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Mattawamkeag, United States

"How did you end up in Mattawamkeag?" or "How did you hear about THIS PLACE?" People ask us this alot. Ebay is the answer. Nobody believes us, but it is the truth. When we were looking for jobs while we were in China, we looked everywhere. We sent resumes everywhere. We applied to everything we were remotely qualified to do. Then at the end of a long resume sending session, for kicks I thought I'd look at ebay for commercial opportunities. I thought, lets see whats for sale, maybe we could just buy a business and create our own jobs. Viola, the Mattawamkeag Wilderness Park and Campground! Actually it wasn't for sale. It was for lease. And no, we did not pay with paypal. In fact the bidding process involved submitting a business plan to the city of Mattawamkeag (the owners of the park). So since we were in China and had never been to Mattawamkeag, we did some internet research. And we crafted a 25 page business plan for our dream of running a campground (that we'd never seen) and it was full of the latest trends in camping according to the internet available behind the Great Firewall of China. So we submitted our bid and plan in Nov 2009. And we kept job hunting. We moved back New Years Eve. We kept job hunting. While we were in China, we thought the job market was pretty lame on the internet. We thought SURELY when we move back, we will see all these jobs that must not be visible behind the Great Firewall. Nope. The van driver from the airport on New Years Eve said he'd just gotten his job and he'd been unemployed for 9 months. He said that he'd always worked in the hotel industry. Nobody used to want to be the midnight van driver for the airport, and now he barely got this job only because he had 9 years of experience. He said the Sunday job section was basically gone from the Seattle Times. It was a little eye opening that he was right. Our thought was that the Vancouver Olympics were going to create jobs in our border town near the island. Nope. We were applying to everything. Nit picker, yep, they really were hiring somebody to do that. Really I think it is a brilliant idea, but not going to be the most pleasant job. The husband had been a pet groomer and both of us use to work with monkeys, and Princess has tangly curly hair, surely we were qualified to delouse. Nope, didn't even get a call on that one. I had 2 intense McDonald interviews. I'm sitting there with the 12 year old hiring manager saying how much I'd like to work there and how I like McDonalds, and she says, "well I see you worked at Dairy Queen back in the '80's, do you have any more recent experience?" Augh, like cooking for the family and teaching Chinese folks how to order off the McDonalds menu was not good enough. Yeah, basically she called me old. I haven't forgiven McDonalds for switching the hamburger to the soy/hamburger worldwide last July, so it's just as well I didn't get the job. Luckily, one morning while we were beginning another day of the job hunt-we got the email from Mattawamkeag. They selected us!!! Yeah!
So, still sight unseen, we paid the lease. Now the road to Mattawamkeag was not easy. The husband loaded our 2 dogs and 2 cats in my grandma's vintage 1985 Mercury Gran Marquis. Man that truck can hold anything. They just don't make them like that anymore. We looked into buying a truck or something, but that car seats everybody comfortably and had the biggest trunk EVER. And he drove cross country in April.
Teenager was enjoying herself in school. She did the running start program and basically skipped high school and takes classes at the community college. Luckily they are on the quarter system and the second quarter she signed up for all online so we could go to Mattwamkeag.
Little Guy really needed special little guy school to learn sign language. We wanted him to stay in school as long as possible. That was until we found out the school district was too cheap to hire a real interpreter to teach him sign language, and was using this unqualified (disgruntled too) aide that was already working in special guys class. I couldn't figure out WHY didn't she take her hands out of her pocket and say "HI" to him everyday. He actually was signing less after going to school. So my deaf friend comes with me to talk to the school and it becomes very apparent that the aide didn't know much sign. Furthermore to fake it, she actually was modelling signs incorrectly for him, confusing his little self to the point that he didn't sign much. So we just pulled him and sent him packing to Mattawamkeag.
Princess luckily is happy everywhere in the world and didn't mind moving to Mattawamkeag.
The census called a few days before the husband was going to drive accross the country. So we decided to fly the kids out after he got settled and then I'd fly after I finished my census mission.
He arrived in Mattawamkeag, and found out the road was not easy. Really, online we had read that was the biggest complaint for the campground. He described it like Africa. 7.6 miles of dirt potholes.
If you've ever bought anything on ebay, you know this is the risk you take. Yes, the campground and park are beautiful, but the road, hmmm, not mentioned in the description of the item. Anyway, the lease said they were suppose to grade the road. So he held them to it-AND they GRADED THE ROAD!
So when I flew out, I rented the smallest (and cheapest) car available to see if it could make it down the road. (an online review of the campground said a small car could get lost in the potholes) No problem, it wasn't bad at all.
And now we have people coming in that say, "I always wanted to visit this park but could never get down the road before"
So maybe we will make it in Mattawamkeag.......

permalink written by  carseat tourist on June 14, 2010 from Mattawamkeag, United States
from the travel blog: Making It In Mattawamkeag
tagged CampgroundRoad

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