Showing posts from September, 2016

Weekend Explorations

Abandoned buildings dot the tundra throughout our little village.  The beaches are vacant except for the occasional wildlife sighting.  Roads are empty of people, and full of village dogs.  The skies stretch for miles and touch the tops of nearby mountains and volcanoes.

With all of that said, our lives have become full of empty spaces, but definitely not empty experiences. We've enjoyed the solitude and simpleness of our new life, thus far.  Our weekends have been full with experiences and happiness, even though they seem to be much less "full" in the traditional sense.  There's no movie theatre to take in the latest blockbuster, or hip new restaurant to meet friends for drinks. Instead, we've been fishing and berry picking with local families, taking long walks with the students after school, and spending lots of quality time just the two of us. 

Last weekend we took some time for just the two of us, Cody and I. We drove to the end of the road, out near the doc…

Subsistence Fishing

Fishing has become an integral part of our lives here in the bush. Fishing, particularly subsistence fishing, is a huge part of village life. Stores are extremely expensive, if they exist at all, so many families still depend on hunting, fishing, and gathering to supplement their diets. Aside from the availability issues, it's also a huge part of their cultural society.

As a life-long vegetarian I knew that my options for eating fresh fruits and veggies would be limited, while fishing would likely be a part of our routine, and that my diet would potentially have to shift. I had come to terms with this ahead of time and decided to fully embrace becoming pescatarian (I'm only eating seafood that we catch, and will still be eating vegetarian/vegan outside of the village). I came to the bush with the intention of embracing the culture and lifestyles of my new community, which includes subsistence activities.

Cody and I have been trying to learn about the culture of subsistence liv…

Running in Bush Alaska

Prior to moving to Pilot Point, I had many predictions for how life would be this year. One thing I knew that I wanted to keep the same was my ability to exercise outdoors regularly.  Getting outside, preferably with the dogs, after work each night has always been my decompression time.  When we landed in Pilot Point I was excited to see that the town has decent gravel roads (2+ miles of which run in a perfect loop right outside my house). I've been happily getting outside after work most nights and taking advantage of the beauty and tranquility of walking around my little corner of Alaska.

While I've been happily going on these after-work outings alone, I was thrilled to get a call last week from Bristol Bay Health Corporation asking if our school would like to host a community color run/walk in Pilot Point. The run would take place on a Wednesday afternoon, following a health fair and raffle in the school gym. I quickly accepted, jumping at the chance to bring such a fun act…

Berry Picking on the Tundra

Living in Alaska often feels like one long string of adventures, mishmashed together with common, everyday moments.  It's always been one of my favorite things about life in Alaska. I absolutely love that my normal classroom routine in Juneau involved learning Tlingit language, or that walking the dogs meant carrying bear spray.  It's these little adventures that make living in Alaska such an experience.

One such experience that I had recently was berry picking.  Last Saturday, Melissa (the other teacher) and myself went out picking with a local woman, Sue.  Sue drove us down a bumpy, two-track that led out to the summer fishing camp (all the houses at camp were boarded up for the season). From there, we went on a hunt for berries and tundra plants.  As usual, I was amazed at the beauty and openness of the tundra landscape of my new home.

For my part, I've long been a berry picker, and I grew up in an agricultural hotspot. There's something just so different about berr…