At this point it was late in the afternoon and we went o Sam’s Club to buy all of our frozen items. The lady in charge at the place we were staying was nice enough to make some room in her freezer for our items, so we decided to buy them early enough to give them time to freeze. We had everything all planned out. We were going to fly on two different airlines to get into Togiak, and the smaller of the two (Pen Air) only allowed two checked bags weighing a max of 50 lbs. a piece and a carry on of no more than 14 lbs. So, we needed to be strategic. When we went to Sam’s to buy meat we were calculating everything as we put it in our basket so that we wouldn’t go over our 150 lb. allotment. We didn’t do so well. We got in there and realized that we would want this item and that item also. We quickly went over our limit and had to figure out what to do, but that could wait for another day.
We then took our left over bin and suitcases to the Anchorage Post Office next to the airport (because it is open 24 hours) and the postal worker at the counter informed us that we were 4 oz and 8 oz over weight for our boxes. This couldn’t have come at a worse time because there was a long line forming and only one counter dude. We speedily tore our box apart until we could get into it and take out an item or two until they were under weight. Talk about stress. There’s not a whole lot worse than an angry line of postal customers waiting for you to struggle into your box and remove something because you loaded it too full. Once that problem was corrected the counter guy informed us that our “taped together packages” weren’t done right and could not be mailed. Suffice it to say, we left that Post Office with haste once we were finished! At this point it was around 9:00 pm and we were exhausted.
TUESDAY - We planned on traveling to Kenai and Homer where Tim’s grandfather has a piece of ground still. We wanted to find it and take a picture. When we awoke that day, we realized that we wanted more time to simply relax and tie up a few loose ends and not spend all day driving. So, instead we went to REI and bought a rain jacket and some shoes for Tim. It took a while because Tim has exceptionally wide feet and it was hard to find him something that fit. Finally, we found something in both the coat and shoe department. On our way out we had a fun experience, we met Vivienne, one of Kaitlyn’s co-workers from her part time job in Skagway two years ago. We chatted a little, then parted ways. Not more than 30 seconds went by when Tim said that he saw a girl that looked like one of his classmates from high school. Sure enough, it was Megan Vangstad a girl in his class. She was up visiting an aunt who lives in Anchorage. Seeing old acquaintances in the REI was quite fun for both of us.
We went home, relaxed a little, and made plans to see a movie. We were staying in Eagle River and there was a new huge theater on Muldoon (East Anchorage) where we went and saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It was a great movie.
WEDNESDAY - At 9:00 am we went on a Segway Tour of Anchorage. Many of you may not know, but we almost started a Segway Tour in Skagway a year ago with our good friend Warren and his wife. Plans fell through, but we’ve been super interested in it since. It was a lot of fun.
After our tour we packaged up the last box (which was over flow freezer items) and one more suit case and mailed them to our selves. We bought lunch and drove to the airport. At the airport we both were “randomly” selected for full screening. (I think it was because we looked so friendly!) It was very thorough and took about 20 minutes. We had plenty of time so it didn’t really bother us. Once that was over we used our two free passes to the Alaska Airlines Boardroom, which is a room where those who pay the $75 annual fee can relax in comfy chairs and have all the alcohol, soda, goodies, and free wifi they want while they wait for their flights. We each received a free coupon when we signed up for the Alaska Airlines Credit Card. It was a one time pass, but it was nice.
When it was time we made our way down to our gate and boarded the plane. We had a 737 with about 20 people on it. Not very full. Our flight would take us to Dillingham where we would switch airlines to Pen Air and fly the rest of the way to Togiak. The weather had been less than stellar the last few days, so as we approached Dillingham we had trouble landing. The pilot made two attempts to land and was unsuccessful, so he turned the plane around and took us back to Anchorage. This made things interesting. We didn’t have a place to stay and three coolers with thawing meat inside. When we got back to Anchorage we couldn’t find a hotel that had a vacancy and freezer space. So we decided to call our newly made friends from the branch, the Petersen’s. They had offered to let us stay at their house when we came through..now to see if they were serious. They were willing to pick us up and let us stay at their house for the night (with the 7 other people that were staying there). Unfortunately, they didn’t have freezer space. However, Bro Petersen told us we could use the airport storage. Who knew the Anchorage airport as a freezer for just this situation. It cost us $45 to store all of our food there, but it was better than it all going to waste.
