This was our first week of school since Christmas that we had students all 5 days. Of course, it still wasn’t a very normal 5 day week because the basketball teams were gone Thursday and Friday. We have about 50 students in the high school and 19 of them were gone with the basketball teams. The halls looked so empty.
We’ve heard that Togiak is a very windy place. I have been pretty skeptical so far. I haven’t experienced anything to show me that it is any windier than Rexburg . . . until this week. The wind started up on Wednesday night. Thursday at school we were taking a test in class, but it was nowhere near quiet in my room. The kids were quiet, but the wind was howling so loud I didn’t know how they could concentrate. Thursday night it was hard to sleep it was so loud. Friday morning the Southeast side of the school was about 10 degrees colder the the northwest side because of all the wind. Our principal came and picked all the teachers up to take them to the school because he didn’t think we could walk in the wind. I had to tell all my students to bring their coats to class. Another teacher had to hold her class in the library to escape the drafty windows. Saturday Tim was outside with another teacher, Mr. Cejka, (6’2” and about 250 lbs). Neither of them could even stand up straight. Mrs. Cejka was literally blown over. The wind cracked the windshield on our 4-wheeler. It blew my hat off my head, which was tied under my neck and underneath my googles.
Last night our apartment building ran out of fuel, so we had no heat. I felt like we were camping. It was nice and toasty under the covers, but our faces were freezing. We heated our apartment this morning using the oven. The wind has stopped now. It is snowing like crazy. I don’t think any planes have flown since Wednesday because of the wind and it doesn’t look like any planes are going to fly today either. The shelves in the grocery store are starting to look bare.
Yesterday I attended a native birthday party. I’d been told a lot about them, but I’m not sure how typical this one was. I didn’t even know the kid, I was just told to show up and bring as many people as I could. It was a party for an 8 year old. I was told not to bring presents, just cash. I walked in and asked a young boy if it was his birthday. When he said yes, I handed him $5. I guess that’s the way it’s done. Our friend Robin told us last year she went to a birthday party for a 3 year old who was carrying $600 around in her pocket. The strange part was that the birthday boy didn’t seem to have any friends there. Besides his grandparents, who were throwing the party, I don’t think he had any family there and no one his age. There was lots and lots of food: baked salmon, breaded and fried salmon, dried salmon, stinky fish heads, moose, pork, chicken, turkey, ham, spaghetti, potato salad, stuffing, fry bread, corn, 3 types of akutuq, 7 pies, and cake. It was an insane amount of food. Esther (the party host) won’t have to cook for a month.
I never liked fish as a child or a teenager. (Well, truthfully, I never really tried fish as a child or a teenager.) I will admit, after spending at least parts of the past 5 years in Alaska, I have tried fish with an open mind. I have eaten salmon served many, many different ways. But, after eating salmon for dinner the other night and eating salmon at the birthday party, I realize, I don’t like it. I just don’t. It kind of makes me gag and I really don’t like the smell. I tried to like it. I gave it a 5 year trial, but I just don’t. Now, what I’m I going to do about the two salmon in my freezer?