People throw the phrase “best day of my life” around pretty carelessly. And yes, I’m guilty of it also. Free food? Best day of my life. Get to see a lot of cats in one day? Best day of my life. But Friday the 13th, June 2014 was actually the literal best day of my life.
The morning started with a small bowl of oatmeal and honey (Dad look, I like oatmeal now!) Then a small group of us loaded up the cars to go interview a native high school girl. My role in this interview: holder of the boom mic. (But no, I neglected to have someone get a picture of me in action.) While she didn’t have anything very profound to say (I mean she just graduated high school) it was cool to gain a glimpse of what life is like for someone close to my age here in Bethel.
We finished the interview in time for lunch and for the first time during this trip we had free time during the day AND the sun was out. As people began to settle in to start playing our usual round of games (BS or Bananagrams) I suggested something different: let’s go on a walk. Thank goodness Leah, Hannah and Stephanie said yes because we had the greatest walk of my life.
It started off pretty typical for students who are on a documentary trip. Camera out, strange objects being used as tripods, weird squats happening to “get the shot.” We were on a mission to enjoy the sun, enjoy each other’s company and just maybe get that B-Roll that the documentary needs. Then we ran into some native people who were so incredibly nice, the hospitality here has just been amazing. As we were talking to one man, he freezes mid-sentence to yell “MOOSE!” We spun around, and off in the distance across the river there were two small objects running on the grass. I was confused, because they were way too small to be moose. But then the mom came walking out of the trees and I realized we were watching the baby moose playing as mom watched over them. I lost it. We all lost it. Commence tourist mode as we squealed and attempted to get a shot of this action (our lenses were not quite strong enough to get great footage sadly).
Feeling so jazzed up about the moose sighting, we felt invincible as we walked back to the church. But that’s not where the excitement ending. As we walked back, a lady, noticing our cameras, yelled, “do you want to take a photo?” So we turned, and then noticed the most beautiful yellow finch just sitting in her hand. Back into photographer mode, we raced with our cameras to capture the moment. She explained that the bird had flown into the window and they were trying to help it fly again. My heart melted. And that was only half of the day.
Then I had the opportunity to ride a boat to visit a fish camp and one of the local villages near Bethel. Oh. My. Goodness. The grass was greener, the sky stretched forever, water was smooth as glass (well, some directions) and even though we didn’t get back until after midnight, the sun was shining and giving us the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen in my life. It was absolutely breathtaking.
The fish camp had such a simplistic beauty about it and felt very serene as it was almost hidden within all of the trees along the river. The owner was kind enough to make us hot dogs on pretzel bread also, which was amazing! (Mom, please buy pretzel buns for me). And then the village was a hoot. All of the children wanted to see what we were doing and see how the cameras worked! They’d run up behind us and peer over our shoulders in an attempt to understand what we were doing.
Absolutely incredible. This blog was an attempt to share this day with everyone, but will never do this day justice. But I think that’s how the best day of your life should be: indescribably wonderful and perfect.