Sunday, July 27, 2003

In Training [The secret plan will be revealed later]
@ Kate's on Mt. Hood for two days after a cabin slumber party with Nicole and Claire. Kate and I started our day with a hike up Bald Mountain to a [literally] breathtaking view of Mt. Hood. Our favorite spot. Crossback trail back to the car, smelling the summer-baked pine needle evergreen wildflower wind of summer with windows down and wild hair flying. Then a mountain bike ride to WildWood into the wetlands on the backtrails and short hike up to another viewpoint. Soaking in the beauty!! Ferns, evergreens, the Mountain, the land I love. Tomorow Kate is off to work for the day and I'm relaxing here in the woods by myself. I am anticipating a nice solo day down by the river, surrounding by ferns, fish, and hearing only rushing Sandy River water and the breeze. Then tomorrow night off to Black Butte!

Saturday, July 26, 2003

One Week Vacation
Off to Central Oregon to vacation in the high desert and hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness with my family. I'm all smiles!
The Grotto was not lit. A sad landmark to orient myself..gone. Two new cars. One is a small SUV. I'm saddened, Disapointed. "But it's a small one!" my father points out. This does not cheer me up. But what does it my parents smiles, tears, and hugs. Waiting patiently for 3 hours in the airport for me to come in. In my mom's conductor pants.
Coming Home
Returning home was a bit of an adventure this summer. 13.5 hours to be exact. From Chicago to St. Louis to Salt Lake City (but not landing because we were out of gas and there was a big storm) to an unplanned stop at Boise then back to Salt Lake City and finally on to Portland. Whew. By the end of the last segment the flight attendent's had gone through the safety talk four times, cracking jokes and random thoughts inbetween the monotonous lines. Just before take-off on our last segment, very very softly in a whisper we heard over the microphone: "You are getting sleepy. Very very sleepy. Go to sleep! Go to sleep! Go to sleep! You do not want any peanuts or drinks. Besides, peanuts give you gas. Go to sleep! Go to sleeeeepppp....." And minutes before our final landing: "Well we're here. Welcome to Portland. But, surprise, you all have to stay on the plane. Since we've all grown so comfortable together and we know how much you love flying: Next stop: Hawaii!" Then: "Welcome to Portland, due to the late nature of the hour, and the fact that no one cares, this announcement has been canceled." At least the flight attendents were having fun in our flight of misery.
One of the Greatest Joys of Summer: Pleasure Reading
The Haitian cab driver transporting me from Hyde Park to Midway was cool, even though he could hardly believe that I am turning 22 in a coupel of months. We talked about school and life and laughed. I love riding with funny cab drivers. What struck me most from our conversation is one thing that he mentioned: "My greatest wish is to just have three hours of free time with no work to read. I love to read." That comment makes me realize just how fortunate I am. With one of the most amazing jobs ever for the first six weeks of the summer I have the financial stability to take the last month off to relax. I am so priveleged.
The two highlights of the flight (and really what kept me from going insane as I sat backward in a chair that did not recline on the plane) were the two books I read. I finished Hullaballoo in the Guave Orchard by Kiran Desai, and then on the second segment of my travels read Into the Wild in its entirety with an hour to spare and naps in between. Thanks to Parker for loaning it to me when I found it snooping through his bookshelf, and to Jared for encouraging me to read it. What a great book! What was really eery to me was how well I knew the area where much of the action took place. As the author wrote the story of Chris' last travels I could picture exactly what he was seeing and experiencing: Traveling up 101 on the Oregon Coast (even stopping in Manzanita of all places!), stops in Northern California where I've been before, the UAF campus with the GI and trails behind, the road to Denali Natl. Park, and the area of his final destination.

Monday, July 21, 2003

time to start the journey back. i'm going to miss this place, these people.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Dude, all I can say is that we ROCK. 5:01am and we just finished The Letter. Five hours devoted to this. To be edited by the rest of the staff tomorrow, and hopefully signed by all. I'm proud of it. I think it's professional and definitely covers issues that need to be addressed. I hope this makes a difference.

Tonight was great at L's cabin with friends...turned around from initially thinking that I was ditched to fun with all of the hall staff (minus one). Activities not to be mentioned here. ;o)

Friday, July 18, 2003

Back from Anchorage. Overtired. The students are gone. :o( And yes I cried.

