Saturday, May 10, 2008

Back from the Black Hole

Grace and greetings

It has been a while, I know, but we are still around, alive and breathing.

Quick update. The doctor changed my antidepressant, and it seems to be working, as I have more energy to do things, rather than just what needed to be done. Last Saturday marked our first full year here, we survived it for the most part. On Saturday, I officiated my 40 funeral since arriving here, and Wednesday I did my 41st. That does take a lot out of me. The sun is almost to the point where it will not set again until August, so sleeping will be a challenge for most people here.

I have found that writing every day is a gift and challenge. There are days that I am ready to write in the blog, but by the time I get ready to write, I have lost the inspiration that came to me earlier.

My son almost made it through the year without ending up in the hospital. At the end of March, he ended up in Alaska Psychiatric Hospital (API) for almost three weeks. The reality for mental health is very different here; They do not have any place for suicidal watches up here, so basically the police take over and escort them down to Anchorage and to API. For the safety of all people involved, the person is usually handcuffed. Unfortunately for my son, the girls basketball team was on the same flight out (we only have two flights a day to Anchorage, morning and evening), for the state championships, (they took second), so a lot of students saw Sam in cuffs as they flew to Anchorage. We were not able to fly to Anchorage until the third week, when a church member gave us their air miles so we could go down. Though he is 1/10th of a credit from being a Junior, if he is able to get into a summer school class at the college here, (there are only 15 spaces available in the class he is signed up for, and still being in High School, he will probably be one of the last to be allowed in), he will have enough credits to become a senior and graduate next year on time. That of course if he passes all his classes this semester and things fall into place this summer and next school year. Due to Whaling Season here, (a lot of the high school students help with the whaling here), school gets out next week, in fact graduation for the seniors was last night.

Speaking of Whaling season, as you may or may not know, the success of the hunt will depend on if people on the North Slope have food for the coming year. Right now the whalers have "22 strikes", that means they have 22 opportunities to strike the whale. If somebody shoots the harpoon and misses, that is counted as a strike. The whales that are landed, are cut up and given throughout the village and shared with the other villages of the North Slope, (about the geographical size of the state of Minnesota). So far this season they have landed three whales as of yesterday.

Since I have been here for a year now, I get my vacation, but with air fare prices as they are right now, I am not sure where we can go, (as well as the price of a barrel of oil). Tickets to Anchorage are $600, if we can find a good special, down to about $450 a ticket. For the three of us to fly to Seattle, it is about a $1,000 a piece, Madison, WI is about $1,400 a piece. Next year, the church will pay for the air fare to Seattle, so hopefully we will be able to afford to go somewhere then.

Though the air temp. is above zero, the wind chill is still between -10 and -20. Spring is on its way, and then our several weeks of summer. According to some of the scientist studying the North Pole ice, they are predicting a complete melt down this year or next. We will see how that impacts us in Barrow. Last year the Arctic Ocean did not freeze over until December, (usually September/October).

I will try and write again in the next few days. Tomorrow is Sunday, which is of course very busy. But I got a new cell phone, with a camera. If I can figure out how to down load a picture on to this web site, I can start filling my blog space with pictures as well.

Peace and blessings to all.

No comments: