We are in Whittier, Alaska. I am a teacher here. You know, Whittier is different than, say, working in the traditional bush community. In that we are on the road, and we’re fairly, 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 cozy with your neighbors. What floor do you guys need? See you later Nathan, have a good night. 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 want to 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. So you really, you don’t have to leave if you don’t need to. I think in a larger community, you go to school. You travel there. Not in Whittier. You just gotta walk over, and it takes 5 minutes, if that. Depending on the elevator, of course. There have been times where we’ve had to say, our school day starts at 8:45. If we open the school doors at 8 in the morning, or at 6 in the morning, the minute the light’s on at the school, they would be there. I think the proximity of the building, where all live, to the school. It’s a very seamless relationship. They don’t separate that it’s school and home. It’s just one place to them. I’m your neighbor. We all live in the same building, right? Student: I live two floors under you. Erika: I have been with the same students for 4 years now. So I’ve literally had some of them since they were in 1st grade, and now they’re in 4th. And it’s like a family. I don’t have discipline issues, I don’t have classroom management issues. Because they know me. It’s like coming to school with mom. They call me mom have the time anyway. My first year or two, I had such a hard time separating that I was a teacher. And knowing sometimes what was happening in some students lives. But I’ve always had the rule, that no matter what time of the day, what time of the night, if a student knocks on my door, I will always answer it. You are always welcome. They know that. I’ve always been a teacher, and in a previous life, I’ve been a fitness instructor. And my first few years here, my fitness was always my thing. And it was just kind of a private thing I did. I would go to the school gym on Sundays, or wait until everybody left, and work out on my own. And I had a lot of community members asking me to teach classes. Last year, I was convinced by just enough people asking, that I decided to try it. And it has gone really well. And it’s really well received. It’s hard to stay healthy in a town like this. Our weather is really challenging, we don’t have a fitness center or a gym, other than the school. The school does have a full size gym, and a weight room that’s available during school hours. But beyond that, between the extreme winds, and the rain, and the snow, that challenges a lot of people. And so I think it just becomes a normal thing, to not move. And to not be healthy. And the weather is always a great excuse. And plus we don’t have to leave this building if we don’t want to. So a lot of people don’t. You know, why would you? The tunnel creates its own sort of isolation, in that it closes every night at 10:30. So if we want to go to dinner in Anchorage, we can’t usually go and do that on a school night, because often times, and I’ve had this happen more than once, you go to a movie, and you just cross your fingers that it’s gonna get out by 9:30. Because you have to make the 10:30 tunnel. And it takes an hour to get down here from Anchorage. And if you don’t make the 10:30 tunnel, then you’re sleeping in your car. Which happens a lot. It would be silly to say that you live a lonely life living in the building. Because, I have friends and neighbors, and students and coworkers, that are right down the hall. If you’re having a bad day, if you’re having a day when you think, “Gosh I haven’t talked to another human being for a while,” you can just walk down the hall, or get in the elevator. What people say when they visit Whittier. Well first they all go, “Ugh, you all live in that same building?” “Isn’t that strange?” And I think what people don’t realize is that it’s just like an apartment building. Or it’s just like a high rise condo in a large city. So for me it’s not that strange. That’s where I grew up. I grew up in a big city, everybody lived in an apartment building. But not the entire town.