I’m still trying to find out where I belong in Homer.
You’d think after nine months on the peninsula that I’d have some idea of my place in the community, but if I’m being honest, I really don’t.
One perk of working at the newspaper is that I attend just about every event hosted around town, but I usually see them through the lens of my camera.
I’ve loved seeing fans cheer at Homer High School athletic events, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like the student section at hockey games when the Mariners score! They know a thing or two about school spirit.
I’ve enjoyed listening to classically trained musicians who move audience members to tears and watching local actors leave viewers laughing at the top of their lungs during outdoor plays at the Pratt Museum & Park.
I’ve toured the state’s largest privately owned dry dock and seen a 220-metric ton travel lift constructed and later in use moving boats. I’ve even participated in a peony bouquet making class thanks to the Homer Chamber of Commerce that helped me learn about local agriculture.
Every other week, I am immersed in municipal government proceedings, some of which leave me confused and overwhelmed, but it’s usually nothing a talk with the city manager or council members can’t help me understand.
I’ve seen a World War II veteran overcome with emotion during the Veterans Day ceremony as younger veterans thanked him for his service. I’ve witnessed a gruff Vietnam veteran who wouldn’t talk to anyone about his service be honored with a Quilt of Valor. I don’t think he’ll ever know what it meant to me when he hugged me and said “I appreciate you, kid,” at the end of the ceremony.
I’ve attended protests, parades, film sets, educational tours, business openings, children’s events and so much more, but I still feel like I’m viewing the town from an outsider’s perspective.
Before I moved, a friend of mine told me to give Homer six months before deciding if I actually liked it or not. After nine months, I have decided that Homer, Alaska, is too beautiful, both the landscape and its people, not to like.
But now it’s time to finally decide that Homer is my home and accept that I am technically no longer an outsider.
So, for the first time in many, many years, I’ve made a New Year’s resolution. I usually don’t waste my time with resolutions, but this year’s is too important not to commit to.
I want to become a part of this community, get involved and not just cover events,but also participate in them. I want to make new friends, try new activities, go on incredible adventures and discover the abundance of wonderful reasons why people choose to make the end of the road their home.
I know things are strained with the pandemic, but I am going to be on the look out for more opportunities to get outside and get involved. I’d love suggestions if anyone has any ideas!
I genuinely appreciate the people I’ve met so far who greet me around town and who have let me know that I am not alone here. I am excited to meet others who will also help shape my experience here. Thank you to the people who have invited me to plays, to go walk their dogs on the beach, to get a drink and who have just checked in to make sure I was doing well. I hope to continue building those friendships as my time extends in Homer.
Until then, if you see me at an event around town, please come say hi! I’d love to meet you and learn more about how you landed in Homer.
Reach Sarah Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org.