I realized just this week that there is something I miss about Bethel. I was aware of this Bethel advantage at the time, but haven’t really given it much thought since moving to Fairbanks. There’s been too much Taco Bell and unlimited water to distract me.
It was really easy to be involved in the town. The reality of how involved we were hit me this week when I turned my attention towards Rosalind’s next birthday. Last year by February I felt like we had lived in Bethel a really long time. I knew people. I knew my options. I knew that if I needed to speak to another parent that I would see them at Zumba, or Friday night skating, or Girl Scouts, or the gym, or the post office, or even just the store sometime before the week was out. I talked to her teacher on a near daily basis just by virtue of being around the schools and the schools being around each other. If there was an event going on in the town everyone would attend. Because it was the only event! We attended the dog sled race, the Halloween carnivals, the Christmas program, Camai, and the running of the Smelt. Even if we didn’t know that something was happening, like a bake sale, we would just run into it by making our daily circuit of the town.
I equate it to living in the dorms in college. You had a social life whether you really deserved one through your own efforts or not. I really enjoy that. Maximum payoff and minimal effort.
I’m not exactly complaining. I would not trade living anywhere else to gain back feeling involved in Bethel life. It’s just an observation. Sergio and I are hermits. This only becomes a problem when it’s time to shine a light on our own behaviors, Christmas parties, birthday parties, and the like. I don’t know any of Rolo’s friends. I certainly have never met their parents. My plan of scaling back her birthday this year and just inviting three or four of her closer friends to the house to play and decorate cupcakes might be thwarted by the fact that I am an unknown entity. In a strange turn of events it would actually be easier to do the “invite everyone to one central location” thing this year than it is to just go low key.
Her birthday isn’t the point I came here to make. What was? Oh! It seems like we just got to Fairbanks a few weeks ago (almost six months!) and are only starting to settle down and figure this place out. If we moved away at the year mark like we did in Bethel I would not feel like we had actually lived here. Just sort of squatted. We may not have spent a long amount of time in Bethel, but nobody could argue that we didn’t live Bethel.
And don’t get excited Arkansas peeps. This is not my veiled way of saying we think we’ll be moving again. I currently have no reason to believe that we won’t have plenty of time to get to know Fairbanks. We might even make friends against our will at some point! Stranger things have happened.