January 10, 2014

What I Came Home To...

Well folks, I am back in Newtok! 
After almost four weeks (I will explain in a minute) of Christmas vacation, I am back to hauling my own water, throwing out my sink bucket everyday, and using the incinolet. 
And you know what?! It feels so back to "normal", like I am now at home!

Christmas break definitely went by soooo fast.
I had an amazing three weeks in Seward with Joshua. We got a lot accomplished with our new house. But in all honesty, Seward stressed me out. 
This is where I am surprised at myself!
I always thought I would love to live in a city. I grew up in a town of 7,000 people. Living there, I always imagined myself in a big city, enjoying everything it has to offer. 
So how in the world did I get to a bush village in AK with only 320 people? I have no idea.
But I have become so used to it that the population of 3,000 people that Seward has felt gigantic. There was so much going on, like cars and stores, that it just felt like one huge headache. There was so much to do and so many errands to run, I felt like I was always rushing when I left the house. I do not miss that feeling!
What I did miss was the relaxed lifestyle in the village where time doesn't really matter.
So crazy how much I have changed in the past five months since being in Newtok.

But I was supposed to leave Anchorage on the third and arrive in Newtok that same day. My first flight to Bethel was canceled so I didn't get there until that night. I thought I would just spend one night in Bethel then leave for Newtok the morning of the 4th. 
Wellll, that didn't happen.
Instead, all the other teachers and I, except one, were in Bethel waiting until the seventh.
We counted one day and there were 25 people from Newtok waiting to go home.
So everyday we would wait at the airport from 8 in the morning until 3:30 when they finally canceled our flight. 
Then finallyyyyy, on the seventh, they called our names to board the plane. Oh Happy Day!

I was so excited to be in my own house. I missed my bed so much.
And then I saw what I came home to….

Apparently, three weeks (almost four) is a great time for a mouse (or mice)  to party. EWWW.
I first noticed it when I walked into my kitchen, and on the kitchen table there were sunflower seeds shredded up. 
I literally stood there and thought my students had snuck into my house and were playing a trick on me.
Until I found more sunflower seeds. in piles. all over my house.

The places I found evidence of a mouse:

>> Underneath my sofa cover. These piles weren't just sunflower seeds.. they had snuck dog food in as well.
>> In my Sorel winter boots. Yes, a mouse chowed down in my boots. Can you say gross? Good thing I was able to wash my boot liners!
>> And the worst possible spot - my bed.

I didn't even think about underneath my covers until I was getting ready to go to bed. I carefully started to peel back my covers and lift up my pillow, and of course, there was a huge pile of sunflower seeds underneath it. I then, scared like no other, carefully peeled back the rest of the covers. Then, a hugeee scream came out of my mouth and I made the quickest leap I've ever done onto the couch. The mouse (or mice) had chewed a hole right through my new fleece sheet and had made a bed full of feathers and sunflower seeds.

I had no idea I was such a big baby about rodents. This has definitely taught me that I am scared to death of them. In fact, the night I found all of their piles of food, I slept on Betsy's couch. Then the next night, I was too scared again to sleep in my house so I stayed at Paula's. 

I spent my first night in my own house just last night. I had the TV turned on almost the entire night so the mice were warned that my house isn't their turf anymore.
Mama's back and she's bringing the heat! 
And by me, I mean Abba and Grant who set at least a handful of traps around my house. We haven't caught any yet. I'm just gonna tell myself that they already left and that they just aren't smart enough to go around them! 

The only picture I have of the whole mouse incident is one of the huge hole they chewed through my sheet. Last night, I went over to Betsy's to patch the hole up. So now my brown sheet has a lovely football patterned patch sewn into it. At least it's on the side of my bed and not in the middle, right?!

The funniest part of this whole thing, and I do mean that literally. Everything else was terrifying. But this story is funny. My grandma had just texted me as this whole mouse experience was happening, asking if I had made it safely in Newtok. I immediately responded that I was helpless because I just found out that I had mice in my house. She texted back some advice on how to trap them and said that she couldn't wait for the blog post about it. I responded and told her that I wasn't sure if I was going to write about this since I didn't want people grossed out as much as I was about it. You know what she said?! She told me to "suck it up"! She told me to suck it up because that's what a man would say. I'm guessing she was trying to be like Josh and give me a "pep" talk. She told me to stop being scared and take pictures because she wanted to see and read all about this experience. 
So sorry Grandma I was too scared to take pictures! At least I still wrote about it, right?!

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