All posts by Stephanie Tedesco

Stephanie Tedesco

About Stephanie Tedesco

My Name is Stephanie Tedesco. I am a graphic design and photojournalism major at Creighton University. I have a passion for video, photo, and design. I love to be creative and artistic.

A New Dream

Thinking back on these last five weeks, I realized something today. When I first started I was excited for the experience I was going to get in Alaska and for getting to use my video skills on such a big project. I, however, did not expect the experience I got. The people I met there, the things I saw, the stories I heard, the relationships that grew stronger by the day were all part of a wonderful experience I don’t know how to explain.

When the class first started I have to admit I was a little nervous about spending five weeks with people I hardly knew. I had been in class with a couple of them before, but I wasn’t close with any of them. By the end of the first week (or as we all like to call it video bootcamp) I could tell it would be a great next couple of weeks. We all seemed to fit together. This is a great group of individuals and now the class is over and I won’t be seeing them everyday. I am a little sad about this and hope we all stay close and continue making memories.

This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. What we did in Alaska is what I want to work towards after I graduate. Before the trip I was very unsure of my future. When someone asked me what my dream job was, I would answer with “I don’t know. Something in the creative field like design or photography.” Now I can firmly say, “I want to make videos and share stories visually, and I want to travel the world doing it.”  I think that now that I have discovered this about myself I can work towards this new dream and goal. I have always been jealous of my brother (hey Nick! I am finally mentioning you in a blog like you asked me to) because he has known his dream for a while. He has done everything he can to achieve that dream, and now he is getting very close to his dream and I really hope he gets there. I aspire to be like him and do everything in my power to achieve this new dream of mine.

Get out and Explore

Morgan Ryan

Exploring something new or somewhere new is on the bucket list of Morgan Ryan, a Creighton student from Omaha, Nebraska, studying graphic design, advertising, public relations, and digital development.

Ryan had no idea she would discover so many things in the computer and technology world that she loved and wanted to explore. With her various areas of study she was able to find a new passion of hers, photography and videography.

“I had one class with Tim, the video and photo class, and I just fell in love with it.”

When she found out about the Creighton Backpack Journalism trip to Alaska, she desired to immerse herself in her newfound passion and get that real life experience the trip would offer.

Ryan states that the best part of the trip was getting to see a new part of the world. The boat trip to the village of Napaskiak really made that a reality for her.

“I’ve lived in Omaha my entire life, and we never really took any vacations. It was exciting to go to somewhere new and explore.”

The worst part of the trip for Ryan was the knowledge that her and her classmates were experiencing Bethel, Alaska in a different way than the people living there experienced it. She claims she felt a little guilty that there are so many struggles present in the small town and her group wasn’t experiencing it.

Despite the guilt, this trip helped her decide what path to follow in the future.

“I loved getting B-roll and the interviews and now the editing process. This trip really helped me narrow down what I want to do once I graduate.”

After she graduates from Creighton in 2015, Ryan will look for a job. She isn’t quite sure what that job that is, but she knows one thing for sure. She wants to get out of Nebraska. This trip to Bethel has influenced Ryan in a way that makes her want to get out and explore new places in the future.

I can’t believe its almost over

Today, we had our last interview of the trip. I cannot believe this trip is almost over and I will be leaving Bethel tomorrow morning. It went by too fast, as I had predicted it would be. I tried to live in the present moment and take in everything. I have so many good memories from here. You could say I will leaving a little part of my heart here in Bethel. No more walks down the boardwalk at Pinky’s Park. No more sitting and relaxing by the river. No more late night tundra adventures. No more playing giant games of mafia, B.S., Bananagrams, and Skip-Bo in the social hall with my peers. I know we still have three more days and we will have many great adventures and moments in Seward, Alaska and we still have two weeks of editing to do, but I still feel like this great thing is ending and I don’t want it to. I will never forget these two weeks. I am so thankful for having the opportunity to come here and experience everything that I have. I wouldn’t mind doing something like this again. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about the Yup’ik culture. I learned a lot about film making and journalism as well and I am sure I will learn even more over the next couple of weeks.

A potluck I’ll never forget

My one rule for myself this trip is be adventurous. I want to go back to Omaha not regretting that I didn’t do something. Today I got to be adventurous with food. I have never really been a picky eater, but I’d never thought I would try what I ate tonight.

