Tom! I haven’t seen you in years man! I can’t believe you didn’t make it to the reunion. I hope you recieve this and aren’t dead in a ditch somewhere. I was planning on telling you all about the past 20 years, in Rome, but I will just do it now. After highschool I went to the University of Kansas. Remember everyone else from high school went there to. That was a mistake, once I got there I soon realized it was highschool 2. 0, and not the right environment for me. The reason I chose KU was because everyone in my family had gone there. They all told amazing stories of campus and Greek life.
I had also been a fan of KU basketball almost my entire life, the words “Rock Chalk Jay Hawk” had been engrained in my head since birth. Sadly, I didn’t base my decision off anything other than the reasons listed. I should’ve paid more attention to what the housing was like, their after graduation success rate, and what the field looked like there that I was planning on going in to. I attended there campus in Lawrence, but did you know they also have 4 other campus’ located in the state! They have one in Kansas City, Overland Park, Wichita, and Salina.
The one thing I did love about KU is the crazy amount of degrees they had. In fact they offer over 370. That sounds like a lot, but then again KU has been teaching in the state of Kansas since 1866. In college I majored in math. I chose math because I wanted to be a teacher. I figured if I majored in math and got a minor in education then I would be set. I could be a teacher and then if I didn’t like that and wanted to do something else, and make more money, I could just get an accounting job. I achieved my goal and am now a teacher at a high school in Alaska. Im making ok money, but I hate my job!
Also the the whole “I can just get another job idea” sounded fine in college, but now that i’m out in the real world, I would rather die than have to try and find a new job. My responsibilities and day to day tasks are way harder than I’d expected. In highschool I always assumed all the complaining teachers did was unnecessary and we had it much worse than them. I was wrong. Being a highschool teacher is like being a babysitter, but also having to make up educational activities for your children to do. The work sheets that I give these kids are too easy, yet they are constantly failing.
I offer to give them help after and before school everyday, but no one ever comes. These kids just sit on their phones all day and treat me like I’m their babysitter. Also the schooling system has not been fixed. They expect us to be able to teach kids, even though they have a laptops. These laptops are not educational tools at all. The children just sit and watch TV all class period, and we are not allowed to tell them to get off their laptops. This makes it so now the children are not only not learning, but they are also not socializing with one another, they are just listening to their ear buds.
I feel my job is making me very depressed, I don’t know how much longer I can take it here. As I mentioned earlier I now live in Juneau, Alaska. Things are very cold here. There’s very little to do outside of watch T. V. and play on my computer. If you have money (which I do not) there are a few fun things you can do. For example we do have some state of the art helicopter tours. Just imagine flying over huge fields of ice for two plus hours. Seeing all sorts of animals such as black bears, polar bears, mountain goat, bison, and orcas! Another fun activity is ice walking.
There are lots of guided ice tours in Juneau, after all we are surrounded by ice in every direction. An ice tour is when you walk over long patches of ice, the thrill of standing on top of an extremely dangerous part of nature is quite exciting for tourists. For someone like me it’s just another part of daily life in Alaska. One more awesome and extremely expensive thing to do here is the glacier raft trip. Imagine flying down a river, at high speeds, shooting past glaciers and seeing all sorts of salmon and cod swim past your raft. Juneau is a huge town, but very small in population.
Lawrence, Kansas, the city in which I went to college, is roughly 35 square miles, where as Juneau is over 2,500 square miles. We also only have around 30,000 people here, Lawrence had about 90,000 people in it. I miss Lawrence so much, the feeling of being surrounded by like minded people, stores, and restaurants goes unmatched. Here I see very few people. My day to day interactions usually involve the people I work with, and my family. Everyone is very republican and private. Everyone owns a gun and goes to church with it every Sunday. Why they think they need to bring a gun to church is beyond.
Back in lawrence I would meet tons of like minded individuals every day. Id wake up and go to my favorite book store, then have coffee with friends, and maybe catch a show that night. Here we have one bookstore, with a very sad selection mostly covering topics such as hunting and fishing. Here they call it game, but I call it lame. Also everybody here is so old. I miss being surrounded by young blood. The median age here is 37, compared to Lawrence which has a median age of 27. People are constantly talking about the weather, everyday it’s cold, I don’t understand how a topic like this can be interesting to anyone, it seriously never changes.
