"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Friday, May 30, 2008

This is how you know it's all worth it!

My first night home, I received this letter...

Dear Ms. ______,

Today, we were asked by our English teacher to pick a teacher throughout our whole school career who has made a difference in our lives and taught us more than just a school subject. As soon as our teacher told us the assignment, I instantly thought of you for many reasons.

Out of all of the teachers I've had from kindergarten up, you are the one that taught me more about life than you know. Every single day you had a smile on your face when we walked in. You made school fun for us. I was never any good at science at my home school. When I came here and took your class, that all changed. Every single day was a blast going to your class (except for the day we did blood typing...ha-ha) and I always looked forward to fourth period. When I was going through hard times in my life with my family, you were there to give me advice and to give me someone to talk to when I was feeling down. A lot of people don't do that anymore. It's all about them. But you cared about your students, and no matter how badly we misbehaved, you never gave up on us. You made me want to do well and learn all I could. I'm so glad I could have a teacher like you to teach me life lessons like responsibility and respect. You taught me how to be confident in my own abilities, as well as how to work in a team.

Let me just say that you were by far the best teacher I ever had. You had such an influence on me that I will never look at school the same again. Thank you for making a difference in my life and for everything you did for me. It will not be forgotten.


And by the way....

I did end up getting a cell phone to use over the summer. If anyone wants the number just post a comment or email me and I'll get it to you.

Weather update...
It was in the 80's today (Bethel was in the 60's today, which is pretty dang warm too) and it felt HOT! I cant believe I'm such a snow bird now. I am enjoying the heat though and wearing shorts and tank tops. And sandals...gosh, how I missed sandals! We are expecting a pretty major storm tonight with the possibility of tornadoes and all. GOSH, how I missed thunder storms! I've got all the windows thrown open. I cant wait to hear the rain falling and the thunder cracking. The sweet smell of rain is already in the air. I love it!

Sunlight update...
We've got about 16 hours of daylight here which is great! In Bethel, they're up to almost 22 hours of daylight. I'll take 16 hours of Warm Sun over 22 hours of cold sun any day!

What else?
I got my hair cut today! First time for about a year! It feels nice. I kept it pretty long, dont know why, but I'm liking it long lately. I usually get it all chopped off for the summer.

I went bowling last night. Had dinner at pizza hut. Drove on paved roads. Stared out the window at the beautiful huge tree out in front of the library while I was getting my teeth cleaned today. I love the dentist! I know there are lots of people who dont like to go to the dentist, but I so look forward to it. My teeth are super clean right now and I love it!

I've got a job interview with the temp agency here in town on Monday. The idea of working through the temp agency popped into my head the other day and I thought, "What a great idea!" That way, if they call me for a job and I already have other plans with friends or whatever, I can just say no. Sounds like the perfect plan, but we'll see how it goes!

We ended up giving Avery's dog Bailey away to a family right up the street. Avery has gradually been losing interest in her since we got her and since we've been here, he pretty much has had NO interest in her whatsoever. Mom wouldnt let him have the dog at her place, so it was time to find her a family that could give her more time than we could. They seem like a really great family. They have a boy with down's syndrome and Bailey is going to be his dog. They also have a nice fenced in yard for her to run and play in. I've seen her out there running around a couple of times when I've driven by.

I picked up a couple new shorts and tank tops today. YAY!

My internet is superfast compared to Bethel. I love it!

I dont have any furniture in my living room. I'm sitting on the floor right now. When I left last summer, I sold everything thinking that there was NO WAY that i would ever come back here agian, but life had different plans. Thankfully, I didnt sell my bed.

If I havent had a chance to see you yet since i've been home, just drop me a line and let's get together. I dont really have anything going on this weekend! I've been home a week already...geez, this summer is already flying by.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm home!