I need to move around I'm up to doing something, although I think everyone here is asleep.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Tonight I attended the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. It was awesome! The opening ceremonies, although a bit humorous when the elders carrying the flags turned the wrong way, were really neat with many different drumming groups filing out with extraordinary regalia. Cute little native kids running all over making me smile so much. And I was appreciative to have Lolly, the Yup'ik teacher in UBC, sitting next to me explaining a ton of stuff to me. She's always fun to hang out with. :o)
Blanket Toss
My favorite part of the night was definitely the Women's Preliminary Blanket Toss. They invited people from the audience to help pull. I really wanted to, but in the end backed down because my arm is still in pain with a huge disgusting scab, but many of our male students went to participate. The (Nalakatuk) blanket toss is traditionally a Inupiaq sport/game, but now it is a competition between other native communities as well. It was very impressive to see the women (some as young as 7 and some in their 40's) be tossed into the air about 30 feet--a couple of them touched the ceiling inside the hockey area! After many practice pulls with the 35 or so people surrounding the leather (made of about seven bearded seal pelts), the competitor would be motioned over and hoisted up onto the giant leather trampoline. Then the pullers would start their rhythm and the competitor would start to bounce slowly up and down with the blanket as she moved her arms to the movement. It was beautiful to see. Whenever the head puller (maybe there is a different title for him?) thinks that the pullers and the competitor is ready he then counts out 1-2-3 in Yup'ik and as the pullers make a giant pull, the girls are launched up into the air. The person being tossed only goes as high as the pullers determine, so it is important to have a strong and cooperative community holding onto the leather--they really have to work together. The competitors are graded on height, form, and landing.
It looked like so much fun! I really wish I could give it a try!

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Reading: After Dachau by Daniel Quinn
"History is just an agreed-upon fiction"

Monday, July 14, 2003

"I was not advocating it. I was against it." The biggest lie I've ever heard. This is when I wish I could whip out my hidden tape recorder and throw words back in her face. What would she say then?

You know what I hate most? How much of a gossip I've become this summer. It's so easy to talk behind certains people's backs....which I never never usually do. I just don't have bold enough moves to confront her, and I really don't think it would solve any problems anyways. But, although it's good to let off some steam by talking to fellow staff members, it really sucks that I've become such a negative, whiney, gossipy person (even if there may be valid reasons for me to be). Every time I talk in such a way it makes me embarassed to hear myself, but it's just so hard to stop doing.
In other news: It's raining here. And the breeze blowing is so incredibly cool and refreshing. After our 3am escapade I laid in bed and felt so relaxed with my window open. My screen fell out a couple of weeks ago, and since the mosquitos are really almost nonexistent in Fairbanks this summer I haven't put it back in yet. I love it, it feels like I'm sleeping outdoors.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

I'm so old. In so many ways. I've realized that more and more this week.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

I am a complete wuss. And definitely not a kid anymore. I've been laying in bed for an hour. Rearranging the position of my body numerous times, but nothing seems to help. My elbow STINGS in pain so badly. I can't sleep at all, all I can think about is pain. Was a skinned elbow ever this painful when I was little? I never remember it to be. Maybe I'm just old now and can't "bounce back" the way I used to. So I throw on a shirt (spaghetti strap tank tops are against the rules here) and head to the office to get some aloe. Luckily master first-aidman Coby is there. I unmaturely whine like one of the students about how much it's stinging, and he sprays Burn Spray on me (which is NOT supposed to make it hurt but it does very very much to our surprise) and then gives me some more triple antibiotic to apply to the scrape. Both of which are supposed to have numbing effects, and so far I think they're doing the trick. I now have a nice neat gauze pad taped to my arm. It makes me look like I've been in a bad accident or something.
But really I was just in a fight with one of the students. Well, at least that's what I am telling people when they ask. Really, both of us (the student and I) had a little squabble with the concrete. We crashed into each other as she tried to pass me on the main bridge downtown. A very unwise place to pass someone on a bike, but to her credit she did yell "Left!". Unfortunately, I thought she was trying to say that we were to turn left after we made it over the bridge, not that she was going to pass me on the narrow strip of sidewalk that we were both cruising on. And so, as our bikes hit each other and she flew into the street over the curb, we both crashed to the ground and had a nice chat with the concrete for a bit. Very very very luckily, there were no cars.
So now I'm sore. A scraped left knee (that really doesn't look bad at all, but it's very sore and hurts very badly to move...making me walk funny), a purple-bruised right, and a disgusting looking scraped right elbow. To be honest, these scrapes and bruises are really nothing, but for some reason they're effecting me much more than they should.
Aww well. Nothing I can do about it now. Time to finally get some rest. 4 more hours until my alarm goes off.
To My [very] Few Readers:
I keep this blog mostly for myself. To document what I do, and random pieces of information. First impressions. Emotions. But at the same time it is for all of you to read...I do at times write to an audience. And I figure that whoever really cares about me will check here periodically if they want to know what's going on. You guys have been so sweet this week! Over the past few days I've been getting worried emails from a variety of people asking about how I'm doing. I just want you all to know that I'm doing fine. Everything is going ok, I just have been writing about the bad parts...because those are what's on my mind more often. But I wish it wasn't that way.
For the recond I just want to tell you that I am loving UBC. I love the students. I love Alaska. And I'm having fun. I am so so so glad that I didn't make it into Summer Links or stay in Chicago working at a boring job all summer. I am *so happy* that I was rehired back on staff at this program [since I am a hindrance to the program because I still don't have my driver's liscense]. It really has been wonderful to be back at a place that I love!

