Friday, December 23, 2011


We FINALLY have internet at home!!!! I have many more things I would like to post to here including pictures but since Christmas is only 2 days away and I am way behind on baking and such, I will have to wait until after the holiday to post more.  Until then, we wish all a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting Things You Take For Granted

So living in a town such as Fort Yukon has its advantages and its disadvantages. Most of the advantages revolve around it being both a small town and it being very peaceful and cut off from the world in many ways. These advantages can quickly turn into disadvantages however when you need something that back in the “Lower 48” you could just run to Walmart or Lowes for.

There is a store in town that is run by a company called The Alaska Commercial Company (The AC). This company operates over 20 stores in bush towns in Alaska. These are mostly smaller stores that serve communities in the close to or over 500 people range but some are in smaller towns down to 200 and some are towns of a couple thousand. The problem is that this is a store that reminds me a lot of being in a “general store” in small communities in Pennsylvania. They do have everything you would need in order to survive, but not everything you will ever need.

Eventually you will need something that they just don’t carry. For example in the minor renovations we were helping with on our house before we moved in we were doing some electrical work. Fortunately our landlord is on the ball and had all the supplies we needed to do the work and make it functional so we could move in. One of the things that we did overlook were the plastic cover plates that go over outlets and switches. Not necessary items to function, but preferable to have for safety reasons. So in order to get these in Fort Yukon, I had to contact a building supply company in Fairbanks, get them my order, (I needed a few other things too) then pay for the order with a credit card over the phone, they pick the order, charge a small fee to have the order boxed up and labeled and delivered to the airport cargo terminal.  Then I have to call the airline, let them know that the packages are mine, pay for the air freight for the boxes and then they give me an idea of when they will arrive based on room for freight on the planes. Then I call the terminal to see if the boxes left or if they are still in Fairbanks, find out the did get shipped so then I have to go to the airport here and seek them out so I can finally get them back to my house and install my outlet covers.

This scenario is not limited to building supplies either. Most food and house wares are available at the AC but they do have a limited selection and many items are very expensive. Most of the expense is due to transportation but also contributing to it is the very high cost of energy here, both electrical and fuel, and the limited customer base which leads to a lot of spoilage and loss. So knowing these facts most people try to get many of their needs in Fairbanks when they are there for one reason or another.

So that leads back to the “Alaskan Suitcases” (Rubbermaid bins)  When we go into Fairbanks, we bring several of these empty and stacked together as our luggage on the way into Fairbanks.  We do our shopping, pack our goods into the bins and take them to the post if they are non-perishables and mail them home (this is cheaper then bringing them as freight).  Things that are chill or freeze and things that are oddly shaped we take as our luggage home.  You are only allowed so many pounds on the planes and then you have to pay per pound for anything over (hence why you mail everything you can).
All of this has made us realize how much we took for granted back in PA.  We actually are really enjoying things despite these difficulties (small “price” to pay for the wonderful life we have in Fort Yukon).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Day on the River

So after our tour of the river with the school, we got the chance to go out again.  Here is a bit about that trip (from August 20).

A Day on the river

Today we got our second experience on the mighty Yukon and Porcupine rivers. Some people claim the Mississippi River is the might force in the USA, but I beg to differ. This river is a force to be respected and feared all at the same time; sandbars that change by the day and currents that can flip a boat in a minute.

So on to what we did today. After a wonderful walk around town in the rain, we waited for the weather to clear as we were invited on a trip up the river. We were told we were going to a place that is 8 miles up the Porcupine River. There is a camp area there where there are some cabins that the locals use for hunting and getting away from town.

There were 2 men that are staying there that are visiting Alaska from Switzerland who were amazing hosts. We were treated to a cup of campfire coffee after a wet trip on the boat in the rain. Then later once we were warmed up and dried off a little, we discovered that the guys threw a King Salmon steak on the fire. The etiquette at a wilderness camp is much as you would expect, steak is thrown on a plate when it is done and everyone digs in with their fingers.

