August 24, 2008

Home Sweet Home

So this weekend, Clint and I changed things in our apartment...we went through the basement area-which is a free for all, take what you need space-and found some neat things to hang up on the walls and such. A teacher also gave us a table cloth and an oriental wall hanging as well. After, we have enjoyed it a lot better than before, and aren't so homesick. We also have displayed our ivory that we have bought as well...Take a peak!

It's wierd how they made the school into apartments. There are 6 different apartments in the school, and you go outside the door and find yourself in the school hallway. You then have to go through another door to go outside. It's very different, but nice. Sierra and another dog can run around the hallways and get exercise through the winter time. The fake flowers are kind of funny- but they really add "home" to the apartment. On top of our t.v. we displayed all of the ivory that we have bought-except my ring. We have not bought the ivory for full price on what they are asking and often times get really good deals....Here is a closer look:

The doll here is called a buela doll. Buela is known around the world for her ivory dolls, and we are fortunate to have been able to get one. The owl we got was about $20 and was made out of rib bone from a walrus. We also have an oosik (whalrus penis) and a whale...We have a walrus tusk that's in the back with carving's of puffins, and the small carving is ivory of a bearded seal, along with the claw on the other end. We are going to get some more goodies throughout the year...

August 23, 2008


Since I haven't been faithful to writing in this blog like I have been wanting to, I am going to dedicate this post to some picture-which I'm sure you all are desperately wanting to see.

One thing that is amazingly beautiful are the sunrises, and sunsets....

Here's some pictures from when we were in Unalakleet for training of their reading program. Clint was showing me around and where he used to go as a kid, which was pretty amazing...Just look at these pictures!

Here is an old fishing camp by the Unalakleet river: Our means of transportation:
And then the fisherwoman:

Jim is in the white sweatshirt, he's the superintendant who helped me...we had so much fun!

I'll upload some more later-

August 11, 2008

Warm Welcome

Today was the first day of the inservice for the teachers. The principal graceously has told Clint again and again that I am able to go to the school and help him and other teachers out during this time, which for me is pretty nice that I don't have to sit around the apartment with nothing to do! During their meeting I stayed in Clint's classroom and was cleaning some stuff out, and the principal asked Clint to come get me. When the introductions came around Mr. P (principal) introduced me as one of the staff members as "the go to gal for substituting and any other tasks we may have" which is a good indication and hope that I will be able to work just about every day for some extra money. We also were welcomed by the village elders who greatly appreciated every one of the teachers. It was nice to see the community so involved in the school and it's staff. Clint-the good public speaker that he is gave a wonderful "speach" about how the friendlyness off this community helped our transition up here. And how appreciative we are to have such nice people to welcome us here. It was much more than that, but that's the jist of it. I think everyone liked the fact that a new teacher spoke up and thanked the elders. It was a long and productive day. Clint's classroom is all set up, all he has to do is the lesson plans-I am thankful I don't have to do any...yet.

After the inservice Clint and I stayed til' about 7:00- and a paraprofessional from the community just let Mr. P know that he was not going to work this year-that leaves 3 openings for me. Hopefully I will be able to get a full time job soon :)

5 Boxes came today! I think we only have about 5 more left to come...Just food boxes...thank goodness food came!

I'm off to eat:)

August 8, 2008


Tonight was an amazing night! I only wish I was smart enough to bring the camera along. Tonight we had dinner at one of the teachers house-which was a nice get together before things kick off on Monday for the inservice. There were about 12 of us who showed up. Pork Chops, corn, salad, beans, brownies, and carrot cake-mmmmm...good! It was nice to get to know people outside of the school setting as well. Clint and I-after the dinner-went for a walk on the the beach is full of BIG pebbles. He of course took his fishing pole and actually caught a salmon! It was pretty exciting. We also had an incounter (well just watched from afar) with a Grey Whale who was around for about 45 minutes. He would breach and was pretty small for a whale, but gorgeous none the less. If I only had my camera...I need to remember to take it every where with me! That is one of my goals for the rest of the time I am up, camera, camera. It's really late, about 12:45am.

Love and miss you all.

August 7, 2008

Day 3...

Last night was probably even harder than the night before. The kids do like to have fun right outside the 6 Plex. The VPSO (Village Police Safety Officer...or something like it) was driving around the building all night trying to keep the kids away. I stayed up until 2:30am! I am really tired, but have stayed in my pj’s most of the day reading The Love Letter by Cathleen Schine. There are a lot of old books that past teachers have left and it became a library, so I grabbed one when Clint left and am almost done with it! Anyway for dinner a teacher I will call L came over and invited me over for dinner, she also wanted Sierra to come along which was nice. We ate grilled cheese, salad, and beef stew which was a LOT better than what I had planned-corn. Yup, I had just one can of corn on the counter and was ready to pop it open when L came. Thank goodness. At her place the custodian came over (An older Yupik man) who is very nice. He asked if I ever had Walrus meat- I gave him a funny look and then he added real quick, you’ll have to try mine! So, next Sat. I am going to try some Walrus meat. He said it was really good, but he was born and raised here in Gambell...We’ll see. I also met another teacher who just flew in today, this will be her second year teaching and seems very nice. I think we’ll be having a lot of get togethers. She’s younger, about Clint’s age and it was nice to see the younger generations here as well. The internet is getting set up tomorrow which will be nice! Connection to the outside world. Clint caught 4 more fish that makes 8 total and he is going fishing again today. I am craving Salmon so much, it’s going to be nice having our freezer full of it again...It’s weird what you miss when you are away from home.

