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> September 11 – Mount Vernon, WA, or Back home and making a lot of plans
post Sep 13 2006, 08:29 PM
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I have been back home for just over a week, now. There were no problems with making our connections through Seoul or Los Angeles. Both passport control and customs went smoothly and as quickly as long lines would allow. We had to pick up our bags in LA, take them through customs and then over to another terminal at the airport to check them with Alaska Airlines. After about 3-5 minutes of waiting, everyone’s bags except for mine had arrived on the baggage claim belt. Was I to be travel cursed again? Bre waited with me while everyone else got into the customs line and after about another 5-7 minutes, thankfully, both of my bags showed up. smile.gif We trucked our luggage trolleys over to the domestic terminal, checked in for our flight to Seattle, passed through security (again!) and got to the gate for the final leg of our journey.

When we got to Seattle – Dena (who got married on September 3 – mere days after our return – Congratulations, Dena!) was joyously greeted by a cheering crowd of her friends carrying a big Welcome Home! sign (well, 3-4 people, but they were loud). After we were briefly introduced to her friends and her fiancé, Jack, we continued down to the baggage claim area for reunions with our own loved ones.

The next four days are somewhat of a blur for me. I found that readjusting to the Pacific Time Zone and my normal eating habits were more difficult than I had expected. The first night I slept fine – didn’t wake up all night and got up feeling like it was very early (okay, kind of like 1 am), but the day went smoothly. The next night, I went to bed at about 10 pm and woke up at 1:30 am or so – starving! My body must have thought that I was just taking my before dinner nap – it was “bon appetita” time! So I got up, ate and went back to bed. The next night, I went to bed again at 11 pm or so and woke up at 2 am. Wide awake. So I got up, worked on my journals, etc for 2 hours or so and tried to lay down again – no good. So I read for awhile (yes, I’m still trying to finish Les Mis) until I was sleepy enough. Finally, about Sunday night or so, I started being able to sleep through the night. Good thing, because school started on Wednesday, 6 September.

On Friday, 8 September, Ben Fitzhugh, Mike Etnier, Jesse Einhorn and Matt Walsh all made it safely back to Seattle with all of the samples that could be brought back to the United States (remember, the artifacts stayed in Russia and will belong to the Sakhalin Regional Museum). They had no difficulty getting through customs with them and I have heard that they are having their own adjustment to Pacific Daylight Time issues, but are glad to be home as well.

So far I have talked to my students about the beginnings of my trip. Rather than inundate them with the entire tale in a couple of days, we are going to revisit the trip in segments throughout the year and connect it to specific classroom activities that are related to each portion. In October or November, Bre and Beth are going to come up and help us do a profile around the school. The students will learn about how the process works, practice the calculations, use the actual equipment to make some measurements and then create a profile map. Look for a future journal entry with the lesson plans!

I have many other plans in the works for this school year including one or two field trips to the University of Washington to visit Pat Anderson’s lab, the seismic lab, to work with some of the faunal samples with Mike Etnier and to visit the Burke Natural History Museum. In addition, Mike has agreed to come to our classroom several times throughout the year to introduce the students to concepts used in zooarchaeology and archaeology. I am also hoping to have some of the other scientists from the UW come to visit my classroom and hopefully other classrooms at my school. I plan to post descriptions of each of these activities as well as lesson plans as they are developed.

Lastly, I am beginning to work on scheduling presentations for the community, both in Bellingham and Mount Vernon – at the library, Rotary, Senior Centers, etc. – and I have a presentation to teachers scheduled for the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools (PNAIS) All-Schools Conference in October. The big challenge will be to figure out how to condense my experience into a mere hour presentation!

Please also look for audio podcasts from the final days of the expedition and video clips of some of our daily activities and fascinating animal clips to be posted in the next week or so!
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