Then we did some exploring and I got to see my first Moose tracks in the mud. I also got to see wild cranberries and rose hips growing all over the place. I even tried a cranberry, although it was quite tart as they are not quite ripe yet. A friend of the Jackson's have a cabin at 8 mile that they said to go ahead and use whenever we are out there.  The Swiss guys were using it just for baking bread cause they preferred to "rough it" for sleeping and such.  It's a very beautiful cabin. (Pictures of these adventures will be coming shortly.)

When we got back to camp from exploring the area, there was now a duck on a spit on the fire. As the duck was cooking we were pointed to a couple smoked Northern Pike fillets. So we broke a piece off and threw it on the grate over the fire to warm it up. That Pike was probably the best fish I have eaten in a really long time.

After we devoured the piece we broke off and the rest of the 2-foot long fillet was thrown on the fire so that we could all enjoy lots of the wonderful fish. By the time we finished the pike the duck was done cooking. It was not a large duck, but there was enough there for everyone to have some to try. So the duck was cut up and the pieces put on the grate for a few minutes to make sure it was done and to give it a little more flavor. Once we started we couldn’t stop. The duck was so good for having been cooked on a fire for about an hour and not having any seasoning or anything, just the goodness that nature has to offer.

After eating 3 wonderful mini meals at the camp we decided it was time to begin the journey home. This trip was much nicer with no rain to hinder the experience. Traveling back to Fort Yukon on the river, watching the sun slowly set as the colors of the sky met the reflection in the river, made the most beautiful sight I have seen yet. After about 50 minutes on the river, we arrive in Fort Yukon and the trip has come to an end.

Finally, tea and story time with the company of the day and everyone then goes their own ways to get ready for some much needed rest as tomorrow is a work day. Well, for most anyway.

Friday, December 9, 2011

And now for more randomness...

So here is another post that was written some time ago and stumbled upon now that I am trying to get things back up.  This was from one of our adventures in August.  Enjoy!

A Tour of the Rivers.

When we were planning to come here to fort Yukon, we were prepared for the fact that a lot of the diet here consists of fish. And we knew Salmon was a big part of that diet. On Tuesday, August 9th, the district took all of the new staff at the school for a tour of the town and then for a boat ride up the river.  On the boat ride we were introduced to the Yukon and Porcupine rivers and the amazing power that they have. It is unbelievable how much power it takes these small jon boats to simply keep with the current of the rivers let alone to go up river.

We were taken for a ride around the areas of the river close to town and to a camp at a place called 6 mile. Named so because it is 6 miles up the Porcupine River. This small camp is used by many of the towns in the flats as a summer camp for kids. It is a short hike from the river to the camp. I was told you can get there by land, but I am not sure how, so I will not try. We were introduced to what Rose Hips are and to what High Bush Cranberries look like. Both of these things grow wild around here much in the same way that Raspberries and Blackberries grow in Pennsylvania.

Closer to the end of our river journey we were brought to what is called a “Fish Wheel” This is the way that many local people catch their salmon from the rivers. The fish wheel is a wheel with 4 paddles that is just under 20’ in diameter. This is important because the river is 10’ deep in most places, even just a foot or two from shore. The current of the river turns the wheel and 2 of the paddles are shaped like a scoop with netting in them. As the wheel spins these 2 scoops pick up the fish that are swimming up river against the current and they fall onto 2 boards that are close to the axle of the wheel. These 2 boards are separated so that any young immature fish fall though them and safely back into the river. The larger fish then slide to the end of the wheel where they are deposited into a box where they stay till the owner of the wheel takes them (at least once a day). Most people seem to not run their wheels all the time, but rather only when they are able to go out regularly. This amazing piece of rustic machinery has allowed the people of the area to survive on a diet of the wonderful meat of the Red King Salmon and the Silver Salmon.

We ended our boating trip with a Fish feast where we were treated to both smoked and fresh grilled King Salmon and grilled Silver Salmon. These two fish are very different from each other in the way the meat tastes. Personally I enjoy both of them, but I think Joc prefers the King a little more. Having fresh Salmon for the first time over an open fire was amazing. I thought a lot about the fish dinners we used to have in Pennsylvania and how much you would pay for a good Salmon Steak at a restaurant while we were standing here at a fire eating some of the best fish I have had off of paper plates and plastic forks or even just with our fingers. It was an amazing experience that I hope to repeat again and again.

How to spend an anniversary…

This was a post that was written a while ago but since I am just now able to get caught up on our posts, you will have to pretend that I posted it back in September. :)

So time for our anniversary and how did we spend it?  There was a sale in the morning at the dorm for the Voc Ed of all the old beds.  We had planned on getting one of these to use as a sofa.  When we got to the sale, there was already a line of people and it ended up that we were not able to get a bed for ourselves, just the one that we promised someone we would get for them.  It ended up being another one of the interesting adventures.  While we did not get the bed for ourselves, we did stay and help the ladies that we there buying beds that did not have anyone else to help them (the men were all out moose hunting).  We met several of the townspeople doing this and also met one of the elders.  We helped several of them move their furniture to their homes.  People do show a lot of gratitude towards those that help.  It is considered impolite to turn down a gift from someone here, so this was how we ended up with an end table, moose meat, and dried salmon!  (I love the barter system… much more meaningful than a dirty dollar bill.) 

In the end one of our friends told us that she wanted to give us her sofa that has been in her parents’ storage since they moved here.  So after we moved all the beds and dressers for everyone else, we moved a sofa for us! 

It’s neat to see the difference in attitudes towards neighbors here compared to the “Lower 48.”  It’s all about helping each other survive.  People  don’t throw things away but rather they pass them along to another person who needs it.  You help each other when things get tough and make sure that those around you have what they need to survive.  I am asked many times a week if the house we live in is keeping us warm and if we have everything we need.  It makes a person feel a lot safer about living in such a harsh place.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Catching Up

My how the year has flown! Who would have thought this time last year that we would be 3500 miles from home within the year! It really has been quite an adventure so far. So while I am at a school where I have internet, let me get you all up to date on the happenings of our lives…

We finally got moved into our house in the middle of August! It still needs to have many things completed (like, I still don’t have a shower at this point but at least we have a bath!) but it is quite nice despite this. The house was purple when we moved in but we have since painted it… now it’s sea foam green! (I preferred the purple to this strange shade of green but the landlord wanted it painted, so paint we did… hey it’s the paint HE chose…lol.) So then there was the adventure of finding furniture for the house. Luckily we had found a bed rather easily but other furniture was a little more difficult (that is a story for another entry so stay tuned…). The end of August had me taking my first trip to a village (Arctic Village) to handle a crisis situation.

That brings us nicely to September. Andrew got a job at the store in town (lovingly called the AC – for Alaskan Commercial that is). He is now a manager there and works many crazy hours but it definitely keeps him from getting bored. We spent our anniversary in yet another unique way, but that is for a later time. We had our first viewing of the northern lights. They really are something that is almost impossible to describe. (Hopefully I will have the chance to do some photography of them soon and then I will write more about them when I have pictures to show somewhat of what I am talking about). Then it was time for inservice. Andrew came in for a day beforehand with me so that we could buy our winter gear. There is so much more that is needed here for the winter (ok well that was an obvious statement). After a whirlwind shopping trip for him, he heads back to the Fort and I stay for inservice. I spent my evenings shopping for things that we needed for the house as well as food items that we seriously underestimated the amount we would need. And then began my traveling counselor duties… First stop, Venetie. Next up, back to Arctic Village.

October I started by going to Anchorage for a weekend for training with the union. I didn’t really get a chance to see much of the city at that point cause the trainings were exhausting. Next stop – Chalkyitsik! I spent a couple of days in this village then back to the Fort. At this point Andrew came to Voc Ed to fill in as secretary until a permanent one could be found… nothing like working in a building full of men, literally I was the only female staff member! The end of October brought the Career Pathways trip to Anchorage. This was an entire week with juniors and seniors touring various schools. I did get to spend time in the city this time and I can’t tell you how excited I was to return to the village! But there were quite a few hilarious moments while in the city (unfortunately you had to be there to understand the hilarity).

With the end of October came winter. Yes you read that right, WINTER!!!!! It started with snow, snow and more snow (just like back in PA, several storms of annoying amounts, you know, 3 inches here, 4 there…). And then the temperatures DROPPED! Apparently it has been colder than normal this year but I wouldn’t know. Now, when I say dropped, I mean dropped. We went from 30 about to 40 BELOW! The funniest thing about this was that while it was -40 here, it was 100 degrees warmer in PA! (that would be a sultry 60 degrees for those of you who don’t want to do the math). By the middle of November, we had accumulated quite a bit of snow and that means the snow machines are out in force.

Speaking of November, it flew in out of no where! (ok well we knew it was coming but it sure did come awfully quick) November started with me taking all of the Voc Ed teacher’s classes while he was at a conference. So I spent the week teaching math and career planning (I liked the first part but the career planning part was no where near as much fun, serious!) I was to go to Beaver after this, but this trip was postponed. I went to Circle for a few days and on my way back took a day off in Fairbanks. And the next week was Thanksgiving! This week I have spent in Venetie and Arctic again (those two villages are always done together as they are on the same flight schedule).

So there, in a nutshell (more like a coconut shell…) is the story so far. There have been many things that we have encountered along the way that we will tell you more about in the upcoming posts but I don’t want to take your entire day reading about us ;) So on that note (I think it might be C#), I bid your farewell from the frozen north.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


No we have not been swallowed by polar bears (we haven't even seen a grizzly thankfully). No we didn't fall in the river. No we didn't move to another village. Technology has just eluded us till now...

Maybe just maybe, we will have internet soon. It has been an interesting process trying to get this luxury in the bush of Alaska. We took for granted that back in PA dial-up was basically a thing of the past. Well, step back in time 10 years and there you have bush Alaska. Dial-up is basically all that is available. We have been working to get satellite internet through a grant program here called Open Skies Alaska. We will be the first ones in our village with this internet service so the process has been anything but easy. My hope is that by the time Christmas break rolls around (in just 2 short weeks) that we will finally have that mystic thing called internet again so that I can update all you lovely people on the adventures we have had so far. Thanks for bearing with us.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bush Internet at the beginning

We would like to apologize to anyone who keeps checking this blog in the hope that there will be a new post to it and is disappointed to find that there isn’t. Right now we are moved into our new home for the year, however we are waiting for our internet equipment to arrive (it will, we just don't know when). In order for us to post to the blog we need to either go to someone’s house and use their internet or go to the school after hours. We do have prepared a few posts that we will be posting as soon as we have our internet installed at our home. Nothing here happens quickly, and patience is something that we have quickly had to learn living here. We assure you that there will be new posts as soon as we can manage. Keep checking and eventually you will have something to read.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

So What Did You Do Today?

First day of work
Ate dinner
Moved a teacher in
Pulled a boat out of the mud
Moved a desk to our house

Picked up LOTS of boxes of food from the post office (9 of them)
Spinners till midnight!

Fix a flat tire
Eat dinner
Gut some fish
Go to the smoke house
Eat dried fish
BS till midnight

Take the bus around town
Take the boat upriver
Eat some salmon straight from the fishwheel (after it was roasted on the campfire)
Come back to Mary's for a get together of about 15 people
Take people home
Talk till 1am about not really all that much

Yep. Just another day in Fort Yukon!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

And the traveling continues...

