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Study abroad at UAF (University Alaska, Fairbanks)

Hi everyone,

I thought an easy and fun way for me to stay in touch with everyone from back home (or with those of you in the States too!) whilst I'm at uni in Alaska would be to open a weblog and keep a diary of what I get up to during the next four months. It's also a great way to show you all my pics, and you get to post me messages! I'm thinking of updating it every week or so, so stay tuned. Hope it works.

Love, Kilina xx

PS. Sorry if I get carried away with my diary entries and ramble on too much at times... I get a bit enthusiastic about it all!

Diary Entries

Monday, 25 December 2006

Location: Felanitx, Mallorca, Spain

As you can probably tell, this weblog/diary has now come to an end, as my four months studying abroad in Alaska are now saddly over. I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures as much as I enjoyed living them! Thanks to all of you who stayed in touch whilst I was away.

This website will still be available for the next few months in case you wish to re-read anything or have another look at my photos.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas - or whichever holiday you may be celebrating - and a great start to the new year. All the best,

Kilina xxx

Friday, 22 December 2006

Location: Felanitx, Mallorca, Spain

Time can go by so quickly that it's often hard to come to grips with it and several weeks can go by before you realise what's going on... And then you stop to think about what you've done and have a hard time remembering... Funny isn't it? That's what my last few weeks at UAF felt like. I was kept busy with the mad rush of last minute work to do - essays and final exams - and trying to make the most of my time in Alaska before I left to come home. My work went really well, and I actually found out today that I got straight A's in all my classes, which I'm really happy about. To be honest though, work at UAF wasn't half as hard as it can be at Sussex, and so I got good results for a much lesser amount of effort required than I what usually put in... Which is great, cos it meant I was able to enjoy my time in Alaska and not worry about the workload too much. Two weekends before the end of the semester, we held a "goodbye" international party up in one of the appartment complexes on campus. As part of the committee (Vice Pres!) I got together with Matthias and Denis (Treasurer and President) to get stuff ready and buy food and drinks for later on that night. It turned out to be a great success, as loads of people showed up and seemed to have a good time... And so the party lasted till the early hours of the morning. The following night, there was an end-of-semester 'Borealis Ball' up at the Hess Rec (a big hall on campus), which Jenn and I went to (you've probably already seen the photos). We had a great time dancing the night away - how I'm gonna miss those college dances... we don't have anyting like that at Sussex - but it was over with way too soon, so we continued our party down in Jenn's room, where we were joined by a bunch of other people (Katie, Mark, Eric, Shane, Ryan, and random drop-ins...), making it another late night, and since Sunday was the usual "homework day", we ended up really tired and exhausted by Monday morning.

I had a busy week that week, since I had to give a summary of an article to my Ethics and Society class, and a presentation on my research paper topics for Native Cultures of AK, and Native North American Women - the latter of which I hadn't even started yet! Still, I managed to get it all done in time. On the Wednesday night, there was a Date Auction event held up at the Hess Rec as a fund-raiser, which I got talked into participating in by a girl in one of my classes. Since Mark, Eric and Ryan were taking part too, I thought it'd be fun to join in with them. I managed to get Katie to sign up too, and it did end up being a laugh... The only problem was that people in the audience only bid on their friends, so the bids weren't always that high. I, however, was unfortunate enough to go after an extremely gorgeous, slim, highly attractive and stylish girl, who was "auctioned" for $62! Not much of an ego-booster to step on stage after her and after walking the catwalk (yes, they made us do that) have the bids on me reach $11 and then pause for a painfully endless time while the audience simply stared blankly back at me! Luckily, Caleb, a good friend of mine, was there and stepped in to the rescue, raising the bids to $20, which were then progressively raised between him and Mark to $28.50 (I actually thought I was worth $28.75, but oh well...), which Mark ended up paying. Apparently the reason he kept on placing higher bids was because he didn't realise Caleb knew me and he didn't want me to be stuck with a complete stranger... Bless! So despite going for under half the amount the previous girl had gone for, I did get a higher final bid than most other people, which meant the situation wasn't as cringe-worthy as it could have been. It was all for fun anyway, and we ended up winning free movie tickets, so it was definitely worth it after all!

