I hesitate to call it Chapter 2. What do I call the summers? Interludes or intermissions between the chapters? At any rate…
After the plane made it through lifting fog, we arrived in Point Hope last Wednesday. We planned to arrive early in Point Hope so we would have plenty of time to settle into our new home and get oriented to the village. Last year, we were faced with many unanticipated tasks that made our school year start seem frenzied. We wanted to ensure that there would be plenty of time this year in the event our hours overfilled.
We arrived laden with nine coolers stuffed with frozen foods. As we met our ride, we were cheerfully greeted in spite of all of our luggage! We drove the two miles into town on a mix of gravel and concrete roads. A quick tour revealed the general layout of the town and the locations of the grocery store, the post office and the school.
Our home is a palace compared to our place in Shishmaref. It’s a two bedroom, one bath home with tons of space. The ceilings are 10 feet tall. We have a flush toilet, a great shower and our own laundry room! (If you have been following along, you’ll remember the last house had essentially no bathroom and a water tank we had to fill every six weeks in order to have running water.) The school provided us a stand up freezer which easily stored all nine coolers worth of goods. The best thing about the house is that the kitchen, living room, and office are in an open floor plan. That is the perfect configuration for people who love to cook and simultaneously socialize.
We’ve walked out to the point a couple of times now. It’s 2.3 miles from our front door. Both times we’ve gone out, we’ve seen hundreds of birds. We’ve also seen bearded seals (oogruk in Eskimo) playing in the surf. Both are indicators that there are fish. The natives tell us the pink salmon have begun to run and soon there will be HUGE sea run Dolly Varden to catch. We are eagerly waiting for our fishing gear to arrive in the mail so we can go see what we can catch. Last year, we were given Dolly Varden to eat…delicious!
Back home, the house is coming together quickly. We’ve already tested out the bread machine. A warm, sweet, white loaf indicated perfect operation. Next test — the oven. Chocolate chip cookies should do the trick. (The postal workers and the school maintenance team will benefit from that batch. Boy, they did a lot of work delivering all of our boxes.)
Next week, our district sends us to the district office in Barrow. We’ll get to spend some time at the “top of the world.” Should be interesting…