August 6, 2008

Day 2 Alone

Last night was really strange. Being in a strange place alone is not what I wanted to do when we arrived here. There were a couple of girls last night outside the 6 Plex screaming at the tops of their lungs. A game? I have no idea what they were doing, but Sierra was going bonkers! She was growling and then howling all night. Didn’t get much sleep, but then I slept in today woke up around 10:30 which is nice! I worked on my puzzle and then made oatmeal for breakfast. Watched a movie and downloaded pictures. Not much. Going to read a book, watch another 4 movies and then fall asleep. A wonderful day here in you see the sarcasm? I am entertaining myself writing these blogs and hopefully I will keep writing everyday.

August 5, 2008

Again, we walked to the school this morning but this time it wasn’t so sunny. It was pretty cloudy and misty. Anyway, we woke up around 7:20 and started our day and set up more of Clint’s classroom. Clint left at 10:30am to Unalakleet for a new teacher orientation. He is going to be gone until Friday night! 3 nights and 4 days alone here in Gambell by myself! What am I going to do? I found a puzzle in the hallway that was unopened along with some books. So I am going to spend my days cleaning the apartment, doing a puzzle, reading books, and watching movies..oh and of course sleeping as much as I can. Oh the glory of being unemployed (and not to mention bored out of my mind in a village of 400!). I don’t know what I would do without Sierra.

August 4, 2008

Beautiful Day!

Well today we woke up and it was beautiful and warm outside! Not a cloud in the sky. We walked to the school and started to set up Clint’s classroom. I was lucky enough to be "in charge" of the bulletin boards and art supplies closet. I had so much fun setting up the classroom and they have more supplies than any school I have been to. We went there around 10:00 and stayed until around 4:30. After we were done we took a nice long walk through town where we saw some elders digging holes everywhere probably looking for some ivory-here’s a picture:
We then walked up the "mountain" that is located behind the school. Halfway to the top we were able to see the whole village of Gambell and in the distance, the Siberian Mountains. On the other side of the "mountain" was more of St. Lawrence Island. Beautiful. Here are some pictures. Enjoy! Look off into the distance and you can see the Siberian mountains:
After our nice walk up the "mountain" we stopped and bought some necessary groceries because none of our boxes had arrived. 1 package of Oreos: $6.95, eggs: $3.55 ea., hot dogs: $3.55, rasberry jam $5.95, syrup $5.95 and cheese: $15.55!! The cheese is really expensive. Anyway that was just some of the food items that we purchased, but the whole lot of it came out to $99.40 and we didn’t get that much! It’s going to be expensive living up here!

Oh, here is our first dinner in Gambell. Quick just-add-water pizza, with turkey Spam. It wasn’t that bad at all! Here’s a picture:

August 3, 2008

Sorry...My Bag Barks!

1 sleepless night, 3 different planes, and 24 hrs later here we are! In Gambell. Gambell, Alaska.
Here's a rundown of what we went through:
Aug. 2:
3:30pm- said good-buy to the last of our family (sisters)

5:10pm- boarded Alaska Airlines to Anchorage

10:15pm-arrived in Anchorage, found a good sleeping spot

11:45pm-Clint called the superintendent who lived 5 min. away who offered to pick us up

Aug. 3:
12:00am-we were in the car on the way to a soft bed!

12:45am-finally fell asleep

4:10am-woke up/got ready really fast

4:30am-in the airport at security

5:30am-boarded Alaska Airlines

9:15am-Arrived in Nome, Alaska

12:30pm-Finally boarded Bering Air

1:45pm-Stepped off the plane in Gambell, AK where we met the school custodians, 30 mph winds, and harsh rain. The custodians brought our bags to the 6 plex (our apartment)

2:00pm-We arrived at our new apartment. Where there were NO boxes that we shipped up to be found anywhere. Found some food that the last teacher left for us. Thank goodness!

3:00pm-Walked 15 min. to the school and met the principal, his wife, and the "old" teachers.

4:30pm-Walked 15 min. back "home" and set up the food in the cupboards, clothes on hangers..

6:45pm-Ate dinner which consisted of Mountain House ready-to-eat-meals. And warm water.

7:30pm-Watched a movie and fell asleep.

Sierra did wonderful on the airplane and in the airport. On our flight from Ketchikan to Anchorage there was a big dog with a State Trooper in the Cabin. It was funny at first because the big dog would bark and then Sierra would follow. They kind of went back and forth for a while. After the dogs stopped barking people started to clap. Sierra was whining a little bit in the beginning, but after a while she settled down. I don’t think she liked her kennel very much though. When we got to Anchorage, Clint went through security to let her go to the bathroom. And then we were able to sleep at the superintendent’s house which was nice, but Sierra and their poodle did not get along.

It was a very Loooooong process to get here. The weather is gloomy and so are our spirits right now. I think it’s due to the fact that we haven’t had a restful night sleep and we have been going for more than 24 hrs. It’s a weird, surreal feeling being all the way up here, but the people are very friendly. On our walk to the school there were kids and adults riding their four wheelers while smiling and waving at us. Clint said that this is the friendliest village he has ever been to. Which assures me that I am capable of staying up here for 10 months. There are 3 other teachers that are here getting settled in the 6 Plex today and all are very nice. One teacher has been here for 6 years! This is going to be an adventure for sure.

Here is Gambell from the plane:

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