I got in to Chicago on Saturday and home to Van Wert on Sunday. The house looked really nice when I pulled up, which made me very happy! All the landscaping I did last year has turned out nicely. I had some friends over for a BBQ and fire. It was so good to see everyone. My summer is quickly filling with plans. I had originally planned to get a job, but now it looks like I'll be pretty busy with friends instead, which is great! I've seen so many people since I've been home. Everywhere I go, I see someone and, of course, they want to know all about Alaska!
My grandmother got some tomatoes going for me. I miss gardening. I'm glad I made the decision to come home for the summer, if only for my garden. You cant beat pulling fresh tomatoes right off the vine!
And my strawberry patch is HUGE. I already had a ripe strawberry on there my first day back. It was YUMMY!
I missed grass so much and so did Taboo. He has been outside almost nonstop since we've been home. It's been in the 70's everyday and cool at night. He loves lazying around in the grass.
I have really been enjoying the patio set and grill that I bought last summer. I really didnt have much time to enjoy them before I left, so it has been really nice to have friends gathered round and kick back and enjoy everything i've worked hard for. The weather has been perfect and we had a really rockin' fire going in the fire pit the other night. It doesnt get much better than that.
I spent most of today outside planting flowers and doing yardwork. I LOVE IT! I have been walking around barefoot in the grass as much as possible. I missed grass so much! It's good to be home and I'm looking forward to a good summer!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Isnt it fitting that I would write my 200th blog post from the Anchorage airport? I sure think so. Well, I've made it this far....we'll be boarding our flight to Seattle in about a half hour or so. I'm feeling really sleepy and my ears wont pop. It's really buggin me alot. I think I might be getting sick. I hope not cause I've got a pretty busy weekend planned. I cant wait to step out of the airport in Chicago and feel warmth. and see trees. and grass. to drive on paved roads.

I worked up to the very last minute possible on cleaning and packing the apartment. Everything is pretty set for the summer. I cant wait to see everyone (have I mentioned that before?) and just to be back in the Lower 48 for awhile. I deleted all the pics in my camera so I can start from scratch for the summer.

I guess I'll say goodbye for now to the land of the midnight sun, but I'll be back.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Movin' out!

Avery is disconnecting the cable box and modem. We're taking it all in today. I wont have internet for awhile. I will be blogging this summer, I'm just not sure how often. I'm done at school and just finishing packing around the house. We fly out tomorrow night. I'll be home this weekend. Dont forget to come to my place for the bbq on memorial day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More packing

It seems just yesterday that I unpacked all of our stuff into this little apt in Bethel, Alaska. I cant believe I'm packing it up again. After packing my entire classroom and now packing my apt, I am just about packed out! If I didnt see a cardboard box all summer, that would be A-OK with me! I just dont have the energy right now to put forth a good blog post. Inservice day tomorrow, then I will be putting the finishing touches on my packing, hopefully washing my truck so it doesnt have to sit dirty all summer, making some last minutes arrangements, and boarding a plane Chicago bound. At this time three days from now, I'll be sitting at the Anchorage airport waiting to catch a flight to Seattle and then on to Chicago. Mom called at 5:30AM to let me know that she'll be able to pick me up after all.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Catching up

I wanted to post some of the pictures that I didnt get a chance to post when my laptop was down. I have a new laptop, but it has some issues too. Here's a pic of the Anchorage mountains...beautiful, eh?Funny postcard I sent out recently. I hope everyone is planning to come on over to my place on Sunday evening or Monday day for bbq, friends, food, fun, and many many stories.
I thought this was a pretty cool pic. I just had to share.
Here is a sign at the airport. You probably wont see that knife in the middle many places. It is a knife used by natives for subsistence living...everything from filleting fish to skinning large animals. I think it's called a Uali, or something like that. Anyone know?
Avery and all the dogs. Those dogs sure did make today more difficult than it had to be. Taboo ran off on Saturday and got picked up by the cops. I just got him back today because the police station was so busy yesterday that they couldnt make it out to the pound. It's the first time he's every been picked up in his whole life. And Bailey rolled in the mud, so both dogs had to get a bath today. Then, of course, they went and got all dirty again as soon as they could.
Today was the last day of school. We had a bunch of assemblies and locker clean out and a picnic. Most of the kids just went home after the picnic. I got my supplies list almost done. I should be able to submit it tomorrow. It's amazing how quickly the money adds up. There are so many supplies that I need.

It's been getting into the 50's pretty regularly now. We've even been getting some rain lately. We're over 20 hours of visible light now. Avery has a real hard time getting to bed on time anymore. He lays awake in bed for a long time before he can fall asleep anymore. The sunlight seems to affect him more than it does me.

