So I am a nerd at heart. I love to do research, and if I question anything, I immediately start finding out what I need to know. So of course when I set my heart on going to Alaska I immediately looked at websites, blogs and anything I could get my hands on to learn about the new state I was moving too! Of course I learned the usual: it’s cold, you need good winter clothes, a camera for your views, and a little about the culture.
There were a few things that I didn’t learn until I got here. So if you are thinking about moving to Alaska then here are the things that I learn once I lived here a few weeks.
- The weather is so dry!! You need moisturizer for EVERYTHING!! I recommend getting a good face moisturizer, some body lotion, and most importantly a good shampoo for dry scalp. I know when you think of Alaska the last thing you want to think is how itchy and dry your scalp will be but take my word! It’s needed!!! I recommend Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle. It’s amazing!! You can feel it working the moment you was and it makes my hair super silky soft! I’m not big on the organic craze but I know a lot are so you’ll be happy to know it’s all organic. It’s main ingredients are tea tree oil, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint. Also a positive…it has tea tree oil, which is said to keep lice away. Again something people don’t talk about in Alaska.
- If your living in a village then bed bugs, and lice are a common thing. We have lice in Idaho so it’s not that big of deal, but here it’s a little more serious. We place the kids items in black trash bags as a precaution. For this again I recommend anything with Teat Tree oil. Tea tree oil has always been a secret for teachers to put a few drops in their daily shampoo but why do that when you’ll need a good shampoo anyway. I also recommend the body wash. One of the big things though….you can’t let it scare you!! I can’t imagine not getting the biggest hugs from my students just because I was scared of a little bug! These kids are wonderful and they love you!
- Basketball is the major past time around here!! The school gym opens up after school to the village and the only thing that is done there is Basketball!! I didn’t realize how big it was before I came up. I’ve never been a huge basketball fan, but since the first week I was here I’ve spent every weekend watching basketball. The whole village comes to watch the games. I have slowly became a basketball fan. So I have decided to make me a cheat sheet to understand it a little more. Like I said in the beginning of this post…when I don’t understand something, I do my research!
- Waking up is hard to do!! When the sun doesn’t rise till 9:30ish then it sure makes waking up at 7 hard to do. I knew that the sun not rising, or in the summer not setting was a factor. But no ones tells you what it does to your sleep cycle. One thing I know when I officially move-move then I’ll need to buy a happy light that wakes me up in the morning. You can buy curtains and window shades to block out the light when the sun never sets but the sun not coming up it harsh! Ok, I’m going to end this post for now. I’m sure there will be a million other things that I realize I wish my research would have told me. But for now this is enough 🙂
I’ve been going on walks more often and even though its negative degrees outside and you have to be bundled up like the kid off of The Christmas Story the views are something I’ll never get enough of! Not only are the views beautiful but the air is so crisp and refreshing! I love breathing it in!! I can’t even explain how fresh it is! Honestly it is something that you have to feel for yourself. Okay so here are some pics from the walks. I hope you enjoy!
Since I’ve been here in Alaska (2 whole weeks tomorrow!) I’ve been staying with one of the other teachers, Rayna. She’s been so amazing letting me say with her, and has really became a great friend to have here, but I now have my own place. I couldn’t move in right away because the maintenance crew was staying in it, they are gone now so it got cleaned and I got the keys this week. I went in there yesterday and took pics. It’s nothing cute right now lol. There are a lot nicer apartments here but of course they’re being lived in…in fact Rayna lives in one of the nicest, so I’ve been lucky. This weekend I plan to move in. I’ll be honest when I first went in, even though I knew it was one of the older apartments, I was slightly bummed. Ok I was really bummed. After living in a nicer apartment this whole time, my apartment really let me down. But I started to look on the positive side, (There is always a positive side!), it really just needs my girly touch!! So this weekend I’m going to get in there, move things around, try to decorate with what little I have and see what I can find in the storage room, and pretty soon my house will be my cute little apartment!!