Why did I choose to move to Alaska? Right out of college a aunt of mine passed away. She lived in Alaska in a small house. No one in my family wanted the house, and no one wanted to have to try and sell it. So I moved out there and tried to find a job. I thought it would be fun to get away from the connected world. The house I live in is nice, quiet, and quaint. It’s already been paid off so that a nice weight off my shoulders. I live here with my family of four. There is my wife, Kelly who I met at KU, and my two sons Drake and Josh. Drake is 10 and Josh is 7. They are both enrolled in a public school here in Alaska.
I hate my children and my wife so much. All they do is complain about how bored they are and how we have no money. I can’t divorce her because she will take what little money I have and I will become homeless. If I had the money I would send the boys to a extremely hard core military camp, maybe then they could learn some manners and be happy with what they have. And even if they didnt at least I would get a break from them. This trip to Rome was the happiest I’ve been in ten years. I almost stayed there and didn’t come back. I am living a nightmare, I feel very trapped. I should’ve tried harder in high school.
That way I would’ve gotten more scholarships and would not still be drowning in debt. Did you know that if you leave the country you need a passport? Well I didn’t. Thankfully the invitation to the reunion informed me that to leave the country you need a passport. To get a passport you need your birth certificate and a photo ID, I used my drivers license. It cost about 135$. I couldn’t believe this. Why would it cost money to leave a country, that’s just plain wrong. Also it takes around 4-6 weeks to arrive. The flight to Rome was not cheap. It cost $2,619 roundtrip including a hotel for 6 days.
I flew from Alaska to Seattle, Seattle to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Rome. The flight lasted about 19 hours, and I flew over 6,600 miles. I stayed in the Hotel Nazionale. It was extremely high class. In Europe you have to buy all your food at stores or restaurants, no hotel buffet food. An interesting thing happened the first night I was there, I went into a restaurant and the waiters were giving me extremely poor service. I was constantly trying to get their attention and repeat myself. It also took ages for my food to be served. I later learned this is because in Europe the waiters are not tipped. Also they don’t have ice!
How on earth can restraunt stay in business without any ice. While in Rome I ventured off to a City in Austria named Vienna. Vienna is the capital of Austria. It has a population of 1. 8 million. It is said that Vienna has had residents since 500 B. C. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was there. I tried a new kind of pork that is famous in Vienna, I’m not even going to try and spell it. It was a pork that is pounded flat, and then coated in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. It is then fried in clarified butter. This was a delicious new meal that tasted similar to a chicken fried steak. Vienna has its own capital vineyard too.
I tasted many different kinds of wine and cheese all while looking at the beautiful views. While in Rome I also went on a day trip. I rented a car and drove to Piazza del Popolo, central Rome. There I met my tour guide and the rest of my group. We then drove to Mt Vesuvius where we hiked up a volcano. The tour guide was very informative and smart. He really helped the trip go smoothly. We also stopped at a pizza place and tried the world famous neapolitan pizza. It was very tasty. Finally we checked out a museum, the “National Archaeological Museum of Pompeii”. This was easily the most exciting part of the trip.
The reunion was a total blast. I got to see so many of my old teachers, and old friends. It’s crazy, all the kids who were loners in highschool are now doing extremely well and were the life of the party. Whereas the people who always looked like they were having the most fun in highschool were either not there, or didn’t want to talk to anyone because they were embarrassed about how poorly they’ve been doing financially after high school. I was so amazed to see Mr. Dent there. He always talked about how much he hated countries that were not America. We sat next to each other and caught up.
His kids are now in college and doing well. Him and Mrs. Dent have split up though. I guess highschool romances never do last. I ran into Paul, remember him? He was the kid we met on the last day of senior year. He was only 4 feet tall and weighed 100 pounds. He is still the same dimensions wise, but he is now the CEO of Google. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard his name after high school. I was very sad to find out Cassie, my girlfriend from Junior year, had died in a motorcycle accident at the tragic age of 28. The Driver was drunk and she was not wearing a helmet. This reunion made me think back to highschool a lot.
I really wish I would’ve joined some clubs earlier and not waited till senior year. I also wish I couldve played soccer instead of football. Almost everybody there who played football was either holding a cane or in a wheelchair. I don’t understand how high school football is still legal. In highschool I kept to myself mostly, didn’t go out of my way to help others. This was a mistake. Everyone I saw at the reunion who I remember having a positive impact on my life, seemed very happy. They never stopped helping others, and I could tell that that has benefited them greatly. I miss you alot Tom, and I hope you write me back.