Friday, September 28, 2012

Roller coaster

What an interesting week I have had this week. My classroom behavior was all over the place. One day they are cooperative little angels and the next day they wreak havoc and tear apart the room. Someone colored the inside of our toilet with crayon and pencil. They could not keep themselves from throwing rice all over from the rice table so smart teacher that I am I emptied the rice during recess. Then the devious little minions filled the table with water and were throwing water at people and putting all my board erasers in the water. I cannot win. I have 18 little needy bodies and I cannot keep up with the naughty ones that misbehave constantly. One little boy got sent home early twice this week and now has officially dropped out. I lost the battle and the war with him after wrestling him and being punched and kicked instead of letting him do the same to another child. His violent tendencies towards other people only occur when other people or children are in the room so I just did not understand him. No matter how much attention I gave him and one on one special time, he could not would not behave. I feel a loss in my teaching heart. It tastes bitter. 

On a brighter note that may surprise all of you who venture to read my stories, I went to a bible study group on Wednesday. ha! I went for the food, which probably makes me even more of a heathen or something terrible, but I went. I met people from Nome, all young people because the group is 39 and under, and I had some super good homemade food that made me miss my mama even more (even though my mama never made me a moose hotdish before). I don't know if my heart is healed enough to be up for the challenge of actually joining the group in prayer and bible discussions so I may not go back, but I took that leap and had dinner with all those bible thumpers! It wasn't that bad and I mostly talked about where I come from and how I say the word bag wrong. Apparently I sound like I say beg instead of bag. I hear  a difference in my voice when I say beg and bag but no one else does. How odd? I am working on saying bag "correctly" to fit in up here. It is just weird! I do hear my voice changing though, I know my accent is changing and it is getting a bit southern because I am hanging out with so many southern folks. Oh my oh my...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On the move

So my new Alaska bff and I have successfully found a new place of residence! We are moving from out in the boondocks to town. We will be living on 4th and L if you look at a map of Nome. It is a whole 2 blocks from school. I get to sleep in and walk to school :) It is a 2 story home, not a temporary or moveable home like most of the other houses in Nome, and we will live on the second floor. Heat rises you know! I get to have my Olive come up here to be with me and that is enough to win me over. There is a super big kitchen and living room with 13 foot ceilings, a bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and shower, washer and dryer (FREE unlike where I live now), and my room is about 10x10 with a closet, dresser, full size bed, and new window. It is the nicest house we have seen in Nome and the tub was what won over my new roomie. We get to be in town! yay Hopefully we will be moving in this weekend. I have to wait for my new bed to arrive. I am not buying it but the landlord is providing a new one for me. Pretty sweet deal! I'll add pictures once I am settled...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happiness and bitterness

I don't think I've been quite this happy in a very long time. I smile and laugh every day and even when my kids are crazy and uncooperative, I love every day at school. It must be the fresh air and vast openness of Alaska and I am loving it. Every day is relaxing and peaceful. I admit that I was scared to come here, but I am proud to have made the leap. These kids are definitely changing who I am and I like it! 

On the bitter side of things, the guy that I was buying a 4 wheeler from sold it 24 hours before we had agreed that I could pick it up. "I hope you understand", I'm sorry but NO I do not understand. UGH...frustration overwhelmed me yesterday afternoon. I am feeling better today though so that is good. Every day is a new day and a new adventure here in Nome. Bring on the new! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jack Frost

The snow has arrived in the great state of Alaska! On Sunday night I saw snow falling on our side of the mountains just in my backyard. Last night it was actually snowing little flurries outside my door! I got out of the shower at about 8:30 last night and went to close my window and there were flakes blowing about in the wind! I was so excited I ran out of my room in my towel and down the hall of our building telling all the other teachers that it was indeed snowing for the first time in Nome :) I also apologized for catching anyone off guard by being in my towel. Today during our 10:30 recess at school there were again snowflakes blowing around. It was so exciting. The kids were running around with their tongues hanging out and I couldn't help but smile ear to ear. Snow in September, I never would have thought! I am in love with Alaska. Send me my boots and snowshoes Minnesota because winter is here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fresh from the boat

We were treated last night with a very delicious dinner. The people in my building and my principal and his wife came over for a crab feast. The superintendent bought 4 crab, a bunch of shrimp, and some moose for us to savor. It was the most delicious meal I've had in a long time. The crab was so juicy and sweet, I didn't want to eat too much and get sick from the richness, but I had two legs. I had some jumbo jumbo shrimp fresh from the Bering Sea too. Potatoes and corn and rice were also on the table. I filled up and was so sleepy afterward. The most delicious seafood I've had since Hawaii. I also got a jar of kippered sockeye salmon from the amazing high school principal. I don't know if I want to eat it myself or send it home to share with my family :) check the box daddy! It'll be coming home soon! 

Miss and love you from AK

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sour puss

In science this week we have been talking about our five senses. We talked about how many eyes, ears, fingers, noses, and mouths we have. We compared to some different types of animals. We used our senses to observe and examine sea shells, sea stars, rocks, and our classmates. We smelled old sea shells  and listened to see if we could hear the ocean. The best was using our senses to describe food. I brought in bananas, carrots, lemons, and limes. We described the color, texture in your hand and in your mouth, taste, smell, and what it sounded like when we bit into the different snacks. My favorite was giving these kindergarteners lemons and limes. Most had never seen a lime or tasted a lime. Most had never tasted a lemon. Their faces were hilarious! So cute to watch them scrunch up their little faces and squeal and make silly ooooo noises. It was a great day in our classroom! I also liked hearing them tell me that the lemons taste like melonlade or lelonade or nemolade. Too funny :) 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Taking the plunge

 Getting ready to plunge
 Director of personnel giving his speech about how it isn't cold
 Getting undressed
 Testing the waters for us
 I'm so excited!!

 The race in!
 The race in!

 Principal soaking it all up
 Superintendent is the first one back out of the water
 Me and the colonel in
 Yay teachers!
 Trying to get out

 The after
 The after
 gonna go back in?

 Two trips in and still smiling

 In the waves!

Fearless leaders

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bright moon rising

The moon is staying out later and later into the morning now. It is still pretty dark at 8 am and it is getting darker earlier too. Last night I saw the sunset at about 9:30. It is pretty nice for it to be dark when I go to bed. Much better than full sun shining in on me when I try to close my eyes. I also got to see something pretty amazing the last few mornings. Because the moon is so bright in the morning and the sky is dark I can see Venus and Jupiter (i think it's those two) around the moon. Two very bright stars that are actually planets! So very neat :) I like when the sun rises and set along the same horizon. It is exciting and odd to watch.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Beach babe

I went to my first beach bonfire and bbq last night. What a perfect day for it too! It was such a beautiful sunny day yesterday. I saw kids in flip flops and shorts running around town. CRAZY! I remember when my mom would tell us it had to be 70 before we could wear shorts to school. These kids break out the summer wear when it is a whopping 53! We drove down the road toward Safety and Fort Davis to find a beach spot for our bonfire. We collected driftwood and started a fire. I finally got to walk the beach to look for beach glass. I realized that I am not super good at finding it yet, but I did find some pretty pieces. I got some driftwood pieces for my Aunty Debbie so she can decorate her garden with a little bit of Alaska. I even walked in the Bering Sea! It wasn't much colder than Lake Superior but it is crystal clear and beautiful. I saw little dead crabs and clam shells too. The fire was fantastic and we grilled brats and hot dogs. It was a beautiful evening spent with hilarious people telling the strangest stories. They keep telling me that I definitely fit in to their little group which makes me happy :) everyone here in Nome is a little less than normal and has something a bit odd about them. Everyone wants to know what makes me less than normal. I wonder what that is?  

~baby alaska

ps. I saw bear tracks too!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Boxes galore!

I got boxes! I was informed yesterday at school that there were numerous boxes waiting for me at my apt. However, they were in a locked room so I had to wait. When I finally found the person with the key to the room, they were super snotty about it. I asked about the boxes and I was told "I don't want to hear about it. Get them yourself!" I never asked for them to be carried, I just wanted the door open! My packages were held hostage for over an hour until someone could jimmy the door open for me. I got wonderful packages from my family. A box of nummies and a new water purifier! So exciting to have one up here where the water tastes a little funny. I got some classroom supplies and I got a present wrapped in pink duct tape from Kimmy. I feel as though my brother got a hold of the package because it said that it was full of poop and farts. LOVELY. Overall I got great items in my boxes. :) 

School has been going better too after one horrible day. My kids are getting better and better. We are able to have more fun at school when they behave and I think they are starting to understand that now. We had a dance party today! Quiet time is still a battle though. Kindergarten is kindergarten though right? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bad day

