Back in the day, I was a Bethel-hater. As a new-ish teacher in a village who had to come in semi-regularly for inservices, I saw it as this place that was hard to get around, expensive, and not necessarily worth the effort. If I was going to leave my comfortable little cocoon, I'd rather go into Anchorage and get some "big city" out of the deal.
And you know what? I think all that still holds true for village teachers. If you don't have a car and a place to call "home," Bethel is a hard place to visit. Cabs are expensive and kind of a pain in the ass, and the drivers look at you like you're wasting precious time when you want to take the minute required to, you know, strap your infant (TODDLER?! HOW IS MY BABY A YEAR OLD?!) and his car seat into place so, you know, they're safe in the event of an accident. Hotels are also expensive, and the selection is... well, it's varied. You can pay a lot and get good-if-quirky service, or you can pay a lot and feel like you're getting supremely ripped off.
But we're quickly discovering the "other side" of the Bethel coin. We're in town for the week, and are staying at a... yurt. An uber-yurt, actually, with a lofted bedroom and kitchen area and everything. Pics forthcoming (probably on Facebook; I think everyone who reads this is on FB at this point? You can e-mail me if you're interested but not on FB), but the only disadvantage to the Yurt is some very slow internettage. Anyway, yeah. We've got something that resembles a home, and we've *drumroll* purchased a vehicle. Suddenly, Bethel has gone from being this pain-in-the-keister place I am occasionally required to visit to being a slightly bizarre place that I'm looking forward to calling home.
Now, I don't deny that it's still a pretty harsh place for visitors. But as far as living goes... I think I can do this.
(Oh, and in case there are people reading this who haven't been following my life on Facebook and/or Twitter... I've got a new job next year, at the District Office, in Bethel. Hence the move. Also, Isaac is one year old. There, you're up to speed. Now get on Facebook. :D)
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