Tuesday, May 20, 2008


My flight leaves in a mere 2 hours. I've never announced this fact on the blog...but I do not intend to return here next year. This truth is leaving me with a somewhat ominous feeling, mixed with the elation of returning home, but there's one thing that I'll be glad about...


This picture was taken at 3:30 am, before the sun started to come up. Everyone else is used to the light, but it drove me bonkers. Rain fell all last night, and the raindrops reverberating from the roof echo'ed in my mind, reminding me of home (I fell asleep instantly).

Leonard tooke me on a final walk down to Old Site, and as you can see, the snow still prevails. It was actually snowing on Saturday, real flakes falling from the sky. Here's where the beach ends and picks back up into melting snow:

Down at old site, Palmer's new puppies were making quite a ruckus. I wanted to take one of these sled doggies home, but they cost over $600 each.

Leonard and I picked some of the good ol' eskimo curative "stink weed," then we headed back. I'm going to miss happenings like this one:

Yes, that's a 12 year-old boy riding his bicycle with a loaded 12 gauge. He was looking for ducks! When we got back, I started a bonfire down by the beach and it attracted all of the village kids like moths. After keeping all the kids from starting the driftwood caches on fire, I reminded them that I was leaving the next day.

They seem pretty nonplussed and unaffectionate, which was only a reminder of how I am helping perpetuate the cycle of revolving teachers. Maybe it's hard for them not to take it personally that I am not returning next year...but I will miss them dearly. A few students did stop by quite often in the last few days, so maybe I'll have a lasting affect on a few students. There's too much to sort in my head right now, I'll shuffle through my thoughts and make a final post after I reaclimate in Washington next week.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Magooning and Michael Jackson

Well, the last day of school is tomorrow. I have mixed feelings about this day...I am very glad to return home to my family, but there is something I will always miss about Shaktoolik. Like a piece of myself is now stored here...does that make sense? I think so. In any case, the ocean is finally starting to break up and and kids are going "magooning," or jumping from ice block to ice block. Here's two students rocking a loose chunk of frozen sea:

I even took a turn at it! And those of you thinking, "Why is he out on the ice in shorts and sandals?" all I have to say is:

50 degrees is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The unending day is really irking me though. I've never looked at a clock that said 8:30 and wondered to myself, "IS THAT AM OR PM!? Am I late for school? What day is it?" The bathroom is my only respite. Oh, sweet darkness of the bathroom.

As far as the Michael Jackson part of this post is concerned, I just won 25 dollars in a lip sync contest held in the community! Yeah! I was voted "Best Choreography" for my interpretation of "Billie Jean." I'm very hesitant to post this video on the site though. If I saw some serious commenting (like 5 or more) about wanting to see me bust a move, I might consider it.

Okay.....here you go. Too bad they didn't record the moonwalking part near the end.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Graduation Shaktoolik High Schoolers!

We had our graduation this Friday for our 3 graduating seniors this year. Unfortunately, 33% percent of the graduating class couldn't attend because they had gotten in snowmachine accidents and had to have surgery in Anchorage (he's okay, but a cardboard cut-out had to take his place at the ceremony). In a graduation this small, the slideshow is about each person and every graduate has to do a speech.

Kelly, Jake, and I were dressed to the nines. I had to suppress the urge to ride a bicycle and discuss the bible.

After the graduation ceremony we headed over to the "annex," the building for all celebrations in the village. I was totally in my element-phooseball, air hockey, and ping pong. Oh how sweet it was.

In other news, 9 days left until I go home! The count-down has officially begun (well we are in the top 10 days now).

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Own Deadliest Catch

The goal of this weekend was to bring home a mega-load of crab for my family, so I enlisted Calvin for help. The first thing we needed to do was go get some fresh crab bait, which is either trout or whitefish up the Shaktoolik river. It was nice and "hot" today, about 35 degrees, so Calvin had to check the river to make sure we didn't fall in. I kept imaginiing Calvin breaking through and getting swept away, but he was okay.

And then, err, we broke through about a mile more upstream. We managed to pull the sled out and make it past the thin part, but riding in a sled right next to the open water of a questionably deep river still makes me nervous.

After a quick hour of ice-fishing, the bait was caught and we headed off to Cape Denbigh. Crabbing was so much more pleasurable this time around! When Silas took me crabbing it was dark, 0 degrees and we caught 1 crab all night. That and the sled ride was so bumpy that my jacket has sled marks in the back of it. This time the ride was smooth, and it was sunny and windless at the cape. I even got a little nose sunburn! The open water was right there at the edge of the ice:

But wait, doesn't that ice break off and float away? Haha, yes it does, that's why you have to be careful. People have stories of the time they lost their crab lines because the ice broke off and floated away, or whole crab pots even. There wasn't a "North Wind" blowing though, so the chances of a chunk breaking away were relatively low. After all of our hard work handlining (see previous crabbing post), we raked in 13 crabs! I had to hold two on the sled ride home because the cooler was overflowing. Calvin is standing proud with our catch:

I thought it was pretty interesting how the locals load/unload their boats from the water too. I took another video for you, which is almost like a 360 degree picture. I should have done more of these throughout the year...

We got back home after a long day at 1 am. It was just about dark. After taking my share of the crabs and buying a few off of Calvin, I had 7 crabs to process. I got to sleep at 4:45 am this morning, just as the light started to come back. I can see why king crab costs 20 dollars a pound. Fun times!