Speaking of Avery...he had perfect attendance for the whole school year. He gets treated to a special lunch tomorrow at school and he gets entered into a raffle for an ipod. He is the only kid in 6th grade with perfect attendance. He's real proud of himself! I hope he wins that iPod. Then I dont have to buy him one. :) I also got to see his test scores and he is high in the proficient range for reading, writing, and math. His math score is only 7 points away from advanced! He has the option of going into pre-algebra next year, but I think we've decided that regular 7th grade math may be the better option. So, his schedule for next year is...PE and health which is shared in one period every other week...7th grade reading...7th grade writing...geography...7th grade math...life science...and beginning band. He should have a pretty good year next year. I'm really looking forward to having him up at the high school.

Today was a really hectic day. I'm so tired right now, but I have so much to do before I leave...IN 4 DAYS! I still havent packed much in my house. I have a bunch of food that needs cooked and taken to various parties and potlucks. I have to wash my truck before I pack it full of all of our stuff cause it is crazy dirty. I still have papers that need graded and check out to complete at work, but most of that is done. And to put a great end on the day, mom called and said that she cant pick us up at the airport after all. One more thing to add to my list of things to do. Leave it to her to screw up the one set of plans that were pretty solid. I should have known better. I guess I'm not surprised. Anybody want to pick me and Avery and the two dogs up at the airport?

River Ice

On Monday, the 12th, the river had alot of open water, but ice still covered most of it. This pic was taken on Monday. You can see a few people anxious to get out on the water already had their boats out on the beach. Or possibly, they were never put away last year.The Ice Classic contraption was still holding on the ice. Again, this was on Monday. The ice melted slowly away rather than breaking up like it usually does. I'm not sure who won the Ice Classic, but whoever it was got over $6000.
The Ice Classic clock finally tripped on Tuesday morning at about 9am. There really wasnt much ice flow, but there were a few chunks here and there. People have said that this year was the lamest breakup that they could remember. It was more like a meltdown than a breakup.

On Wednesday evening, they had the Breakup Party. They had hotdogs and live music. There were quite a few people there, but by the time I got there after the 8th grade dance it was pretty much over. Dont have a stage handy? Just drive up a truck and call it a day!
On thursday, I took my kids on a field trip. The guy at the national weather service said that some of the ice from up river was running. We had some down time in our day, so I took the kids down to the river and we took a walk on the beach. It was a gorgeous day, warm enough for a t-shirt.
People were already out on the river in their boats. They had to do some maneuvering around the ice flowing. I think this is a neat picture.
Here are a few chunks of ice flowing down river. This is the ice that was blocked up in Akiak, about 50 miles or so upriver.

On Friday, I heard that there was some ice running down river, so I went to go check it out. Sure enough, just like ice cubes in a glass of water, all of these huge chunks of ice were flowing toward the sea. They were flowing pretty fast too. I will post a video from school tomorrow.
The beach that we were on the day before is under all of that water! The water level rose several feet at least! You can see there are people out on the river bringing in logs that are flowing down river with the ice. There are no trees in Bethel, so these logs that flow down from the interior where there are trees are a pretty hot commodity. You can see the ice piled up on the far side.Now that the river is clear, life begins again for many of the residents. People are itching to get their boats out and do some fishing. Many people will spend the next few months out on the river or at their fish camps.

Me? I cant wait to come home for the summer. I cant wait to wear shorts and sandals. I cant wait to walk through the grass barefoot. I cant wait to see trees and flowers. I cant wait to feel the warm of the sunshine. I cant wait to get a tan. I cant wait to grill up some brats, crack open an ice cold beer, start of fire, and hang out with my friends! See you guys in 6 days!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Class of 2008

Last night was graduation. This is the first High School graduation ceremony that I have EVER been to. It was a really nice ceremony. I got teary eyed more than once. This is the largest graduating class since the breakup of the "regional" boarding school a long time ago. This fact was touted again and again throughout the evening. I only know a handful of the graduates, but I do know the Valedictorian, Jessica Klejka. She is a really amazing young girl. I have featured here on the blog before a participant of the K300 dog sled race and the WINNER of the Junior Iditarod. Not surprisingly, her entire Valedictorian speech was centered around the analogy of sled dog racing. When she got up to the podium, she said that she just didnt feel comfortable and asked the audience to hold on a minute. Then, the lights went dim. After about a minute, we saw her headlamp shining and she announced that now she was comfortable enough to continue. The crowd got a real kick out of this. You can see her in the picture below with her headlamp on giving her speech.

