5 days into it, 30 is going pretty well. My birthday was a fun day. I woke up to a present (a tradition I got used to as a kid and which B has continued to indulge) and pancakes, then came up to school for a few hours. Luckily, Friday was a work day for teachers, no kids, so I was free to go when I needed to, which I did around 10, when my dad arrived. Amazingly, he made a Boston-Phoenix-Anchorage-Athol-Village series of flights with no delays, and arrived just when he expected to. He was super excited to be here, but after I put him to work organizing math worksheets, he got really tired and headed back down to the BIA for a nap. I did a few more hours of work, then headed home, too. I spent the rest of that afternoon finishing up the 6 batches of cookies I'd started the night before, then B got home and my dad woke up right around the same time.
B made dinner, then a handful of my students came over to bake one final batch of cookies and play some Wii, which was really fun and extremely giggly. B trying to teach 5 little girls Wii bowling is really a lovely sight. I opened my presents from B and Dad, and at 8 the other teachers, along with OFL, came over for cookies.
It was a little sad to not be around my friends and family for my birthday. It was great to have my dad here, and obviously B, and the other teachers are all nice people to be around, but all the same I would've preferred to be in NH with my parents and B, or in Oregon with my close friends. I suppose it just means I'll have to have belated celebrations in each of those places when I get there.
Dad stayed for the weekend, and we went on lots of walks around the village. He especially liked the store and went there several times. I don't think he ever quite adjusted to the time difference, especially the midnight sun. He got to meet some of the kids, and stopped by my class one last time on Monday to say goodbye before heading back down to the airport. From what I hear, he had kind of a wild time getting back - a missed flight here and a delayed flight in Anchorage - but is now safely home. It was fun to have him visit and really helped break up the time. I'd been looking to his visit not only on the face of it but also because I knew once we got to that weekend it would mean only 2 weeks left. We are unabashedly counting down the days at this point, and there aren't many left to go.
This Thursday there's a dinner for the seniors (all 4 of them), and then they graduate on Friday. Next week we have 3 full days, then a morning for clean-up and a community feast, and that's it! Next Friday is a final work day and I think some of the teachers are flying out that night. We're leaving that Sunday (or, if the weather is looking bad for Sunday, that Saturday).
I think there'll be more time for reflecting on the year as a whole as the end gets closer, so I won't do it now. But I am definitely feeling a pull of two emotions - super-happy-can't-wait to get back to the Lower 48, and very sad to leave the kids here.
One more thing about spring: it's muddy. Over the last week or so the daytime temperatures have been in the high 30's to low 40's, and the snow is melting like crazy. The river's been looking less and less solid in the middle, and today I looked out the window and noticed that it's fully open. The sea ice is still there, but you can see where it opens past the bay. There are huge puddles, small ponds almost, in lots of inconvenient places, like right outside our front door, and right at the bottom of the steps leading up to the school. Our rubber boots are in full effect.
I'll try to get some spring photos (and a shot of my over the top cookie spread) up soon.