Being in Anchorage enabled me to head north to Willow, AK, and participate in another weekend of Rotary's Youth Exchange program. As the Youth Exchange Officer (YEO) for my club, I attend to receive additional training and to support our community's newest edition: Sagar.
As I pulled into the camp on Saturday morning, the energy was palpable. Greeted by warm hugs from fellow YEOs and waves from familiar students' faces as they devoured breakfast, I felt welcomed back into the fold. Sporting my Vermont Law School tshirt and birks, I took my notebook and curled into a chair to listen in on the sessions scheduled for the day.
During a break, a guest approached me. His name tag read "Ram ___ Guest." Introductions were made, and he asked if I had gone to VLS. Yes, class of '02 I replied. "Cool. I just graduated this summer." Small world. It turns out that Ram will be clerking for a judge assigned to Barrow, AK (the judge is a fellow Rotarian). Born in Mumbai, raised in Atlanta, he attended undergrad at Furman (go Knights) and then VLS. He looked amazed that not only did I know Furman but that my roots in SC and the south were strong, too. He had lots of questions about his upcoming trip and the community, and I tried to impart my limited knowledge unto him. He soaked up everything. When I found out that I had Tok with me, he insisted upon meeting our "Alaskan" dog. We exchanged contact information so that we could keep in touch. Small world, huh?
From South Royalton, Vermont, to Willow, AK: 4,530 miles