Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Nome, Alaska, United States
After getting burned out teaching high school in a tiny Alaskan town, I have moved on to being a child advocate in a small Alaskan town. The struggles are similar, but now I can buy milk at the store.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Akiachak House

When I first moved to Akiachak, I was put in a two bedroom duplex by myself. It was empty of personal stuff, (it had beds and couches and things, but no art, tv, dishes, etc) and lonely. Also, every window looked out at either another teacher house or the district office.

After two weeks of that, I got lonely. Okay, to be honest, I was lonely the second day. I would have just sucked it up and dealt with the loneliness through a regime of Netflix and iPad games, until everything changed.

My first real friend, Mandii, was not getting along with her roommate. Also, both halves of the neighbors came to me about living with them instead of them living with their roommate. However, one has three dogs, (not housebroken) and one is a smoker. I turned them both down.  As time progressed, and their lives became more difficult, we got together and decided on a switch.

The lady with the dogs moved to my house, I moved in with Mandii, and her roommate moved in with the smoker, who has promised to not smoke inside.

Moving in with Mandii has been the best thing that has happened to me in this village. We have the same taste in movies and music. We have the same opinions about a lot of the people we both know. We have similar backgrounds and family values. Also, she's from Port Angeles, which means I can say things like: "The brass gorilla at Woodland Park" and she completely knows what I'm talking about!

The house we live in is still called: "The brown house behind the green duplex." It is currently being re-insulated, (additionally insulated? insulationally upgraded?) and has had silver insulation put over the entire outside. This has cut down on the heat loss and external noise, but one piece is not as secure as it should be, and it makes monster groaning noises outside Mandii's window. Hopefully when they put the plywood and paneling on, that will go away.

With no further ado, my house: "The silver house that used to be brown behind the silver duplex which used to be green."

Behind the house, off to the left are trees, and the old school, which is now boarded up. Off to the right are neighbors, and Mandii took this picture while she stood on the porch of the green building. Also, please not the box pipe on the right hand side of the picture. That is our water coming in! WHOO HOOO. Showers and dishes and all sorts of wonderful things. And I didn't even have to haul it in myself.

This house is also a short distance from the school, instead of the 3/4 miles the last house was. It now puts me at a greater distance from the store (which used to be on my walk home). However, when I went to the store today, I bought ice cream, butter, two potatoes, and a Cadburry egg. So it's not like being away from the store is that bad for me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Plans Change

The initial plan was to finish out my 8 years in Shishmaref, and move back to Washington to continue my life. After four months in Washington, I started getting homesick for Alaska, and I was also discouraged with the lack of job opportunities in Washington.

On the 5th of September, two weeks after the school year started, I received a phone call from the principal of Akiachak School, in Akiachak, Alaska. The call came in at 2:15. She called back at 3 for the interview, and at 5 I received a call offering me the job.

Early on the morning of the 6th, I flew back to Alaska. It's been a bit of a whirlwind, and I'm still receiving some of my grocery orders from my first week.

Enough talk, onto the pictures!

Akiachak is a Yupiik Eskimo village in south-west Alaska. There's about 750 people here, and the school has about 180 kids. This makes it pretty much exactly the same size as Shishmaref. The biggest difference is that while Shishmaref was on an island, we here are on a river, and there is plenty of room to spread out, so we did.

 This is the school. The gym, offices, and Hall of Elders (cafeteria) are in the big round side, and you can see the high school on the left there. The elementary side is on the right, behind the dome.
That tiny window on the right is the one in my room that I can open. I also have a row of windows up high, which are covered in blue curtains. The other window that opens is the Social Studies room, and farther down is the mechanics room and the wood shop.
 This is the old high school, which is now used for storage, and is next to my current house.

I took this picture of the mud pit I walk through on my way home, not realizing that my new house is a tiny slice of brown on the left there, behind the trailer. See how spread out everyone is? That's nice.

 This is the washeteria, which I don't have to use, as I am on running water, and have a washer and dryer in my own house.
The river, from the road. It actually has flooded in the last couple days, and is much, MUCH higher right now.
 Cop truck. Not broken, but they needed the wheels for the SUV they also drive around.

Native store. It's pretty much like every native store.
 Yup, $6 for a box of HoHos and I think that's $8 for some cinnamon rolls. They've been there since I got here. I'm not trusting them.
Just a sign on the cash register.

Okay, I'll post more later.