Thursday - Sunday:
We get up, get ready, pack up the car, check out of the hotel, and head to the airport. This was where our day started to go south. We arrive at the airport and Andrew checks our car while I wait outside with the boys for them to have time out of their crates before flying. Now we head in to check Amo and our bags. When we got there, we were told that Rupert could not be carried onto the plane cause the type of plane we were flying does not allow room for carry-ons (despite having talked to 4 different people to confirm that he would be able to go as carry-on). Also he is not allowed to fly in a soft-sided carrier. So after just checking our car, Andrew has to go get a taxi and go back into town and buy another crate for Rupert. He gets back and we wait until right when we have to board to check Rupert. After doing this then we are told that there will be a delay and they don’t know how long it will be. I am told I have to wait until they are done loading a plane until someone can let me in to retrieve Rupert (which they are supposed to do as soon as I request it because of a delay). While we are waiting for the other plane to be loaded, we meet the guy from the School District that hired me (Tim)and talk to him some about the district and what to expect when we get to Fort Yukon. Finally we are able to get Rupert and I take him outside to let him relax before I have to put him in his crate again. As I am coming in the plane arrives at the gate and off Rupert goes to be put in the crate again. They load the plane with all the cargo that is being sent to Fort Yukon on this flight as well as our bags and dogs. They we are allowed on the plane. I sit back next to where Rupert is in hopes that I can keep him a little calmer. Rupert is a mess for about the first 25 minutes of the flight and then finally calms down enough to not kill our eardrums anymore.

We arrive in Fort Yukon and are taken to the school district office by Tim. He introduces me to several of the employees in the district office and then works to find us a ride to what is supposed to be our new home. We arrive at this house only to find out that the owner still is not out of the house herself and that there are more repairs to the home that need to be done than originally thought. Needless to say we decided to not take the house. So we begin the housing search all over. In the meantime, we were able to stay at the Vocational Education Center in the “apartment.” The only catch is that we were not to use the kitchen. New friends that we made during this time came to our rescue both Thursday and Friday by feeding us dinner.

Then Saturday came and life turned upside-down again. We finally found a house (we lucked out and found a very nice house that we are both really pleased with). The only problem was that we are not able to move in until the 20th. No problem, we still had a place to stay until then, but then we were told that we were no longer able to stay at the Voc Ed cause there is a district policy that no pets are allowed into district housing. Luckily another staff member came to our rescue this time and is allowing us to stay with her (dogs and all) until we are able to move into our house.

We are sooooo grateful for the wonderful friends that we have made that have made a bad situation better and more tolerable! The staff in the district is already turning out to be a tight knit group despite the fact that many of us just met.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

more travels

And now we continue on our journey...
We slept in till 7 am. Then while I got ready, Andrew went to get the rental car. Once he came back we loaded the boys into the car and headed to breakfast (an incredibly yummy breakfast at a place called The Cookie Jar).
Then to get a communication device (aka Cell Phone).

Next stop Fred Meyers to find out about Bush Delivery for food only to find out that it is the other Fred Meyers that we want to go to about this (there are 2 in Fairbanks). So while we were there we bought coats to get us through until inservice in September when we can get all our cold weather gear.
On our way to the other Fred Meyers we got sidetracked by a Farmer’s Market. It was an amazing Farmer’s Market with absolutely HUGE vegetables! (as well as some really yummy other foods). I even found mustards that I like (amazing feat on my husband’s part to find this)

Next adventure was taking the dogs to the dog park. We weren’t able to take them in the area where you can let them off leash cause there were too many other dogs there, so instead we took them on the trail by the dog park that goes along the Chena River. The boys were in their glory with all the smells and trotting along the trail.

Now it was time to go buy food for the next couple of months. It’s amazing how much food you think it will take to get you through at least two months and even scarier to realize that it probably wasn’t enough. After purchasing all the food then we take it back to Bush Delivery area and set up our account to do the deliveries.

Back to the hotel for a bit to relax and make some phone calls to the parents. Then off to dinner.

