Tim and his Thanksgiving Turkey
Happy Thanksgiving! We had a great Thanksgiving get together with the other teachers at the school. I (Tim) made the turkey, which I think turned out better than last year, and Kaitlyn made Three-wheelers (rolls). The meal was great and spending time with all the staff was also great. However, our Thanksgiving vacation was over shadowed by a basketball tournament that I ran. Basketball tournaments are the way to make money and fund raise here. People in Togiak love to play basketball. I volunteered the wrestling team to sponsor the tournament. The Thanksgiving tournament is an annual event, which starts Thanksgiving evening and runs all day Friday and all day Saturday. After everything is done, 20 games are played. I wasn’t really thinking when I volunteered the wrestling team to host the tournament, because I ended up spending my whole Thanksgiving vacation at the school. Luckily, Kaitlyn was okay with it, she wanted to finish some sewing anyway. I was lucky enough to have another teacher help set up and run things. Actually, all the staff that volunteered were awesome. I was really surprised how much food was sold in our concessions booth. We went through 42 12-packs of soda pop (504 cans) in three days. This number should have been higher, but I ran out of soda multiple times and had to go back to the store and buy more. After everything was said and done, we ended up grossing over $3000. This money will help us travel to more tournaments next year.
Kaitlyn, Gala, & Lorinne snowshoeing on the tundra
Tim wasn't the only one who stayed active this past weekend. Kaitlyn, being the multi-tasker that she is, stayed very busy. She was kind enough to help out at the basketball tournament Thursday night in the concessions and then train the people who were going to work it the next day also. She also went snowshoeing with a couple of other teachers at the school. They went up "Two-Hill". The temperature has been holding steady at around -6°F for most of the past week or two. When she went snowshoeing, she came back and noticed that her eye lashes had iced over. After that, she decided to keep it warm and came indoors and did some sewing. Kaitlyn has been working on a Kuspuq, a traditional native shirt with hood. It's essentially a 'hoodie', except that it's made out of thin fabric. They can sell here any where from $65-$100+ dollars. She thought it would be fun to make one on her own. She's been taking lessons from one of the native teachers at the school. So far it's been looking great. Kaitlyn also took some time to continue working on her quilt. She's been building her quilt at the school with a group of people from town and school. Thanksgiving weekend was no break for Kaitlyn either.
Michael Lee, Evelyn Klienke, and me ready to go back to Togiak.
The holidays are approaching so quickly. I can't believe Thanksgiving is already next week! It's exciting to be approaching the end of the semester. I feel like there's just enough time to wrap up what we're doing and take our finals. It's a cool feeling.
This week in PE I invited a villager to come in and teach native dance. It was kind of bitter sweet. Some of the kids were really into it and some loathed it. The guy who came in was expecting a student to be able to show the other students how to dance while he drummed and sang. That was not the case. Luckily, I was able to convince the secretary (who knows how to dance) to take a few minutes away from her desk to at least get us started (she ended up staying with us for most the class period). I danced with the kids as well. I really enjoyed learning those dances and learning more about native dance, how it is structured, and what it means. I even got the songs stuck in my head, but couldn't do much more than hum and mumble since I don't speak Y'upik. I learned the praise song, the reindeer love song, the kissing song, and another I don't know the name of.
The beginning of the week was pretty normal, but Tim and I both had a busy ending to our week. I was asked to be on the science committee for our district to help create an updated science curriculum and adopt new textbooks. Friday we had meetings in Dillingham. I was told that we would leave right after school on Thursday and that we would return Friday early evening. Thursday morning, I brought my bags to school and had my sub plans all completed. All I had to do was write a few things on the board at the end of the day before I left. During class on Thursday, about 11:40, I got a phone call that told me to be ready to leave in an hour and a half. What? That's way before school gets out. I guess the pilot had called and said he was making only one more trip that day and it was then or never. I got my students working on their lab and then walked around trying to help them, but really my mind was just consumed with "what in the world am I going to do about my last two classes of the day?" There was no way a sub could teach what I had planned for the end of the day. (We're discussing the reproductive system in health class.) As soon as class ended. I took my lunch hour to make the fastest sub plans of my life. Luckily, I had a few Health/Biology movies in my classroom and just convinced myself they would have to do. By the end of lunch I was just about ready. My sub showed up and I was off, although not entirely pleased that my lessons for the end of the day were botched.
I did love the idea of a bit of an early weekend. Technically, I was still working on Friday, but district meetings seemed like a breeze compared to school. Our meetings went well, but unfortunately, by the end of them the weather was bad. We got stuck in Dillingham, not only Friday night, but also Saturday night. The good news is that I had good company, Michael Lee and Eve Klienke (other Togiak teachers), stores, restaurants, internet, and a good book. Michael did point out to us this morning that we were blessed with a relaxing weekend. If we had been home all of us would have been at the school working all weekend. This way, we had to take a break. He had a good point.
Tim had a wrestling tournament in New Stu this weekend. They left the school early as well. So Tim had to deal with unplanned sub lessons as well. They wrestled Friday night and Saturday morning and then were stuck there for Saturday night. Tim told me it was a bit of a rough weekend. A lot of his wrestlers were sick and couldn't spend much time away from the bathroom. Tim made it home just earlier this evening.
