There’s a Moose by the Library

Tasha Poduska
8 min readSep 2, 2021


Alaska, Alaska, Alaska, who goes to school in Alaska? Me apparently. Yep, this was the perfect school for me, because I didn’t want to go to school. I needed to be trapped somewhere so I would attend school, so Alaska was very appealing to me.

I mean really, what could I do other than go to school, play volleyball and try to stay warm. Well, there are actually a lot of things you can do in Alaska, Fairbanks in particular, it’s only 10 miles from the Arctic Circle, it gets to -40 and you can play softball in the summer at 1 am. But all that you can find out from Wikipedia, I’m here to tell you the fun stuff and mainly about my adventures.

I arrived in the Fall of 1989, I had 3 years of eligibility left on my volleyball scholarship since I had only burned 1 year of eligibility before my epic drop out period. I had trained hard (riding my bike to and from school) and I was ready for anything. I wanted to go to school with a passion, I’d just spent the last year with a group of people that showed me what life would look like on a hourly wage, with a limited future and I knew I didn’t want that. This was also the point of my life that I first knew I had above average intelligence.

Since I’d been this athlete all my life, I naturally assumed that I was just athletic, not smart. Somehow I believed that you had to be one or the other. My sister was the smart one I thought, thus I’d be the athletic one. I’d just taken 24 credits in one semester, received all “A’s, but I was so focused on getting to Alaska, that I didn’t even notice my intelligence, plus it was a Junior College, and that didn’t really count. Now I was in the big leagues, at University and guess what? I was actually really smart.

It would take me longer to explain a concept to my teammates than it would take me to merely write an entire paper for them. I not only did my homework, but the majority of my teammates, and some of the hockey players (needed those guys to stay eligible). Things came easy to me, I could grasp concepts and figure things out quickly. I learned to see a pattern in how the professor taught, not what they taught. I could tell by how they arranged their notes, stressed a certain point or when the topic came up in the class hour that it would be important or on the test. I learned to watch people and hear what wasn’t being said, paying more attention to what was being left out of a lecture, rather than what was in the lecture. University was easy for me and life was good.

Illustration and Design by Tasha Poduska

I was getting an education, playing volleyball, flying a lot, our closest teams were Anchorage and Hawaii, after that 6 hours to get down to Seattle (lower 48 was the common term) and onto our final destination. We would go on the road for 2 weeks at a time to play. I saw the Northern Lights, felt the moisture in my eyes freeze, learned that you can turn a snorkeling tube the opposite direction so that it goes into your clothes near your chest, allowing you to breathe when it’s -30 outside (please note the amazing diagram above). Grew a carrot in a day, learned why you need a 24 hour clock and realized that a mosquito could be a state bird. Tried to buy fireworks and make a campfire in July when the sun doesn’t set, but I was happy…and then, the dreams began.

Remember how I told you that my father has dreams about the future, we’ll I was having the strangest dreams of my life and I was really hoping it wasn’t about my future. I kept seeing people in really dark clothing and these strange lamp posts. I paid attention to everyone around me, every person I passed in the street, but I couldn’t find these people wearing this very dark clothing. It was if their faces were hidden or I could only see their eyes. Rather creepy at times. AND, on top of that, it wasn’t the same person(s), it was different people, so that made it even harder to figure out. The dreams happened again and again, I could almost wait for them and watch them through the night like a movie reel.

There wasn’t much I could do other than hope that somewhere on some life journey I would see these people. What that meant at this time in my life I didn’t understand, but as I got older, I realized that these dreams might come when I’m NOT following a “Life Plan” of some kind or I’m repeating a life, but this time I’m suppose to follow a different path. The dreams are a guide that I’m meant to follow. The trick is knowing how to follow this path and live my life so that the dreams DON’T come.

While I was off in my thoughts wondering about my dreams, our coach told us that we were now in an exchange experience program with Khabarovsk, Russia and we’d be traveling there to play this season, then the following season they would come to us. Wow, off to Russia, this is so cool. There was a lot to prepare and there was a large group going with us from the University, the town and some medical people. It was a whole delegation.

We all flew down to Anchorage and from there, I got on my first Aeroflot flight. The seats folded all the way down so you can drink vodka and play cards if no one is in the row in front of you. We didn’t drink, at least not yet, we did drink in Russia, but that’s later in the story. The flight attendants didn’t really care if you had a seat belt on or not, non of this put your seat in the upright position because the 10% difference is so important. We couldn’t understand anything they were saying and we didn’t care, we were just excited to get there. Landing in Russia is something else, the runways in 1990 were more like large cement pads connected together for a good landing, and to handle the cold. I didn’t know this then, but the Russian pilots are trained to set the whole plane down at the same time, not the back wheels and then the nose. So we have a very soft landing followed by a very bouncy runway, things are falling out of the overhead, you think the plane is going to crack in two, but we are on the ground.

Now we have to go outside, down slippery cold stairs from the plane and walk in the really cold air to get to an old church like looking building that I guess is custom control. Just scary Russians in uniforms everywhere, they are inspecting our passports as our coach calls us up one at a time to be looked over slowly to make sure our passport picture matches our actual face. We all thought is was funny since most of us just barely got our first passport a few months ago, so not much had changed.

Once they got us all through customs, they got us on a pretty new nice bus, the first normal thing we’d seen, and we started to drive into town. THERE WERE THE LAMP POSTS!!! I couldn’t believe it, the lights on the posts from the airport into town were the lights in the dream, the same mist, the same trees behind them and the strange curve in the neck of the post. I was so excited, this meant that the people would be here too. We drove further into town and sure enough, there were all the people in my dreams. They were all wearing dark fur coats and fur hats, so the most you could see were their eyes, on top of that they all walked with their head down to guard against the cold and to see where they were going (Russian sidewalks are a little rough and there can be a hole from time to time).

Our Bus and See the Dark Outfits

I had told a few of my teammates about my strange dreams, but not in detail as I didn’t want to seem weird, I was in my early 20s and I still needed to be really cool. I was so happy and so confused at the same time. Why would I see Russia before coming to Russia and why Khabarovsk, Russia, this is a small town in the Far Eat of Russia. I was jet lagged and just excited to see a foreign country that I didn’t think about it much.

Russian Breakfast in Our Hotel Rooms, Served Cold

Our trip went on, we played volleyball, we were so bad, the Russians were professionals and we were just some D2 college kids, but we had a blast. We drank with them, went around town with them. No one could understand anything and no one cared. During a part of our tour we came to a grey marble building. The building looked so familiar to me, but I didn’t remember it being in my dream. It’s like when you are watching a movie and you know you’ve seen the movie, you just can’t quite remember what happens next, then all of a sudden you remember the whole movie. Anyway, I knew that we would walk up four flights of stairs and in the back corner there would be a picture of a young girl sitting on a box. I was so sure of this that I told several teammates. Sure enough, we walk up the four flights and there’s a large painting of a young girl on a box.

Not the same photo

Now what? What does this mean? I’ve been here before? To this day I don’t know how I knew this and it’s never happen to me again, but on that day I saw something that happen before it happened and it wasn’t in a dream.



Tasha Poduska

I bring to the table a unique and eclectic professional journey that spans continents and industries. Want more, go to