Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Yesterday the temperature was -36, and the wind was blowing at 8 mph. That made the wind chill -58. Brrrr. At those temperatures, you can get frostbite within ten minutes.

Right now it is -17, and the wind is blowing at 3 mph. Windchill: -30ish. According to NOAA, we can expect the windchill to be -55 for the next few days. I was going to walk to the store tonight, but I decided against it. No particular reason.

Everyone here has been so friendly and welcoming. I've had six people offer me a tour of Barrow, and I've taken them up on it each time. I still get turned around though. All the streets look the same. I like where I live though. I've heard that I live near the mayor, so it's a pretty safe spot. The only downside is that pets aren't allowed in my apartment. Well, caged-birds are, but who wants a caged bird? Okay, maybe some people, but not me.

The names of my students are pretty interesting. Many of the boys have old-fashioned names like George, Herbert, Lou, Elmer, etc. Those aren't the names of my students, but they're similar. It's cute. It makes me think they were all named after a beloved grandfather.

My students come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Who knew the top of the world was so diverse? Not me. I have students with heritages of South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Tonga, and American Samoa. Many of my students are half-Iñupiaq and half-something else. I just love the diversity in my classroom. The best thing about it is that the kids don't seem to notice the diversity. They're so used to it, and they are friends with each other regardless of ethnicity. It's awesome.

I went to the Catholic church this past Sunday with one of the other Language Arts teachers. They are fervently praying for a permanent priest. Right now they only have a priest that comes once a month. Once a month sounded impressive to me. Diomede was visited by their priest once a year, but that's because of its extremely remote location. Everyone at the church was really friendly and welcoming. Very multicultural too. We didn't listen to the homily on the radio like we did in Diomede. A woman read an article about Epiphany instead. Afterwards, donuts catered by Pepe's North of the Border Mexican restaurant were served.

Speaking of Pepe's, Heidi took me out to dinner at Pepe's. Not to be critical, but I was not impressed. Two tacos for $18.50? I think I'll just make my own, thank you very much.

I really love Barrow. I've been here for almost two weeks, and I already feel at home. I feel like this is really where I'm supposed to be. For the past year I've felt such anxiety over where I was supposed to be, and now I realize... it's here at the top of the world. I am so thankful for that.

On Saturday I start two classes at Iḷisaġvik College in Barrow. I'm taking "Alaska Native/Native American Children Literature" and "Alaska: Land and Its People." So. excited.

Oh, and tomorrow is my birthday. Well, my tomorrow. For most of my readers, it'd be today. There is talk of chocolate cupcakes amongst the faculty here. I'm in a good place.

quviasuktuq - happy


Suzassippi said...

Happy birthday to someone wo is "sittin' on top of the world, just rollin' along"!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! Welcome to your new home! Hey...3 bell peppers for $8 - Lucky! Here it's $8 for one!

It sounds like you are settling in nicely. We've noticed it's way colder up here than in Shish. Keep warm! Sun just started rising'll see the sun before you know it!

Drew and Rachel said...

Happy Birthday Meredith!!!
To celebrate, we read and gloated over a postcard from Maryland, which arrived today! It was like you sent us a card for your birthday! I'm so happy to hear that things are off to a great start in Barrow -- cold, but warm people. Especially excited about your classes at the community college.

Lindsay said...

Happy Birthday!

I am so glad that Barrow has turned out to be such a great thing for you!
Your classes sound great.