I know it has been close to forever since I have blogged…year two has easily been a lot crazier than year one. So, instead of filling you all in on everything since my last blog, I will fill you in on the past few weeks.
We have had a teacher transfer to Kivalina from another village to be our Pre-K teacher until the end of the year. We have had an aide come from another village to help me out with one of my kiddos and she is living with me, normally I would not be fond of this, but, we are getting along wonderfully. But wait, there is more! This week we have had 17 military personnel at the school conducting sports physicals in the hallway, performing surgery on animals in our science classroom and doing dentistry in our pre-k classroom…with all of this we have also had ski instructors from NANANORDIC, there has been 9 ski instructors taking our students, community and teacher cross-country skiing during the day. With all of this going on I have captured some pictures for your viewing pleasure.
With only 3 weeks of school left the kids are crazy and the teachers are even crazier.
I will post pictures…
Spring Break started yesterday, and as you can tell (since I am writing this at 12:21am my hours are already messed up! BUT because of that Emma left my house tonight at midnight and saw some amazing norther lights, so her Fonger and I went out to capture them. Here are a few pictures, nothing special but at least you will get the feel :)
Well, I am sure some of you assume I have died...or at least given up on blogging. WRONG! I have been so busy since coming back from Christmas Break. Wait. Rewind. Christmas Break, ahhh yes, home sweet home. Where I ate all my favorite foods, visited all of my favorite people and got to relax. Now. Back to reality where I have a job to do. We are all under pressure because state testing for our kiddos is only 8 weeks away. Final formal observations have taken place and recommendations have been made to the district office for contract offers. Our principal will be returning on Monday after her second week the month of being out of the village for trainings, this meaning I have been filling in. When she is gone I have a whole new outlook on the school, she is an amazing person. Being “principal” is a large job to take on, and boy oh boy is it exhausting. I also have slowed down on the blogging due to the fact that our internet has been very temperamental since returning from Christmas. It sometimes works and sometimes does not work. We have gotten some snow, not nearly as much as this time last year, but its snow. I have totes of melted snow (water) for when we run out of water, whenever that may be. I have been sick the last week with some stomach issues, thinking its from the water, after process of elimination anyways. I feel like this blog was me just rambling, so I think I will sign off for now...as always, thank you for the continued thoughts and prayers, it keeps me going when its dark and cold! Stats: Daylight: around 4 hours a day Temp Lately: -8 (without windchill) Days until School is out: 109
This was the other morning before school, our kids were playing Eskimo Games, leg wrestling.
Then there is Fonger, “hiding from the big kids, doing morning attendance”. Every morning we have cones out for each class and our Youth Leaders do the morning announcements and we all do the pledge together.
We have our arrival and departure board in the office and this made my day :) I’M UP I’M UP!!!
And…our amazing principal got us new McQueen School Staff sweatshirts for Christmas, we all wore them today…and happened to have a professional photographer here from Alaska Dispatch (writing a book on barriers of education) who was nice enough to take our picture!
There is always a funny one…this really captures our staff the best ;)
Here is our current weather…YIKES:
Make sure you take a look at the “feels like” and sunrise and sunset….oh yeah, 7 days until I am on my way to WASHINGTON! xoxox
Of course I had to take another breathtaking walk today. Breathtaking due the the fact that is was 0, feels like -21 with the windchill and breathtaking due to the sights I got to see. As always, seen through the eyes of my camera lens….
Well, its coming quickly. Time for Christmas vacation, in 20 more days I will be headed to the lower 48.
This is my home-made-cardboard-green-painted-chtirstmas-tree. :)
This past week we had an awesome full moon, I tried to capture it the best I could but the picture really does not do the moon justice.
So, something I have not talked about on my blog yet, is the fact that Rojo was kind enough to put in the time and the love to make me a beautiful parka. My mom and dad were generous enough to buy the fur for my Christmas present. Here is the final product…
I am also standing next to a GIANT mountain of ice. This parka is my new favorite part of any wardrobe I will ever own. The beautiful silver fox makes the parka. I. Love. It.