So here are some pics of my apartment, I’m posting them so you can see what I do with my house this next week. 🙂 I’ll post pics of the “remodel” when I’m done! I vow to make it cute! Wish me luck!
Ok so now you know a little about my time in Anchorage it’s time to hear about me coming to my village…Stebbins, Alaska! I first left Anchorage on Monday the 25th for Stebbins. We boarded on a decently sized plane…I wanna say 12-14 seater. We took that plane to Unalakleet, which is where the school district office is. We went into their tiny 1 room airport and got our stuff to be loaded on our next plane which was only a 5 seater. We then flew to St. Michael’s (our next door neighbor) then quickly flew to Stebbins. I know everyone is wondering what I thought of the Bush planes….well…they weren’t bad at all!! Infact I actually liked it because they fly closer to the ground so I got to see the most incredible views! It was so pretty! And because the weather was pretty good there was only a little turbulence. So I actually liked riding on them!
Once we got off the plane it was beautiful…and windy! Holy cow that wind cuts right through you! While the pilot was unloading our stuff, I took a couple photos by our little plane.
This week at the village has been fun. I haven’t had the chance to really go experience the village much because my warm winter clothing was on its way via the postal service. So I’ve only taken a few photos. The few pics you see that are solid white…yeah that’s the ocean! Right now it’s so frozen you can walk really far out on it I guess…but I saw a lot of cracks so I don’t plan on doing that! Even with my winter clothes (that just came in the mail friday)
But this weekend was the Village Dance festival. It was so amazing to see them in their Quspaq (Pronounced Kuspuk)and traditional attire.
Not to mention the little village girls were so adorable! They thought I looked like Elsa from Frozen on friday because my hair was braided to the side (See pic below). It was pretty cute! Not to mention they are so stinking cute! One of my favorite things that I have learned as a custom here is that the natives don’t use the words yes or no a lot instead they raise their eyebrows for yes, and crinkle their noses for no. It really is cute when the little girls do it! I definitely don’t feel as cool when I do it as they look. 😉 So when I come home if you asked me something and I just raise my eye brows then you know I’m saying yes, or crinkle my nose for no. Ok I expect you all to remember that.
One of the other things I experienced was some custom native food. There was actually nothing to crazy. In the picture below you’ll see the food. In the bowl was moose stew. It was good but very oily. Then we had salmon, haring, lentils & Spinach, Duck roast, and a Salmon that was done like a tuna salad. Not sure what it was called but it was really good! The only things I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the stew (do to it being oily) and the duck. I’m not saying I hated them and wouldn’t eat them again. They just wasn’t my favorite.
Ok Well that is it for now! I promise from here on out I will do better at keeping you all updated!
Ok so I admit I’ve totally failed at the blogging situation! I’m going to try to get better at it! First of all….I’m in Alaska! I’ve made it! My last post was about 3 months ago and tons have happened!! It was almost a whirlwind of excitement!
In November I got my notice that I would be leaving Jan. 22 so after that I started preparing. Pretty much my days were spent just doing research and getting things ready for my trip. (Which I totally recommend if you’re going to do something like this, that you totally research as much as you can!) My research has really helped because I wasn’t totally caught off guard by everything.
In January I found out I would be living in Stebbins, AK. It’s a small village on the north west shore. It has about 550 people living here, 95% primarily native. The school has 185 students k-12.
I ended up flying out of Boise, Idaho on January 21. I flew into Anchorage where I spent 3 days, at an RTI conference, meeting other teachers/administration from our district and other districts in Alaska. It was a great training and I’m very lucky to have been part of it considering only a couple people from each district went. But it was also great to get to meet so many people! I seriously think that being super nice and inviting is just a requirement for teaching in Alaska!
So I’m going to end this post with pictures while I was in Anchorage. My next post will be more on Stebbins since I really need to get caught up.
So make sure you read my next one to see more!