Tonight was the potluck dinner. Locals brought traditional Alaskan dishes for us to try. One person brought salmon spread. It was great on both crackers and bread. OK … I could see myself trying that, but not what I had next … moose and caribou in various dishes. There was moose stir fry and moose stew. The caribou was in a scrumptious soup. I also got to try this seal soup and salmon chowder. The salmon chowder was great. I would definitely have it again. The seal soup was good, but it’s something I can only take a couple bites of. It tasted really fishy, and I am not really used to that. (at least I tried it, right? no regrets.) I really never thought I’d be the person to try seal or moose. Those are two things I never thought I’d get the chance to try. I mean they don’t really sound very appetizing…. But hey, now I can say I’ve had moose stir fry. How many people in the Midwest can say that?

At Peace

Yesterday I went for a walk down by the river with some classmates. We ended up being gone for almost three hours. For most of it we were just sitting on rocks close to the water, just watching boats pass by. Other than the occasional boat, there wasn’t much sound. It’s not what I’m used to. I’m used to the sounds of the city. It was a nice change. At a point, I just stood there on a rock looking out across the water. The sun was shining and the water was calm. All of a sudden this feeling came over me that I don’t know how to describe. Almost like I was at peace. It was like there was nothing holding me back or weighing me down. It was unreal.

It is astonishing that a place that has so much beauty can be in poverty. However, the people here don’t see themselves as poor. They see the beauty of this land and each other as a gift, a gift that not a lot of people have. This is a great mentality to have. Wealth isn’t in the material things, its in the relationships you have and the natural beauty of the world. I want to start seeing the world the way Yup’iks see it. They accept everyone for who they are. They see the land, animals, food, and each other as gifts, and one must cherish these gifts. They love one another as they love themselves. People don’t need anything else to be happy, but society is so materialistic. The real wealth is in your surroundings. Money doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter. All we need is to treasure the moments we have with the people who love us. Once we do that maybe we can all have that feeling of peace that I was able to find down by the river.

The wilderness must be explored! Caw Caw Rawr!

Last night we had kind of a relaxing night. We went to Stan’s fish camp and grilled some hot dogs and hamburgers. It was cold so I layered up (5 layers… yes I get cold easily…) but I ended up having to take 2 off after a couple games of knock out. I was surprisingly good at this game… (thanks neighbors for all the practice) especially playing in layers and boots. Boots are not fun to play basketball in, but I won two games in a row! Woot! And after we ate, we made s’mores and all sat around the campfire. Oh! and we had salmon, after the s’mores. It was fresh out of the river.

The scenery was great. We were just off the river surrounded by trees. Stan had built basically everything there. It was pretty cool. His tent with a heater inside was built by him. Sitting inside to hide from the mosquitos (the GIANT mosquitos) I came to realize it looked like something straight out of a movie about camping. I have never been camping, but it seems fun, except for the mosquitos. I couldn’t handle it. I don’t like bugs. Thats why I cannot go camping. But hey while I’m here, “The wilderness must be explored! Caw Caw Rawr!”

Laugh a lot, and then even more

Pictured center is Hannah Mullally on our trip back to Bethel from a nearby village.
Pictured center is Hannah Mullally on our boat trip back to Bethel from a nearby village. (Hannah, you know you love us.)

I don’t think I have laughed this much in a really long time. So I want to use this blog post to give a shout out to everyone on this trip who has made me laugh. You guys are awesome and hilarious. Love you all! Shout out to Claire with her awkward facial expressions and candid pictures of me. Love you girl, but only because I have to…(cuz we are sisters and we stand together! Shout out to my kappa girls back home that wish they were here with me and Claire. Don’t lie. We both know you are jealous.) Shout out to Leah, Morgan, and Hannah, or as we like to call ourselves the dream team, with our professional selfie and our odd luck on Friday the 13th. Shout out to John and Scott with all their father/son moments. Shout out to everyone who tries to imitate Tony with his okays. Also, Tony, your purple rain gear was epic. Shout out to TJ or as we like to call him August Taylor Moore because that would be an epic movie star name. Claudia and Mari, you two are just hilarious. I can’t even capture that in words. This is just a small percentage of the moments that made me laugh and smile. I like to laugh and with this group not laughing is nearly impossible. Just remember, you are all great comedians and don’t stop laughing. Laugh a lot, and then even more.

