of the Midnight Sun, and it is not easy to adapt to. However, it makes for great pictures, as there is always ample lighting for a photo op. Towards August/September, the sun starts to spend less time out each day, and I can't wait to glimpse the Northern Lights and catch them on film! Here's hoping!
Much love to all! And feel free to write/email! Kind words from home go a long way up here!