Ordering Sushi in Rural Alaska

We’ve had a busy week. The first quarter is ending, and grades and progress notes are due. Plus we’ve been getting ready for Halloween. So another teacher and I decided to skip cooking for one night and order food instead. 

This morning we called Chopstix, an Asian restaurant in Bethel, Alaska, to place the order. At 5:30 pm we got a call that our food was on the way. I took the school truck to the airport.  

 The plane landed just as I got there. It was “the big plane” — a Cessna 208 (with a center aisle) as opposed to a tiny 207.  

 This happy little box holds dinner for two people.  

 My two rolls, plus my half of the $25 freight charge, cost $40.40.  

 It was so worth it! 


Scenes from a Bush Plane in the Fall

Labor Day may be the unofficial end of summer, but here in Alaska, fall is in full swing. On Monday I took a Cessna 207 to Mountain Village, the site of the District Office for the Lower Yukon School District, for curriculum training. The pilot, other teachers, and I got a good view of the fall colors.fall treesThis picture was taken not long after liftoff in Pilot Station. trees and mountainsAs you can see, we don’t fly too high above the ground.trees on a mountain mountains and Yukon RiverI got to ride co-pilot. Every time this happens, I think about the book Hatchet. And I silently pray that the pilot won’t have a heart attack and force me to land in the Yukon River, leaving me to survive using the emergency equipment in the back of the plane. I have an active imagination 🙂tundra and laketundraI love tundra. Tundra is spongy and fun to walk on. It also smells amazing. I want to capture tundra in a candle. Pitka's Point and Yukon RiverThe village of Pitka’s Point used to have a school in our district. Due to low attendance, the school was shut down and the students now take the bus to Mountain Village.St. Mary's and Yukon RiverIt’s hard to see, but St. Mary’s is behind the hill.road from St. Mary's to Mountain VillageHey, look — a road! It even has a car. It goes from the airport in St. Mary’s (a hub), past Pitka’s, to Mountain.

This 26-mile trip takes about 15 minutes by plane. Within two months, the landscape will change to white, blue, and gray. No matter the season, I love looking out the window at the scenery of the Yukon Delta.

Shipping to Bush Alaska

Confession time: I’m a lazy mover. It’s a sad fact, considering how many places I’ve lived. I tend to get rid of stuff rather than carry it somewhere new. (I even wrote a post about what I won’t be packing.) And worst of all, I tend to pack things in garbage bags rather than boxes, with little to no packing material.

So, moving somewhere only accessible by tiny plane is a challenge for someone like me. Furniture will be provided, but everything else must be mailed in. And, since it will be hard to replace most items once I get there, I want to make sure nothing breaks. I mailed my first 18-gallon tote this past weekend, and this was the process…

First things first, heed this warning.

suffocation risk warning

It may be tempting to mail your children rather than splurge on their airline tickets, but this is not advisable.

Next, choose your packing material. For this tote, I used socks, oatmeal, and dry beans.

socks as packing material

socks as packing material

bean packing

Fill the tote.

full tote

Then have a friend drill holes in the tote, secure with zip ties, and add Gorilla tape. Thanks, Marc! (Fun fact: I had my Skype job interview in this very tire store. It was fun explaining to the interviewer why there was a fish on the wall behind me.)

adding zip ties

Finally, write your school address on the lid. Also make sure to number your totes and keep an inventory of what’s in each one. Tote 1 contains a combination of hard and soft materials:

  • scarves
  • towels
  • sweaters
  • jewelry
  • kitchen utensils
  • Pyrex
  • Microcooker
  • glasses
  • oatmeal
  • beans
  • socks

ready to ship

The lady at the Post Office didn’t look at me too strangely when I brought in this tote. She did, however, charge me $62 to ship 38 pounds at the slowest possible rate. Yuck! Thankfully, I’m only planning to send about five of these.

Please pray that everything arrives, intact, by August 6th!