The following weekend was quite relaxed, as I had to spend most of my time preparing for a major Ethics & Society exam I had the following Monday. On Saturday night, however, I went to the last ice hockey game with Mark, George and Dylan, which was good fun... I'm definitely gonna miss going to them! Then on Sunday morning, I had told Deanna, a friend of mine who lived on my floor, that I would go to church with her. She's African American and her father is a pastor who preaches at her church. She'd told me that they did a lot of gospel singing, so I was really interested in going along one day to see what it was like. Since I'm not a church goer myself, but have attended mass in Spain and England before, I thought it would be interesting to go to a service in the States. Francis, a really sweet Puerto Rican friend of Deanna's, also came along that day. I really enjoyed myself, especially since I love gospel singing and the whole atmosphere in the church was very lively and joyful, and the people were friendly and seemed very happy to have us "visitors" there that day.

The following week went by too quickly for my liking - probably cos it was my last one in Alaska. I had an exam on the Monday and another one on the Wednesday, and handed in a final paper that day too. My final class was Wednesday night from 6-8pm, and then I was done with everything. I was really pleased to have everything over and done with several days before leaving, since it gave me a chance to enjoy myself without worrying about work, and get all the bizillion and one things done in time, including the major issue of packing (which as we all know is never half as fun upon departure as it is at the start of a trip). Many of my friends had exams all the way up until Saturday evening (my flight left that night), so I felt really lucky to be done as early as Wednesday. I spent Thursday pottering around on campus, then got a bus down to the local convenience stores to have a last look around and see if there was any last-minute stuff I needed to pick up. On Friday, I got a number of chores done, and spent quite a while up at the University museum chatting with one of the girls who works there while trying to decide what souvenirs to buy. Later that night, Katie, Meredith, Jenn and her friend Amanda, Jon, Ryan, and I all went to the Chena Hot Springs to celebrate and enjoy a last night together. The first lot all went up in Amanda's car, but since Ryan and I had a couple of things we needed to buy along the way, we rode up with Jon in his super-cool 60s hippy van and ended up arriving 1 1/2 hours after the others did. To our disappointment, they left about 20 mins after we arrived, but we stayed on till they closed at midnight. The hot springs are so much nicer at night, especially when it's really cold outside (about -20 degrees C or so), with snow piled on top of the surrounding rocks. The only other time I'd been was in mid-October during the day, when the temperature was much warmer. At night, the stars are out and the contrast between the outside air and the heat of the water creates a mist and making people around you barely visible. It was so relaxing and peaceful, and I'm such a fan of hot water - I love hot baths - that it was a perfect end to an busy week (or should I say semester?!). It was fun spending the night with Jon and Ryan too, since I'd been hanging out with them more and more over the course of the semester and was getting to know them better and really like them. Jon's really into hunting and trapping for animals - something many people seem to do as a hobby in Alaska - so on our way back home, Ryan and Jon stopped off at several spots along the way to check and collect their traps, in order to bring them home before the the Christmas hols. It was freezing cold outside by then, so I stayed bundled up in Jon's van underneath two fleece blankets trying to keep warm. I wasn't too much of a problem at first, but the last half hour got really cold, so on the last stretch home, Ryan took over and Jon came and snuggled up beside me in an attempt to warm me up - which worked! They're such great guys, I'm so glad I got the chance to get to know them, and I'm gonna miss them so much. One thing that struck me about American guys (at least the ones I got to know) is that they are not only really open and friendly - same as most people in the States in general - but also really caring and respectful towards you, making them great "friend-material" - something you don't always find that easily in Europe.