We head to a little town outside Fairbanks call Fox to go to an amazing place called The Turtle Club. It was an absolutely delicious dinner of Prime Rib and Alaskan King Crab and there was sooooo much food that even the boys got to enjoy some of the Prime Rib (yes I know they are spoiled!).

On our way home we decide to take a drive around the surrounding areas of Fairbanks. We stopped several places along the way to take photos (which I will put up very soon). It was odd to realize that it was after 10 pm and it was still daylight out, not just dusk type daylight but full daylight! You would think that there would still be a pseudo night since all the stores close around 10 but there were still TONS of people out and about! I guess that’s what you do when the sun is out for 20 hours a day.

Finally we made it back to the hotel (still with plenty of daylight left). We packed up most of our stuff and got ready to fly in the morning again, this time to our new home.

Adventures in traveling

Our adventures in traveling to Alaska were quite interesting and many things that we weren't expecting. For the next couple of days I will regail you with these adventures.

Get up, get ready, head to airport.
Check Amos (the guy at the ticket counter really had no idea about how to handle a dog flying). Go through security (this is cumbersome as I have to take Rupert out of his carrier, hold him and go through the metal detectors while his carrier goes through x-ray then put him back in his carrier, all without assistance) then head to the gate to wait.
We watch and see Amos boarded on the plane then wait to be called to board ourselves.
Fly to Milwaukee and watch to see Amos get off the plane then go to the next gate to make sure he gets on the next plane only to find out our flight is delayed. It’s super hot here so we have to have the airline attendant make sure that Amos is in air conditioning. The plane finally gets to the gate and we play the watch and board game again. Because there was a delay, the pilot was angry (because he was blaming the delay on the flight attendant who was told to stay home for an extra hour by the airline itself cause of the delay). Needless to say, this was the WORST flight I have ever been on. Poor Rupert was a mess with all the jerkiness of the plane (not to mention the entire planeful of passengers being thrown forward by how hard the pilot stomped on the brakes).
Fly to Minneapolis and rush to the baggage claim to retrieve our wonderful puppy and then take the boys out for a bit to let them decompress and eat some too. They did not want to go back in their carriers but did none-the-less. Then we had to recheck Amos and go back through security ourselves (this time we got held up in security for something we had never been stopped for before – we didn’t take our liquids out of the bags (they were in clear plastic bags in our luggage) and they decided they needed to rummage through our entire bag and rescan it… GRRRR). After this we had just enough time to grab some dinner to take with us and board the plane (Andrew watched for Amos to be boarded while I got food).
Fly to Seattle, watch for Amos again but this time he was taken off and set aside while they reloaded the plane cause we were on the same plane to Fairbanks. This was amusing to watch cause the guys on the tarmac kept coming over to Amo and giving him love and then when they would go back to doing their jobs he would bark at them… That’s our spoiled puppy. Finally he was boarded onto the plane and then we were called ourselves to board.
Fly to Fairbanks – Arrive ON TIME!!!! (how often does that happen). Claim the overly excited Amos and take both boys outside while we wait for the hotel shuttle to pick us up. Get to hotel, check in and CRASH! What a very long and exhausting day!
Writing about what all we did that day is exhausting me again all over.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hard to say goodbye...

Today was the day we left Indiana. We have spent the last few days saying our goodbyes to friends and family. It has been a very difficult process but the adventure to follow will hopefully worth it. Leaving has made me rethink the decision I made. While I know that it was the right choice, I can't help but regret that I have to give up certain things (mostly people I have come to know and love). It's rather surreal to leave the town that you have called home for the last 27 years. It didn't really hit me that this was part of it until we left town today. It definitely caught me when we got about 20 outside town. I didnt really break until we arrived at my inlaws' house. Then i finally realized that this is actually happening and that in a day we will be on our way 3500miles away from the place we have called home to this point in our lives. This was an almost overwhelming set of emotîons and led to many tears until I got passed the flood of emotions and thoughts. I know this won't be the last moment of being overwhelmed by the realizations of what this move actually means but hopefully a little more sleep will help me cope a little better next time. Tomorrow will be another day of goodbyes, this time including saying goodbye to Pennsylvania in general. It's still hard to believe that this is for real. Here's to hoping that this gets a bit easier.
~ Jocelyn

