Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Adventures in Pilot Station

My daughter Brittney made the move to her new home in Alaska this week. After a long flight she arrived in Anchorage last Sunday evening. She spent the next two mornings participating in new teacher in-service and spent the afternoons taking care of details like buying a semester’s worth of groceries, obtaining an Alaska driver’s license, registering to vote, etc. Then on Wednesday she made the 450 air mile journey from Anchorage to Pilot Station Alaska. The last leg of that journey was in a six passenger Cessna. She was impressed that she got to ride in the co-pilot seat. Pilot station is a native Alaskan fishing village, population 800, located along the Yukon River. There is no highway system. It is accessible by boat or by air.

The locals were out in mass to meet them upon their arrival as were a multitude of dogs with their litters of pups. I deprived her of pets growing up but as an adult she has developed a fondness for dogs. She will be living in a three bedroom house that she shares with another teacher. She says the area is pretty. She quickly went to work setting up her new home and is fast making friends with both the local population and the school personnel. The local hangout is the AC store, which is part of a chain of stores that operates in remote Alaska villages. She has made several trips there and bought a coffee mug in which she can get free refills. She has tasted pilot bread. She has learned to use a propane stove and has baked her own bread. She bought a package of Reindeer meat and cooked and sampled some of it. She went to the river at the time when the local fishermen give out free Salmon. I never taught her to fish. But with a little instruction she managed to clean her own fish “I cut its head off and took its guts out Daddy.” It was a big fish. She cut it into 11 pieces, froze 10 of them and cooked the other piece. She reported that it was good. Today she and some other teachers picked some wild berries and they are hoping for another free Salmon.

She is an adventuresome soul. I did not let her have pets when she was growing up and I did not take her fishing. But I did try to teach her to dream and to explore and to not be afraid. Next week she will fly to another village in the school district for new teacher meetings and the next week she will be making preparations at her school. Then the school year will begin. I am confidant that she will do well. She is a brave young lady. I wish I had been as brave as she is when I was her age.

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