We spent this week in Fairbanks attending our Spring in-service meeting. Traveling for in-service is one of the nicer benefits of teaching in such a place as Fort Yukon. Fairbanks is the closest place for us all to meet together. And although it’s a very expensive proposition for the district, it is well worth it. We collaborate, get trained, go out to eat and rest for a week.
Last night was shopping night in the big city. We spent more than twice what we normally do. There were lots of staples to buy this time, but much of them will stretch until school is out in May. Our $750 of groceries cost us another $132 freight to fly home. This is something like living in Dallas, Texas but deciding that it is cheaper to buy your groceries in Nacogdoches, 150 miles to the east, and flying them home on a plane. Believe it or not, this is still cheaper for us than shopping in the village. The flight takes us one hour; unpacking takes us half that. Fortunately, we didn’t have to pay for our airfare this time; that would have cost us another $560 for two round trip tickets. Hooray for in-service!
There are a few things we just can’t get here. Sanalac is not sold in Fairbanks and it’s the only decent powdered milk that I’ve found. Lindsay’s mom. Virginia, has stocked us with enough for the time being. And of all things, Adam’s Best vanilla is hard to find in Fairbanks. It has always been our favorite vanilla. We’re out, so we picked up some other organic variety. It has nearly three times the alcohol as Adam’s Best; listed first on the ingredients is “bourbon vanilla bean extractives.” Hmmm, this may make for very interesting cookies, but if your cookies aren’t baked with Adam’s, their not the Best.
It was smooth sailing home today. Snow buried the White Mountains; some of its valleys were so deeply laden that only the crowns of the spruce could be seen. Once we had crossed the Whites, clouds settled in and obscured most of our view of the Flats, but as we approached Fort Yukon, the sky cleared. There was our river locked in winter’s embrace, just beyond it our runway, and between it and the river the small cluster of homes and buildings that define our village, all shining radiantly in the sun. It was an awesome sight. I’m glad to be back.
No, not all the boxes in the picture above are ours; as you can see, shopping is on all our minds when we go to town. We carried back 5 boxes, two smaller parcels and our luggage. Behind me is our air terminal. It’s bigger than it looks, if your half blind.
We hitched a ride home with Mary in her faithful Rez Mobile, our goods piled high on its wooden bed and I sitting on the end dangling my legs in the cloud of snow that it kicked up in its wake.