Yesterday we had our teacher-family Thanksgiving. There was WAY too much food, but, the company was great and we even played games afterwards! It was a great way to sped a long weekend.
Today we took another walk out on the ice, in the past week the ice has spread further in to the ocean and even created an ice wall of sorts. It’s pretty amazing to watch all of this happen. We took our walk around 4:00pm, the sun had been down for 20 minutes at this point in time. Here our the pictures…
and…on another note. Please, click on this link and go read the article, it gives you great background on our village, and even has a few quotes from…me!
Well, we all know what last years Thanksgiving brought…lots of puking after my traditional Eskimo dinner. So, I did NOT partake in this years events…well, the eating part anyway. Today started off with a lovely breakfast with Scott, Emma, Fonger and Dana while we watched the parade. Then…Emma and I ventured to Gary and Rojo’s to help make Eskimo Ice Cream to celebrate Terrell’s first caught ptarmigan! Again, I am so much better at stories through the lens of my camera…
Step 1: Peel the skin off the fat of the caribou (tutu).
Step 2: Chop the fat with an Ulu.
Step 3: Put chopped fat in to the pan to melt.
Step 4: wait…wait…wait…wait…wait…wait…wait…
Step 5: Whip it, with it good, with your hand
Step 5 continued: keep going…
Step 6: Add seal oil and milk…while whipping with your hands
Step 7: Add fruit
Step 7: Try it…
Step 8: Walk home with it
That was the end of the eskimo ice cream making :) We then all headed to the school for the community Thanksgiving where they announced that in celebration of Terrell’s first caught ptarmigan there was eskimo ice cream made by “mom, and auntie Emma and Katie”. This is a tradition in the village, when anyone gets their first caught something the family makes food for the community Thanksgiving feats.
The feast was great! Everyone ate and laughed and shared in prayer.
It has been quite awhile since I updated you all, I will make it short and simple. Life. Is. Crazy. School has been really busy lately (school pictures, Red Dog mine visiting, Halloween, and many visitors in and out of the school for different reasons). But, I am still here—thanks goodness!
Last week was Halloween, I’m sure some of you remember last year and how we has our “hammer pants”, well this year for our black and yellow school colors we all dressed up as….
Bumble Bees. This photo is only missing Fonger, he was in Anchorage for a conference.
The kids LOVED it, laughed at us and the wings got annoying….
From now until Thanksgiving is just a crazy time at school and in Kivalina.
We also have had our back to school pot luck, another success!
We are all counting down until Thanksgiving now!!
This morning I was working out and had to press pause to go out and capture our beautiful sunrise…
The ocean had a thin lawyer of ice on it this morning, the ravens were perched on it! Had to share this picture, absolutely breath taking!
Thank you again and again for the continued prayers, thoughts and packages! Thank you to my TUMC ladies who are so sweet to be sending up supplies for our kiddos, AND the teachers!
Thank you Tony, for posting sermons on the webpage, was so relaxing last night being able to hear last weeks message.
49 short days until I will be home for the Holidays, please continue to pray for a delay free travel day on December 21st!
Last week I ended up on airport pick up, yes, that exists in the arctic….it just means that someone needs to go to the air strip with the ‘honda’ to get an incoming teacher.
This was a grand adventure for the weekend. This past Thursday we had another adventure, Ice Fishing! We didn’t catch anything, but our maintence man at school, Gary and his wife who is our pre-k teacher, Rojo, were nice enough to adopt us and take us out fishing. Again, instead of telling you about our adventure, let me show you….
Breaking the ice (it was about 5 inches thick)
The pole is a stick, with fishing twine and a hook on the end of it!
Despite us not catching anything, we had SO much fun! Great family to be adopted in to… :)
Well—The first week of school is over with! I didn’t escape without getting sick (of course)! Our new staff is a wonderful team, the first week ran very smoothly and I can predict this year will be even better than last year!
Wednesdays as a staff we all dress in our Youth Leaders shirts and sweatshirts. Youth leaders is a program that runs here in our district and is a great deal like Student Council. Our kiddos that participate in youth leaders also come to school wearing their shirts, this week we captured a picture that is appearing our our district webpage!
