This started out to be a letter to Gram and Miss Alice (aka mom).....as I was so happy to get their letters that I just cried in the Post Office...they were not sad letters but happy letters!!
This is just crazy....it seems like a couple hundred years ago since my grandmother graduated from nursing school in 1945 when there was pretty much only one antibiotic ‘penicillin’ but everything you learned and teach me still stands true today. That absolutely amazes me! Times change people do not change!
I really think I started off on the wrong foot with the Eskimo population. It is hard to hide my facial expressions when they tell me their favorite thing to eat is walrus hearts...a delicacy. They also eat SEAL OIL WITH EVERYTHING....PROBABLY EVERYDAY. Seal oil is blubber from seals that ‘melts’ at room temp. Every single white person I talk to tells me it is the most rancid horrible thing you will ever taste..AND NEVER TO TRY IT OR IT WILL MAKE YOU SICK. At work I hear all my co-workers (who except for the nurses are all native) talk about their seal oil. They now are so excited because the ice is broken enough to go walrus and seal hunting.
SIDE NOTE: I think I already mentioned this but it is illegal for ANY white person to kill a walrus, seal, polar bear ect...but any native person can kill whatever whenever they want to....it was written in the Alaska Constitution that they could remain in their native way of life. That also holds true that in the constitution it was written that Alaska would and is mandated to provide public health service throughout and in all remote places of Alaskan: hence this is why I am here. I will say the Eskimo population holds nurses and doctors with great respect but many times are not friendly at all on the street. There is always the exception to the rule some are so very nice and go way out of their way to be friendly and others seem to on purpose give me the cold shoulder. I was mortified the other day....I walked up behind someone sitting in a chair and said “Excuse me mam”....HE rolled his chair around and just glared at me......I apologized all over myself.....I was so embarrassed. I honestly thought is was a lady.....many men here have long black hair.....definitely I will know better next time.
Back to what I was saying about the walrus and seal hunting.....they would any day rather eat that than our beef or pork. I guess it is all in how you were raised. One of my friends at work invited Iran to go out on their boat to go watch them walrus hunt.....how exciting!! They were using recently I heard or maybe still do use seal skin boats in some places that they make themselves.
I absolutely LOVE seeing people here wear their handmade clothes that have seal skin or beaver fur on it...they waste nothing of an animal that they kill. I acted shocked at some of the things my oh so sweet co-worker told me......she said ‘WE REALLY DO LIVE OFF THE LAND’. She had told me she tried buying ‘store bought’ food one time and both her kids did not like it at all! I would sometime like to just try some things they make but am so afraid it will make me sick. MANY THINGS ARE EATTEN RAW!! AND EATEN AFTER BEING FERMENTED IN BLOOD!!!! The really weird thing is I do not hear them talk about hunting for moose, caribou or musk ox......but fish, seals, walrus and bears. Since most all these villages live on the Bering Sea maybe that is what they are used to.....sea animals. I am sure they must hunt for land animals....I just have not heard them talk about it. I have learned so much here already.....things hand made are so special. What people wear here would look so ridicules back home...... Seal skin hats/mittens/boots..lined in beaver fur. My friend here said she sent some seal skin mittens back home (they are like $250..well worth every penny! .... the work that goes into them!!) and her daughter probably put them in the next garage sale for 50 cents. Just a different world.
I desperately want to take pictures of the Eskimo population here but I NEVER want to hurt their feelings or make them think I think they are weird and want to show everyone back home. However if I get an opportunity I would love to take their picture.....especially the precious little babies. We have the most precious neighbors down the street Payton and Peter....I have always forgot to bring my camera at the most opportune times.
I miss everyone so much!