Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Wild Weekend in Western Alaska

This last weekend was an eventful one. I really should be catching up on my sleep, but instead I'll catch ya'll up on our life!

It's starting to get cold around here, finally. The river is freezing up, and it has been snowing more regularly. I think this time it might finally stay, although today it rained after it snowed, but not enough to completely melt it. Here are some pictures from around the village this week.

On Thursday night our assistant principal came up to the house to tell us that due to some personal issues and politics, I would be chaperoning with Max for the middle school district wrestling tournament. I was super excited, because this was the first time I would be getting out of the village since we arrived! I was told to pack my bags, and to pack extra clothes because some bad weather was coming in (foreshadowing). I wrote sub plans for the second half of the day on Friday, because we were supposed to leave at 1:30. The weather came, and I ended up leaving at 3:00 with 8 kids, because only 9 people can fit on a caravan and Max had left earlier that morning with one more kid. We hurried up, drove up to the airstrip, and hopped on the plane. I realized I probably should have taken my airsickness medication when I got on the plane and the wind was already shaking it and it smelled like fuel. I coached five 7th grade girls through putting on their seat belts, and we were on our way. TURBULENCE. Holy cow, we were flying all over the place. The girls were screaming like we were going to die, or like we were on a roller coaster. It was a short trip, but about 5 minutes before we landed one of the girls woke up from her nap and promptly puked all over the aisle of the plane until we landed. When we landed the pilot looked back with disdain in his eyes and handed the poor girl a roll of paper towels.

I just wrote 2 paragraphs with the gory details of the weekend, then realized I probably shouldn't post it because it could come back to haunt us, but long story short, there were some serious discipline issues.

The face-off before championship matches. 

While we were in Scammon Bay there was some the worst flooding in recent history, which resulted in a sunken boat, 5 boats that floated away, a shipping container that floated away, like 30 propane tanks that settled on the runway, a flooded runway, and a pod of confused beluga whales who also almost ended up on the runway. When we woke up in the morning, the day we were supposed to go home, we found out that the FAA had closed the runway until it was repaired. Max, being the wonderful guy that he is, gathered up the boys on the team and headed down to the runway to see what he could do to help. He and the boys spent 2 hours picking up the mess, moving boats, and walking around in the snow. By the end of the day, we were able to get out of the village. Max sent me with the same 8 kids, headed home on a caravan, and he and another wrestler waited around for a 207. I thought we were in the clear, but I was wrong.

Normally that is all tundra, not water… 

He works out. 

Bering Sea flooding

Scammon Bay

That boat shouldn't be on the airstrip.

Sunrise @ 10:30

Diesel spill

About half way to Pilot the pilot radio'ed back to me and asked if it was okay that we land in Saint Mary's because there was bad weather in Pilot. I said that was fine, and figured we'd have to land for a while and then we'd get home. Wrong again. The pilot radio'ed back again about 2 minutes later, and said Saint Mary's was now out of the question, and our option was to either go back to Scammon, or land in Mountain Village. Again, still thinking we'd get home, I told the pilot to go to Mountain, because it was closer and I didn't want to turn around and go all the way back. Wrong again. We landed in Mountain and the Assistant Principal picked us up and let us know that we'd be sleeping in the library. A few hours later, Max and his other wrestler randomly showed up. I didn't think I'd have any help, so I was incredibly relieved.

We spent our third night on the floor, and were starting to feel the bruises in our old hips. We woke up bright and early Monday morning, after having emailed my lesson plans in for a sub to teach my class. About 10 minutes after we had woken up, and before some of the girls even got out of bed, they came in and told us our plane would be there in 20 minutes. Thank goodness! After a few more minor mis-haps, I flew co-pilot in the 207 with the 2 kids who wanted to go home the most, and Max and the rest of the team followed suit about 20 minutes later. We made it into Pilot, after an awesome fly-by and corkscrew landing, no one puked, and our pilot didn't even text and fly like he usually does.

When I got back, I called into school, incredibly tired, but the sub wasn't cutting it so I got asked to come in as soon as I could. When I got back, I was shocked to see… All my supplies were still where I left them, the kids were mostly happy to see me, and they actually listened to me once I reminded them that their teacher was back. That felt really good. It is starting to feel like I have better control over them as a whole. There are still those few outliers, who get sent home regularly for pulling doors out of door frames, or punching instructional assistants, but as a whole, they have been quite manageable.

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