I officially had my first bad day of kindergarten. Day 5 of school and we've hit a rough patch. Ugh my kids were little demons today. I didn't get through my reading lesson. I didn't get through my science lesson. What did we do today?! The boys were squirrelly and the girls were gossipy and no one could be quiet! I was frustrated beyond belief and constantly grabbing one after another to stop running around the classroom and standing on tables. I am hoarse from using my stern voice all day. I don't like being stern, I like having fun in kindergarten! I'm still waiting for boxes of my lesson plans so I can have more fun stuff to do to keep their attention. I have not given up though, I know it is simply one day out of the hundred plus I will have. Tomorrow is new and I shall try again with the little monsters. I do love them dearly still :) 

On a brighter note, I got a card from my mommy today! Very exciting to see mail for me waiting in my box. I also went with some ladies to look at a place to move into. I don't think I will go though. It is a two bedroom and there are three of us. Also the bathroom was smaller than the bathroom in our camper back home. It costs more than where I live now and I am guaranteed a ride from where I am now. We'll see. I'm still looking into transportation and looking at itty bitty places of my own in town. I just want my Olive to be here with me to snuggle at night. If my current residence allowed for pets, I would be happy as a clam where I am, but I miss my baby so badly. I need some comfort when it's cold and lonely at night and all through the winter. I think I shall go to bed early tonight and dream away these insignificant problems. Tomorrow is a new day after all and damn it, I will succeed! 

I want one of these please!


It's called a Kuspuk and they are all the rage here in Nome. I don't want a long one with a frilly skirt, I just want a normal shirt length one. Everyone wears them here! There is a special day during the week dedicated to wearing these at school. We have Kuspuk Wednesday and Tropical Dress Up Thursday. I am feeling left out of these rituals. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen! I have been connected to the world! That's right, I officially have an Alaskan cell phone and internet at my place of residence. I am so thrilled to be able to connect with the world outside of Nome. So if you need my new number ask my mama or email me and I'll send it to you. I just don't want to post it for the world to see. So I'm connected and have facebook again which is fantastic! 

Today I was introduced to yet another Nome one of a kind and must see. The women's shelter thrift shop is open Tues/Thurs for just an hour and you can fill either a plastic grocery bag for $4, a black garbage back for $6, or a box for $8. I split a bag with another lady and got two pairs of jeans, one pair of sweats, two button ups, a nice sweater, and goofy jacket for Kimmy that I could not pass up, and a sari. Sadly, the jeans were too short so I gave them to my short neighbor and she was very thankful. It was a great trip! I'll have to hit up the rummage sale on Saturday at the senior center to try and find some boots. Everyone seems to find great boots around here at the rummage sale. My feet are getting wet in all this rain. It rains almost every day here and its getting colder already. I'm excited for snow :) Winter in Nome is going to be beautiful. 

Also...still looking for a 4 wheeler so either someone send me one or give me tips on what to look for!

~baby alaska

Monday, September 3, 2012

Only in Nome

Since Monday was a holiday, there wasn’t much to do around here. I took a gal to school in my Alaska Dad’s car. My wonderful principal that drives me to and from school everyday lets me take his car if I need to run errands and he always says “Now Jennifer, drive slow, turn on the lights, and be careful where you park.” Sounds just like my daddy back home! We spent a few hours in school. I got a head start on the next few weeks of math and science. We left school on a hunt for something that can only be found in Nome. We found what we were looking for! A rubber duck race down the river! Over 800 people buy rubber duckies and enter them in this race. People go out in a boat and release the ducks while the bystanders race down the riverbank to see the exciting finish. It is about 150 yards that the ducks float before coming to the finish line: the bridge. Winners and the very last duck take home prizes and the rest of the money goes to a good cause apparently. I don’t know what that cause is though.
Coming back to the dorms I returned Alaska Dad’s car and decided to make grilled cheese. While I was cooking two delightful gentlemen came in to harass me about the kind of food I like to eat. Apparently canning (it’s actually in jars so I don’t know why they call it canning) sockeye salmon is all the rage here. There were bits of salmon floating in olive oil and other juices in a pressure sealed jar. DISGUSTING looking. I said no way would I eat that fish that has just been sitting in a jar on a shelf for who knows how long. Of course, they took this as a challenge and made me a sockeye salmon spred. It had mayonnaise, only the real stuff, dill, pickle, and some other spices. They loaded it on some pilot bread for me and they wouldn’t take no for an answer. DELICIOUS. I also tried dried smoked sockeye that was marinated in brown sugar before being smoked. DELICIOUS. Fish is definitely better in Alaska! I told the guys that my dad would be so jealous. I have a pretty wonderful home away from home up here. I am still amazed every morning when I wake up and see the mountains through the clouds.  

