Monday, May 9, 2011

Roundin' That Corner To Homestretch

If they could see how the sun's setting fast,
And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts
Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye,
But hold onto your lover,
'Cause your heart's bound to die,
Go on now, and say goodbye to my town, to my town.
I can see the sun's going down on my town
Good night... good night..."
- Iris DeMent sings "Our Town" for last episode of Northern Exposure

Spring Bike

Tak - Early February 2011
Tak (born 1/6/11) Yesterday 5/7/11 - 42 pounds!

Sleepover Party IV
We met at my house at 7:00pm Friday night. 
 21 Slumber partiers get to try on Prom Dresses
21 sleep overers help the Zylstra's with a garbage run
There was a steady stream of knocks followed by little ones dragging  plastics (bag) full of sleeping attire into the house ready for the party to begin.  I lost count around 16 and thought it wise to just pray that when all was said and done the right amount would be sleeping.
Spec Ed room turned Dressing Room
Dressin Up what little girls do best
Having already given away all the kid stuff at my house last weekend I decided we would spend the early evening hours at the school.  The surprise:  the little ones got to try on the real prom dresses which are currently being housed in the special ed room.  My room looked like a tornado hit within the first 5 minutes of our arrival. " I feel like a princess!"  "Me too!"  I overheard conversations.  "Oh, you are sooo pretty!"  "How beautiful!"
They recruited Carl and Randy to join
" Can we wear these to Prom????"
Spec. Ed. Room turned Theater
  "Well girls," I frowned feeling their pain, "I hate to say it, but you are too young to go to prom this year but soon enough you will be able to go. Then you sure can wear these dresses to prom.  For now you can enjoy playing dress up."  About 10 outfit changes later they were tiring of the fashions show and we settled in to watch The Neverending Story on the Smart Board.
"Who wants to sleep on Rachel's floor?"
Popcorn made, bean bags hauled in, the girls finally snuggled in.
 21 Slumber Partiers slept everywhere
Unfortunately the story did end, we cleaned up, wandered out into the 11:30 pm sunshine and loaded into the suburban (an unspecified number of us) and headed to my house where I was unsure if we would have enough sleeping quarters to accommodate 21, 5-9 year olds. As fate would have it much like the bread and fish that fed little trailer housed 21 kids, 2 dogs and me! 
In the living room, on the couch
Even  in the laundry room
We painted nails and drank enough kool aid to dump the honey bucket twice! Whew!
And when the last one finally fell asleep I thanked God then did the same.  We woke in the morning to a knock on my door! Traci To the Rescue! Traci had hopped a plane from Eek (not an easy feat in and of itself see my Thanksgiving post back in November for more details on intervillage travel) and blessed us with her presence. She was like an angel walking in.  She a great laugh at the sight of me, which I do not blame her I would have too, my hair flying every which way, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, trying to orchestrate 21 groggy house guests stumbling over each other to pack up blankets, eat a granola bar breakfast and search for lost phones, all without my morning coffee.
Under the table, on the chair, on the bench, under the tree...
In the kitchen
"Well Hello Slumber Party!  Good Morning!" She cheerfully greeted hauling her back pack into the entry as she did so many times last year when she was our SIOP coach.  She in Quin at least once a month last year (how we became such good friends in the first place) but this year she is back in Eek teaching so this trip was very special as it was her first one to Quinhagak all year and sadly the last one she'd be making for me:) "I'll put the coffee on," she giggled and spent the next 45 minutes helping get the girls out the door.  A Godsend!  Here's To Good Friends! Good Coffee! and Good Mornings...Quinhagak:)  Quyana Trac!
And we all survived to tell about it..

Collecting our Tundra Tan
After the girls had sleepily meandered out the door, several cups of coffee had been drunk, pancakes eaten and highlights of conversation been started we decided to go for a hike!
Traci comes to visit from Eek!

Enjoying the de-iced Bering Sea...1st tide I've seen this sprin
As I said Traci hadn't been to Quin this year and was itching to get out to the beach...that we did.  Left at 2:30 pm in our extra tuffs (not quite what you would deem hiking boot material) but in the mucky water of the melting beach and tundra we really had no other choice. 
My boys having fun on the tundra
For 8 miles we hiked in our rubber boots all the way down the beach to the Arolik River (something I have never done by foot on the beach the entire way). It was a treat because not only was the day warm enough but for the first time this spring the tide was rolling in the form of WATER!!!!  It was like witnessing the Bering Sea have it's heartbeat return after being jumped back to life with paddles!  CLEAR!!!
Out with the Snow go in with the  "Sand Go"
  Ani and Tak played the entire trip and when we all stumbled back into the house around 6:30 pm both of my little furballs plopped down on their bed and slept for 4 hours! 
Meanwhile Traci and I lounged around munching on purchased we'd gotten at the store earlier in the day.  It was a wonderful unexpected retreat with great company.  Of course I was all sad again on Sunday night when I had to say another good bye to a dear friend knowing it would never be exactly like this ever again.

