Monthly Archives: July 2015

4th of July weekend and more!

Hola mis amigos! These past two weekends have turned out so well they seriously seem to fly by. Really…like supersonic jet speed. Over fourth of July weekend, the original plan was being out in Council, a small town used mainly for cabins and camping. However, for a handful of us, the plans changed…and we ended up having a truly fabulous weekend! Friday night, we accompanied some friends fishing (we watched/walked along the beach), engaged in plenty of girl talk, watched movies, and shared a bottle of a classy adult drink 😉 *antioxidants and resveratrol people!*

Dorothy Falls...simply amazing

Dorothy Falls…simply amazing

Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day, in the mid 60s and sunny!! We met up with one of the RDs from the office, her husband, dogs, and ADORABLE baby girl. They are honestly the coolest couple- they fish, hike, hunt, skin the animals they harvest, and are just super interesting. For example, the dietitian, Kendal, graduated high school early and backpacked around Italy in her senior year! Her husband is awesome too, and looks like a total bushman…in the BEST way. He’s all about plaid, boots, and has a great beard! 🙂 He also shot a HUGE bear that broke records, and got his picture on a hunting magazine! Also the two of them are the cutest parents, and watching them with their daughter made my heart melt a little. On the fourth, they were kind enough to take our little group hiking to Dorothy Falls, then invited us into their home, showing us their pelts, maps, and native jewelry. We ended up hiking around the tundra for almost 3 hours, and enjoyed beautiful views, as well as great conversation.

Crossing a stream

Crossing a stream

At the bottom of the valley! There was a fair amount of elevation change, which was challenging, but fun!

At the bottom of the valley! There was a fair amount of elevation change, which was challenging, but fun!

This past weekend was amazing as well. Friday we drove out to Salmon Lake, and got to enjoy not only gorgeous views, but some wildlife! My eagle eyes (HA!) spotted a young moose in the bushes on the way down, and on the way back we saw not one, not two, but a whole family of musk ox…with babies! They were so fluffy and really cute! Seeing a moose as well as baby musk ox were on my Alaska bucket list as “must-sees”, although I wasn’t positive that I would actually get the chance to see either! Needless to say I was pretty excited. 🙂

Juvenile moose!! (thanks Bailey for the clear picture!)

Juvenile moose!! (thanks Bailey for the clear picture!)

Meandering musk ox

  Meandering musk ox

Looking STRAIGHT at the car!

Looking STRAIGHT at the car!

Later that night, I met some more of our group and had a fun night out, singing kereoke and perfecting my foosball “skills”.

Saturday and Sunday were just as amazing and relaxing. Some people went out to Salmon Lake to go camp overnight, while another group of us stayed back for yet another fun-filled weekend! Saturday we did some grocery shopping and tried to fit two people to our bikes, while enjoying the sunshine-y weather. We also tried our hands at making creme brulee, because it’s our one intern bestie’s absolute favorite desserts. After making them, we walked down the beach, and had a bonfire. The weather continued to be perfect- mostly sunny and around 60. When we returned home, we found that our creme brulee turned out AMAZING…which made me really happy that the special dessert worked out for him. I just love being with these people:) We ended Saturday piled on blankets and pillows, and crashed out to a movie. Sunday morning began with coffee and a quick breakfast, then we all decided to get back into our respective workouts. We’ve been a little to tired and lazy, and we all admit to neglecting our usual routines 🙂 We then cooked up a storm, making crepes from scratch for lunch, as well as a variety of pizzas for dinner, then a few of us went to the theater to see Jurassic World (side note- good movie!). Now, Sunday is winding down, and we’re all relaxing, getting ready for the second week of Summercise session 2 this week! More on that to come!

I can hardly believe July is half over…where has time gone?!

Have a great week everybody!

Traveling to the Village of Elim!

Hello again friends! Long time no blog!

