Friday, March 21, 2014

The Iditarod

The night the Iditarod leaders came through a teacher and I stayed up all night in her room waiting to see them. She had purchased the GPS tracking for watching the mushers come in, so we knew where they were going to be at what time (pretty much). We stayed up until about 4:30 am before Jeff King came through, and Aliy Zirkle wasn't too far behind him.

I got bootie. 

Aliy's dogs got tangled around some wires, which was cool to see. She just laughed and got them untangled. I was glad to see she had a good sense of humor about it, especially for trying to get first place. When she left, there were two booties left behind and I got one! It is currently living in my jacket pocket right now because otherwise Merlynne tries to eat it.

Making it across the ice

The dogs had a really hard time getting across our bay because of the ice. The sleds kept fishtailing or getting stuck. Some of the dog's feet were bloody by the time they reached our shore. It was sad to see that, but they kept going because their next rest was White Mountain - which isn't too much further from Golovin.

Tiny musher

One of the mushers stopped in town to get food and to let his dogs rest after the bay. The kids got really excited and loved looking at the dogs. One of them even climbed on his sled.


As soon as the sled stopped, the dogs laid down and slept. They must have been exhausted.

Going through town.
 One of the mushers, Kelly Maixner, scratched out on our bay one evening. It was too icy and too windy. His dogs couldn't get across the bay. One of the villagers had to drive out and get him. Kelly stayed in the school for a night.

Snow bike

It was interesting to me that some people bike the Iditarod trail. Some of the bikers stayed in the school, too. Their bikes were crazy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

White Mountain

So, events are going to be out of order in my blog. I wanted to get a post up before I lost track of time. I will have a post more about the Iditarod later. I want to share all of my pictures and I even have some video!

But first I'll tell you all about my spring break.

Over spring break I visited another village and drove a snowmachine (snowmobile) for the first time. The village, White Mountain, is just a 30-45 minute snowmachine drive away from Golovin. It is actually the village I thought I would like to be placed at before I got to Alaska (don't tell anyone in Golovin! ;) ) Although, now I wouldn't trade being at Golovin for anything. Darn kids winning me over!

White Mountain

White Mountain was very nice. I went with two other teachers and we stayed with the guidance counselor who floats between our schools. The store in White Mountain was a lot bigger and had slightly better prices. The items on my receipt were also consistently priced and didn't feel completely random. However, still more expensive than Wisconsin.

I could look at this all day.

I had a few spills in/on the way to White Mountain. On the way there I drove a snowmachine, which I also flew off of accidentally after going over a big bump. I am actually kind of surprised I didn't break or sprain anything, but I did bruise my elbow really badly. I was going to post a picture but the bruise doesn't photograph well.

While in White Mountain we climbed a very steep hill to look at beautiful things, and I also may have fallen down while going up the hill. It was very icy.

Food waiting for mushers to come.

White Mountain was a stop on the Iditarod. I got to see where the mushers slept as well as all of the dogs. I think there were ten there at once at one point!

Resting puppies

They were the last bit of the Iditarod I got to see. It was sad that it had to end - I enjoyed watching all of the mushers come through. The dogs were so cute. I did worry about their health a little bit, but it seemed like all of the mushers I heard put their dogs' health above their own. They care so much about their dogs.


Sunday, March 9, 2014


This past week was regionals for basketball, so we only had five students total on the secondary side. It was a lot of fun because we did a collaborative unit on volcanoes. We made our own volcanoes, which the kids absolutely loved. We also visited the elementary side and helped them with a coin counting activity as well as made anemometers. 

Chillin' in the middle of the bay. No big deal.

One of the other teachers, my neighbor, and I have been going for walks every day this past week. It has been very fun and nice to get out of the house. I enjoy talking to my neighbor. She is from Hawaii and was in the army, so she has lots of interesting stories!

Found a bike.

This week is spring break. I plan on sleeping in and working on a library project I have started at the school. I might go to White Mountain, another village, with some teachers later on this week.

