Amanda Dorough | The Beautiful Journey


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Catching Up

Hi all, how’s it going?  Long time no blog.  2015 thus far has been by far the busiest year of my life, it doesn’t look like things will slow down anytime soon and you know what?  I’m OK with that.

So let’s do a little catching up shall we?

Let me start with work, or what I refer to as my 3 jobs, yes you read that right 3 jobs and no that doesn’t include being a student.  As many of you know I was offered an RA (Resident Advisor) position in the KPC Residence Hall for the spring semester.  It is SO much work, more than I ever imagined but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  We have a total of 6 RA’s right now and we rotate duty days every week.  If my duty night falls on I week day I’m only on for 12 hours (8pm to 8am) but if it falls on a weekend that shift turns into 24 hours, and those 24 hours usually drag on.  Not being allowed to leave the ResHall during a shift can be both a blessing and a curse.  For some reason I always run out of something I need right at the moment I can’t go to the store, go figure.  But at the same time, not having the opportunity to run away, in theory should give me more time to get things done, although instead of doing homework I usually find myself on Netflix like your average 20 something… oops.

Aside from all the RA-ing I find myself doing, I also work at the helpdesk in my schools IT department (the same job I had last semester) aka job #2, as well as spending several hours a week doing media work for the ResHall (updating the website, taking pictures, making flyers, posting to facebook) aka job #3.  When you do the math all of this essentially equals up to a full-time job, which yes, after many years of being in the workforce and working full-time I am used to, but tack that on to being a full-time student and things start to get tricky.

Which brings me to that whole student thing.  I’m taking 13 credits this semester, nothing compared to the 18 credits I usually took a semester in college the first time around, but when you’re used to not having homework, like ever, it feels like a whole, whole lot.  My EMT 2 class officially starts tomorrow, meaning Monday-Friday I now have no downtime, but wait it gets even more complicated!  More one that in a minute but first let me make a quick caveat because…

I’m now not only a certified EMT in Alaska, I’m a Nationally Certified EMT (NREMT)!  Most of my classmates took the test back in December right after we finished EMT-I but, because I went back to WA for Christmas I had to delay my test a little bit.  I originally was going to take it in January right after I got back but I put it off and put it off and put it off.  You know how that goes.  I finally scheduled the test and took it in my schools learning center last Monday.  To be honest when I finished I was convinced I had failed.  It’s the type of test that can have more than one right answer and you have to choose which one is the best.  It was stinking hard to say the least but the next day I got my results back and I had passed!  That was a huge load off of my shoulders and I couldn’t be more excited.

Ok now back to why life is getting even more complicated.  When I first got back to school in January I saw signs posted around the ResHall that Central Emergency Services (CES) our local fire and rescue department was looking for volunteers.  I went back and forth on whether I wanted to apply for it because with everything else going on I didn’t know if I would be able to handle it too.  I decided to go to the informational meeting they held at the beginning of February just to check it out and I left that meeting wanting to be a volunteer more than anything.  I put in my application and last Thursday had my physical agility test and interview.  I found out Monday that I got a position and start fire training sometime next month!  If I wasn’t already busy enough right?  But gosh, to be able to start working now in a position I want to be my career will be amazing.  I can’t wait!

So there we are, all caught up.  This coming week is spring break, and while I wish I was going somewhere fun and exotic, I’ll instead be working full-time.  My friend Kirsten and I have a couple of day trips planned around the area, but with an arctic blast heading our way it’s looking like spring break will be chilly indeed!EMT

 Horray! I’m an EMT!

Met. Redoubt

A view of Mt. Redoubt from the school.  It was tough leaving Mt. Rainier behind but Redoubt is pretty stinking beautiful.  You would never guess there’s the whole Cook Inlet between us.

Extras

They’re going to be filming a big budget Hollywood movie in Whittier over the next couple months so we headed up to Anchorage a couple Sunday’s ago in the ResHall van to try our luck at becoming extras for the movie.  Fingers crossed!

Moulage

Kirsten and I got a chance to volunteer to be victims in the final drill for a recent CERT class last weekend.  The moulage person didn’t show up so we got to do our own.  Considering the tools we had were very limited I was pretty proud of what I did.  I even got a piece of “shrapnel” to stick out of my forehead.  So much fun!

RA board

Every month the RA’s have to make a new educational bulletin board in our quad.  This was my board for February.  I think it turned out fairly well 🙂


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Savoring My Season

Hi y’all it’s been awhile, I know, but I’m alive, yay!

Things have quickly changed up here.  The leaves turned and were on the ground within a week and since then it’s just gotten progressively colder each day.  Like bitterly cold.  It was 14 degrees last week y’all, brrr.  It’s going to be a long winter.

