How We Got Here
"The Marshall Islands?! Where are they and how did you end up there?" Those are questions we get a lot. The answer to the first is: the middle of nowhere. The short answer to the second is: by airplane! The long answer is the story below. Enjoy!
Travel, both in the US and internationally, has defined much of my life. I caught the travel bug in high school when I began to go on mission trips with my church. Those work missions in Montana, Washington State and Alaska whetted my appetite to see more of the world and I jumped in with both feet during my sophomore year in college. I spent four months aboard the MV Universe Explorer with the Semester at Sea program, visiting 10 different countries during the course of the voyage and coming back to the US with a shaved head and a completely different outlook on the world.
After completing my degree in Biology I spent three weeks on a survival trip in Australia with the National Outdoor Leadership School and then landed in Omaha Nebraska, near where my mother was living at the time. I returned to school and got a second bachelor’s degree, this one in medical technology and took a job on the night shift in the lab at a large hospital. Shortly after I graduated, I met D. We dated for four months before he left for 13 months to work at the South Pole in Antarctica.
We kept in touch for those 13 long months and met in Australia when he finished his contract. We spent four weeks seeing Tasmania and the western coast of Australia and got to know each other again. D went back to school when we returned to Omaha and he asked me to marry him six months later. Shortly after we got engaged, D left for the Antarctic again, this time to work on one of the ice breakers that travel the Southern Ocean for marine research.
D and I married in September of 2007 and I left for my first contract in Antarctica in March of 2008. I would be working at Palmer Station as the instrument tech, maintaining the equipment that the researchers used to collect samples and analyze dates. I started my first blog, Amber on the Road, to record my thoughts and to share photos with friends and family while I was there. When D graduated in May, he was able to get work on an ice breaker traveling to Palmer Station where I was working and we were actually able to spend a few days together. I didn’t see him again until I completed my contract in September.
D heard about Kwajalein from some Antarctic friends and had been interested in working on the radars here for years. After graduation, D applied for and got a job working on Roi-Namur. He actually only had two weeks from the time he finished his contract with the Antarctic Program and when he deployed to the Marshall Islands. I was offered another contract at Palmer and accepted it. I had three weeks off in between jobs and spent them on Kwajalein with D. It was big change from Antarctica, but a good break.
I spent another seven months working in Antarctica and then returned back to the US to sell our house and prepare for my move to Kwaj. I began working here in October of 2009. I was living on Roi-Namur with D and flying to Kwaj every day to work- not your ordinary commute! In October of 2010, we began the adoption process that would lead us to our daughter Sky and shortly after that, D was promoted to a job that came with housing. We loved living on Roi and were sad to leave but very excited about the changes in our lives.
We saw Sky’s face for the first time in December of 2010 and flew to Majuro to adopt her in February of 2011. She has been the perfect addition to our family and is the light of our days.
The rest of the story can be found on this blog, starting from the first posts about moving into house in October of 2010.
I’m hoping to write more about D and I and our journey to Kwajalein and to adoption in another post. Check back soon!