Saturday was spent in a frantic rush to get everything packed and my room sorted and tidied up... And crying my eyes out towards the end when it suddenly hit me that I was leaving.... Which was not helped by Katie balling her eyes out too - you put the two of us together and we just couldn't stop! By the time I had to leave for the airport, I was so physically and emotionally drained that I had no energy left to cry and passed out the moment I got onto the plane! Jon gave me and Katie a ride to the airport at 11.30 pm; we'd found out that night that Katie's flight had been changed and she was on the same one as me down to Seattle, which was nice, even though we didn't get to sit together because the plane was so packed. Mark and Ryan had already left earlier that night, and the others were either leaving the following day, or within the next few days. However, upong arriving at Seattle airport, we bumped into Ryan again, which was a surprise. Apparently he had a long lay-over before his next flight to Arizona, so we all hung out - along with Pertti too, the Finnish guy also on his way back to Europe - for an hour or so before the time came to each go their separate way.

I'd thought it would be harder to say goodbye to everyone - especially Jon back in Fairbanks - but as I said, I was so tired when the time came to saying our goodbyes that I was only half awake. It was only later on, once I was half way across the Atlantic ocean, that my emotions swept in and I was overcome by nostalgic feelings of sorrow and regret at having had to leave everyone behind after the most amazing time that I had had in Alaska. Still, everything has to come to an end at some point, and I'm just extremely thankful for the wonderful people I met and got to know, the places I got to see, and the expericences I got to live. I could go as far as saying that these past four months were some of the best in my life - I certainly think I had the most fun in one go - and I'm never going to forget my stay in Alaska. Although part of me was dying to return to Faribanks for the spring semester, the other half of me knew that I had a lot waiting for me to get back to in Europe. And coming home was great - it was lovely to see my family again, and spend a few days just relaxing (well, sleeping off my jetlag mainly!) and allowing myself to settle back down into what I can only call "normality"... Because during the four months I spent in Alaska, my life seemed to have switched itself to fastforward and everything turned much more intense and crazy and "full", so to say. Which is why it's nice to now have a couple of weeks over Christmas in which to relax before I move back to Brighton. Now that I'm home again, I've reallised that I am really looking forward to seeing everyone again back in England and to continuing my degree at Sussex. And despite how much I'm going to miss everyone and everything about Alaska, I know that I'll return one day (soon hopefully), and when you make such good friends, you know that distance - even when it's as great as several thousand miles - cannot break those friendship bonds. And it's comforting to know that, someday, somehow, I'll see them all again.

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Recent Messages

i hope you enjoy your last 24 hours in alaska. see you soon. god bless. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
From Lisa
Hello Kilina,

how are you? when do you fly back to home?
Response: hi lisa, i arrive back home on the 19th, i think. love xxx
From Sonia
hey Kiliiii!! q tal per alla? Ido aki guay, estic amb sa teva germana a Brighton...jeje es molt guay aixo lo q es temps no acompanya del tot pero que hem de fer es anglaterra,no? jeje. Fa molt de fred comparat amb mallorca q estan a 20 o aixi jeje.
Per ara he aprovat els dos parcials que he fet (examens) i ara cm q tenim sa setmaneta akesta de vacacions... ido cap a Anglaterra. I torn amb sa teva germana cap a Mallorca. Eiii! t'he dit que me apuntat a futbol? siii, juc amb el s'Horta que aquest any hat fet un ekip femeni nou jeje. Ja te mostrare kualke foto. Al meu space he posat fotos d'anglaterra amb sa teva germana ja les veus, ok? Un sito molt grooss.

Response: Ets sa primera k m'ha escrit en mallorqui! ueee! esper k t'ho passis super be a brighton. un beso per n'onni, i 2 per tu! muacs xxx
From Jay
Darling Kilina,

What FABULOUS photos of the countryside in snow. The log cabin does indeed look cosy!! Glad you are still having such fun - and managing to write few essays as well ......
Loads of love & kisses, Jay xxx
Response: Yes, it's breathtakingly beautiful here, especially the snow-covered countryside. Looking forward to hopefully seeing you soon. Loads of love xxx
From Lisa
Hello Kilina,
I´m fine. On Saturday my aunt had celebrated their silver wedding and it was very fun.

I had a great weekend until we came home.

