Amanda Dorough | The Beautiful Journey


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Eye Candy: Homer, AK

Hello my name is Amanda and I’m a tired Paramedic student.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way… Recently I’ve been thinking more and more about how blessed I am to live in not only in Alaska, but on the Kenai Peninsula.  Guys, this place is really gorgeous!  Mountains, oceans, lakes, it’s never ending!  So, I thought I’d share some pictures today from my last trip to Homer, one of my favorite spots on the Peninsula, from when I visited at the end of last year.  It’s a small town without much to it, but it’s oh so beautiful.  While it’s fun to visit during the tourist season (the end of May to Labor Day Weekend) while everything on the Spit it open, there’s a certain magical quality of visiting Homer during it’s winter abandonment.

Homer Spit

Look across the Spit and Kachemak Bay.  The day, while freezing, couldn’t have been more perfect.

Homer Spit

The beach felt absolutely abandoned.  It’s such a unreal feeling to have a place like this all to yourself.

Homer Spit

The iconic Salty Dawg Saloons’ lighthouse rising up from the Spit.

Homer Spit

So, in the afternoon, as we were leaving the Spit in search of food we looked to the left and saw a bunch of creatures floating in the slushy bay.  Upon closer look we found at least 50 sea otters relaxing and playing in the surf.  I’d never seen so many otters (my favorite animal) in one place!

Homer Spit

Summer, Spring, Winter, Fall, no matter the season eagles can always be found hanging around.

Homer Spit

So there’s this spot, up on the hill behind Homer, where you can get a great vantage point over the city and the bay.  The absolute best place to watch the sunset.

And finally, just a quick shot of us and our freezing selves.  The air temp was in the teens so with the wind and Lands End (at the far tip of the Spit) it had to have been close to 0 degrees!

Homer Spit

So there’s some eye candy and travel inspiration for the day.  If anyone wants to come visit let me know!

 


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Home Sweet…Dorm

I’ve made it through my first two weeks of college… again.

I’ll admit, I was a bit apprehensive.  After not having class schedules, homework, assigned reading, notes etc. for more than 7 years I wasn’t sure how this would go, but go it did, and it’s not so bad.  I love my EMT class and my Anatomy and Physiology class is tolerable.  I can definitely get used to this whole 10 credits/semester thing (the first time around I always took the max, which was usually 18 credits).

Really the point of this blog post today is nothing exciting or heavy.  The main reason is to give my family/friends back home a glimpse of the place I live, and then a secondary reason is to give anyone like me, who is thinking of living in the Resident Hall here at KPC but lives to far away to visit a glimpse of what they could be getting themselves into.

So, without further ado, let the tour commence!

I must be honest, the idea of living in the dorms again was scary to me.  As I mentioned before, I’ve done the whole dorm thing already, all 4 years of my bachelors degree in fact.  So, at 29, the idea of moving into a dorm with a bunch of 18 year olds was obviously unappealing.  I mean, what would we have in common?  It turns out I didn’t need to worry though.  While yes there are 18 year olds in the dorm there are also 40 year olds.  It’s not a traditional dorm setting in any way.  In fact there are a lot of differences between the dorms here at KPC and the dorms I’ve lived in before, for better and for worse.

To start things off there are blackout curtains on the windows (perfect for summers and afternoon naps) and there is ambient floor heat (perfect for cold winter days and walking around barefoot).  This was one of the first features pointed out to me when I arrived and I knew I would like this place.

The resident hall is located just across the street from the Kenai Peninsula College (hereafter referred to as KPC) campus, and, fortunately, the campus is pretty small so I can be to any class in less than 5 minutes if needed.

The dorm building itself is a big L shape with the hub of activity located right at the intersection of the two wings.

Kenai Peninsula College DormsWalking toward the dorms from campus.  The parking lot is to the right.  My room is in the long wing going towards the left, on the second floor and on the opposite side of the building.

Kenai Peninsula College DormsWildflower garden outside of the dorm that adds a nice pop of color.  I’ll be sad when these are gone.

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

Kenai Peninsula College DormsNo dorm names needed around here to keep things straight, there’s only one dorm so “student housing” is more than sufficient.

When you walk through the front doors the front desk is immediately to your left and the stairs/elevator to the right.  If you keep going forward you hit the multi purpose room and then the Fireplace commons where there’s tons of seating and a huge TV (as well as a fireplace as the name suggests).  There’s been several nights where I’ve walked by and found various dorm-mates playing board games or watching a movie here.

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

Turn around and you’ve found our “mail room,” announcements board and one of many recycling stations found all over the dorms.

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

When you walk up the stairs you reach a landing with a pool table, ping-pong table and vending machines.  The machine in the middle even sells microwave dinners, although I doubt I will ever be desperate enough to shell out $5 for one.  Thank goodness I have a car!

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

Also on the second floor is our laundry room with free, that’s right FREE laundry (although I’m sure the cost is included in our rent).  Back in my Liberty U days I would often have to carry my laundry basket around campus, my pocket full of quarters, searching for a free washing machine, now I just have to walk down the hall, PTL!