She likened the graduates to sled dog pups and traced their path from kindergarten through graduation together. How they grew stronger, learned new skills, and kept on mushing together with the support of their parents, teachers, and community as the trainers, mushers, and checkpoints along their great race. As I sat their listening to Jessica's speech, I couldnt help but thing to myself what an amazing experience I'm getting here in Bethel. Where else in the world would the winner of the Junior Iditarod be the Valedictorian? Where else in the world would the Valendictorian's speech be centered around dog mushing?
Tillie was the only graduate that I got an invitation from. She was my student aid for the second semester and a tremendous help. She is going to the University of Alaska in Fairbanks for nursing. She got a few scholarships, as did almost everyone in this graduating class. As a class, they received over $236,000 in scholarships. How awesome is that?
Here they are tossing their caps. They are very close as a class, which is one of the advantages of going to a small high school. It seems to me that each class has a particular bond that I did not experience in a high school where my class was around 500.
And the balloons falling on them!

What an enjoyable evening. I feel really proud to be a part of a school that is doing such amazing things in a place that is so isolated. I have really enjoyed this year as a teacher at Bethel Regional High School. I am so glad I chose this place and that it chose me.
Everything happens for a reason.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The eyebrow raise, gas station dancing, and much more...

I spent the weekend with the kids who made it to state for music. We had four kids perform solos...a piano solo, clarinet solo, and 2 vocal solos. one of the girls who did a vocal solo got a superior rating, which is the highest they give. The music festival was a really great time and again I find myself wishing I would never have given up the sax when I was younger. We spent alot of time shopping with the kids. They were picking up things for prom and just doing some general shopping. We went to severals malls, walmart a couple times, and fred meyer too!

One of the girls was talking about some guy who dances at a gas station for a couple hours on Friday evenings. She wanted to go see the guy dance and maybe dance too. So, as we were driving toward downtown, sure enough, there was the guy dancing outside of some gas station. So, we stopped and the girls took their iPods and got out and danced too. They thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was pretty fun! and funny! But the question that continues to plague my mind is...when you live in Bethel, 400 miles away from Anchorage...how do you know about these things? The answer? Basically, going to Anchorage is the highlight of life for many people here. It is not unusual for a person or family to hop on a flight on a Friday afternoon and head to Anchorage for the weekend. because of this, the kids travel easily and know their way around the airport pretty well. Anywhere you want to go from bethel, you have to fly. it's just one more thing that is really "no big deal" when you live here.

Anchorage is a nice little city. It reminds me alot of Fort Wayne. The population is about 250,000 and there is alot to do. The city is pretty spread out and provides most of the opportunities of any other city that size. As we were sitting at a stop light on a corner, I thought to myself, this could be any other city in the US, except for the mountains. Anchorage has a glorious mountain view. It's wonderful. right now, when the mountain are only half covered in snow, it really adds a dynamic contrast to the background scenery. I have pics that I will post as soon as I figure out how.

This week is finals week. My kids are almost done with finals, then we have an awards ceremony during 5th period, and the 8th grade promotional dance tonight. Tomorrow I have a field trip with my 10th graders. We are going out the airport to the flight school to play with the flight simulator and sit in an airplane and learn about the controls. we also will get to take a tour of the control tour and go to the national weather service to launch a weather balloon. We have graduation on Friday. Our last day of school is Monday and we are having field/picnic day. Then we have a workday and an inservice day. I'm done with school completely on Wednesday and so is avery. My classroom is pretty much completely packed up for the remodel this summer, but I still need to pack the apt. Then I fly out of here next friday...I cant believe that in 10 days i'll be back in civilization again. I cant wait to walk through the grass barefoot!

Weather update...
it's been in the 50's these last few days. It has rained a little bit here and there, but mostly it's been sunny. This morning I didnt even wear a jacket or anything and when I got to school, the digital announcement board read 36degrees...i was surprised that it was that cold. it certainly didnt feel like it. I think i have become somewhat acclimated to the climate and cold here so that a sunny 36degree morning feels really warm to me.

Sunlight update...
It basically stays light out constantly. sunrise is at 6:02am, but twilight starts at 4:55am. Sunset is at 11:23pm, but dusk goes all the way until 12:32am! so really it's only dark from about 12:30 until 5. We officially have 17hours 21minutes of sunlight with 19 hours 37minutes of visible light. It is really hard to get any good sleep and everybody is soooooo ready to be done with school so that they can enjoy all of the light.