Being back in college is hard, I can’t lie.  Tests and homework and roommates….  There were times in the last 7 years when I really, really missed school.  I know crazy right?  I mean, as my senior year of college wrapped up I absolutely couldn’t wait to be done with school, FOREVER.  This is something I distinctly remember, but still, as the longs days of class and nights filled with homework became distant memories I thought “hmmm, maybe I should go back to school again.”  Obviously, as I’ve stated before becoming a paramedic is something I’ve wanted for years but I actually considered going back to school several times to pursue several different avenues, studying Egyptology in Egypt is still one of my favorites.

Surprisingly I don’t hate tests and homework this time around, maybe it’s because I finally know what I want to do with my life?  Or maybe it’s because I’m not bogged down with 18 credits, not sure, but it really isn’t so bad.  That said I am still counting down the days until Christmas Break (37 days!) although it kinda terrifies me at the same time considering I have my EMT certification tests right before I fly home.  I mean, I’m sure I’ll do fine, but its scary none the less.

Moving away from class and homework and all things academic, I really am liking living here in Alaska.  While my specific living situation is less than ideal many days (long story, not for a blog), I do really like living in the KPC Residence Hall and have managed to find myself a small group of great friends.  We’re together so often others have come to call us “the elite 4” but we prefer to call ourselves “The Pevensies” (ala “The Chronicles of Narnia”) since no, we are not elitists.   Nights are usually filled with card games, late night runs to the store for ice cream, playing Wallyball or watching shows on the big TV out in our common area.  So far we’ve polished off “Sherlock” (and I’m tearing out my hair at the thought of having to wait another year for a new episode!) and now we’re working on “Warehouse 13” via Netflix.  If you haven’t seen it you totally should!  The pilot was absolute garbage but it’s gotten really good I must admit, and we can’t just sit an watch one episode at a time, we need to do at least 2 preferably 3.

We also try to have adventures as best as we can.  Things really close down/seal up around here after the tourist season ends but we manage to have a good time.  Recent adventures have included a bonfire at Kirsten’s moms house to roast hot dogs/marshmallows and burn Keevens disgusting shoes (they were real bad, trust me), a road trip to explore the beach up at Captain Cook Park, swimming at the Nikiski pool and a short jaunt to Girdwood for dinner (ya, Girdwood is a  2 hour drive…).  To be fair, after getting dinner we did run up to Alyeska to play in the snow and get a bit of our Narnia fix.  Totally worth it.

So there you have it, life thus far.  Not terribly exiting and not a lot to report on but so good none the less.  A year ago I would have never guessed I’d be here, and while each season has it’s challenges this one has been pretty sweet thus far and I’ve been happy to take a step back and really try to enjoy it.

Now if only it would snow, because lets be honest, the bitter cold and ice is getting old, and this Washington girl wants to go sledding!

And of course, what would a post be without pictures?  Keeven is a bit a of a selfie maniac so I have plenty to choose from like…

Lake night Ice Cream escapades to Safeway for Moosetracks!

Ice cream with friendsRoad tripping to Girdwood (R-L: Keeven, Kirsten, Me and Tobin)

Roadtrip to Girdwood

Building a mini snowman at Alyeska on our road trip adventure.

Roadtrip to Girdwood

Before I came up I found these fun photobooth props on clearance at Target so of course we had to play with the whilst singing “What does the Fox Say?”

friends

Oh and a picture from the Halloween dance at the Residence Hall last week.  I don’t have many pictures since I was the one behind the camera most of the time, but here’s Keeven and I, we were both Unicorns…

Halloween

And finally, a picture of a moose, because I feel like this is very Alaskan and I took this picture from my bedroom window.  There are so many moose y’all, it’s crazy!

moose

Fin


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Announcement! Announcement!

You guys, I have a big announcement.  At least big in my books.

It’s something I’ve sat on and prayed over for many months.

It was a decision that was simultaneously really exciting and really terrifying.

It still terrifies me…

This has probably been one of my biggest tests of faith thus far.  It’s required a lot of trust and begrudgingly coming to the realization that sometimes things aren’t supposed to be crystal clear, plans aren’t supposed to by crystal clear, because that’s how we exhibit our real trust in God.

So what is this big announcement?  Why is it so terrifying?

Well…. I’m moving! Now I know you’re next question, where?  If you know me you’re probably imagining somewhere foreign and exotic.  South Africa possibly, or Turkey or Thailand?  Nope.

Still wondering?

Here you go, drumroll please…………….

Moving

……………….

………..

……

Alaska!That’s right, Alaska! Yay! The land of mountains and moose, bears and long dark winter days (but really sunny summers!).

