Orientation: Week One

Having never really unpacked, from my Peace Corps Ethiopia evacuation, I was more than ready to set off for Alaska, and AmeriCorps, as soon as I landed the position.

Made it to my dorm room

I flew to my new site, via Delta Airlines. Delta charges $25.00 for the first checked bag and $35.00 for additional bags. I needed to check two. I used Delta miles for my ticket and only paid $5.60, so I wasn’t all that worried about checking two bags for a fee. Then, the Delta offers appeared. I could upgrade to First Class, for $45.00, on the final leg of my flight.

Tip: First Class Upgrade

By doing the upgrade, I was able to check my bags (on the first and second leg) for free. I saved money, sat in a section of the plane (on the longer leg of my flight) with fewer travelers, and received a free wine. The food service was the same, as coach, plastic snack bag, with chips, granola, and a mini bottled water. At the airport in Salt Lake City, the first class passengers went last. For my first class seat, once I arrived in Seattle, first class went first.


Landing at my site was amazing. After being in record high temperatures, just outside of Salt Lake City, the cool air here was refreshing. Once inside, I learned that the airport offered free “self” COVID-19 testing. I filled out a few forms and was then given a swab. I was told to push the swab up my nostril, until uncomfortable, and then to turn it four times. That was it. I was also given a voucher to take another COVID test, in seven days.

A Room with a View

Being new to town, needing to self quarantine for 72 hours (or until receiving my test results), and having two weeks of Zoom orientation, I decided to move into a dorm room, at a local college, for my first month. Each AmeriCorps member has their own room, no doubling. We share the bathroom (with showers) and the kitchen. Many restaurants and grocery stores deliver. It’s pretty easy to get supplies.

Short walk around town

We’re allowed take short walks, as long as we wear masks and don’t go into buildings. There’s so much open space here. I feel like I’m back in Honolulu, where exercise was always allowed. I’ll wait to receive my results, before getting back to my daily 5k (or more) form. On Monday, I walked a short loop. It was nice to see the beach and Totem Park. After about 30 minutes, I made my way back inside.


And so, after being evacuated to Hawaii, for three months, then spending down time in Utah, I’m back and in Alaska.

Are you ready for it? —GGT

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