Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Beauty of Bethel

"Well, I think those boys will be fine..." Uncle Hubb to Uncle Garth
"But will you?" Uncle Garth to Uncle Hubb, "You've been busy: terrorizing doctors and nurses, beating up teenagers, chasing after lions..."
~Secondhand Lions

Finally We Had Liftoff
After 2 days of weather hold I was on my way into Bethel. From the plane we saw 4 herds of caribou running around on the tundra! The pilot flew low over them and tilted the wing so we could get a good view. Felt like I was on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom! Anyway lots of hunters filled their caribou tags this weekend. And a few others had to be searched and rescued. Ah, well everyone survived.

Gaspeq, Cuspiq, Kaspiq, Traditional Yup'ik Shirt for Women
Anya made me my very own gaspeq! Complete with the Seahawk logo sew on the front. Pretty incredible seeing as it was her very first try at making one. She's a seamstress though. No problem. So while she sewed away, I was busy knitting (picture my nose all scrunched, eyes squinting,focused and tongue curled over my top lip in concentration) this is how I knit lol. It was a wild weekend in Bethel.

My New Favorite Movie

If you ever rent another movie, do yourself a favor and see "SECONDHAND LIONS". Best movie I've seen in forever. While we were biding time in Bethel on yet another 'weather hold'. Yes, status quo, normal Alaskan weather and airport protocol: eagerly arriving at the airport 1/2 hour before our flight (plenty of time in this neck of the woods or tundra, rather) while hopefully trying to will away the snow that was very obviously blowing across the runway to snatch our flight plans. After 2 hours of praying for a break in the clouds with enough time for our little 207 to make a hop for it, we were disappointingly sent away and told to return in the morning, better luck next time. They were however, kind enough to let me leave my bags at the airport. This is a relief because a trip to Bethel always means a return trip hauling 3 times the amount of luggage with which you arrived: get the goods while the goods are able to be gotten, in Bethel. After declining the proposition from our cab driver to what would have no doubt been a lively game of soccer at the armory with some local Albanian/Macedonian futbol enthusiasts we bumbled back into Anya's house, shaking and stomping off the excess snow and decided to veg out watching Secondhand Lions. You'll like it, go rent it. Promise. You'll be a better person for it.

Dark and Early This Morning

Anya and I were up again and headed back to the Bethel International (he, he kidding)... Regional Airport to have another go at catching a flight out to Quinhagak. While we were standing at the ticket counter and as the airport staff was arriving to work, we overheard a delightful conversation between the guy who might have been a psuedo air traffic controller/picker of air planes and maybe a ticket rep or airplane mechanic guy (they were oblivious to our 'within earshot locale').

Mechanic to Plane Picker guy, " To Quinhagak?"
Plane Picker guy to Mechanic, "Ah, let's just send up the junk plane."
Mechanic to Plane Picker, "Why not? Sounds good."

"Yeah, Why not?" I asked myself too. Only for my brain to be bombarded with a flurry of reasons myself had in immediate response...

Taking mental note, a deep breath and calming myself so as to not startle the two professionals engrossed in this very serious conversation being held in my presence. I politely interrupted, clearing my throat and stepping a little closer to the counter near the sign that read "All flights must be paid for before boarding, NO EXCEPTIONS". Our airport is more like a bus terminal. "Excuse me", I said to the Picker and Mechanic, "...I couldn't help but overhear your conversation, um, I'm sorry did you just say, 'send up the junk plane'?" For a moment time stood still as my inquiry registered on their radar so to speak, then together, backs to us and realizing what had just occurred, they slowly, simultaneously turned to face us, plastered with sheepish smiles and offering a host of apologies and reassurances. Evidently the 'junk plane' is referred to as such because it's payload capacity is 300 less pounds than any of the other...ah hem, "non-junk planes". Anya claimed that if we really thought about it, technically, it was a compliment, they were saying we are so light and little. I on the other hand, wasn't so optimistic and needed multiple reminders as to why I was supposed to feel completely comfortable and safe that we were about to be escorted out to and airborne in the 'junk plane'. I cranked up the the calming self talk and awaited the usual beckoning of the pilot, much like a teacher taking roll call. Finally, there he was, clipboard in hand, striding out of the back office like Jethro Beaudin, our carharted 20-something pilot sauntered in sporting a cargo tape patched down jacket that had seen better days, took off his ratty baseball cap, scratched his head, looked around at us (the only 2 people in the airport- yet another indicator that we would be the junk planees) and called out our names for Quinhagak or maybe the green mile. As we fell in line and followed him out the door we couldn't help but notice two other pilots dressed in 3 piece suits, following after us. Anya inquired,"So why aren't they our pilots?" "Oh," they smiled almost apologetically "We're flying to Anchorage." I snickered "Yeah, we got the junk plane pilot." "Hey" Jethro scolded me, he almost sounded insulted but changed his mind and chuckled, "Junk plane, eh?" Thankfully and as usual, my fears proved to be unfounded as it was probably the most pleasant flight I've had. Jethro turned out to be the cutest pilot, we had the calmest winds, fullest moon setting over the frozen tundra lakes behind the passenger wing and slightest sunrise beginning its ascent over the mountains in front of the pilot side wing. I leaned against the window and fell asleep to the hum of the engine while trying not to think about what seemed to me, an excessive amount of weight in boxes of dried potatoes crammed in every possible space behind me, surely more than 300 pounds worth. I slept most of the way. Go figure. Junk plane, huh...

Back to the Movie

The title of that gem of cinema sparked my memory (this doesn't happen all that often so I have to seize the archived dusty file as it drifts by) I blame my parents...neither of them remember anything, sadly I didn't used to sympathize quite so much, but I'm afraid as the years keep ticking by I'm beginning to understand all too well. Don't get me wrong, this genetic trait is both a blessing and a cursing...though there are many things I wish I could retrieve from the files, there are also things I'm all too happy to forget, especially when I remember I forgot them. I had a point here somewhere, lets see if I can find it...Oh yeah, I remember...this an an article that my pastor back in Wisconsin published in our local paper last year or the year before, at any rate I kept it so I wouldn't forget what it reminds me to think about...and well, let's just say the movie we watched, rang a bell....enjoy:)

Lion Chaser Manifesto
My blogger buddy, Mark Batterson, recently created a Manifesto for "Lion Chasers". I found it inspiring and motivating and thus, am passing it on to you:
Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion!

"The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions."

Proverbs 28:1


  1. Hey Kid,Seconhand Lions is an awesome movie!! I cry everytime we watch it!! Seize the moment!! Have a very blessed day!!

  2. Rachel, Just heard on the news about the hurricane force winds on the Aleutians, how close to you and any residual effects?? Blessings!!

  3. Up that's why we were 'weathered in' on Monday night. Crazy eh, lots of snow today in Quin too.

  4. I LOVE your qaspeq! very pretty