Uh oh. I just totally busted 3 girls down the hall. Heads out the window, giggling, and sneaking into friends' rooms. Caught ya! My screen is out too, and I can just as easily peer out and spy. But to be honest, I really don't care that much about late night talking, or sneaking around (as long as it's not coed). I've done both of those before. What I care most about is honesty. When I ask a question, you answer honestly. When you're caught, you don't hide. I was disapointed tonight.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Another boring day off. I just watched two entertaining movies though. Animal House and What Women Want, both were better than expected. A call from Henry (you can never disguise your voice from me!) cheered me up. And of course from You. :o) If only I had a car. Right now I would be up on Ester Dome overlooking the city. Or driving around somewhere on the outskirts. I would love some time to get away. Not to escape the students or the program, but to reflect.
Sneaking feet in the hallway and noisy celebrating RAHI students. Pink haze on the horizon.

I just want to be content.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

One Sixth Left
Trust you now? You've never had it, I'm still waiting for you to show me that you deserve it.
Only 7 days left. I still can't believe it. I'm going to miss these kids so much. I really want a longer time with the students. And especially with my clan. Disjointed and noisy, I never got to know them as group and it makes me sad. But I shouldn't talk in past tense, there's still time.
Bleeding lips and worrisome looks. Honey-colored contacts. I wish I had brown eyes, straight long dark hair. Always my model of beauty.
I want to be inside a vibrantly colored parachute right now. You know the ones I mean? Like in first and second grade in gym glass where they unfolded it, had all the little kids circle around and then on the count of three you all duck inside and sit on the edges, so there's a big balloon of air and you're in the newly formed crazicool fort. With static hair and giggles. Where everyone is having fun and it's a team effort.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Ok, so I'm laughing this morning. But still, very embarassed.
The most embarassing moment of my life.
And I never want to come out of my room.

betrayal and taken advantage of
I'm not laughing. I'm angry.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I was completely disrespectful. But I tried my hardest to stay awake and there was really no other choice. I've been staying up late working, so there is no personal excuse and nothing that I could have really done to prevent it. *turning red* pictures taken. I can handle all this, though I'm thoroughly embarassed. What makes me mad is the same certain someone adding to it by telling students that I was also sleeping this morning. Now it's hyped up even more. Unnecessary and unprofesional.

I need a hug.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Little sleep tired

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Green lush soft rain
white-water rafting down the Nenana with BuckWheat

Camping on a sand bar along the Chena River this weekend. It was really fun to head up a trip with Coby. And I have to say that Teriscovkya makes the best salmon dip in the world! Late night conversations by the river. And my pitiful attempts to fly-fish under Master Angler Thomas' instruction. ;o) So fun and laid back. Purple tent and reading aloud the Elizabethan Times before falling asleep. I love the students. White-water rafting in Denali was so muchfun today. These next two weeks are going to fly by.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Sit by my bed and sing me to sleep.
I need a lullaby tonight.
You know it's bad when I'm cussing people out under my breath!!! I never do that, but here sometimes I just feel like I'm going to blow up at a certain person. It's very hard to let these kinds of things just roll off my back. Caring too much + prior experience turns into a negative thing at times this summer.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

2:04am, Alaskan Time
I looked out of my window and saw this large bird swooping in. It landed on a cement wall, and then I could see the sillhouette. A huge Great-Horned Owl. Then, it beautifully took off and swooped up to perch on top of the light post about 50 feet from my window. I'm on the third floor and the top of the light post is about eye level with me, maybe a little taller. This enhanced my view. It was a gorgeous bird. I sat staring for a few minutes, and then decided that I had to go outside to see it up close. At home, we have spotted owls in our yard, and the babies are so adorable and surprisingly friendly. In the past they've let me go up to them until I'm about 5 feet away. so I thought I'd see how close this bird would let me get. I swiftly walked downstairs and out the front door of the dorm, hoping that she'd still be waiting nearby. I slowly stepped closer and closer to the lightpost where the owl was still perched. I was impressed by her size. I snapped a photograph. I've seen large owls before, but definitely never a bird as big as this. She kept her eye on me most of the time, curious, while also swiveling her head around to look for food. I got about 10 feet away from the pole, when suddenly she took off, fully spreading her wings. Her wingspan must have been at least as wide as my arms held apart. Swooping over my head, she dove down to the parking lot pavement and I watched as a mouse then dangled from her beak. Then, after the big gulp, she perched herself on another lightpost as I began to walk towards her again. I got near, and then circled her post counter-clockwise. Nervous, she extended her wings and took off for another perch atop an adjacent lightpost. I snapped a picture in mid-flight. I followed her again, and admired her beauty. After a few more minutes of eye contact between us she took off to a spot a few hundred yards away, grabbed her next unsuspecting prey, and flew out of sight.