I wish you for the rest weeks a wonderful time
Response: Hi lisa, i'm glad to hear you're doing well. i really like the picture of your bellydancing, although i couldn't tell which one was you! love xxx
From carolyn
Hallo darling Beanie, Amazing pictures. You always have such wonderful clear blue skies! We haven't a cloud today either. Can you please send me your flight details asap with your expected time of arrival here in Palma. I need to know if I have to take time off work to collect you! Love you loads M
Response: yes, we hardly ever have cloudy skies here, it's lovely... and would be even nicer if the sun was up for longer - rises at about 10am and sets around 3ish, so we only get sunshine along the northern horizon! ok, will forward them straight away. love ya xxx
Hi Kilina,

how are you? how was your weekend bzw your thanksgiving?

The landscape are very beautiful. I have never seen so beautiful landscape.

Response: yes, it really is beautiful up here. I had a great weekend and thanksgiving. how are you? xxx
From Pati
Hi! Sorry I hadn't visited your site for a few weeks... but today I have! I also feel quite sad when I think about the end of the semester. I'll stay the whole year in Finland 'cause I couldn't stand the idea of leaving and not coming back again. It's a nice thing, but all my mates are going back to their home coutries... so I'll try to start a new life with the... Finns! It will be totally different from now, so it's exciting ;-)
You have to visit my site too! jejejeje
Response: you're staying the whole year! lucky you! are you coming home for xmas though? hopefully see you then :) xx
From Lisa
Hallo Kilina,
ich habe dein diary gelesen und wenn ich richtig verstanden haben. Hattest du am Samstag eine Aufführung gehabt. Ich habe in den 10 Jahre meines Tanzerfahrung auch schon Mal erlebt, dass wenig Zuschauer zu der Aufführung kammen, aber das fande ich nicht schlimm, solange genug Zuschauer da waren.Bei mir ist sogar Mal bei einer Aufführung eine Panne passiert, dass mit im Tanz die Musik aus ging und wir fanden es irgendwie Lustig.Hattest du trotzdem spaß gehabt? was für eine performence war es? Hast du Bilder oder so etwas in der Art von der Aufführung?

Für die restlich Zeit wünsche ich dir alles Gute.
Response: ja, du hast es richtig verstanden. wir haben einen hiphop ausfuehrung getanzt, und es hat viel spass gemacht. wir haben einige fotos davon, und auch eine videoaufnahme. wenn ich die bekomme, zeige ich die euch alle. alles gute, xxxxx
From Onni
hello! got more results: 93.75% and 96% i two chemistry excercises, 87% i animal behaviour excercise, and 73% in darwin test. that's all i've got so far! i'm so pleased i'm doing well. hopefully it'll continue to be the same. will send you my darwin and my animal beh. essays. maybe you can give me tips on how to improve them. love, xxx
Response: WOW! well done! keep up the good work. love xxxxx
From Ursi + Helmut
vielen Dank für Deine Karte.
Toll, was Du neben Deinem Studium so alles erlebst. Wir sind schon immer ganz gespannt auf Dein Tagebuch und die Fotos und wünschen Dir weiter eine gute Zeit!
Response: Vielen Dank! Alles liebe! xxxxx
From Hilary
It all sounds wonderful and I am so glad you are having such a great time. Onni and I had a fun day in Brighton and she is doing really well. Thank you so much for the CD of The Lion King - a great reminder of a very happy evening. Mr Risotto sends a hug and so do I HilaryXXXXXXXX

Response: Thank you! Lots of love to Risotto too! Hope everything is going well. Love, Kilina xxx
From Sue
Oh please god can I put the clock back 25 years.?!! We are all looking forward to seeing you at Christmas

