Hi! I am Sina Sena. Yes, I married the right man for that last name! Alaska has been my home now for 39 years, my childhood spent in Dutch Harbor, the small island in the Bering Sea that was brought into the spotlight by the Deadliest Catch. It was in the 1970s my parents bundled me up and we traveled from Washington to this small island that was a blip on the radar. The farm that I was born on was left behind, and our new adventure began on this rocky, stormy island. To say my childhood and growing up there was unique, does not at all describe it. Our post office was a trailer, and the roads were nothing but dirt. We used to buy burgers from McDonalds in Anchorage when traveling through and bring them back in coolers with us...they were a hot commodity. We saw the dentist every 6 months in the makeshift treatment room, and had to climb the hill behind our house a few times when tsunami warnings were issued. The weather was terrible, it was kind of isolated, but honestly it gave me the kind of childhood that I wouldn't trade for anything. It was truly memorable, and my time there was spent making life long friends, hiking the hills, visiting the docks, exploring the history of World War 2 and making my on screen debut at the local television station, Channel 8. Shows like the evening news "Flash Unalaska", was how the community stayed in touch and provided local entertainment. It was how the lip sync contest was broadcast, or the interviews I did at age 9 with the Russian boat captains were aired. It was the place "Another Day in Dutch" was dreamed up and the movie "Crab Terror" was filmed. So many stories, and I was only a kid then!
(Sina reeling in the BIG one with her Dad, Jim. Maybe 1982-83?)
Dutch Harbor/Unalaska was a tight knit community. It always seemed that everyone participated, and offered their support in what was happening around the island. I grew up watching lawyers be lead vocalists in the local band, moms were television producers, teachers were acclaimed artists, dads were engine room operators by day, and taught martial arts by night. I grew up among poets, dancers, arm wrestling champions, amateur actors, dreamers, farmers, educators, police officers and more! In a way, I grew up where anyone could be anything. This taught me I could do anything, that believing in myself would make that happen. But also, the support of a community and their involvement in my journey, would make it more personal and more successful.
(Having my cast removed! In Unalaska we didn't have a full time doctor, so having something like a cast cut off was done my the family friend!)
It is because of my childhood, that the need to form a community around Crab Terror Island is the most important thing to me. Having people to not only encourage and support you, but to also do the same for them is my purpose, it allows me to be Sina. For many years, I focused on my children, husband and career. All which should have my focus, but not so much where I lose myself. Unfortunately, there was a part of me that was disappearing, I felt like I was losing my identity. When the idea to "put a design on a shirt" came to me, the move to follow that path was so great, that I had to take a leap. Was this selfish? I was doing something for me, that would allow me to be Sina. I struggled with this, but in the end what I realized is that it is not selfish, but it is my own self interest. By working in my own self interest, I am a better mom, better wife, and better person. I get to be me.
So, with developing Crab Terror Island and creating this community that I value, that reminds me of my childhood, I am doing something that I believe in. And the power behind what you can do when you believe in yourself is staggering.
The City of Unalaska
My hope is that my children see what passion, perseverance, community and belief can do for them in life and that really, the sky is the limit. I don't want to tell them they can do anything, I want them to believe it, to witness their mom doing what she knows is her purpose, and following her dreams. They don't get to live and grow up in the same community I did, but I will help to develop one for them. And when they are ready to embark on their own paths, myself and others will be there to encourage and support. Because we are a community, and we are not alone in believing we can do anything!
(Steampunk Mermaid design. Copyright 2015)
(Sina *3yrs old, halibut fishing with her Dad, Jim)