I get a new contract, a great new project to do, a base upon which to stand; little people and dog, illness and close call; Metro Cafe is three years old
After I put up my post last Friday, I learned that a new contract that I had entered into discussion and negotiations with the North Slope Borough School District months ago had been approved. It is a good contract and once I am healed enough to travel - very soon, I hope - it will give me the opportunity to keep going back to the Slope and to do good work. My medical debt is so great that I remain puzzled as to how I am going to deal with it, but now I will have a base to stand on. I no longer have so great a fear that we will lose our house. It remains a huge challenge, but I think we can now find the way to carry on.
I will be working very closely with Jana Harcharek, who set this up for me. Jana is a creative, brilliant Iñupiaq educator who has led the way in incorporating Iñupiat-based curriculum into Arctic schools. In the year 2010, she received the Iñupiaq of the Year Award during a Borough-wide youth and elders conference held in Barrow. I will spend a year doing research, conducting interviews, gathering and sorting photographs of my own and and others, taking new photographs, planning, organizing and outlining. Then we will put together an illustrated book on the history of the North Slope, which in turn will be used by curriculum developers as source material to develop North Slope history course work for all different grade levels.
I am stoked!
Thank you, Jana! Thank you, NSBSD administration! Thank you, NSBSD school board! And thank you, North Slope people, Iñupiat people, for taking me in over these past three decades and giving me the experience and knowledge foundation necessary for me to undertake such a challenging project.
I will do my best to pass the knowledge and wisdom you have and will share with me on to your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Speaking of which, here is one of my grandchildren, Jobe, when he was here on Sunday.
And here is another, Lynx, who has returned to spend the week with us again. Those who read my Friday post saw how weak he looked as he prepared to go home and read my words about how he was a bit under the weather. He was quite under the weather. It got worse. It got scary. As we communicated back and forth with his parents, mostly by text, I got more upset and worried than I ever had for myself. I even shed some tears - I do not remember shedding any tears for myself. It is possible my eyes watered during some of the worst moments of pain - I am not sure.
He went to the doctor. Tests were conducted. Worst case scenarios brought up. Hours felt like days as we waited for the results. I became acutely aware just how deeply I love my grandsons. I hold no greater love in me than this I hold for them. In the end, it proved to be an easily treated viral infection he had been exposed to somewhere.
They gave him medicine. Very quickly, he perked right up.
Sunday afternoon he came back to stay here through Thursday so Margie can babysit.
We are thinking that pretty soon I will be well enough that I will not need Margie here to care for me any longer. Then she will go back to Anchorage to spend the weeks there, baby sitting Lynx.
I will be so lonely. I have gotten so used to having him here. Boy, do I enjoy this baby boy!
But then hopefully I will be able to head up to the Slope for awhile right after that, so it will be okay.
And then, Sunday evening, as they were preparing to go home and us adults got preoccupied getting Kalib and Jobe into the car, Muzzy slipped out of sight into a most dangerous traffic situation and gave us a terrible scare. But it turned out all right. Afterward, Lavina and Jacob had to share a hug of relief. Muzzy, who had just got a haircut, got plenty of pets, too.
Here is Carmen, in the car of her Mormon friend, Michelle, leaving Metro Cafe to do a little socializing just after I arrived to get coffee and to wash down some chocolate chip cookies Margie and Lavina had made. I had been working on a Mormon story from my own life, so it was one of those kind of coincidences. August 19 was the third anniversary of Metro Cafe. My goodness. It doesn't feel that long ago - and yet, it feels like Metro has been a part of Wasilla forever.
What a difference this little shop has made. It has added a new kind of brightness to this area of Wasilla that we had not experienced before.
For those who missed it, here is Metro's Grand Opening, three years ago as seen on my original Wasilla blog.