River update...
The river went out at about 8am yesterday morning...none of my ice classic tickets were close enough to even consider being a possible winner. Tonight they will have a celebration with live music and food down by the river. Hopefully i will be able to go for a little while, but with the 8th grade promotion dance, i dont know if i'll make it. The river break up has caused some major flooding, but thankfully, none in Bethel (yet). Here is the statement by the national weather service...

Statement as of 6:02 PM AKDT on May 13, 2008

The National Weather Service in Anchorage has issued a

* Flood Warning for Kuskokwim Delta

* until noon akdt Wednesday

An ice jam has occured on the Kuskokwim River at the Village of
Akiak. The river has reached bankfull behind the ice jam and is
beginning to flood low lying parts of Akiak.

A Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or has been reported.
Stream rises will be slow and flash flooding is not expected.
However... all interested parties should take necessary precautions

If you live near or along the Kuskokwim River near Akiak stay alert
and be prepared to take action.

Lat... Lon 6099 16126 6112 16094 6092 16110 6088 16123
time... Mot... loc 0202z 180deg 0kt 6091 16120

apparently break was not as dramatic this year as it has been in past years. the ice melted away pretty slowly and there was much open water in the last few days.

latest read...
are you kidding me? I dont even have enough time to think about reading.

Cultural phenomena...
As a part of the Yup'ik culture, it is common for someone to just raise their eyebrows to say "yes". I read about this before coming here, but never really noticed anyone doing it. i figured it was just another cultural link that the people of bethel had lost and that people here didnt really do it anymore. about two months ago, I got a new student in my class who was from a village and I finally noticed it. I would ask him a question and he would just silently raise his eyebrows. after that, I started noticing it more often in kids that I had had in class all year. many times they would do the eyebrow raise along with a verbal answer. maybe this is why i never picked up on it before. NOW...I am catching myself doing it! More and more I am realizing that when someone asks me a question that I will do the eyebrow raise to indicate and affirmative answer.

laptop update...
My new laptop wont let me load pics onto the blog, so I'm going to have to figure that out before I can offer you any pics to look at. I really dislike iPhoto. It has given me lots of problems and probably the piece of software that I like the least on Mac. Did I ever mention that I'm using a Mac now?

The school gives all the teachers laptops to use. The are all Macs. My experience with Macs before I came here was pretty limited, but from what I had experienced, I didnt really like them much. Now...I LOVE MAC. I never thought I'd say it, but I do. They are so much more intuitive than PC. Basically, you can just click and drag just about anything. It is so much easier to find files on a Mac, everything is just so much easier.

Well, I think that's enough for now...hopefully I'll have some pics for you soon. And some of you I'll SEE SOON!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Funny Story!

We were at church awhile back and singing a song that goes like this...

Holiness, Holiness is what I long for
Holiness is what I need
Holiness, Holiness is what you want from me...

So, we're singing this song. It's a good song, very upbeat. Fun to sing. When we sing, they have the words up on a big screen because there are no hymnals or anything.
Then the next verse says the same thing, but with the word Righteousness instead of Holiness, but the words on the screen didnt change. So everybody is singing Righteousness, but the words say Holiness. Avery, in all seriousness, looks over at me and quietly asks, "Is that how you spell Righteousness?"

I cracked up laughing and couldnt stop for the rest of the song. Guess you had to be there.

In church this weekend, that we sang that song again and smiled all the way through it.

In other news...
It finally happened...I got stuck in the mud...in my driveway. I called the maintenance guy for my apt. He came and pulled me out.

I got most of my classroom packed last night, thanks to a friend who took a bribe of pizza and came to help. Thanks Christy!

I leave tomorrow for a weekend in Anchorage with the kids that made it to state for there solos and ensembles.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Up and running!

I got a new laptop. My old one crashed and I lost everything....every worksheet, every lesson plan, every powerpoint, every picture I've taken since I got here, every video I downloaded, every song loaded on my iTunes....Everything...a whole year of work...GONE!

Now I'm crazy busy trying to get a million things done before I leave for Anchorage on Thursday. Sorry, but it's lookin like I wont really have time for a proper blog post until after I get back next week. I hope you are all having a great spring. It was over 50 degrees today for the first time and it felt AMAZING!

I cant wait to get home for the summer for some good times and good friends!

