“We are in Whittier, Alaska. I am a teacher here. You know, Whittier’s different than, say, working in the traditional, uh, bush community, in that, you know, we are on the road and we’re fairly, you know, we’re a tourist town in the summer, but it’s, yes, we all live in the same building and it does sound strange but essentially it’s a condo association and it’s, you know, you get really cosy with your neighbours.
We have everything we need, really. There’s a post office downstairs. There’s a grocery store downstairs. There’s a little video store that if you wanna rent videos or movies you can go and call her and she’ll come over. City offices are downstairs as well, so all the city managers and everything and the mayor work down there, uh, so you really, you don’t have to leave if you don’t need to.
I, uh, I think in, in a larger community, you know, you go to school. You travel there. Ah, not in Whittier, you know: you just gotta walk over, and it’s – takes five minutes, if that. You know, depending on the elevator of course.
There have been times where we’ve had to say “Our school day starts at 8.45”. Uh, if we open the school doors at eight in the morning – if we open the school doors at six in the morning, the minute the light’s on at the school they would be there. I think the proximity of the building where we all live to the school: it’s, it’s a very seamless relationship. They don’t separate that it’s school and home. It’s, it’s just one place to them…”