Some of you have never seen a picture of my principal, well, that is Zoe standing next to me! We are starting the year off on the right food and I couldn’t be more excited!
Tonight we are having a family dinner, I made a delicious gluten free chocolate cake with strawberries and cool whip!
We are also taking a family walk after dinner so I will take some pictures.
For those of you who are wondering what to send me in care packages this year over the summer I got news that I have a whole bunch of food allergies so my eating is limited.
Starbucks found coffee is always welcomed
Gluten free pasta noodles
and Love :)
Prayers are even better than care packages! Again, Thank you Thank you Thank you for all the well wishes! It feels so good to be home…again :)
I want to wish a Happy birthday to my Uncle Gary today, and to tell my little cousin Jackson to have a wonderful birthday party tomorrow—wish I could be apart of all these family events! Love you all very much!
The day has FINALLY come, day one of year two! I can’t believe today is already over with. As any first day of school today was….crazy; busy, hectic, and a bit stressful! But…all in all it was a great day! I got to see my kiddos, and use our beautiful remodeled school!
Yes, always a first day of school photo—even as a teacher!
Tuesday I got back to Kivalina. Let me tell you..I haven’t realized how much I LOVE this place, or how it really is, home until I am away for 4 months.
I spent last night unpacking, cleaning my house and cooking some clam chowder and home made french bread for Fonger (you all now his name) and Chad (new 5/6th grade teacher) and his lovely wife Chiraphorn.
Today I spend the day at school organizing my room, cleaning, hanging posters, creating files, and simply getting ready for Monday. Emma and Dana (you know those names too) got home today as well! The only one missing is Scott, he spend this past weekend collaring caribou with some of our kiddos and fish and game so he was not on the charter out of Kiana with me yesterday. He was supposed to get to Kivalina today but the shooter is back in Kiana and the village was under lockdown again today. Sounds like (fingers crossed) he will be able to return to Kivalina tomorrow (yay! we can’t wait Scott).
The next two days will be filled with school school and more school until we are all ready to open the doors on Monday morning. I have gotten to see many of my kiddos—they have all grown so much over summer!
I appericiate all the prayers and positive thoughts you have all sent my way. This has been MORE than a trying time for my co-workers and myself…BUT we have no lived through yet another Kivalina Disaster!! I have learned a lot through all of this and if anything I have now been shown how much Kivalina means to me!
Weather update: It has been snowing in much of the region lately, Kivalina has had rain and been in the low forties. But, it is predicted to be an early, harsh winter.
The sun is rising later and later each morning..at about 8:15am as of today and not fully setting until around 10pm.
I am off to do some relaxing before another day spend in the school tomorrow!
Since Monday I have been in the beautiful village of Kiana! If you haven’t googled this place yet you all should. Of course I get sent here and don’t have my camera with me! But I have gotten some great news…this up coming week I will be going home to KIVALINA!!!! Yes, finally…home! I have yet to receive travel plans but it should either be Tuesday evening or Wednesday. School is now scheduled to start on the 24th!
I am a live. I am STILL in Kotzebue. This past week was filled with IEP’s and Special Education paperwork. I am now done with that so I am not too sure what today will bring. I was supposed to eventually end up in Kiana but over the weekend there was a shooting and murder that took place in that village. Prayers for that family, the community and the region would be wonderful! So, I do not believe that I will be traveling to Kiana—but you NEVER know in the Arctic.
They are pumping water in Kivalina, today is day 4. It usually takes between 3-5 for there to be enough water in the raw water tank to then start treating it and pumping it to the freshwater tank, once there is water in the fresh water tank they can begin servicing school. I have NO solid idea when I will be back in Kivalina but we are all hoping anywhere from Thurday-Monday. We are now 15 days behind school—yikes!
All principals come in to Kotzebue this afternoon for 2 days of inservice and meetings. During that time our principal will be talking with the superintendent as to how we will make up those days we have missed.
Prayers a still needed, this is the home stretch—but it can’t go fast enough. Thank you!
