A Little Adventure for the Weekend

Have I mentioned how much I love Alaska?! It seriously, has got to be, one of the most beautiful places to live. I wake up every morning with a beautiful view of the mountains. I see moose feeding on the flats. I see eagles soaring and roosting atop the tallest trees. Winter nights, although fridged, are beautiful. The stars above your head, the moon reflecting on the mountain tops, lakes, and rivers. The northern lights dancing and playing overhead. Each day I am reminded of what an awesome God we serve! I am reminded of how truly blessed I am. I am reminded of the opportunities I have had here in a place so far away from home.

This past weekend was one of many incredible weekends since I moved into town. I went to the ceremonial start of the Iditarod and helped celebrate the birthday of my best friend. We stood outside, braving the single digit temperatures, to support the mushers and their dog teams as they ran down street. It was so exciting to see them before the start of their 1,000 mile journey to Nome.

I’m learning that as an Alaskan, adventure is always just around the corner. And strange activities are always on the agenda. So after the ceremonial start we took off to the peanut farm to play some ice bowling. I can honestly say that was the first time I’ve ever been ice bowling. Of course, here in Alaska this is just a norm. Just like showing off your fur hats, mittens, and coats, wearing xtra tufs or sorrels, braving the crazy cold to partake in interesting activities, and walking straight into a moose when you are outside for a Sunday stroll.

If you are interested in following the Iditarod click here and follow these men and women through the last frontier.

Below are some pictures of our Saturday adventure…

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A Typical Day (in the Bush)

Less than one week and school will begin! I am so excited for that first day with my kiddos! As much as we need all the weeks of training and meetings I may go crazy if I don’t get to see my class soon! My classroom is almost completely decorated, math board is up, things are finally organized, and my to do list is dwindling down.

The weather was very nice this past weekend. After spending the entire night and into the early morning at school on Friday, it was great that I could finally get away from the classroom and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation! Saturday afternoon I set out on an adventure with two lovely ladies. I had decided that I wanted to hike to the top of “cupcake” which is apparently what the hill towering the village is called. I had heard of the beautiful view and was very excited to see for myself. When I finally reached the top I felt like I just climbed Mt. Everest! It was exhausting, but well worth it. The view, was just as I had been told, BEAUTIFUL!! Not only could you see the entire village down below, but you could see the Yukon stretch for miles and miles in either direction. There was no telephone poles, or buildings to distract from the simple beauty of the land. Not only was it gorgeous, but the abundance of berries was spectacular! We spent hours taking in the the fresh air, enjoying the beautiful outdoors and picking berries!

After church on Sunday, I decided that I would take that day off and just have a lazy day. Let’s just say I’m pretty sure a “lazy day” is impossible around here. Apparently, I have some amazing fish cutting skills that everyone wants now. I mean I did cut up 4 Salmon with an uluq, so I like to believe that I am pretty impressive. Anyways, my skills were called upon to help clean and cut some fish up! I don’t think many people knew that was only my 2nd maybe 3rd time of doing this so they asked for my help. After attempting to use a “normal knife” I had to call for the uluq. An hour later….I think I had cut up the fish correctly, regardless I was feed an amazing salmon dinner with instant potatoes and all! And don’t forget the glass of coffee! Soon after, we were invited on a boat ride down the Yukon! Its a little terrifying to know that there is no one around besides you and the two others in your boat! The view was breathtaking! I got to see the place that is called clearwater…It is where the Yukon meets with another body of water and you can see the line. One side is muddy water and the other side is obviously “clearwater.” It was a lot of fun to be able to fish and experience the life from a natives’ eyes.

So, for all the people that have told me “whale blubber” is disgusting and that is the nastiest thing you can eat….I just want you to know that you are wrong. It was definitely interesting with a unique taste but quite delicious! I would recommend trying it! I have also been introduced to Herring eggs on grassy stuff…not to bad either. And to top it all off today I was able to try some seal meat and blubber that a fellow teacher had brought from home.

That’s all for now…better get to work! ImageImageImageImageImage

So much has happened in just a few short days since my last post! I’ve learned you can make bread…..in an oven. Mind blowing, I know, especially when all your life you believed one must have a bread maker to make bread. Obviously, I was shown there is a way. I learned the technique of braiding the bread. I pretty much feel like a pro! I’ve also learned that you can use dried eggs and dried milk and your waffles will still taste the same! And if you want to really want to make them extra good add some handpicked blueberries from the tundra! So whenever you all want to visit I will be pretty much as good as Betty Crocker, Rachel Ray…you know all those great cooks!

Monday was a beautiful day here in Alaska! I can honestly say that was the first day since I’ve been here I thought it was HOT! (I believe it was only 68 degrees!) I took advantage of that and went on a stroll to walk along the Yukon River! Many locals are still on the river fishing for Salmon and we saw a few women cutting, cleaning and smoking the fish so it can be saved for the long winter. The view along the beach is just breathtaking. I still can not believe this river will be completely frozen over in a few months! But until then I am enjoying this beautiful weather and taking advantage of the berry picking and trying to not think about how cold it is going to get in just a few months!

The kids here are just so stinkin cute! They all want to know your name and what grade you are teaching! It’s so funny to have a 5 year old come up to you and quiz you about where you live, what you teach, what you name is, and the list goes on and on. It just funny, no matter where you go, kids are kids.

I have spent many hours in my classroom this week shifting my piles to different corners of the room trying to organize and prepare for my 13 1st grade students. I am so excited to meet these kiddos! I found out that I have an aide that will help me throughout the year! It’s been great to have another body to help me finish cleaning and preparing the room! I can’t believe school starts in just a little over a week! I still have so much to do, but I am so excited to begin teaching these precious little children!

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