Thursday, November 29, 2007

Just pictures

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! (and I land on somebody during the basketball tournament)

It's been busy during school and after school! I start tutoring next week, but the focus yesterday was baking for Thanksgiving. I made an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, a pumpkin-cream cheese roll, blueberry-rhubarb-cranberry tarts, sausage gravy, and acorn squash! It was quite a day of baking, and I'm thinking about starting a workout video titled "Cooking without a blender: How to get ripped in 3 months (the lighting makes me look kinda buff I guess--Wooh!)."

Seriously though, making that whipped cream with a whisk took a long time! We had Thanksgiving dinner at the swanky penthouse apartment of Linda the principal (she lives above the school, is her blog).

Rob the roomate carved up the turkey. Delicous!

I provided the role of the butler...I guess. It was just interesting "dressing up" for a social occasion in my nicer clothes that weren't my shirt and tie for school. Another teacher wore her "heelys" and she said it was the first time she had worn heels in 3 months. I guess that's one of those luxuries you have to go without in a bush village (I miss my turntables and vinyl more than any other physical kinda thing).

Oh yes, and I did land on an older gentleman during the basketball tournament. Every year Shaktoolik has a big basketball tournament around Thanksgiving, where people from all of the surrounding villages come and try to defeat the reigning champs here. Leonard, a local, asked me to play for his team. I told him multiple times that I hadn't played a real game of basketball since the 3rd grade, but he insisted that I play, so I joined up!

So how did I crush an old man, you ask? Well, our first match was against the "old guys" of Shaktoolik, a team of 40-50 year old men. These guys could really shoot well, even if I could scramble around them on the court. Anyways, at one point I got a little over-zealous as Binga, an older guy from around here, was going for an easy lay-up. People in the crowd said I jumped with a classic Michael Jordan, legs sprawled, arm in the air, "Enforcer" leap from the 3 point line to shut this guy down, but I mis-timed my jump and I ended up landing on his head! It was a very emabarassing scene. I helped him up and we were both okay, but the entire crowd was stunned, yet laughing hysterically. I gave Binga a nice pie today as an apology, so I think everything is okay. He said that he was a little sore from my landing on him yesterday...they won the game, but I'm just glad nobody got hurt. I AM NOT A BASKETBALL PLAYER.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Beautiful Day for a Polar Plunge

Stunning day today; the hoarfrost clung to anything exposed to the fierce arctic atmosphere. The still air allowed the frost to grow collections of crystals over the landscape.

Zero degrees in the early afternoon. This is the coldest weather I've felt before In my entire life, so I figured it was a good day to take a little dip in the ocean! I told my wrestlers that if they placed 1st or 2nd in the wrestling tournament I would take a "polar plunge" for them the next week. If I would have jumped in the water on Monday it would have been a balmy 32 degrees with no frozen water. It was a different story today....

Brrrrrrrr. Forutunatly, I was able to warm myself up a little before I left the school. I did a little research on "anticipatory thermogenesis" and I could feel my body temperature rising before I left the school. I basically imagined myself in a blazing inferno eating 7 alarm hot wings and chugging hot sauce. By the time I jumped into the Bering Sea I didn't even really feel the cold.

Unfortunatly, there was no water! There was about an inch of ice over a foot of water in the deepest portion of the sand bar. I turned around after I hit more sand and headed back to the shore.

Considering that it was still zero degrees outside, I was ready to dunk and get this thing done with! I ran back to the deep part, threw some ice out of the hole, and did a push-up into the water.

Again, I didn't even really feel the cold water. I was so focused that it seemed "apart" from me or something. I ran back to the shore where all of the students were waiting and toweled off very quickly. I threw a blanket over my head when one of the parents was nice enough to drive me the 200 feet to my house. I had started my shower a few minutes before the jump, so it was all warmed up for me. To be honest, my feet have never been colder, but I could move them easily after a few moments in the shower. I have a few scratches from the ice, but otherwise I feel great! I was told that students were all grinning ear to ear as I dunked myself in the frozen sea.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Silver is the new Gold, baby!

4 students took second place at the tournament, one took 3rd place, and two took fourth place. I am so proud of them! Our Shaktoolik wrestlers were First Place, small schools division, elementary school:

Second Place, small schools division, middle school:

I thought that things would slow down after wrestling, but now I see that there is so much to do that I had put off while I was the wrestling coach! Plus I am trying to catch up on sleep; a 3-day tournament with all of those students was a little draining. Here are some pictures of them wrestling:

I told the wrestlers that if they placed as a team I would jump into the ocean, so I need my stength! I dive into the Bering Sea on Friday!!! There are still parts of it that aren't frozen over =)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ice Fishing Expedition

My new roomate Rob and I had the pleasure of ice-fishing on the mighty Shaktoolik River yesterday. The weather was absolutely pristine. A crisp 30 degrees with a bright sun shining down on us. Calvin, one of the local guys, put us in his freight sled and towed us 3 miles across the bumpy tundra to "Jinkluok." Jinkluok is a deep spot of the Shaktoolik River where the trout feast on salmon roe. Calvin cut us some fishing holes and "chummed" one of the holes with some bait to attract the fish. He told us the ice was good, but it didn't look very thick to me! I don't know much about these kinds of thing yet.

We must have caught 30-40 trout EACH over the course of 2 hours, most of them 8-10 inches, but there were a couple good sized ones at about 14 inches! I felt like it was a fish factory--the fish would literally hook on after two or three "jigs" of the line. The fact that your fishing rod also serves as your club makes it very functional! Here I am pulling another one in.

After 2 hours of gutting we took a little break--here's a Wii boxing match of Tyler vs Rob the Roomate. Fierce!

One more picture--the beach along the ocean. The water is starting to get the consistency of a slush puppy, which makes for really bizarre waves.

Tomorrow I am off to the big wrestling invitation in Unalakleet. The Shaktoolik Wrestlers are pumped and ready for action! Then I'm off to Nome for a Safe Schools training program for the weekend. How did I ever think I would be bored up here?!?!?!