I’ll start with the ‘here and now,’ this week. Well, really I should start with last weekend (Oct. 14-15). I am an assistant coach for NYO (Native Youth Olympics). It is a statewide thing that I hear has even been recognized by Jay Leno or one of those late night guys. Apparently, some guy performed the one-foot kick for him; I think his record height was around 10’. Yes, that is as high as a basketball hoop. Amazing! The one-foot kick is but one event which requires that you jump off of the floor with both feet, kick a ball on a string with one foot and land on the foot you just kicked with, maintain your balance after the land, and vualla.
I should have taken the delay Leaving the village as a caveat into our near future traveling plans. We were weathered in another night due to ice fog and crazy rain. Ok, I could visit with Sara (my old roomy who lives in the neighboring village now). I could pick up food from the local Greek restaurant. It’s fine, I still have another day to make it back and do the things I need to and lesson plan. As a bonus, I was able to meet 4 of the new staff and see 2 students from Quinhagak, the village I used to work in. That was great! It brought back such good memories and I was even able to meet the teacher that has taken over my old classroom. There can be happy circumstances / perks to being weathered in. It’s not so bad sleeping on the floor, in fact it’s good for you, and at least the girls are happy when they are giggling at 2 am. Plus, I was able to read the book I have been trying to get through, but I cannot read regularly because of my other ongoing obligations.
I called the aviation the next day, Sunday, and everything was a go. We went to the airport, checked in, weighed ourselves, paid, boarded the plane, and taxied onto the runway. Then, our lovely pilot received a call over the CB/VHF. The ceiling had dropped to 400’ and visibility was at 1.5 miles. We need a ceiling of 500’ and visibility of at least 2 miles. Ah, the power of manifestation. Flipping kids! The whole previous night and morning I heard echoes of ‘We wanna get stuck,’ ‘I hope we don’t fly,’ ‘I don’t want to go home,’ ‘We should stay here!’ Well, they got their wish. But, we didn’t go back to the school to meet the 3 other teams that were on weather hold, which consisted of cute boys and ex-boyfriends. We waited in the lobby for 5 hours, to see if the weather shifted. It didn’t.
In the mean time, the other NYO coach was at a restaurant waiting for her brother to pick her up in a boat (a 2 1/2 hour ride from Nunapitchuk, on a bad day). They were going to shop and head back later. Upon mentioning that we (myself and the 4 athletes with me) were going to go back via boat if planes were not flying, another coach, from a different village, said that was illegal. I would be personally liable if anything were to happen. After a couple of phone calls, it was confirmed. Bummer; I hate writing sub plans! I was able to send one athlete with the other coach because she is his mom. He couldn’t technically stay overnight with me anyway. There has to be a parent or a male chaperone. He went back by boat.
The 3 ladies with me were able to visit relatives for a few hours. Then, we met 3 other teachers from our village, as well as others, for pizza and chitchat. So, after finishing my sub plans and sending them to the principal and another teacher in our classroom, I crashed on the cozy classroom floor once again at just after 3 am. What can I say, I have ‘night owl’ syndrome. Monday, we were up at 7:30 to clean the room, pack, call the airline, and wait in the kitchen before school started there.
Wait. Did I mention that this weekend as well as the NYO meet in Bethel, there were all of the first and second year teachers in town for a workshop. This is 100 odd teachers that were weathered out of their villages; subs needed to be found, if possible. There are only so many people to sub out here. At least one school had to cancel because 7 teachers (out of 10 or so), including their principal, were in Bethel.
We went to the airport, did the check in, pay and weigh thing. They were swamped with calls and paperwork from not being able to fly the past two days. The wind was ripping outside, which made me nervous. After the weekend and beginning to teach mid-day Monday, I should have known what kind of week it would be.