Our Beach Spring 2011

The Interview
During an interview with a prospective employee...we (the staff) always try to ease the trepidation that an applicant rightly feels when considering coming to our neck of the tundra to teach as we've all been in those exact same shoes.  Fears about...honey buckets, bush planes, isolation, food, friends, cultural and community nuances etc.  This is what we were attempting to do on Friday afternoon with a great candidate who would be a sure fit out here taking my position (keep in mind on Friday afternoons we aren't always on the top of our game after giving 150% all week long) so when Principal Eric made a futile attempt to share that we all understood what this candidate was feeling by throwing out, "...yeah, you know, we all have those ultimate fears that we dread ever happening, like that phone call from home saying that your dad died.."  It was slow motion as the rest of us sitting in the meeting waved madly signing stop, cut, do not continue!!!!  NOOOOOooooooo we mouthed hoping he hadn't just sealed the deal for our potential new hire! Allison swooped into the talking seat bumping a very obviously worn out Principal Eric and tried to salvage the conversation.  We had to laugh after wondering what the applicant's thoughts were after and hoped that we had won her over with the overwhelming positives to embracing an adventure of this caliber. 

Cup of Coffee a Teacherly Weapon
Unbeknownst to me, one of my students chose to lay on the floor one day last week instead of sitting in his chair.  As I rounded the blue matt (partition) I bumped into the unexpected empty chair next to him, accidentally dropping my coffee cup on his face.  "Ahhhhhh!" I shrieked!  "Owwwwww!" He howled.  "You got bad luck!" my other students chimed in.  "Are you okay???" I asked him still rolling around on the floor.  I knew my coffee was luke warm at best, I never drink it hot and it had been sitting out all morning. But the cup had bounced off his face.  He got up holding his lip which was bleeding.   "Oh, man" we both whined in unison.  He headed to the bathroom and washed himself off, we checked him out and he was thankfully fine.  We called mom and dad to inform them of our fiasco, dad said wasn't surprised, thanked me for the call and assured me he'd be fine and reminded me of his recent recovery from a black eye his little brother had accidentally given him too.  My student's only request?  "Can I get a new shirt, I hate the smell of coffee."  Scary moments in teaching.

Kids say the darnedest things...
I had just put on my running gear and was headed out for a jaunt when a couple of my younger students strode up to the house hoping to visit.  "Not tonight," I apologized as I shut the door and trotted down the steps, "I'm going running."  They followed me out onto the road watching to see what I'd do... "Hum," Tyrone observed obviously looking at my backside, "Well if you're so skinny then why is your butt so fat??"  Evidently my running pants aren't flattering and Tyrone defines running and skinny as synonyms.  Trying not to be shocked at this very unassuming non-sugar-coated comment, I responded, "Well, Tyrone it's really not nice to tell someone their butt is fat or to even talk about their butt at all."  "Well it is though",  he argued this time pointing in case I had misunderstood, "Look at it."  "Hum," well I don't have to look at it because it's behind me and anyway then it's a good thing I'm going running.  "Okay, well can we go with you?" they were on to the next topic, drawing the impromptu failed social skills lesson to a close.  Off we all jogged toward the dump.

Graduation & Prom 2011
It's here.  The week they've all been waiting for since the beginning of high school.  Graduation!  We have six senior boys graduating this year.  Each of whom, will be sorely missed by students and staff alike.  Congratulations Boys!  Go out in to that world and do great things!
2011 Kuinerrarmuit Elitnaurviat Seniors

The Girls Picking Out Prom Dresses
America's Next Top Models
We've also had lots of girls in trying on all the donated dresses from Steph's Church in Nebraska, my church in Wisconsin, Megan Baldino and friends from downstates and Allison Kirchoff.  We have managed to collect quite a selection.  Stay tuned for the updates of how prom pans out. 

 Sherry's Birthday Last Week at Bible Study
Happy Birthday Pie to Sherry
 Spring Winds
Let's go fly a kite!
Jerilyn's girls on their new bikes!
 The store got a shipment of kites in this week.  The kids were out running around this weekend with masses of kites hovering over the village.  Fun.

Shout Out to All Mothers:  
Happy Mother's Day Yesterday!

A song of ascents.
 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
 Psalm 121

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