Waiting for our walking buddy to come out of the store.

The Iditarod is going to be coming through here either tonight or tomorrow - I can't wait! I did meet one of the men who is biking the Iditarod trail. He was British and seemed very cold and tired. It was super neat.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

You Can Count on Me

The song by Bruno Mars called "Count on Me" has been in my head lately because it is the song we are using for the morning meeting. Every morning the students gather in the gym and dance to a song, say the pledge, and hear any announcements from the principle. I think it is fun, but some of the boys act like they are too cool for it. I have a feeling they'll miss it after they graduate though. That's usually how those things go.

Teaching in a small, rural school can be a challenge. Last week students were pulled from class to go to the dentist. So one day my class of three students was down to two because one person was sick, and then the other two got pulled to go to the dentist. So I planned lessons on my own for a class period.

Another view of Golovin

I also had to sub for another teacher because the substitute was sick. So I taught in various rooms throughout the day because three of us switched rooms to teach various classes. It was sort of nice to be doing different things throughout the day.

My largest class here has about 10 students and my smallest class has 3.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Magic of Merlynne

My roommate here (who is a kind, wonderful person) has a dog. Which, as anyone who knows me knows that the dog is the most important thing to me here. I love animals a lot and it has been very nice having one here. I think the change would be a lot harder if I didn't have a pet to cuddle.


Some of the students have decided that they think my eyes are very pretty. Which is kind of them, however I've been asked:
"Can I have your eyes?" and
"Can I pop your eyes out of your head and put them in mine?"
which slightly concerns me. But I will still take the compliment.

What I wish I was doing 99% of the time.

Some of the younger kids told me I had a pretty laugh and that I giggle a lot. Which made me feel like I was some sort of Disney princess. They also noticed a skin bump I have on my nose and asked if it was a pimple. Which did not make me feel like a Disney princess (but it did make me laugh like one).

I was walking past some kids playing after I bought some things from the store (a can of coke, a single serving bottle of apple juice, and two loaves of bread for $16) and they told me
"We're playing Zombieland, but we only have one baby."

Which also made me laugh.

I have been slightly stressed lately. It can be hard sometimes to keep the students motivated and every weekend I spend hours at the school for basketball. I have also still been having trouble sleeping at night.

I did get to see the Northern Lights. That was really cool. They were pale and they stretched over the entire village - I missed them when they were bright green. Still cool though.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Three Minute Tour

Here is a brief tour of Golovin/where I live.

This is my bedroom.

Walking home from the store. The school is on the left.

Home of the Lynx.

Another beautiful sky.

Merlynne, the dog.

I wanted to take some pictures of inside the store here, but I didn't want to be the weirdo taking pictures of a grocery store. I got ketchup, a quart of chocolate milk, butter, and Kraft American cheese from the store the other day and it cost $26.

Today I'm going to show the kids a slideshow about myself. Hopefully it's actually somewhat interesting!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

More of Golovin

It is finally starting to get colder in Golovin. I am almost wanting to wear my snow pants when I walk across the street to the school. It is -15 degrees right now.

Everyday after school my roommate has basketball practice, and I wouldn't mind walking around outside but it is too cold! I do poke my head out the door when I let the dog out and take a picture of the sunset. I can't get over how beautiful the sky is everyday.

Some of my pictures have been turning out blurry. It is probably because I poke in and out so fast so I don't get cold. I'm also worried that I might wreck my camera if it is too cold.

This weekend the girls have an away game and I'll be helping out with the boys' game here. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Basketball Basketball Basketball


Indeed they is.

Everyone here loves basketball. Which is sort of a shame because I grew up resisting its existence, but the students love it so I can too I guess. ;)

I have been helping out at the games on the weekends and have had to learn the rules of the game. There was a tournament this weekend which Golovin won (woot!). I did the books and the timer for some, which was a lot of pressure for me since I am still learning what is even going on out there when they're playing. It was also slightly stressful because I had two days where I got up at 7 am and was either doing things for school or the basketball tournament until 11-11:40 pm.