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A little closer

Well things are sent, a house is found, airlines are booked and we are less than 2weeks till we leave... you would think that would mean are ready to go... instead it means we still have A LOT of stuff yet to do. Our house is far from ready to leave for 9 months let alone have someone move into... And then there are all the trips that we have to make before we leave. These will be some of the hardest parts ahead. One trip is to take 2 of our oarrots to their new homes:( I know it will be OK but it is definitely one of the things that I will miss, they are part of the family you know. In addition to these trying trips there are also random miscelany trips to get last minute things and take belongings we aren't keeping elsewhere as well as taking the camper to winter storage. OK that doesn't seem like all that much but look at that list again... OK now I just overwhelmed myself again with all that has to be done still. I know that it will all get done but right now I am tired and I think a night of sleep will help the overwhelmed feeling. Well there will be more to come so keep reading... Night all!
~ Jocelyn

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lessons in packing 2

So the packing continues and so do the lessons. So here's my next set of lessons:
1. No matter what there will always be more than you think.
2. It is quite difficult to pair your life down to less than 20 bins.
3. "It's their rules..." (referring to flat rate boxes that get to 50pounds)
4. You will inevitably need something that not only did you already pack but you already shipped
5. The cat still thinks she should come with you via mail.
6. Birds do not like a tower of boxes in front of their window.
7. Dogs like to stand exactly where you plan to put the next bin.
8. Shipping at the post office gets you funny looks when you bring in 8 totes.
9. Despite your best efforts or thinking, you will need a checked bag when you fly to your destination (when you are moving there that is) cause there are going to be a lot more that you need to keep till you leave and will also need fairly quickly upon your arrival.
10. In the delirium of sleep deprivation you will argue with you spouse and half way through you will realize you are arguing the same side (leads to that strange dog head tilt look)
11. Your father will do something quite ridiculous because you are leaving that will have everyone laughing even though it was rather serious at the time (thanks for the memories dad, love you!)
There will always be another lesson or another thing that reminds you of a previous lesson so off to pack more I go.
~ Jocelyn

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Well I believe we finally found a place to live. I have not seen pictures but we cannot afford to be choosy as there really aren't any other places. Yes it has running water (another reason we can't be picky). It's a 4 bedroom so we should have plenty of room for us and any visitors that may happen our way. The house is about a 10 minute walk to the school and about equally that far to the airport. The husband of the couple that owns the house also works for the district (in Circle) so I will get to meet them. I am relieved that at least we have a place to rest our heads and stay safe from the cold. I will post any pics I may get of the house or at the very least I will post some when I get there and take some.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

counting down

Here we are with only a few weeks left. There is so much left to do but the lists just seem to keep getting longer not shorter. We have completed a lot of things but there are still a lot to go. I know it will all get done but right now its a bit overwhelming. There probably won't be that many posts from now until we leave and I apologize in advance for this but the priorities of getting there have to take the front seat. Feel free to comment or email with questions you have for us about our journey or just with notes about whatever.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lessons in packing 1

So the valuable lessons learned thus far in packing:
1. Rubbermaid totes are your friend!  The 18 gallon ones can actually hold quite a bit.
2. Space bags while helpful can also be a complete pain.  They tend to malfunction in ways that you didn't know possible. 
3. Priority flatrate boxes are awesome for really heavy stuff!  You'd be surprised how many tools you can actually fit in one of the large boxes.
4. Cats LOVE to curl up in the box that you are trying to pack in.
5. Dogs and parrots really don't like the vacuum that is used to suck the air out of the space bags (can we say much Tylenol is needed)
6. My living room is really not as big as I thought it was!  There are only about 1/3 of the totes in there at this point and there is not much more room (good thing we are downsizing!)


