My boyfriend and I spent one school year living in a rural Eskimo village in Alaska, completely off of the road system. In fact, you had to take one of those itty bitty Bush planes to fly into the place. When planning for this move, I had no idea just how expensive it would be to ship huge boxes of our things across the country. Throughout college, I had been anxiously planning for this year. I never knew I would be spending it in Alaska, but I couldn't wait to have my own classroom. I had been buying and storing supplies for the greater part of my college career - books, manipulatives, decorations, etc. and I was going to be teaching Kindergarten. My dreams were coming true! I'd curl up in bed at night and think about what my classroom would look like and which books I would read to these eager little ones first.
As we got closer to our move date, I realized we couldn't afford to send all of these things I wanted and truly thought I needed. In fact, we couldn't even afford to ship my winter wardrobe. I went through everything I had intended to bring and I simplified. Then I simplified again. In High School, I spent my freshman year never wearing the same outfit twice. Now I'd be spending the first year in my career hoping the very few outfits I could fit in my suitcase would last the 10 months I needed them. I was already out of my element.
We made shopping lists and began purchasing items on Amazon that would (hopefully) meet us at our new house when we arrived. I had never even left home before, and I had no idea what I really needed aside from those cute winter clothes and the adorable picture books I couldn't bring. From what I remember, we ended up shipping toilet paper, cleaning supplies, coffee, popsicles, and some of those little crackers in the plastic packages. Adulting at its finest.
The trip there was glorious. For the most part, I was too excited about this move to even remember my fear of planes. There was one minor incident from the Anchorage to Bethel airport where we couldn't land and had to fly back to Anchorage where I had a slight (severe) panic about the amount of fuel we had left, but aside from that we were two starry eyed kids and we had no idea what we were about to be getting ourselves into. Upon arriving, we realized we didn't have a toilet. Yep, no toilet. That's probably worth circling back to another day. We also realized there was very little furniture in our fully furnished home and that there was a definite fly infestation. I was DYING.
I don't remember that first night very well after that point. The following day I had to fly back out for a weekend conference. Jared used all those cleaning supplies to turn the house from something out of a scary movie into something livable. For the next few days, we did have a clean house (thanks to Jared and to all of the chemicals I'm now horrified by!), but it was empty... and ya know, didn't have a real toilet. We didn't have much an an appetite either, so we just split those little cheese crackers in the plastic wrap.
As time went on, we adjusted. We made good friends with another teacher, who always referred to us as minimalists. At that time, I had never even heard of that term. She loved that we moved across the country with just coffee & popsicles as our staples. I learned that I didn't need a lot of things in order to be able to teach those sweet kids. In fact, I spent most of the year clearing out my classrooms (I had two!) of all the previous junk and old curriculum past teachers had left behind. I wanted a clean slate. And it was nice to go home in the evenings to a house that never needed tidied up. We had become minimalists totally by accident.