We are Alaskan Women!

Sunday I went on a girls adventure with some super fun gals: Kayla, Carol, and Lilianne. We drove a few hours back around the mountain sides through Dexter (where Wyatt Earp’s house is) and through nameless communities past Dorothy Falls, past Salmon Lake and the Boy Scout Camp, all the way to Pilgrim Springs. The road was crazy once we turned off “the highway” that leads to Council. It was a one lane road built of what looked like railroad rock. Parts of the road had sunken back into the tundra (which by the way is very squishy and spongy like moss and really fun to jump around on) so it is flooded with muddy water. 4 girls in a 4x4 Jeep driving through waist deep muddy water! “We are Alaskan women!!” we were yelling as we bumped along. At the end of the road there is a super cute pink one holer and you park your car to walk a mile through marsh and tundra. All along the way there are little pools of bubbling water. The hot springs are everywhere behind mountains and you wouldn’t know they were there unless a native showed you or you knew someone who was shown. We ended our hike at an 8 foot tall wooden basin that is surrounded by a very unsteady deck. You climb up the steps, strip down to bathing suits or whatever you’ve got, and jump in! You end up in a wooden basin that is filled with 110 degree water that flows in through pvc from the springs near by. There are no seats so you either float or try and touch the bottom. I was in for 5 minutes before I started to boil so I climbed on out only to be eaten by Alaskan Mosquitoes! They are the worst kind of skeeters I’ve ever encountered. They are tiny itty bitty little obnoxious things that leave enormous welts all over your body. So I had to get in, get out, get in, get out while we all shared stories.
On the way back to Nome we stopped to walk around on the tundra and pick blue berries, cranberries, blackberries, and crowberries. We also stopped on the side of the road where fresh clean freezing cold spring water shoots out the mountainside. We filled our water bottles with the coldest and freshest water I have ever tasted. I drank right from the mountain! Don’t worry, I didn’t poop my pants or anything. It was great!
We went to dinner and got a $14 BBQ burger then went to Lilianne’s apartment in town to read Tarot Cards. I’ve never done it, but when in Nome! From what my cards said I believe that I am in the right place. My cards were all about listening to my inner spirit and following the path that it tells me to go while ignoring the negative outside influences. They said that it was time for me to stand strong on my own ground and not be afraid of making difficult decisions because I will make the right ones if I listen to my inner whisper. I guess it was time for me to take the leap and make my own way in the world, and I landed in Nome! I love and miss everyone from back home. I know I was so lucky to have the family that I do to take care of me for so long. Without my family I would have been lost. They push me when I need to be pushed and keep me sheltered when I need to be sheltered. I know there are many many people that aren’t as lucky as I am, even though life definitely hasn’t been easy. I am still battling this uphill climb, but I’ve got a smile on my face and a bounce in my step! 

 Pink one holer in the middle of the tundra
 Me, Kayla, and Carol in the tub
 Obviously not ready for the picture
 The four amigas! Me, Lilianne, Kayla, and Carol
the view from the tub

My Saturday in Nome

Saturday I spent the whole morning and into the afternoon at school. I got boxes in the mail so I had things to bring into my room that are actually mine! I have books! I also cleaned out the toy/puzzle/game shelf so that hopefully it isn’t quite as easy for them to grab things during the day when they aren’t supposed to. I’m also going to have a thin blanket to hang over the front so when it is choice time I can uncover what shelves are “open” and cover it when the area is “closed”. I went through the lower cupboards to clean out unnecessary items and rearrange so it makes more sense to me. I labeled the doors to so I know what is in them. Very busy day! 

I actually got to go to bed early too and it felt great to sleep all night long. I did wake up thinking I heard my Olive meowing for breakfast...sad day :( I miss my baby. I sure hope my daddy hasn't given her away already.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My bedroom and classroom

 My bedroom shortly after unpacking some of my things from my suitcase

 All my flight and baggage receipts 
 My classroom! 

 Bulletin board to make Aunty Lois proud