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

And right next to the laundry room is the gym.  It’s simple, just a few cardio and weight machines, but for this poor “college kid” this thing is golden!

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms

Because we don’t have the ability to organize dorms into different “halls” based on separate floors like many other schools the KPC dorms are instead separated into communities, most of which focus on a specific interest of the people living in them.  For example there is the Academic Excellence Community, the Alaska Native Community, The Substance Free Community etc.  I live in what is known as the Emergency Response Community, so, anyone with medical/legal interests (i.e.. nursing, paramedic, law enforcement) most likely lives in our community.

Kenai Peninsula College Dorms1. Right outside the gym we have this nifty Brita Hydration Station which I love since I forgot my pitcher back in Seattle. 2. Glimpses of the hallway. 3.  Next to each suite door there is a small bulletin board where announcements get posted.  Here’s one for a Nerf War they had in the dorms over Labor Day weekend.

Each community consists of 4 suites and an RA room all situated around a little sitting area.  Here is the sitting area in our community (we do have 4 chairs, but one disappeared…).  It’s a nice place to relax and watch TV, because yes, we do have cable (what?!), or should I say Direct TV.  The channels are really weird, 4.2, 55.8… who thought of that?  Why couldn’t they just stick with the regular 1,2,3,4 system?

KPC residence Hall

Outside of every door is a tag with the names of the students living inside.  Here’s the one for my apartment/suite.

KPC residence HallMaybe I forgot to mention the type of school I’m really going to.  At least I got sorted into the good house, no sorting hat needed 😉

Then, when you walk through our door this is what you see.  Our living room area is to the right, and kitchen to the left.  Straight ahead are two of the bedrooms. Mine is the first bedroom on the right.  We are also currently working on putting together a gallery wall above the kitchen table there.  The hope is to make it to look more like a home and less like a hotel room.

KPC residence Hall

Then, turn around and this is what you see.  We have a place to hang up coats etc. next to the door, there’s two more bedrooms/a bathroom straight ahead and then to the left you can see the utilitarian furniture we have in our living room.  It’s not pretty, but at least it’s not that uncomfortable.  We’re also brainstorming ideas right now for what to put on that big blank wall.  Pictures to come once it’s finished.

KPC residence Hall

And here’s our kitchen.  It’s a full kitchen with tons of storage space.  Not to shabby!

KPC residence Hall

Can you tell I have a love affair with the home section at Target?  I love, love, love everything Threshold!

KPC residence Hall

Now it’s time to see the bedroom, yay!  This is definitely my happy place.  It’s so bright and fun.  Having my own bedroom definitely makes living in the dorms worth it.  If I had to have a roommate I don’t know if I could do it.  Even though the bedrooms are tiny and storage is limited I just love my cozy little space.

KPC residence HallIt’s amazing what color can do.  The bedspread is from my trip to India way back on Semester at Sea, the rug I got on clearance at target (80% off!), and all of those pictures?  Ya they’re all stuck to the wall either using 3M strips or sticky tac.  Amazing the things we have to work with these days.

KPC residence Hall

KPC residence HallThe closet was kind of poorly designed.  They set the bar way to far forward, so I couldn’t close the curtain if I wanted to unfortunately.  Oh well, life goes on.

Oh, and here’s an interesting little tidbit.  We have to use a keycard to get into everywhere, and I mean everywhere, even my bedroom.  You flash it over the little black strip you see in the picture below to unlock the door.  It’s actually pretty interesting.  And the lights are super cool too.  They’re motion activated, so you push the little top button to turn them on and then after so many minutes if they don’t sense a movement they’ll start beeping.  This usually happens to me at night when I’m laying on my bed doing something, but to keep it from turning off I just move my leg real quick and it resets, otherwise, if I didn’t move after about 30 seconds of beeping they would just switch off.  Very energy-efficient.

KPC residence Hall

On to the bathroom!  When I walk out of my bedroom this is what I see.  There are two bathrooms in each suite, so I share this bathroom with my roommate Courtney.  The toilet/shower area is actually its own separate room so someone could be talking a shower and the other person could be brushing their teeth at the same time.  It’s great.

KPC residence Hall

The showers actually came with heavy-duty extra long shower curtains, but we found it didn’t quite stretch from side to side, so, since I’d brought a shower curtain with me we went ahead and hung it up in front of the other on, just to get a little extra coverage.  Well, that, and it’s prettier 🙂

KPC residence HallThe lack of storage in the bedrooms is definitely made up for.  In the bathroom there is a great little area to keep any extra things we might have and then there is also a linen closet in the hallway which has proven to be a great spot to store my luggage… and laundry detergent… and extra blankets… ya, 80% of the stuff you see in there is mine.

So there you have it, my little dorm home.  When I first applied to live in student housing (begrudgingly) I only thought I would stay for a semester.  Now, I’ll admit, I’m rethinking it.  Living in the dorms isn’t so bad after all.