Friday, June 24, 2011

Running Around Flying

Ok so the packing is the easy part about getting to Alaska.  The most difficult thing so far has been getting the flights coordinated to include our dogs.  I spent several hours last night on the phone and another several hours tonight on the phone to get this coordinated.  First I was sent on a labyrinthical chase to ship Amos only to not be able to understand the first person that I spoke with and then get so frustrated that all I could do was reach for a beer (only because it was the only thing that made sense at the moment, how funny is that?).  So after "clearing my head" a bit, I called back and talked to someone who I could actually make out what they were saying and got some very valuable information.  Then today I searched more flight options and talked to more airlines about the procedures of flying with dogs.  While talking to the one lady with Alaska Air, we started talking about our dogs.  It turns out she has a lemon beagle.  Sometimes life is small that way and I at least got to hear some good stories about her dog.  So I decided after the information that she gave me and the reviews I heard of others that Alaska Air is one of the airlines I would be flying with.  That got me from Minneapolis to Fairbanks, now how to get to Minneapolis?  Well after some interesting technical issues I finally found a flight that Amos could go with us on through Frontier.  Now you may be asking "What about Rupert?"  Well he was the easy one, cause he goes in the cabin with us.  So after some more phone calling (and several Tylenol later) I was finally able to get this done. 

We will be officially leaving PA on August 2 and will arrive in AK on August 3, with only 4 separate flights to do so (and that doesn't include the one to get to from Fairbanks to Fort Yukon).  Hopefully all goes without a hitch and we all get to AK as one group.  In the meantime we have much to pack and do.  Keep posted for more of the adventure.


Monday, June 20, 2011


It's amazing how much stuff one can accumulate in just a few short years.  I had slimmed down what I owned when I moved into my Grandmother's after coming back from England.  Now I have a whole houseful of stuff (a good bit of which is my husband's too) that a lot of which I have no idea where it came from or why we have it!  So now with this move it has been a lot of purging of stuff.  So it's time for sorting: stuff we need, stuff we don't need, stuff we want and well other stuff we can't figure out what to do with but know that we can't get rid of it for one reason or another.  We began with our clothes, sorting what we think we need to take and what is not good enough to be given precious shipping room.  This was an easy task compared to some of the other things I have tried to sort to this point.  Next we begin on the kitchen.  There are so many things that I want to take but that I don't have room for and that I probably don't need.  Then there are the crafts that both Andrew and I do.  We know that we want to take these as we are going to have a lot of free time come winter to do them (we won't be able to be outside exploring after about October/November).  We are trying to decide what crafts to take and of those crafts what really needs to go.  Wow do we have a lot of hobbies!  Well that's another on the list for this week.  We will see how it all goes this evening.

~ Jocelyn

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Beginnings

It's amazing how quickly life can change.  When I started out in the process of looking for school counseling positions last year, I had no idea I would end up looking seriously into Alaska.  At the PERC fair last year I spoke with a representative from Lake & Peninsula District and then jokingly talked to Andrew about this.  He laughed and said it would be quite the adventure.  We didn't think much further about the idea till around the beginning of this year when I began to look into school counseling positions again and all of the sudden Alaska was everywhere we seemed to turn.  So we looked further and really researched what it would mean to be working in a bush school district.  The more we learned, the more we wanted to go.  So I again began the search process and met with a district while at the PERC fair this year.  I interviewed with them and they wanted to hire me but after much searching they could not find housing for us.  So then I began to look at other districts and found Yukon Flats.  I interviewed and well I guess you have figured out from the post that I was offered the job.  I accepted on Friday and here we are.

So as of August 2011, Andrew and I will be residents of Fort Yukon, Alaska. 

There are so many things to think about and do.  It is an almost overwhelming process.  Our blog is starting with the process of moving and what this means when it is to bush Alaska. 

Once we have arrived in Fort Yukon, I will begin my photo journal as part of this blog. 

So here's to New Beginnings!