It all started Thursday afternoon when I mixed up some bread dough on my lunch hour and then ran back and forth between the school and my house the rest of the afternoon checking on the bread. Alex, the NYO coach, had informed me the previous day that I should cook something for the NYO meet on Friday. Although we make the kids eat crappy cafeteria food during the meets the coaches get treated to a wide array of wonderfully delicious Native foods. During the dinner break at every meet the coaches stuff themselves on dried fish, baked fish, fish soup, meat (caribou) soup, akutaq, and bread amongst other things. So, it was my turn to provide some food and I was EXTREMELY nervous as I diced up the caribou I was going to turn into soup. I kept trying to think about all the times I've had meat soup and how it was prepared. I put in a little of this, a little of that and let the slow cooker do it's job.
The next day I woke up and went to work. There was a career fair happening at the Cultural Center in Bethel and I was in charge of taking my two high school boys, Andrew and Carl, to check out some career options. As Carl was gathering his winter gear Andrew came to my house to start my snowmobile and to stay warm while we waited for Carl. I gave him a tiny little taste of my soup and he deemed it high quality. After reminding Chris, my site administrator, not to forget the soup when he drove the kids over Andrew, Carl and I took off for the career fair.
The career fair was pretty good. Although I was told many organizations didn't make it in to present I felt that the ones who did make it in were pretty good. I think it helped Andrew and Carl to realize how many options really are available to them and I'm hoping that they have a few more ideas about what they want to do after graduating.
By about 2:30 or so we were all Career Fair-ed out and we hopped on our snowmobiles to head home.
I arrived home and quickly checked in with Chris. The soup had not made it across the river with the kids so I brought it over to Eliza's house to bring with her soup. I then grabbed my backpack which held my overnight stuff, jumped on my snowmobile and headed to the NYO meet.
At about 4 my soup showed up with Eliza and her soup and I became instantly nervous. I really wanted it to be good and was hoping that people liked it.
I told Darren Kellerby, one of the coaches from Napakiak, that I made the soup and that I was really nervous about people eating it. He reassured me that it would be fine and I had to stifle a big laugh as he proclaimed, "This is such good soup!" after one bite. Later on I asked a coach from Kwethluk what he thought. He responded with, "It didn't taste Native." I'm not sure if that was a compliment or not.
NYO went well. I was glad that it was close to home and although I couldn't go home PKA feels familiar enough to me that I actually slept fairly well on the floor of the school.
Mr. Bodily stopped by to say hi. I like seeing him so.
On Saturday I rushed home and after showering and changing my clothes I went up to Bethel to meet up with my good buddy Kale for an all out exclusive Erin and Kale Day.
A little bit about Kale. He is a teacher in Mekoryuk and over the past couple of years I've really grown to be good friends with. He's really become quite a close and dear friend of mine and although I understand his rationale for doing so it saddens me that he's leaving our school district to head home. Kale has really been a wonderful friend to have out here the last two years and there are times when I was about ready to lose my mind and he was there to help me cheer up or feel better about my job and life in general. His positive energy and loving nature really are going to be missed up here.
So, Kale came to Bethel to hang out with friends one last time before the end of the school year. I was honored that he made sure to spend some time with
Erin and Kale Day started with some hanging out at Erin, Angie and Sadie's house where he was staying. We then got on my snowmachine and headed to the District Office. I was supposed to help a woman do some iMovie stuff but she had already gone by the time I got there.
We then went to Swanson's to get him some groceries.
After the groceries we headed to the Tundra Oasis to see what the folks there were doing. It was then decided that Kale and I were going to head to Oscarville to get Macy and bring her back to the Tundra Oasis.
So...we headed down to Oscarville on my snowmachine to pick up the doglet. Then we went back to Bethel.
After bringing Macy to the Tundra Oasis Kale and I headed to the Cama-i festival to do some shopping for Native crafts. I found a really kick ass pair of seal skin mittens. The woman who made then didn't speak much English and became very excited when I told her I was from Oscarville. She then communicated to me that she had once lived in Oscarville herself and that pretty much sealed the deal for me. I felt like I had to buy the mittens then! I absolutely love them. However, due to warmish type weather and my lack of getting outside the last few days I haven't been able to wear them yet! I want to post a picture of them on here soon.
The Cama-i festival was interesting. You can read about it here (thanks Alisha!). There was also an incident that happened to Brian that Kale has accurately and hilariously recounted. Then of course, there is always Brian's response to said situation.
That's enough. I'm blogged out for now.