Today has been filled with paperwork and more paperwork for me. BUT in the midst of all this chaos I am feeling incredibly blessed! Here are a couple pictures from my short 48 hours in the village..Thanks to my wonderful co-worker Dana!
This is outside the school..water for cleaning.
(sigh)…I am beginning to feel like there will be an end to this madness and I will soon be in Kivalina again :)
First off I apologize for the lack of updates, but our district has blocked social networking sites so I have a difficult time updating my blog on a regular basis.
So, here we go….
Tuesday they sent the 4 returning teachers out to Kivalina so we could pack our bags to be shipped to other villages until Kivalina gets water. Kivalina is pretty wet right now, lots and lots of mud and puddles. Other than that it looked just the same. It was great to be ‘home’ for 48 hours. The school remodel looks AMAZING! I took a few hours to unpack my classroom and roughly set it up so when we DO get home I don’t have so much to finish.
This is what it looks like upon walking in the door to my new classroom, on that big blank wall back there will be a SMARTboard once we get water ;)
My “take a break” nook!
Going to Kivalina for a few days was what I needed—to see my principal, my house, my school, my classroom, and…MY KIDDOS!! It was a great feeling having kids waiting on the porch of the school for us, and running up to us with hugs, smiles and bug eyes welcoming us home. Seeing parents, community members and friends was equally as needed.
Thursday brought me back to Kotzebue as my co-workers flew to new villages. I am working on special ed. paperwork and even some training at the end of next week. Then on Thursday I will be flying to Kiana for a new adventure….(until Kivalina gets water). I heard a RUMOR that help may be on its way so it may not take as long to get water as once predicted.
Prayers are still very much needed and accepted for Kivalina to get water, for me to remain positive during this adventure and for my co-workers to have peace and happiness for taking on this crazy lifestyle.
Here are some pictures from our stay in the dorms in Kotzebue…..
The cooler’o goodness..oh and Scott and Chad being the men!
"I can’t take this anymore……!"
More than a few tears were shed when we could finally see Kivalina!!
I am in Kotzebue…still. Our staff has been staying in the technical center dorms, and living day to day wondering what will happen. Last week we got word that we would be relocated to other villages until there is water or….until further notice.
Tomorrow we are meeting with human resources and the school district lawyer, after this I will know more. If any of you would care to know more about the situation and what the last 2 weeks have brought in my life, please feel free to call me for the details 907-444-4974.
Prayers are requested at this time to help me make the best decision. Thank you for al the love and support through this rough time!
I stole photos from Etta who lives in Kivalina—Thanks Etta!!
Thanks for letting me steal Etta—can’t wait to be home with you all again, really missing Kivalina!!
McQueen School delays its opening day of the 2012/13 school year!
Due to the water shortage/situation in Kivalina, McQueen School will be delaying the opening of the 2012/13 school year. Originally students were to return to school this Monday, August 20th, but will be delayed until a later date. Currently there is no indication of when our Qavviks will be returning for another great school year. To receive updates check the NWABSD or McQueen School websites or KOTZ radio.
Tomorrow our principal is flying above the rivers with other people to take pictures of what the water is looking like. The Alaska board of Education has contacted the National Guard to come in and assist the village is possibly putting more tube upriver to get cleaner water. Until then we are still in Kotzebue. All prayers and very much appreciated.
For those of you who do not have facebook and have been looking for an update here we go….
There has been a delay in our return to Kivalina due to the fact that there is no running water. The cause of this is due to the fact there has been 7 inches of rain since Monday (it is now Saturday), this has made the river we pull water from flood, over flow, and make the water very dirty. The lagoon has overflowed in to the village and across the dump area. Today was the first day that they declared Kivalina a disaster zone, this means that HOPEFULLY more funding will appear to help us out.
School has been postponed until further notice, silver lining is I will be getting paid for this time, AND for the days of school we will need to make up—double duty :)
Prayers are welcomed and needed, please please keep your positive thoughts flowing our way. I appreciate you everything you have all done thus far in to my career.
We have been staying at the Technical center were we do not have internet so my updates will be few and far between. You are welcome to call me if you feel the need to communicate with me personally :) 907-444-4974