Now I know the next questions to come to mind, when, where and why?

So, I’ll be living in the town of Soldotna, about 2.5 hours from Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula.  Theres no Walgreens, no Target and no malls.  It’s going to be different, but I’m Ok with different.

The why takes a little more to explain.

For years I’ve wanted to be a Paramedic.  I’ve attempted to pursue it on several occasions since graduating from college but other, awesome opportunities have always come up instead.  I’ve always accepted it, trusting in God’s timing.  There’s been a few points where I thought I might do something else, but I kept just coming back to EMT.  My heart skips a beat every time I see a fire truck or ambulance.  I just know it’s right.

Last year, when I started working for World Vision, I thought it would give me the perfect opportunity to do an EMT program at a local community college, but it became apparent pretty quickly that my schedule wouldn’t allow it.  Once again, something got in the way.  In hindsight though I realize just what God was doing, but I’ll get to that in a second.

Last fall I discovered the show Alaska State Troopers on Netflix and I just binge watched 3 seasons while working on various projects.  Because I like to research things I randomly googled EMT programs in Alaska, just to see if they existed or what they were like.  It was at this point I discovered that EMT/Paramedic programs run differently depending on the state.  Each type of program has it’s own merits, but this opened up a box of opportunities I never knew I had, the chance to find a program that really is right for me.  See, I’d always assumed I’d do a program in WA, since it’s home, but in WA EMT programs are certificate based then you have to work for a large amount of hours before even considering applying to a paramedic program.  In other states, like OR and AK, EMT programs are actually degree programs, meaning you’re eligible for financial aid.  They are also consecutive, meaning you can get everything done and be a full Paramedic in just over 2 years.  This was very appealing to me, so in January I started thinking of moving to go to school, then in March I started praying about going back to school, and finally in May I decided to take the plunge and apply to a school.

Oh that was a scary moment.

In the end I decided to apply to Kenai Peninsula College, a branch of the University of Alaska Anchorage.  First of all I chose it because they’ve been developing a pretty great Paramedic program, and the second reason, and this was huge, was that out of state tuition was waived. Yay for cheaper education!

When my acceptance letter and financial aid offer came in at the beginning of June I knew I had a lot to ponder and pray over.  This is where the whole trusting God thing came in because I’ve never been to Alaska and I don’t know anyone in that part of the state.  I’m literally going in blind.  It also meant quitting my job at World Vision and trusting that God would provide some way to earn a stable income once I got there, because folks, Alaska ain’t cheap.

I still need to find a job, but I have no reason to think that God won’t help me find one.  After all, he helped me find a great car for an incredible price.  Did you see it?

New car

I knew my poor little Kia Rio would be eaten alive by Alaska, I mean, it would cringe in the rain around here, I don’t even want to think what would happen in the snow!  So, right around the same time I started considering moving to Alaska I started checking out cars online.  I’d found a few good ones over the months but nothing I was ready to commit to or that completely met my checklist.  Then, last week I found this beautiful 2009 Saturn Vue online.  My Dad headed down to the dealership with me Saturday evening and within a few hours I was signing the papers for my new car!  I couldn’t beleive it.  God had provided it at the right time for the right price.  This car is going to be perfect for Alaska and perfect for the drive up because yes… I’m driving.

It’s going to be a LONG road trip.  I’m super excited for it and super exhausted by the thought of it.  Right now the plan is to leave August 15 (class starts the 25th) and to take 5 days to travel up to Anchorage.  It’s definitely going to be an adventure.

And speaking of adventure, did I mention I’m going to be living in dorms again? Ya, oye.  I feel like I paid my dorm dues the first time around (I lived in the dorms all 4 years).  I loved it, but I’m a lot older now, and the idea of living with a bunch of 18 year olds is kind of exhausting.  At the same time there was something deep down telling me this was the right move to make, at least for now.

See,  I don’t know anyone up there, I don’t know what the good and bad parts of town are, and rent is expensive. These dorms are also a little different than the ones I lived in before.  They’re apartment style.  Each apartment has 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living space and a full kitchen.  Everyone get’s their own bedroom which is really nice.  I don’t think I could have done it if I’d had to share a bedroom with 2 roommates like the first time around.

So there you have it.  Today I officially gave my 2 weeks notice at World Vision, that’s why I felt like I could finally share this with y’all, and trust me, it was REALLY HARD to keep in.  Leaving World Vision is going to be really tough.  While working in a call center isn’t my dream job, the organization is actually really, really great and is by far the best place I’ve ever worked.  I’m going to miss working for a place that is so Christ centered in everything, but, I’m SOOOO excited to finally be following my dream.

Less than 4 weeks to go.  Let the freak out begin!