August 6th, 2011
We made it! We've reached our destination but I'm pretty sure the real journey has just begun! We arrived in Savoonga, AK yesterday afternoon around 5:30. We flew from Anchorage to Nome, where we had a 4 hour layover. We went into town with a few other teachers and enjoyed one last pizza and pitcher of beer before life on a dry island.
Our second flight was from Nome to Gambell (the other village on the island,) where stopped briefly to drop off 5 of the 9 airplane passengers. From Gambell it was only a 15 minute flight to Savoonga. I was lucky enough to see a whale spouting off the coast of Gambell, but poor B was on the other side of the plane! The island is breathtaking in its completely desolate beauty. There are mountains, beaches and cliffs, and only a tiny portion is actually inhabited. We got some great pictures as we landed.
We were greeted in Savoonga (at the landing strip, not the airport :o)) by another new teacher and one of the head school maintenance men, who has proven to be extremely helpful as we've been settling in! He brought us in his pickup truck (we were pleasantly surprised to see a couple of vehicles on the island!) first to the other teacher's house, and then to ours. The village is small, and we only have about a half mile walk to school from our house.
Our house is literally oceanfront property, we are about 30 yards from the waves of the Bering Sea crashing against the rocky shoreline! So far we've seen kids playing and men fishing, even though the water temperature is probably only in the high 30's! BRRR! The house is definitely a fixer upper, but B has been hard at work and it's already starting to feel like home. We ran into an issue with not having heat when we arrived, but the maintenance men have been working overtime and got us fuel, so we are good to go!
The school is practically brand new and extremely impressive. We spent a few hours there today, getting acclimated and making plans. As of right now, we think I have the wrong classroom's keys, so we held off on beginning set up. We are planning on just using school internet for a little while, so after this post we'll be turning ours off and using it only during the day when we're at school :o) Our cell is the best way to reach us, we have surprisingly perfect reception here in the Bering Strait! Text or call, we're always hoping to hear from people!
We really appreciate all of the support everyone has been giving us. It's going to be a huge adjustment and I'm sure we'll be in touch with everyone, asking for help and looking for support! We are looking forward to getting back to the basics, simplifying and adjusting to life at village pace. As excited as we are, we've already been shell shocked a couple of times--the differences between here and lower 48 living are already innumerable and we've only been here a day! So for now we are embracing the culture and the changes we're experiencing and rising to each challenge that comes our way. We are really lucky to have each other, and to have the wonderful support system that we do back home!
Will write more when we get a more stable internet connection! Promise to post pics soon :o)