Eskimo to the World

I am Trina Landlord and this is my blog. In a past life, Eskimo to the World documented my adventures in New York – where in minute everything can change. Much like my life changed when I moved from Alaska to the 'city that never sleeps'. From the biggest state in America to the most populous city in the United States. From the immaculate nature of the Chugach Mountains, Yukon River and Bering Sea to the urban tundra of sky scrapers, enclaves of business and cultural capitals and the nation's foremost trendsetters. From 'the great land' to arguably the 'greatest city on earth'. I made a 5,000 mile prodigious leap from Anchorage to New York City – AND BACK TO ALASKA. The determination of Yup’ik peoples to survive in harsh Arctic conditions had given me the foundation to survive on streets of New York, I will continue to chronicle the parallels of both worlds.

Dream: If Mountain Villages goes Damp…

Last night, I dreamt that I sat down to talk with the guy who is leading the push for Mountain Village to go “damp.”

Alyeska Adventures

Two of my former colleagues from New York happened to be in town at the same time, so we went on a drive to Alyeska for dinner at 7 Glaciers at the top of the mountain. Alyeska is located about 40 miles south of the city.

When I lived in New York, the owner of Alyeska bought several pieces from the gallery where I worked. We saw several of our pieces around the compound, including: Fred (a whalebone statue), Whale (made by Larry Ahvakana, noted Inupiaq artist), Alabaster Seal and Polar Bear (also by Larry) and a vivid painting of an Eskimo dancer (a piece by Percy Avugiak).

Here are some photos taken by Tracey. Also,  some funny quotes from our adventure:

Dee: “Is that blood on the snow?”

Bartender: “That is snow algae.”

Three raised eyebrows.

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Dee: “Can we have a second scoop of ice cream?” (three periodic times to the server during dessert)

Manager: “I’m sorry. We’ve had a large party, 30 people, and we’ve been so busy.”

Server: “The coffee will be on the house.”

Three Mountain Diva’s raise eyebrows.

Grandma playing the Harmonica, Mountain Village, Alaska

For as long as I can remember, my grandma played the harmonica. She was self-taught and mainly plays gospel songs. As a child, she would play the harmonica for me as I laid down for naps. In this clip, my colleague Amber took out her Blackberry and recorded a small snippet of grandma playing after dinner.

My grandma proudly took out her collection of harmonicas to show us. The very first one she showed us was antique-looking and said pointing, “When Trina was little, she broke all these pieces.” Amber laughed and I embarrassedly said, “Oh no! I’m sorry!”

A few years ago, my grandma played the harmonica and sang at the annual Native Musicale in Anchorage during Fur Rendezvous in February. She was so nervous to get up in front of a packed auditorium. I was so proud of her.

Crunchy Snow

In March 2010, my colleague and I went to Mountain Village, Alaska. Here is a clip of us walking on the crunchy snow to grandmother’s house on the hill we go. Mountain Village is located 90 miles up the Yukon River from the Bering Sea, founded by my great-grandfather, Chekohak.

Emmonak, Alaska

Last week, I flew from Anchorage to Bethel to Emmonak and was picked up at the airport by Raymond, my cousin Tiny’s husband, at 1:00 p.m. I was a little concerned because I was scheduled to meet with the stakeholders at 1:30 p.m. When I arrived at the school, I was welcomed by principal and school counselor. An elder, Maryann, greeted me and said she was going to observe my meeting. My cousin Tiny came to greet me and got permission to watch too.

That evening, I had dinner and stayed overnight at my cousin Tiny’s house with her eight kids (well, two live out of town)She made moose heart stew for dinner, maktak (beluga whale), dry fish, fresh bread and akutaq (Eskimo ice cream). We also attended her son’s high school graduation at the Catholic Church. Kaylee, her kindergarten-age daughter was stuck to my side the entire time. We sang songs, told stories and when we sat at the table, she put her hands under her chin facing me and stared. She was too cute. Tiny took me to a few offices for meetings and introduced me to all my relatives.

I finally made it to Emmo after The Debacles!

Debacles of Rural Travel with AM-azing Moments

Recently, I made travel reservations to travel from Anchorage to Emmonak to Bethel to Hooper Bay. If you’ve ever traveled in rural Alaska, then you know travel is always “weather permitting,” as my grandma always says. I flew from Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage to St. Mary’s Airport and was weather delayed to Emmonak for four hours before Hageland Aviation decided to cancel the flight. Junior, the ticket agent indicated I had to stay overnight in St. Mary’s. I decided to take the 10-minute flight to Mountain Village to stay with my grandma and family. I had one duffle bag and two boxes of materials, supplies and snacks.

When I arrived in Mountain Village, because it was so unexpected, no one was at the Mountain Village airport to pick me up so I took the cab. It is spring break up season in the villages so the roads were slushy, muddy and there were loads of snowy pot holes. At my grandmother’s house on the hill, my Uncle Eugene came out to greet me and help with my duffle bag. I decided to leave my two boxes at the St. Mary’s airport. My grandma was out visiting my auntie. Shortly after arriving, he went to pick her up by 4-wheeler. When they both arrived, he pointed at my bag by the door and said, “Look at those.” My grandma exclaimed, “Who’s stuff? We must have allanaqs (Yup’ik word for strangers).” I was hiding in the kitchen and peeked around the corner and said, “Hi Maurluq!” She squinted and said, “Who are you?!” I said, “Its Miisaaq!” She mostly knows me by my Yup’ik name.

 She was so excited I was there and over the course of the evening, she told me, “I feel like its a dream that you’re here!” and also bobbed her head up and down and sang, “Oh! What a day!” We had some traditional food of reindeer stew and dry fish. My aunts and uncles came to visit. I walked to the store and met my Uncle Ted to give him a Big Mac that my cousin requested in Emmonak. He said, “This will be my main course for dinner.”