Earlier this week, my supervisor, myself, and another intern traveled to the Alaskan village of Elim! In pairs, all eight interns get a chance to fly out to more remote Alaskan villages (and I thought Nome was pretty remote…) to hold a day-long Summercise on the first day, stay the night, and work the health fair in town the following day. (If you’re curious, the other three villages my fellow interns visited were Shishmaref, Koyuk, and Shaktoolik). It’s worth mentioning that these towns are very small; Elim’s total population sits right under 350 people! The surrounding villages have anywhere from 115 – around 700 inhabitants, and they are rarely accessible by any roads. Instead, people and cargo alike are usually flown in by plane or helicopter, and sometimes by ship.

Although our trip to Elim was short, it felt meaningful, and I really enjoyed it!

Areal view of Elim!

Areal view of Elim!

Besides a smattering of houses, the village has a school, two playgrounds (which makes me happy 🙂 ), a “city center” building, a small library, a modest clinic run by the Norton Sound Health Corporation (where we stayed), a Boys and Girls club, and a general store. Despite the small size, you really can’t complain about the beautiful seaside views throughout the entire town, visible from every building.

The first day, we hosted a mini Summercise for the kids of Elim, giving them the freedom to direct how the day progressed. We started with ball games and trying kickball in a slight drizzle, then we headed inside when it started to rain harder. We were able to make our inside space fun as well! We played hula hoop games, created a small obstacle course, and held relay races- the kids loved trying out our durable potato sack race bags, and it was a blast watching and cheering them on! 🙂 We then had a snack of apple slice-grape cars (so fun!) with a “fluffy pb-yogurt dip”. The kids pounded through all the fruit, three tubs of yogurt, and half a jar of peanut butter! I was thrilled! I loved being able to provide some fresh fruit and introducing them to the idea of mixing peanut butter and yogurt to make a nutritious fruit dip! Later in the afternoon we played jump rope games, more hula hoop games, and used the schools playground. As 4 o’clock rolled around, I couldn’t drag myself away from pushing three different girls on the swings too quickly…and one of them told me she wanted “10 more hours of Summercise!” haha! I ended day 1 feeling tired but accomplished.

The health fair started at 9:00 am on day dos. The CAMP department had a booth with education materials as well as a table set up for cholesterol and A1c (diabetes) screenings. Going into this trip, I hadn’t had my counseling rotation at the hospital yet, so I still didn’t feel very confident pricking peoples’ fingers, and getting enough blood to run through Cholestec machine. BUT my awesome supervisor helped coach me through several patients, and by the end of the fair, I practically felt like an old pro! 😉 I was also able to just talk with several people while they were waiting for their screenings, and I even got into a discussion with one woman about diabetes. I was happy that I could answer a bunch of her questions! It’s really nice to simply chat with people instead of always being in a closed little counseling room. I feel you can gain a lot of information and insight from a seemingly simple conversation!

Before we knew it, it was 3:40, and we were racing around to catch our 4:10(!) Bering Air flight! The nice thing is that unlike your average commercial airport, getting on a plane in Elim is pretty painless. You pack up your gear, a four-wheeler and/or patient transporter truck drives you and your cargo about 5 minutes up to a dirt airstrip, you and your subsequent stuff is dropped off, and you stand on the side until the 8-10 person plane lands in front of you. [If you’re a nice person], you’ll usually end up helping the pilot unload his or her cargo from the underbelly of the plane before boarding 🙂 And that’s that! Surprisingly, these tiny planes actually have very smooth takeoffs and landings- and that’s saying a lot from a girl who REALLY dislikes takeoff!!

My apologies for the shoddy picture, but here's one of the little Bering Air planes we took!

My apologies for the shoddy picture, but here’s one of the little Bering Air planes we took!

I left Elim tired and craving a shower…but also really happy and fulfilled. It’s sad to know I may never be back to that beautiful little town, but the experiences and memories made there truly meant something to me, and I’ll never forget Elim, Alaska!

Unlike Nome, Elim has trees!:)

Unlike Nome, Elim has trees!:)

Lots of love, and missing you all at home! xoxo