Monday, May 12, 2008

"They say that break(ing) up is hard to do"

Oscarville is nearly perfect. When I look back on my last five years of teaching, I definitely think this one... this one's the keeper. Small class size and proximity to Bethel aside, it's just been an amazing year.

But to honest, I wasn't so sure about this move. Last year I left Nunapitchuk a little worried. I had heard mostly positive things. But one thing that kept being said every time I bought up the word, "Oscarville" was "watch out for break up". "Break up" is a special time of year around here where the solid frozen roads turn back into the flowing Kuskokwim River and all of it's countless slough and tributaries. "Break up" is the time of year where I finally get some answers about that saying we've all heard about Eskimos having 20 different words for snow. Happen on in to any feast or maqivik at this time of year and your hear fervent discussions about needle ice and overflow and chunks and black water and white ice and clear ice... and if your lucky you'll even be treated to the "whooooshhhhh" or the "cruchuggggek" or the "plink plink plink" as the ice's break down is explained.

It's break up here in Oscarville. The view out my classroom window looks like this... Note the icebergs just sitting (or floating) in the middle of a slough that may or may not have ice below the surface.

We stopped traveling last Tuesday. It just wasn't safe anymore.

This time when the "roads" are somewhere in between ice and water is a dark time for the village. Pike, Seal, and Geese are here. Salmon and other birds will be here soon. But... it's not safe to travel.

I had been warned that THIS is the time when everyone just stays at home nit picking at one another bitterly. All year long we prepare for this. "Save that art project for break up, there won't be anything else to do." "Saturday work day? How about during break up, no one can get anywhere anyway." "Stock up on food for break up." "Could be weeks until there's mail because of break up."

Bah Humbug.

Now... if you know me at all you'll know I wouldn't bother to spend the time on a post that remained bitter cookies about break up. Oh no! Let me tell YOU how I battled the nefarious (thank you Moonlighting) break up this weekend.

Oscarville was invited to Napaskiak's prom. Hooray! Only... cepting' there's break up. So while the river was "good enough" for us to get our invitations a week prior we couldn't possibly get across the river by boat or snow machine last Friday. Our site administrator came up with an idea to charter a helicopter to prom. Only it was looking at costing a good $1,200 to get there. Twelve hundred bucks for prom?!! Images of MTV's My Super-Sweet 16 and multiple woman who charge by the hour come to my mind. Neither of which I am interested in for myself or for Oscarville's High School students.

The fact of the matter is we just couldn't afford it. Our site administrator called up Yukon Helicopters and said it was just too pricey. At that point Tom, the co-owner (with wife Cindy) and pilot, agreed to donate their services to get our kids to prom. Super-sweet, huh?

From that cushy helicopter ride (I know like we're friggin' rock stars!) we took a four wheeler ride to the school.

Riding a four wheeler is significantly less glamorous. Especially when there are about eight of us (and luggage) all on one four wheeler (with a wagon).

But beggars can't be choosers and damn did we clean up nice for being beggars!

This here is the whole group of Oscarvillers who made it over for Prom. There are six kids in the High School but only four of them are considered to be either a Junior or Senior. Because of this division the two remaining High School students had to be "dates" of the four legitimate invitees.

These stand as record of the official "couples."

We in Oscarville are showing just how current and politically correct we are by having a girl/girl couple readily accepted by the general public. The fact that they are also sisters may make this look more like a big move backwards. But let's just not go there...

A truly good time was had by all. In fact, I even snapped a photo that reminded me of my own Senior Ball. Mind you, I'm not showing the "leg" I showed when I stood with Michelle, Nicole, and Alexis. But still... it was reminiscent.

We spent the night at the school eating popcorn, drinking kool-aid, and watching "The Princess Bride" which I must point out reminded me EVEN MORE of my own prom. Not that I actually watched THAT movie... but for Junior Prom the after prom movie "The Lost Boys" was enjoyed with popcorn and pop I recall at Michelle's house. So... you know... certainly in the same vein.

The next day we woke up casually and heading to the airport to catch the 11:30ish helicopter ride back to Oscarville. No big party to see us off. Helicopters are so passe.

Once safely back on the ground Erin confirmed that the student council was still going to host a volleyball get together at 2:00. I was surprised but elated to see that these prom-goers were still raring to host an event for the younger less (helicopter-)traveled folks of Oscarville.

So after a few short feet up moments in front of so American Idol Rewind (I loved Frenchie but I LOVE Syesha too) I headed out to the "play deck" for some nice sun-in-your-eyes volleyball playing. The rules to the game are far better explained by Erin but essentially it was play to play. And while score was "kept" it was... negotiable.

A fairly tall fence surrounds the play deck so every time the (MUCH LIGHTER then regulation) volleyball caught wind it took a few minutes for someone to climb down from the play deck and run around to the ball. What can I say... several of the pictures taken didn't exactly contain a volleyball. As you can see here...

So yeah, they say break up in Oscarville is hard. But I don't know... I certainly didn't feel all that trapped this weekend.

Rumor has it the river here will "flush" by the weekend.

Shhheeesh! Break up is a breeze.


Erin said...

Break up is all good until you've been watching ice chunks float by the village for a week and you've run out of spinach and there is no possibility of getting more. Then it's kind of tough...

funky punk said...

Aahhhh.... It's so nice to see you posting again!

It sounds like you guys have a fabu time! I want those sweet heli rides you've been getting this year! I love all the photos. Everyone just looks so nice. You, Erin, & Sara all match with your brown & pazlie-floral-like patterns. And to think, I was so close, being in Bethel & all (missing our prom here for the 2nd year).

nicdevous said...

Wow...I know that life is different up there but never even gave thought to the interruption of life by break up time!

I love the prom story...and how awesome that the helicopter people donated their time and services. Yay, kudos to them!!