The next morning I received a phone call at 11 a.m. from the ticket agent in St. Mary’s that I needed to get to the St. Mary’s airport by 11:30 a.m. to catch the flight to Emmonak. I could not find transportation from Mountain Village to St. Mary’s; the snowmachine trail on the Yukon River was too slushy and soft and the 207’s were not flying due to fog. After consulting with my colleague in Anchorage, I decided to forego the Emmonak trip and continue with the original flight plan to go to Bethel and fly to Hooper Bay on Friday morning. At noon, I flew from Mountain Village to St. Mary’s and waited for 3.5 hours for the next flight to Bethel. At 3:30 p.m., the pilot called to board passengers and we stopped in Mountain Village to pick-up two passengers. That whole time, I could’ve waited at my Gram’s. Between the flights, they lost my two boxes; and sent my duffle bag to Anchorage. That evening, they had to rush my duffle on an Alaska Airlines flight to Bethel.

The next morning, I flew from Bethel to Hooper Bay and waited at the airport for a staffer to pick me up by snowmachine from the airport. I ran into Albina, my relative who was picking up her daughter and who I had never met before. She knew who I was because she read my name on my duffle that was on the previous flight and it was sitting on the runway before I arrived. When I arrived at the school, I was greeted by the school counselor and Renee, a fourth grade teacher. Renee is an Eskimo to the World blog reader and Facebook friend. She introduced me to her class and for the rest of the day when I would see her students in the hallway or at lunch, they would yell, “Hi Trina!” Renee invited me over for dinner that night and asked where I was going to stay? I told her, at the school. She asked if I would like to stay with her in her extra bedroom. I enthusiastically totally accepted the offer.

After I met with the key stakeholders at the school, I went to Renee’s and had a ginormously bestest time. We made salad with mizuno lettuce and her husband, Albert, made spaghetti. Her brother-in-law took me on a snowmachine ride around town, to the beach and hills on a sunny, beautiful day. We told stories, laughed and laughed hysterically some more. Renee is recently graduated with a Masters in Linguistics. She has three children, two of which are attending high school at Mt. Edgecumbe in Sitka, Alaska, and one son on-the-way. Her youngest, Kevin’s Yup’ik name is after my uncle, as well as, his English name is after someone who passed away from Mountain Village. Its funny because when I was in Mountain Village, I was thinking about my uncle and saying his Yup’ik name in my head, Ugachin. Not sure if I’m spelling it right. One of the stories Renee told me was that the new school is haunted. She said the custodians see a little girl in a white dress in the hallways. I am so grateful I did not stay at the school, by myself, on a Friday night.

The next morning, I woke up early. Albert and Kevin were up early getting ready to go to Kuzi for manaqing. Albert was cooking breakfast and Kevin and I were talking about his favorite subjects in school, he showed me his Native Youth Olympic moves and showed me his Number 1 Basketball Player Trophy, which is pictured above. All in all, despite all the debacles of rural travel, I shitreously had the best time with some AM-azing moments.

John, Sharon and Ashley in Mountain Village
Here are my cousins John, Sharon and Ashley. On a recent trip to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, I had a layover in St. Mary’s and ran into John, Sharon and their son Christian at the airport as they were en route to Anchorage for medical appointments.
I like Sharon because she says things like, “Aaaawww shucks!” and “Ominuk!” which is similarly the Yup’ik word for “Shucks!”

John, Sharon and Ashley in Mountain Village

Here are my cousins John, Sharon and Ashley. On a recent trip to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, I had a layover in St. Mary’s and ran into John, Sharon and their son Christian at the airport as they were en route to Anchorage for medical appointments.

I like Sharon because she says things like, “Aaaawww shucks!” and “Ominuk!” which is similarly the Yup’ik word for “Shucks!”

Auntie Josie and my cousin Ashley in Mountain Village
Here is my Auntie Josie, my grandma’s sister. She is HY-sterical. My grandmother has stories about her that when she was growing up, she would make up her own words and speak in her own language and only my great-grandmother would know what she was saying.
Also here is my cousin Ashley. When Ash was about three years old, I saw her and her mother at the AC in Mountain Village. When I went up to them for hugs, Ashley looked at me and very matter of factly said, “I know who you are.” I said, “Who?” She said, “You’re my cousin.”

Auntie Josie and my cousin Ashley in Mountain Village

Here is my Auntie Josie, my grandma’s sister. She is HY-sterical. My grandmother has stories about her that when she was growing up, she would make up her own words and speak in her own language and only my great-grandmother would know what she was saying.

Also here is my cousin Ashley. When Ash was about three years old, I saw her and her mother at the AC in Mountain Village. When I went up to them for hugs, Ashley looked at me and very matter of factly said, “I know who you are.” I said, “Who?” She said, “You’re my cousin.”

Ira Glass is da Bomb
Today, I went to see Ira Glass, a public radio personality, and host and producer of the radio  and television show This American Life, at the Alaska Performing Arts Center.
Ira started  working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern  at NPR’s headquarters in DC.
He talked about the importance of narrative, among other things, like playing clips from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Hurricane Katrina, other stories and Fine Print. He had some great tips that can be applied to writing.
He was HYS-terical.

Ira Glass is da Bomb

Today, I went to see Ira Glass, a public radio personality, and host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life, at the Alaska Performing Arts Center.

Ira started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR’s headquarters in DC.

He talked about the importance of narrative, among other things, like playing clips from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Hurricane Katrina, other stories and Fine Print. He had some great tips that can be applied to writing.

He was HYS-terical.