This Monday made it worth it, though, because I could tell the tournament had made the students really happy.

Ice cream walk fundraiser

It is nice because the entire community comes to watch the basketball games and cheers on both teams. I love the community here. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming to me. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Golovin at Last

A friend I made at the airport.

I have officially been to the smallest airport ever and on the smallest plane ever. I got on the plane and sat next to the pilot. It was a quiet 45 minute plane ride to Golovin, mostly because I was terrified if I said anything the pilot would get distracted and crash.

Right outside my door.

When I got on the plane the pilot said "Okay, so you've been on one of these before - the two exits are here and the fire extinguisher is right there." And then we took off. The two exits were the doors next to me and the fire extinguisher was in between us. I had also never been on a tiny plane before.

Goodbye, sun.

The flight was actually very enjoyable and smooth. I was picked up from the airport (I use that term loosely ;) ) by the principal's husband. When I got to the school, the janitor played a trick on me and told me that he sent my luggage to Unalakleet. He thought it was hilarious and kept up the ruse all day. I believed him, but I did not freak out like he wanted me to.

Hello, neighbors.

I have been here since last Wednesday and  am enjoying Golovin so far. It is very pretty, and am told it only gets prettier when it actually snows.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chilling in Unalakleet

The building where we slept.

Unalakleet is where the district office to the school district is located. The store is stocked pretty well with things like cheese, meat, and Twinkies. If you need something, the store probably has it.

Worth it?

There is a yummy pizza place in town called Peace on Earth where we ate twice and they catered sandwiches for us another time. A large pizza was $36. If I was there, it would be totally worth it.

A pretty good snapshot of what Unalakleet looked like.

There were a lot of dogs in Unalakleet. All of the dogs were very friendly and wanted you to pet them. One dog even laid on my feet to try and get out of having to go inside. You could probably walk around the entire town in about 20 minutes.

Our last evening there some of us walked on the beach and watched the sunset. It was absolutely beautiful. There was driftwood, trash, and bones everywhere on the beach.

I was super willing to touch bones for some scary reason.

A beautiful 5 o'clock sunset.

After a pizza dinner, the interns got together and played games for one last time.

Flying in Bush Alaska

Flying to Unalakleet was an interesting experience. I didn't get a picture of my plane to Golovin, which was even smaller than this plane, but before that flight this was the smallest plane I had ever been on.

Tiny plane!

It was a much bumpier ride on this plane than the large commercial flights I had been on. I honestly felt a little sick, but looking out the window helped.

Looking at the scenery/propellers.

Powdered sugar piles.

There were two flight attendants on this flight. Snacks and beverages were offered - I didn't take any because I wasn't feeling too well.

The airport.

Getting off the plane in Unalakleet!

It was very windy in Unalakleet. If there were no wind it would be very warm, but the high winds made it a little chilly walking around.

Grabbing our luggage from the mud pit.

Anchoring in Anchorage

We landed in Anchorage and stayed there for two nights. To me, Anchorage looks like Sheboygan with mountains. The mountains are a plus. I got there last due to my crazy flight schedule, so I didn't get to meet everyone until the morning. There are nine other interns besides me and they are all wonderful people.

The bustling metropolis known as Anchorage.

We ate at two restaurants, the Middle Way Cafe and Spenard Roadhouse. They were both very delicious and I would eat at both again. The Middle Way Cafe was one of those organic/vegan/local cafes. Spenard Roadhouse had pretty much anything you could want. I had a salmon taco and tator tots.

I can't get over how beautiful these mountains are.

Still beautiful.


When we weren't eating we were hanging out together in the hotel lobby. We played card games and talked about pretty much everything. We all decided bonding before we were separated would be a good idea.

The sidewalk was flooded. This was fun but terrible.

After Anchorage we flew a smaller plane to Unalakleet, the first school we would see in the Bering Strait School District.