Story last updated at 6/20/2012 - 2:02 pm
Around your house, life is never boring.
The door never stays shut long before someone else is leaving or entering. Your kitchen is constantly busy, and the sounds of family and friends bounce off the walls. You love your home and the people that surround you, the joint is jumpin', and there's always something going on.
You wouldn't have it any other way.
Author Mary Albanese couldn't bear the idea of spending the rest of her life wondering "What if?", so she set her sights on Alaska. But, as you'll see in her new book "Midnight Sun, Arctic Moon," what she got wasn't what she came for.
Mary Albanese was born with the traveling bug.
She might have, she theorizes, gotten it from her father, who dreamed of a West Coast adventure but ended in upstate New York, where he raised his family. Mary, the eldest of four, heard his stories and longed for something more than the small town of her birth.
After college in Long Island ("exotic," she says), and with teaching degree in-hand, she decided she wanted to move to Alaska, a state that was hungry for teachers. But Alaskan officials had been burned by Lower 48 graduates before, and they told Albanese "no thanks."
Undaunted, she figured that she'd just go to college another year. She applied to, and was accepted at, the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, packed up her clothes, and bought a one-way ticket north.
Though Albanese had intended to get a teaching certificate, she was also accepted into the geology program. On her way across campus to turn down the latter, she was invited on a bus trip to an Alaskan mountain range. There was the adventure she craved, and she officially became a geology student.
But it wasn't going to be easy: prior years in college didn't give Albanese the classes she needed, so she had catching up to do. She would have to write a thesis, something she'd never done before. And she had to do graduate work, which she decided to finish in a few weeks, rather than the fifteen months it usually takes.
Mary Albanese planned on an adventure in the Alaska wilderness. She never thought, when she left New York, that she'd find love and life-long friends there. She also never thought the adventure would leave her heart in pieces...
"Midnight Sun, Arctic Moon" is a pleasant little surprise of a book.
Author Mary Albanese writes with a grown-up's look backward at the young woman she was: strong-minded and innocent; open to challenge, but untried by the bad things that life tends to lob at someone with dreams. Readers will enjoy humorous touches of nerdiness in her stories, as well as descriptions of gorgeous scenery. The pain, well, it's fortunately quick, like ripping off a bandage.
If your heart longs for adventure, but your situation tells you to sit back down, then at least you can sit with this satisfying book. For you, "Midnight Sun, Arctic Moon" is the right antidote for boredom.
"Midnight Sun, Arctic Moon" by Mary Albanese, foreword by Lael Morgan, c.2012, Epicenter Press, $14.95 / $15.50 Canada, 208 pages.