Wednesday, October 21, 2009

That's An Affirmative

"I can't criticize what I don't understand. If you want to call this art, you've got the benefit of all my doubts."
- Maurice to Chris, on his sculpture
Northern Exposure, 1990

I've raised my eyebrows for the second time. You got it. It means nothing to most of you but it's as exciting as all get out to me. It's a cultural thing. Within the Yupik culture it is acceptable if not even more probable that the answer to a question which requires a 'yes' response will be a nonverbal raising of the eyebrows in place of a verbal 'yes'. It's the same as nodding your head 'yes', except here we don't nod. Instead we raise our eyebrows and I've converted. Not intentionally but assimatingly. I was so surprised that I answered that way the first time which was a few days ago that I just passed it off as coincidence. But today at the post office I definitely answered Mac with a definitive raise of the eyebrows when he asked me if all my packages were for me I didn't even have the urge to say 'yes'. Am I loving Quinhagak, Alaska? See the photo for your answer;)

Weather: Yesterday the kids were outside playing football in t-shirts just outside the Quinhagak Store. Snapped a fun pic (left). It's the only football I've seen here so I guess that was our season. Today however the wind is whistling a different tune. Today the tundra has teeth, ice on the ground has appeared seemingly out of nowhere, thick enough for 2 of my fifth grade girls to skip across it side by side without going through or in Wisconsin terms: thick enough for the die hards I know (I won't mention names, you know who you are) to drive their trucks out on it and go fishing! So I plodded along to school this morning and ran around in the village this afternoon for parent teacher conferences, cold was wrapping itself around my toes, nose, eyes... yes, the time has come. Tomorrow morning I will bust out that parka I bought out of the trunk of a car in Anchorage this summer and the goggles that my friend Robyn gave me a few years back (little did she know I'd need them in the tundra of Alaska). So apparently up here we have 'instafreeze'. It's like they do to the halibut you catch down on the spit in Homer. The fish are vacuum packed somehow 'instantly frozen' so happy anglers can haul their catch home. I think the idea came from this part of the country the tundra and all of its inhabitants are zapped into winter in less than a day. Wisconsin is cold yes, but we usually have a week or so to get adjusted to the idea of winter moving in, a little snow, a little cold etc.

Quinhagak Parent Teacher Conferences: where 'Trick or Treat' becomes 'Trick or Teacher'. Don't come to us we'll go to you especially in -10 degree weather on foot or on four wheeler. At 2:00 pm we teachers invaded the village and were welcomed into the homes of our students to visit and discuss how our kiddos are doing. Every time we knocked on a door I felt like we should have a pail and ask for candy. It was a great idea I think but weather was not too cooperative. Needless to say, we had a 100 percent turn out;)

Art: Traci (our instructional coach) has taught me to knit. Yes, you read it correctly. Go ahead, go back and reread it, if you must. But it's true, I am currently knitting a scarf, at least that's what I think it will be. I'm approaching it like a carver approaches a piece of wood.. you know, let the object show you what it is supposed to be. Not sure if that method works the same with yarn but I'll keep you posted as progress is or is not made. Pray for me and Traci she is very patient.

More Art, sort of: This is Ani's new pumpkin sweater that Mike sent him in the mail the other day. Ani was so excited to wear it around outside and be the cool dog in the village.

Most Art: Here's a peek into my classroom and our festive pumpkin project. There is a general pumpkin theme going on around here just like everywhere else. Note the blue wrestling mats I stole from the gymnasium to create a make shift partition in my room. Try to teach kindergartners when you have 5 other groups of kids and people in and out of your room. I was forced to be creative;)

Featured Inventor (it's like Art kind of):
Hey you guys, my friend Joy is officially an inventor! She has created The Strainaway and they even have an infomercial for it! Check it out and order it! Go Joy! Congrats:) P.S. I already have her autograph;)

The Latest Tundra Delicacy: Thanks to Tim again:). We all tried some breaded and fried beaver. Yep. He got a 55 pound beaver up river last weekend and cooked it up for us to try. It did not taste like chicken. It was dark meat and I think it just tasted like beaver.

Shout out to:
Mike, June, Julie and Amy Lou for the wild rice, decorations and Halloween candy. The kids and I appreciate it. Sonia I love the dried leaves we are going to use them in a project at school. Bless you!
"First this: God created the Heavens and Earth...God looked over everything he had made;
it was so good, so very good!" Genesis 1:1,31


  1. Way to go on being creative with the Mats!! Miss ya Rach

  2. I miss you too anonymous! Thanks on the vote of confidence regarding the mats lol. They work pretty slick even as a sound barrier.