Brother Petersen made us a delicious salmon dinner, while his son, Josh, gave Kaitlyn a very detailed and in depth lesson on nerf guns. If Kaitlyn is every in a nerf war, she will be prepared.
THURSDAY-We had a relaxing morning at the Petersen’s. Kaitlyn played the piano; Tim watched WWII movies (to prepare for school). Finally, it was time to catch our flight...again. The weather really didn’t look that much better, but this time we made it. The airport in Dillingham was packed. I have never seen an airport so crowded. Our superintendent, Jack Foster, was there waiting for us with Southwest Region School District hats. He helped us get our bags, get checked in to PenAir, and then he showed us around Dillingham while we waited for our flight.
We took a Cessna Caravan to Togiak. There were about 5 other passengers on the plan. The pilot was Tim’s old wrestling partner from high school, Steve Elliot! Tim and Steve and fun doing a very quick catch up and Steve invited us over for dinner next time we’re in Dillingham.
Sam Gosuk, our vice principal and a native of Togiak, picked us up and showed us around. It was very rainy and everyone was out fishing for red salmon. Kaitlyn was quite amused when Sam used what he called his “eskimo tool” (an old pop can), to start the truck. Sam took us to the school to pick up our boxes. Unfortunately there were only about 4 boxes waiting for us. We met Jeff Goodrich, the other member in our village. We quickly found out that he was only there for a couple of days, packing up to move to Ekwok. He did have us over for a dinner though. It was Kaitlyn’s first time having moose.
Our apartment is very nice. Although, Kaitlyn was not happy to see that it was left dirty, especially after spending two days deep cleaning our old house before leaving. The previous resident left a lot of items and hadn’t done so much as wipe the counters or wipe out the refrigerator.
FRIDAY-Friday was also rainy. We got our few boxes unpacked and the kitchen cleaned. We also found our 4-wheelers and picked up some more boxes from the post office. Sam went fishing and gave us some of his fresh red salmon. Luckily, he cut the salmon for us. I think he could read the I-have-no-idea-what-to-do-with-this look in our eyes when he handed us an entire fish. We came home and tried our hand at frying salmon for the first time. Note: Medium is too high for frying salmon, try Medium-Low.
Everyone here has been really friendly at helpful so far. We haven’t received our boxes of bedding or clothing yet. People have leant us blankets, sheets, and even their own coats. We are grateful.
As we came home last night, about 5 boys came running over to meet the new teachers. None of them were old enough to be in high school. They asked us our names, what we taught, who the other new teachers were going to be, and if we were “Causics”, blue-eyed. (Well isn’t it obvious?) They all told us that they are black-eyed, although some of them insisted they were brown-eyed. They were cute kids. They kept trying to persuade us to let them come to dinner, but we resisted. When you don’t have your food boxes yet, it’s hard to cook dinner even for yourself!
SUNDAY-This morning we had our first all-alone-church experience. Our telephone line isn’t set up yet, so we had to go to the school and use their phone. We found a somewhat private room (the teacher’s lounge), and set up camp there. Sacrament meeting starts with role call, so they know how many people are in attendance. We had prayers and songs like normal and then the conference went on mute for about 5 minutes to allow time for the sacrament. Passing the sacrament to ....Kaitlyn...didn’t take Tim long. Sunday school and Relief Society were fairly normal. The teacher teaches, calls on people to read quotes and scriptures, poses questions, and people answer. Of course we didn’t have the 10 minute breaks in between classes and the one-on-one chatting like in a regular ward or branch.
We have spent the rest of the day quietly at home, with the exception of some neighbors (a couple of our future students) coming to sell cupcakes. Now we’re wondering what to do...we don’t have enough gas in the 4-wheelers to go visit Myrna and Lewis.