Monday, May 05, 2008

No laptop!

My laptop quit working on Friday. Sorry, no posts until I can get it running again.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A bit of insomnia?

I woke up at about 4am last night and came out into the living room for a drink of water. All the blinds were closed, which is unusual. It really weirded me out at first, but I figured it must have been Avery that closed them. When I went back to bed, I couldnt sleep. I tossed and turned. I tried reading. I got up and paced the floor. I finally fell back to sleep at about 5am. This morning, I asked Avery if he closed the blinds in the living room. He replied, "Yes, it was too bright, I couldnt sleep."

We're up to 16hours13minutes of daylight with 18hours5minutes of visible light. The actual time of sunrise is 6:37am and sunset is at 10:50pm, but civil twilight is at 5:41am and 11:47, so really this is the time that it gets light and stays light. It makes it SUPER hard to get to bed at night. Tomorrow will be 5 minutes 25 seconds longer.

Everything is melting. The days arent as warm as they were about two weeks ago, but the sun is shining bright enough now that it still melts the snow. Our house apparently sits in the middle of a flood area. We have water on three sides of our house, but the land that the house is built on is about 5 feet or so higher than the flood area.

This is the view from Avery's bedroom window (the back yard). We saw two ducks out near that red house and were trying to take their picture, but I couldnt zoom far enough. You can still see how much water there is though. There is land under the water, it is not a pond. It is not deep water and has already gone down quite a bit, but I heard that during river breakup that this area will be majorly flooded.
Here is a picture of my driveway. Lovely isnt it? I put my mud boots to good use everyday. It is a bit dryer now because the temps lately have stayed below freezing, but the minute it starts to warm up, it turns to a gooey mess again. You can see the water out in the tundra past the driveway. That is the flood area again. That is not a pond, there is land under all that water.
In other news...
The school year is almost over. We have regular classes next week and then finals week and then one more day after that. 11 school days left after tomorrow. I cant believe my first year of teaching in bush Alaska is over already. It has been interesting to say the least. I have so much to do in the next couple of weeks.

I will be home in 23 DAYS! I am really looking forward to being back in the lower 48. I'm looking forward to warm temps, grass, my garden, beer, barstools, paved roads, pretty much anything that is preceeded by the words go or going (such as...I'm going swimming. OR do you want to go up to the sports bar for some wings and a beer? OR I'm going for a drive. OR I'm going to the movies. OR I'm going skating, bowling, to the mall, to play laser tag, miniature golfing, frisbee golfing, to the park, to take the dog for a walk, to the ice cream place. OR I'm going to visit some friends in ______town. OR going to a baseball game, hockey game, anything), and my friends. Cant wait to see everybody. At my place on the 25th and 26th.

I have to honestly admit that as much as I'm looking forward to coming home, I'm also looking forward to coming back here in the fall. I think next year will be so much better than this year. I have made some good friends and gotten to know alot of people. I have gotten to know the town and how things work around here. We bought a snow machine to play with next winter. I have one year of teaching here under my belt (I felt like a first year teacher all over again). Avery has made some friends and will be at the high school next year. He's involved in some community activities and has signed up for band. I've connected with the school and the kids. We will be sharing a place with my friend Chandra next year to hopefully ease the cost of living and be able to do more fun stuff and travel more. I want to pick a bunch of berries when we get back in August to put in the freezer for the winter. of these things and more, make me look forward to having a really great year next year.

Lastest read... The Bonesetters Daughter by Amy Tan.
This book is by the same author that wrote the famous book, The Joy Luck Club. I enjoyed this second book quite a bit more than the JLC. It was more enjoyable to read because the story flowed seemlessly and focused on two main characters, unlike the JLC that had many characters and story lines to keep track of. The writing and themes of the two books were very similar...about the legacy left behind by people who move to America and how they try to pass on their heritage while at the same time assimilate into the new culture. It is very interesting reading.

That's all for now. It's after 11 and the sun is still shining. I have to write a paper for my college class...last one, then I'm done with the worst class I've ever taken in the history of my college career. I still have to take an Alaska history course, so that I can get my teaching license in Alaska. I think I'll sign up for that when the rebate money comes in from the irs and then get most of it done over the summer. It's an online course, so I can do most of it from Ohio and then I'll just finish it when I get back. That way I dont have to worry about taking another class during the school year...I can focus on my teaching.