Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Orcas, Whale & Berries - Sadie Cove

On Sunday, I went across the bay for a day hike and berry picking. It's awesome knowing people with boats here and who I trust driving as the sea can change at any moment.

We saw orcas by the harbor and even a whale closer to Sadie Cove, which was my first time visiting. The trail goes on and on about 5 miles one way, we stopped at 1.7 for the berries. It's a steep hike with tons of bear poop on the trail, some were fresh!

As for personal update, I am hoping to make a decision by tomorrow whether to stay or finally make the move to HI. I ruled out SE asia b/c I am not excited about it for some strange reason. I also ruled out NYC b/c I am just not ready to go back. I am nervous about wintering here and the move to HI. It's been getting darker here and I am just not sure if I can handle only 4-5 hours of daylight. The community is great here and I get sad when I think of leaving the relationships I have developed in such a short amount of time.

In the meantime, I did a work for trade for acupuncture which I love and also been trying EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques via our Time bank here. I had 5 hours worth of credit and it was great timing for me as its been a tough week.

I am working all week at a store gallery on the Spit which is nice but tiring talking to people from everywhere. My parents will be in Anchorage this Sun early so I need to catch a ride up there. We will be going to Fairbanks, hot springs, Denali and hopefully Talkeetna before coming to Homer. Busy Busy!
Will update when I can. Click here for pix.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kayak, Clamming & Berries

My schedule is filling up a little as a have a temp job at a cool local, art gallery on the infamous Spit. Working random days 11-7, so I will be volunteering a little less the next few weeks.  Before that started, I went across the Bay again to visit my friends. This is my 3rd time across and I am pretty lucky for that. Many locals want to go but summer work is just too busy. I struggle to find the balance of work and fun in the long run in AK.

I spent 3 nights, got to see and assist w/ fishing, met 2 more woofers, kayaked, and take a sauna. Back on the Homer side, I finally went clamming. We did not catch clams, but grabbed some mussels. And also tried to make berry jam.

The Farmers Market job is till the end of Sept. After that I honestly do not know what I am doing. At times, I like the idea of staying here b/c it will be a winter like none other. The community is great and I feel winter has something to do with it. Yes, it will be cold and dark. I would like to get a car and do not know much about living in such coldness. I probably need better gloves too. You need to go outside during the day to get some light on you. Daylight is 4-5 hrs starting at 10am :( But I need to get a job to pay rent. As I look for work that interests me, its pretty limited in a small town that people love to live in. So do I just get any job to stay here?

AK is not an easy place to work or live. Its more expensive here and I am finding the pay just does not cut it. Also for friends with office jobs and benefits, you are lucky to be offered health insurance but you have to pay for that at times too. Most of my friends run their own biz and almost everyone I know of all ages do not have health insurance. Its like double the cost here!

I've been thinking about going back to nyc as its the cheapest place for me to live. Get a job and start saving again. OR do I finally got HI and see what's its like to live there? Jobs are even harder to find. It's funny that I love the two most expensive states in the US. Or do I finally do my SE Asia trip. Its cheap to travel there once there and its perfect timing. But I have not done any of the medical prep for it. I know poor me with lots of great options. I battle with going with logic or with what excites me. The thing that is exciting is also a little nerve-wrecking b/c its unknown.

Well hope to find the answer in a few weeks. I can't believe its almost Sept and time for me to decide! In the meantime, click here for some pix.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Native village kid's camp

Coal mining is becoming a frequent issue here in Alaska. The Tyonek village, I visited last week, is facing one on their doorsteps. I mention some info in the photo captions, click here for even more info.  

My friend from the farmer’s market organized a kid’s camp for the natives last year. This year he did the same with less funding. The kids get to be outdoors camping and a little bit away from home. We don’t stuff the kids with things to do or not do; we just allow them to be kids and have fun. He works with the tribes to stop the coal mining. I think this trip helps him continue to build relationships and earn their trust. He's is a Jewish guy from Long Island, not a native :)

The natives have endured so much change, not long ago, and u can't blame them for not trusting outsiders. Their way of life has changed significantly. Some elders eagerly shared their stories with me. Unfortunately for me, it was hard to hear them b/c of their lack of teeth and mumbling, though they speak English perfectly. One elder was telling me he was taken from his parents and village at 8 years old and sent to boarding school, on the other side of AK. He did not know English, at the time, and was very scared. The intent was to civilize the young. First the Russians came for the animal fur. Next the whites came for timber then oil, and now they want to destroy their river and land for coal.

The teens and youth do not speak their native language. They are very Westernized. The village homes had satellites, everyone had an iphone, lots of teens had colored hair and piercings. Many of them are looking forward to leaving the village for a bigger city. I was not expecting teepees, but I was shocked at what I was seeing.  Not that there’s anything wrong with colored hair and piercings (I had my fun as a teen too).

Two huge health issues are: the poor dieting and alcohol problem. Families are broken. I am not sure why they turned to junk food. Maybe it was the parents way of keeping the kids happy or when some (not all) parents are wasted, the kids are on their own at times. Research indicates that natives do not have a gene that metabolizing alcohol as we do, for more info click here I think the village is in mourning and have lost hope. I do not feel the freedom and joy of life I felt when I was in other places in AK last year. I do not know the full history and psychological implications; these are just my quick observations and guesses.

Alcohol is also a huge problem in AK among whites as well. I think it’s the cold, dark winter months. If you don’t get outside, don’t have a hobby, don’t socialize, you can get easily depressed here. I am still concerned about the cold for myself, as August has been cold, but people keep warning me it’s the darkness that can get u.

We camped 4 nights and had to head back towards home quickly. Dana was playing the 2nd annual Salmomstock Festival, a weekend long music festival supporting clean water etc for healthy fish. We got in for free that night with Dana. It was such a change from village camp and we started bumping into Homer peeps. We stayed for the last act that ended at 12:30am. I was very cold even with all my layers and pretty beat. It was about an hour north of Homer.  I was glad to be home, in bed. Overall, it was a great week with great people! Thank YOU all! Click here for more pix.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fishin Trips

I have not been blogging as much as last year when I was on the road. I am still learning and experiencing new things, but now only in one small town and "working"/volunteering more than traveling :)

I am grouping my day to day pix by theme in albums like town stuff, food, hiking, etc so once they get full, I will post them. I usually have detailed captions to share what I have learned and tell a mini story with the pictures.

So here a link to a fishing album that I just completed; it's a combo of one short boating trip and a longer trip across the bay. But who knows I may have more to come by the end of this summer:) ENJOY