Our poor apartment looks pretty neglected. The weekend is usually the time we clean. I guess worse things have happened though. :)
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!
The Great Alaska Super Storm
This week started with the last one never ending. Last week we wrote that I (Tim) was at a wrestling tournament in Bethel, Ak. My team did okay. Overall we won about 50% of our matches. However, we did have one guy make it to the finals, which is always fun. The tournament was half-day on Friday and all day on Saturday. We were scheduled to leave at noon on Sunday. However, a storm rolled in and we were delayed for about two to three hours. No big deal. Whenever you travel by small plane in rural Alaska it's always best to prepare for anything. For that reason, we always pack extra clothes, money, and travel in our winter gear (in case the plane goes down in the middle of no where). Because there are no direct flights between our school and Bethel, and since we had two extra seats, we shared the plane with another team, two people (a coach and wrestler) from Manokotak. They live about 45 miles East of us. On our way home we (Manokotak coach and me) were informed that since the plane charter originated from Togiak, the plane would only go as far as Togiak, which meant that the Manokotak team needed to find another way home from Togiak. Once we all go to Togiak, we found out that nobody was flying. The winds were a little high and it was Sunday (which means no one wanted to work). This meant that they were stuck in Togiak for the night. Luckily, Kaitlyn was a good sport when I told her that we were going to have guests stay the night and were hungry and we were going to be home in 5 minutes. We entertained them for the night and they went home on Monday morning. Really, it wasn't too bad. The downside with not having a weekend is that there's no time to recuperate and plan for the upcoming week. It really sets the pace for the rest of the week. I ended up taking Tuesday off and just trying to catch up with sleep and lesson plans. I never really felt like I was back up to 100%. I ended up just sleeping on Saturday and Sunday to catch up.
Kaitlyn went to the store last week (some time in the middle of the week) and was approached by a woman who asked if she knew how to play the piano. She answered that she did and the woman than pleaded with her to teach her daughter how to play the piano. Kaitlyn, being the nicest person in the world, agreed (however, never having experience teaching). So, Kaitlyn got a hold of her friends who have taught lessons before and asked them how to do it and set it up. Kaitlyn had her first lesson this week and she said it went well. I'll let you hear about it from her more next week.
Let's talk Super Storm! The Super Storm really didn't hit us. Sorry to say, but we were not anywhere near the center of this storm. However, we were in the path of the end of the storm. Starting Thursday or Friday the wind picked up. We had blizzard conditions all Friday at school. It was kind of fun. Friday and Saturday Togiak was under a "Winter" and a "Severe" Storm watch. A Winter Watch because of the blizzard whiteout conditions and a Severe Watch because of a predicted storm surge and flooding for lower Togiak. During the storm we endured 45-65 mph winds with gusts up to 80 mph. Togiak suffered some downed power lines and some homes lost some of their roofing. Also, some sheds and steam houses got flipped over. The storm surge was almost bad enough that the local officials were thinking of evacuating the town near the bay. Luckily, the wind switched directions and no one needed to be evacuated. All in all, it was an eventful weekend.
Dorothy and Jesus?
This week flew by. It so weird to me that every week in the year is 7 days long, each day 24 hours, and each hour 60 minutes, yet some weeks drag on and on and some weeks fly by. It seemed liked everyone this week thought it went by quickly including my students and the other teachers. How does that happen?
Halloween was pretty simple this year. Tim and I dressed up and a few other teachers and students dressed up as well, but, just like any other dress up day, participation was sparse. I went as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and Tim went as Ceasar. Most of the adults knew who he was, but the students ideas were quite comical. Several of them asked if he was Zeus; several others asked if he was Jesus. Whatever he dressed up like, he was feeling pretty divine by the end of the day.
I got a bit of a break from teaching this week. We had a visitor come in to teach my PE classes Jiu Jitsu. For those of you who aren't familiar with Jiu Jitsu, it is like a form of agressive wrestling. It involves a lot of close body contact and awkward positions. I was a little nervous that the kids would have a rebellion, but it actually went pretty well. I loved having someone teach my first two class periods. I wish he could stay for a few more weeks!
Tuesday through Thursday this week were pretty typical. On Friday, Tim took his wrestling team to Bethel. They were gone until this afternoon.
It supposed to be a walrus.
I spent the weekend taking an soapstone carving class from the same guy I took an ivory carving class from last year. (I guess ivory was too hard to come by this year.) We had class Thursday night, Friday night, and all day Saturday. It always stresses me out to dedicate that much time to something, but I was really glad that I did it. I like being able to get to know some of the villagers better and to do something hands on and crafty. I carved whatever Twilly told me I was carving. By the end of class Saturday I had a seal, a whale, and a walrus. Although, I'm not sure anyone would be able to tell what the walrus was. I think my seal and my whale turned out pretty good though.
The last few days we have gotten a ton of snow. Yesterday it snowed all day long, but it warmed up in the evening and a lot of it melted. Today it snowed a lot as well, but once again warmed up and melted. The ground is definitely still covered in snow, but it is hard to tell how much snow we really have gotten, since so much of the top layer melts away.
Tim & Kaitlyn
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