I must admit, the first time I did it I was nervous. What if I was terrible at it? What if I got laughed at or worse, wasn't allowed to do it again? You want to prove you are good but the whole time your mind races and your hands shake and you keep hoping no one notices this is your first time. They say, "don't worry everyone is nervous their first time, it's a lot to take in," but they all look like pros when they do it. So I climb up, with my legs shaking, eyes on me and I bust out the pearly whites and say, "GOOOOOD morning! My name's Alexis and welcome to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center"
An instant success as I make my first joke and the tour bus bursts out laughing. Relief. The tour takes maybe 30 minutes tops and it's the most exhilarating, what feels like only seconds, of your life. Oral presentation on crack if you will. In that moment I am tour guide, teacher, friend, comedian, biologist and most importantly an intern at the AWCC just as enthusiastic about wildlife as my audience.
I've had many firsts here at the Center. Rapid fire firsts include, feeding bears, touching bears, bottle feeding moose, musk oxen and sitka deer, feeding a bald eagle, horned owls and lynx. Petting a wood bison, herding elk, shoveling bison "patties" being a tour guide, petting and presenting a porcupine, leading a Disney tour, tasting elk and reindeer, walking a reindeer. Living with 10 roommates and last but not least being totally and completely comfortable with myself 4,000 miles away from everything I know and love and finding new things, people and feelings to be in love with. The other day a woman told me I should get Alaska tattooed around my Texas tat so that I could show the size difference and while I do thank Alaska for giving me the room to grow, I'd never portray Texas as small because she gave me the room to be.