This Wednesday the places I'll go was Bethel for more district training. This time it was specifically for those of us teaching special education. Last week it was district wide training and next weekend it's 2nd Year Teacher training. I'd have a well beaten path to "The Paris of the Kuskokwim" were I making these 100o and 1 trips by foot. Fortunately for me, par avion is the preferred manner in which the LKSD district wields us about. I remember when Mac, my former colleague from last year, was trying to explain to me via email what to expect living in a village in rural Alaska way back when I was first deciding if I would take the plunge into the tundra nearly a year and a half ago now.... anyway his words were, "I hope you are okay with flying because you'll be hopping in and out of a 207 like it's a Honda Civic..." Well, Mac was right on, I mused to myself as I took my recently self-designated seat at the front of the plane.
Co-pilot...it's a milestone for me, growth if you will, as last year I wouldn't have agreed to plant my bootie shot gun for nada. Well, I'm overcoming my fear, and maybe even becoming a little old hat about it, yeah right. I smiled as the pilot flipped and switched familiar levers and buttons, little lights flicker across the dashboard like bulbs on a Christmas tree, the engine roared and within seconds we were quickly 400 ft above the spongy wet carpet of greens bleeding blues, browns and grays of rivers and lakes...yep, I yawned, "a Honda Civic." (Aside Sam you better be taking car of my car and not putting tons of miles on it, please.) So in Wednesday night's case it was a Caravan not a 207, I have no idea what the technical plane number name is for it. All I know is that it's just bigger than the 207s and Navajos, holding up to 14 people or so, pretty much the biggest of planes we ever see landing on our humble gravel runway. I settled into the seat as the pilots wingman, leaned my head against the plexie glass window dirtied by everyone before me who had the same tired idea and closed my eyes to open them what seemed like only a minute later as we touched down in the ever thriving metropolis of lovely Bethel, Alaska population who really know for sure. From there I ran into all kinds of people I haven't seen in a long while, my friend Tracy for starters, she moved to Bethel from Quin in June and was behind the desk at the airline we flew with. Then Connie's daughter picked us up, no need to travel by cab (that was a treat). They dropped me off at Anya's my home away from Quin and even picked me up in the morning to go to training! (Quyana Connie!) We joke about Anya's apartment being the village's bed and breakfast, many times I've awaken to the smell of eggs and sausage frying, a smell that immediately sends me zooming back through time to Gramma and Grampa's farm, I'm seven years old and can't help but smile. Thanks Anya. Training was useful and so good to see all the familiar faces from last year. Got to meet Connie's parents and a couple of her 9 sisters and nieces as well! So fun to meet new people and places especially when you immediately feel at ease and comfortable, like you've known them forever feeling. That's how Connie's wonderful family is, I'm so thankful.
So a traveling Bible salesman drives into a little town in the deep south. It's nearing Christmas and he notices a nativity scene set up in front of a local church. He does a double take when he sees that standing behind the manger all in a row are 3 figures dressed like firemen. That's strange he wonders to himself. Upon entering the the first home on his route before he begins his sales pitch he is compelled to as the woman why there are 3 firemen in the town nativity scene. "Because it's in the bible," she responds in her thick southern twang. Then she takes the bible from him and flips though the pages. "Right here," she proclaims thumping the page with her finger "...and they came from a far (a fire)..." That was the joke Kathy told as we enjoyed an evening out in Bethel at Sho Guns one of the local restaurants. I thought it was funny. Maybe better told aloud but you get the idea.
"Meanwhile back in Quin I had pawned off my naughty mutt on my newest neighbors and friends the dynamic duo of Alicia and Allison. (They may be reconsidering being my friend now though if it comes contingent upon them providing involuntary intermittent dog sitting services...) Unbeknowst to me Animosh was giving them a run for their money. Escaping on several occasions only to tear off pell mell all over the village leading his worried caretakers on a wild 'mosh' chase. He does this on purpose I've decided, he did it to Justin on Flat Top in Anchorage too. Maybe comparable to a neglected child, to get attention they have to do something bad. Well, it appears that my faithful companion acts out when I abandon him, and it seems he goes on a hunger strike too. I haven't figured out how to remedy either situation so any ideas would be appreciated.
Week #1 of teaching is over already. How does this happen!? Well, it's late and I'm exhausted (jet lagged, lol). So I'm going to bed. Buenos Noches todos! Suena con los angelitos!