Love and Beauty

Yesterday… oh gosh… where do I start? It was just an amazing day. Everything about it was just great. I don’t even know how else to describe it. It started out as a pretty easy going day. Only some of us went to the interview. The rest of us stayed back (including me) In the time they were gone I wrote my blog post (amazing, wasn’t it?) and I wrote in my journal, while socializing with my new friends.

After lunch, we played Bananagrams (awesome game. need to get one for myself) and Phase 10. We only got through 3 phases before the dream team (me, Morgan, Leah, and Hannah) decided to go for a walk. We walked down by the river. The sun was out and the clouds were just beautiful. While walking we met some of the natives and they were great. One pulled out his phone to take a picture of us taking pictures. (I guess us Creighton students are a site to see.) Hannah decided to take a picture of the guy taking a picture and it started a 20 minute conversation. One of them was talking about the values here. He said “Love is key. If you don’t have love, you don’t have anything.” The hospitality here is unbelievable. It’s great. I love it. and then they pointed out a moose across the river. All of us went crazy. (Hey. we are from Nebraska. Don’t judge.)

After lunch we got our assignments for after dinner. I was going to go to a nearby village with John and 6 classmates. The only way to get there was by boat. We went down river and then up river on a little tour before actually going to the village. We had to drop someone off at their fish camp first. We were gone for like 6 hours and didn’t get back here until after midnight. It was great. The sun at that time of day is beautiful. We also went to a meadow where I fell in the mud. (Of course I did.) At least I was wearing my rain pants (Thanks for making me bring them dad). They kept me dry. Everyone was so jealous. Anyway, the beauty of the places we went is indescribable. Even the run-down village was beautiful. When we were there we got bombarded with kids asking us what we were doing and why we were there. They followed us around while we were filming and they did not want us to leave. But of course we had to. We went back to the fish camp to pick up Dona’s husband and he made us hot dogs. On the way back the sun was just… I don’t even know…. it was divine. There was something sacred about last night. As Scott said, “God is doing all the work at this point.” There is no other explanation for the pure beauty I got the chance to witness.

So much to say!

Yesterday was a very eventful day for me. We interviewed two outstanding people, filmed some B-roll, and went exploring Bethel (or at least me and a few other classmates did). The first interview was Cecilia. She reminded my of a stereotypical grandmother. She brought us homemade food and loved to tell stories about her life. The salmon dip (more fish! yay!) she brought us was just delightful. Put it on a cracker and you have got one tasty snack. I could eat a whole bowl of it in one sitting. (Probably not the healthiest idea in the world, but it was just so yummy!) Anyway, enough ranting about food (I can’t help it. I’m Italian.) All of us were captivated by Cecilia’s stories. Before the interview even started she was telling us detailed stories about her culture and life. I love hearing elders tell their life story. You can just learn so much from them about the time when they grew up. Yes, you can learn things like this in a history class, but theres nothing like a personal story. I learned this the other day when Rose told us her life story. I had taken a Native American History class in the past and recognized some of the things she talked about, but her story was just so moving I felt like I hadn’t fully understood the meaning of the history facts until that day.

The second person we interviewed yesterday was Brian McCaffery. He talked about the environmental changes and the affect they have on the area and spirituality of the Yup’ik people. During this interview I was in charge of holding the boom microphone and listening to the audio for any irregularities. When this trip first started, I had no interest in being the interviewer or being in charge of audio. But like I mentioned in my first blog, it is my goal this trip to push the limits on my comfort zone. So yesterday I controlled the audio (which wasn’t as bad as I imagined, although my arms and shoulders are a little sore today.) and today I will be the person interviewing and asking the questions.

Late last night, a few other classmates and I went out and explored the tundra surrounding the town. We walked down a trail and instead of heading back down the trail we walked through the tundra. I do not even know how to explain it other than, it was like walking on a giant sponge that covered miles and miles. It was extremely tiring but a great workout. I was thinking about the history there as I was walking. Who walked on the land I was walking on hundreds of years ago? Whoever it as must’ve been in great shape. It was still an amazing experience. I just want to go sit out there and reflect. No one around and complete silence. Just sit there staring out at miles and miles of spongey tundra and thinking. It seems like a great place for reflection.

There is so much more I can say about yesterday, but for now we will leave it at that. Every blog I write I start with one idea in mind and end up with something completely different. There’s is just so much to tell you!