Response: Haha... Looking forward to seeing you too. lots of love to the girlies! kilina xxx
From Onni
hellooooo! guess what i got in my darwinian evolution test? a 73%! much better than i was expecting. prety good, huh? thanks for getting in touch with kat, we met today and she gave me them. she's so sweet!!! ok, speak soon. love you, onni. xxx
Response: wow! that's brilliant! can you send it too me please? i know, kat's lovely! love ya xxx
From Onni
hey! why did you have to give up your inupiq classes? why didn't you tell? you have to send me all the emails you send mum and dad. when will you be able to talk on skype? let me know when you have time. love, onni. xxx
Response: had to give up the classes cos i just didn't have enough time to keep up with all my homework, and i didn't want to risk not doing well in my other classes. speak soon, love ya xxxx
From Klaus
we're all looking forward to that English football hooligan photo. did you have to do a punk haircut like your brother has one - should see him this week - or even worse, a skin head no hair bald head? by the way: you'll be on that plane back home in just under seven weeks time, did you know? and: we are all changing the clocks back one hour tonight, here in Europe; will you also? tons and tons of love from mums and daddo. XXXXXXX
Response: yes, our clocks went back last night too, which i'd completely forgotten about. i know, i can't believe it's under 2 months till i come home - it's going to be so sad to leave! love you xxx
From Dad
yes, photos please of those snow covered fir trees. and of the hot springs. and the Northern Lights photos. what a jolly time you are having. shame you had to give up the Iñupiaq language classes. did you have to give your Iñupiaq name back? lots of love. XXXXX
Response: didn't manage to take pics at the hot springs cos i left my camera indoors and couldn't be bothered to go get it. will take pics next time tho. will try and post some pics of the northern lights if i find some (cos i havent been able to take any), and will definitely post some of the snow asap. love ya xxxxx
From ems
Hey kilina love ur photos they are brilliant u look like u are having an amazing time email me when u can to chat
and do u use skype....keep having a great time and c u at xmas time
Response: yes, i use skype. my skype id is kilinafabricius... would be great to chat some time! love ya xxxxx
From Sonia
hola kili!!!
ya veo tus fotos... estan genial jolin que bien te lo pasa, no? espero que estés estudiando tb pq tanta fiesta no va bien, eh? He ido hablando con tu hermana de como le va x England, y super x ahora, ya tengo unas ganas de que llegue diciembre xa ir a verla :D. Pasatelo muy bien y escribeme una postalita, ok? calle: l'0rada, 256. CP: 07670. POrtocolom.
Response: Ok, ya te mandare una! besos guapa, y que te los pases muy bien cuando te vayas a Inglaterra! xxx
From Jay
Fabulous birthday photos - you look GORGEOUS ! What a lot of friends you have from all parts of the world....
loads of love, Jay
Response: Thank you! lots of love xxx
From Onni
hello! angelika's address is Angelika Grund, Schliesen Str. 42B, 91413 Neustadt, Germany. you might want to send her a card. the photos are great, you're hair looks weird! im going out to cassablanca's tonight, should be good. sarah came round yesterday, which was nice. will send you an email soon.
love, onni. xxxxx
Response: Thanks, speak soon xxx PS what do you mean my hair looks weird?!?! :)
From Lisa
Hi Kilina,

wirklich schön für dich, dass du so eine Tolle Geburtstags Party hattest. Freut mich für dich.
Krass, dass du dir die Haare gefärbt hast. Hätte ich dor orgendwie zu getraut.

Schickst du ein paar Foto von dir.

Ich wünsch dir was.
Response: Hi! Schau mal die fotos an! alles liebe, Kilina xxx
From Jay
Darling Kilina,
So glad you had such a fabulous 21st birthday - the "Dancing Queen" by the sounds of things!! Look forward to seeing the photos. Much love, Jay xxxx
Response: Yeah, I did! I just posted some new photos, enjoy! Loadsa love, xxxxx
From sandra
hi kilina
wir wünschen dir alles gut zu deinem 21. geburtstag!
wir hoffen,dass du nette freunde hast,mit denen du eiern kannst.noch eine schön zeit in alaska(wie lange bist du noch dort?)
deine sandra (mit familie)
Response: vielen vielen dank! ich bin noch in alaska bis zum 18. dezember! alles liebe Kilina xxxxx
From Pati
Happy Birthday!! ¡Me he acordado, me he acordado! ¡¡Besitooooos!!
Response: gracis!!! eres la mejor! saps k, he conocido a un tio k viene de laponia! vaya coincidencia no? enga, bsss xxxxxxx