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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Community Spirit

Hard work is something I am well accustomed to. I have grew up on chores, construction jobs, and working days in restaurants and nights tending bar. As the educational technology coordinator in the Lower Yukon School District, I bring that same drive and determination. The last few Saturdays I have been working at different sites to facilitate professional development. What an amazing bunch of educators I work with! Voluntarily giving up the most beautiful Saturdays western Alaska has blessed us with in months to learn more about their craft and continue their own personal learning experience. Truly an amazing group.
While visiting these teachers and spending a few nights at various villages I realized how much I miss the community spirit that comes with living and working in small rural villages. I miss the kids and the tournaments. I miss the birthday parties and gatherings of all kinds. Luckily, I got back from Nunam Iqua, Alakanuk, and Kotlik Saturday just in time to catch some Eskimo dancing!
Mountain Village invited Kotlik, Chevak, St. Mary's, and Hooper Bay to dance and fellowship. The purpose was to encourage village youth to be more responsible and respectful, while paying closer attention to their mental and physical health. I thought the event went well and pray it has made a lasting impact on my community (even though the pop cans and candy rappers left behind was alarming!). 

Grab your dance fans, I say, and get out there! 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl

Technically, it's Super Bowl Sunday. I just realized this in a meaningful way... I knew it was coming. I knew Mountain Village friends were planning a party. I knew it would be a rematch of the heart-wrenching game I saw in Togiak where the famous helmet catch changed the course of the game. But for some reason I just don't care. There have been times in my life where the Big Game was less important than others; I mean I can't even remember half of them! There were a few Super Sundays I went to church and stayed late just to prove my devotion (to myself and peers) in spite of the value the world has placed on these precious hours. 
This day is different. This day all I can think about is being out on my snowgo. I want a moose so badly I can taste it. I need a moose so badly my wallet can taste it! So what does that say? I suppose I should be out and about tomorrow... I suppose this means my values are aligning with that of the lifestyle I have chosen. I like the sound of that. 
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"We take planes like most people take cabs..."

I had a bit of an adventure tonight involving a certain unnamed airline not picking me up and while waiting at the airport I had a fun conversation about air travel. Because I fly often and generally on charters I made the statement to a teacher about myself and a colleague that, "We take planes like other people take cabs." I had no idea how true this was until we "hailed" a plane on the ground for a ride.

Let me start over. I left Mountain Village to head up to Marshall on Monday and worked with a few teachers that evening. After watching a movie and getting a few hours of shut-eye, we hit the ground running. I observed a few teachers and taught a few fun lessons on iMovie, GarageBand, and iTunes and had a blast with Marshal young people. I had so much fun with the 4th grade I wanted to stay all day. We wrapped up the day around 3:30 and packed for our 4 o'clock with Era Aviation. Unfortunately, Era has been having a great deal of trouble with temperature-related and mechanical issues. Not to be deterred, we called for a plane  from another carrier and planned to leave at 6:30.

The short version of the story from here is that we sat at the airport from 6:15-7:00 before returning to town. Though discouraged, we remained hopeful, and once we had cell coverage, which is not present at the airport, we called the carrier in question. They informed us then that they were not coming. Why, we asked, did they not call us. They said it was too late and that they were sorry. Interesting, I thought, they would decide such a thing and not inform the individuals directly involve, namely: myself. Not to worry, they planned on calling during normal office hours tomorrow. Good to know. Quyana.

Just as we had this interesting conversation a plane arrived and hope once again bubbled within me. Upon arrival, we saw the familiar green of Hageland/Era Aviation, dashing our hopes of a pilot to ground station miscommunication. Not to be defeated we approached the pilot, who I believe is on the Flying Wild television show, and ask if they could drop us off in Russian Mission. Surprisingly they replied yes! The Kalskag to Aniak passenger in the 208 Caravan didn't seem too upset, so off we went...

So now if someone asks if you can hail a plane like a taxi in Bush Alaska, you can reply, yes: "We take planes like most people take cabs..."