Sitka is a very magical place for romance. Issam and I met here in 2006, when I came to Alaska for a bit of an adventure. I sure got one!
I came to Sitka, with two of my girlfriends from college, to manage a Russian-American and Alaskan Native American art store. I was planning to take a year off to explore the world before graduate school, not end up with a husband!
Issam had arrived in Sitka several years earlier in 1999, he had come here on an academic scholarship to attend college. He planned to go into wild-life law enforcement, but fishing quickly stole his heart. By the time we met, he had already been in the industry for six years.
We were introduced at Sitka's legendary Pioneer Bar, by the store owner's daughter. I famously told him that my name was "Chiquita Banana Hammock," a line I obviously stole from Phoebe on the TV show, Friends. He responded, "OK, Phoebe." I was impressed he called me on it and I thought nothing more about it. We ran into each other again two weeks later, and the rest, you can say, is history.
He asked me to dinner where we found out we had a lot more in common than I originally suspected. I remember going back to my apartment and telling my girlfriends I was upset that I met him, because I was just getting ready to travel and experience the world! However, I got over that initial disappointment quickly.
For our next date, he said he wanted to cook dinner for me and my roommates! What man does that? Especially at the age of 25! Now, mind you, I fancy myself a pretty awesome chef and I was living with SIX other girls at the time! This was a tall order! But, here came Issam with all the groceries to make us ALL dinner and, he wouldn't let anyone help him. He made us a gorgeous salad with a strawberry vinaigrette, garlic bread, and his amazing Potato Chip Halibut recipe (you can find it here).
After that, I was really upset, I remember saying to my friends that I was going to have to marry this one and I wasn't planning for that! That was in early June, on Christmas Day he proposed, and we were married by the end of January. This year we celebrated 14 years of marriage!
What a ride! If I was looking for adventure, I found exactly what I was looking for! We now have two beautiful girls, two blooming businesses, and a wonderful life full of surprise, laughter, and love. One of our biggest adventures, a story for another blog post, was the adventure of moving to Sitka to be full time residents in 2016, after spending fishing seasons here for the previous nine years, at nine months pregnant!
Love & Best Fishes,
Catch Sitka Seafoods