Friday, November 3, 2006

Friday Night (gym) Lights and Winter Transportation

Well hello there! Seems like all kinds of fun things are happening around these parts, but I've been too lazy or otherwise preoccupied to be blogging about them. Sorry about that.

Anyways, this is the second Friday night in a row we've been in at school to watch students doing extracurricular-type things, and both have been quite interesting so far. Last Friday the Yup'ik dance group put on a performance, and having never seen anything like it in person, I was really impressed. Seeing kids I know and that I wouldn't expect to see taking part in something like this going out there and dancing up a storm is really pretty cool. If you're wondering about the masks, yes they were doing the halloween thing.

The only thing I think I would have liked better would to have been to have a program or some explanation of what all the dances and songs was all fascinating, and you could tell there were some pretty intense stories behind the dancing (and considering the vast majority of people in the audience were locals and no doubt knew what was going on, I understand), but I think I would have gotten even more out of it had I known what the songs were about. I know, I know...I should just buck up and learn Yup'ik. But I'm really no good with languages. Seriously, ask my old Polish professor...I just about drove him crazy.

Anyways, so that was last Friday. This weekend there is an N.Y.O. (Native Youth Olympics) meet here at Nunap. Just like with the wrestling meet a few weeks back, teams have flown in from all over to compete, and from what I've seen so far (okay, I've only seen the wrist carry at the moment, but it was pretty intense) it's really interesting. One thing I've noticed with the events matter what it is, most of the kids and teenagers turn out to support it. I suppose it could be (and likely is) due to the fact that there's literally nothing else going on here on a Friday night, but I'd like to think it's because the sense of community is strong enough that everyone, even the "cool kids", want to come out and take part in activities, whether sporting, cultural, or otherwise. I don't know, it just struck me while watching the dance performance last weekend and seeing a bunch of the teens there, that I couldn't imagine, say, a community polka dance at my old high school drawing all the high school seniors back to school on a Friday night. But hey, that's just me.

But, enough with the editorializing, here's a couple videos of what I'm talking about, if you're at all interested:

Yup'ik Dance Video - from 10/27/06

N.Y.O. Wrist Carry - from 11/3/06

Oh, and the other big news, I almost forgot...we bought a snowmachine (or "snowmobile", for you lower 48 folk ;-) ) this week! Called about a used sled we saw for sale on the website of a company in Anchorage, and the next day Sara ended up talking to the guy for a while and finding out that they had just gotten another in, with substantially fewer miles and in better shape. So, we currently have a 2000 Ski-Doo getting a good going-over by their shop guys that will soon be air-freighted to Bethel, where we will fly/ride in whenever conditions get good enough to ride back the 30ish miles to the village! Huzzah!!!

Don't worry, pictures of and many adventures with the sled are certainly coming soon...

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