To Anchorage, or Not To Anchorage

(Our Shishmaref kids)

That was the question.

Jack and I spent the weekend in Anchorage attending the Alaska Teacher Placement job fair. A fascinating experience better left to its own blog post…


We left Shishmaref Thursday morning and had a layover in Nome on the way to Anchorage. The weather was bright and sunny. It was around zero when we left Shish. We arrived in Nome and walked into town for lunch. It was chilly, but we were comfortable in our parkas. We spent the next few days in balmy 50 degree weather. It was amazingly warm.

So Anchorage is warmer than the Arctic Circle. Duh.

We started really selling ourselves…or trying to… on Anchorage. Its central location. Its activities.

After driving from the airport to the hotel, we were convinced that we are not ready to leave the bush. We love the friendly waves hello from everyone we pass in our village. We love the pace of village life. We love learning about the people we live amongst.

We really like experiencing a life that is extraordinary.

This summer, we will go hang out on the Kenai. There we can get our fill of roads, big crowds, and restaurants. Knowing us, I’m sure we’ll find many off the beaten track things to do, as well.

For now, the answer is Not To Anchorage.

We have just signed on with another bush school about 200 miles north of here (yes, you read correctly) in another Inupiat village. We are eager to get to know another community and their history and practices. We hope to put down roots for a little while and accomplish some personal and professional goals.

We are excited to start the next Alaska chapter in Point Hope.

To be continued…

News From the North

(Orange cookies with chocolate chips)

Time is flying by and the daylight is increasing at a phenomenal rate. After the dark lull around winter solstice, we picked up noticeable amounts of daylight every day. Now, the morning twilight is at about 8:15 a.m. and the evening twilight ends about 10:00 p.m. We’ve put foil up in our bedroom window so our cave is nice and dark and welcomes sleep.

Well, a big decision has been made. We will only stay one school year in Shishmaref and are now packing up. The best advice we read was as soon as you know you are going to move, start packing! It looks like we are heading to Anchorage. There are so many interesting places to live in Alaska. For our goals, Anchorage seems like the best fit for the next several years.

We’ve loved living in the village of Shishmaref. The natives are kind and friendly. The environment up here is amazing. I am glad that this experience has been part of my story.

Honestly, the school has been difficult to work in. The values of those who we work with and for don’t synch up with ours. There are so many things that could be easily done to improve the education of the children up here. Maybe someday I will be able to tackle that problem from the chair of the state’s education commissioner.

For now, it’s time to get ready to move from 22 miles from the Artic Circle to 350 miles from the Artic Circle.