The colder it gets, the more Alaskan I’m beginning to feel. That’s not to say I’m “becoming” Alaskan, but this place is definitely beginning to fill more of the stereotypes than it even did in the summer. As winter moves in, most of the summer seasonal visitors have moved out and Nome seems to be taking on a more rural, bush town-like vibe. Most of the people I see now are the year-round Nomeites and villagers, all wearing their beautiful fur parkas and colorful kuspuks, though some of the kids are still running around in shorts.
As I mentioned in my last post, this weekend I had the opportunity to go to a Pamyua concert. It was great fun, with an odd mix of traditional Inupiaq and Yupik song combined with modern jazz, reggae, and world music. As a fun bonus, I also happened to win a copy of their newest album as a door prize! Here are a few clips I recorded on my iPod during the concert:
Starting this week, I will be the only seasonal staff left here for the rest of the month, so for the most part I’ll be living and working relatively alone. I suppose I’m feeling a little apprehensive about this, but it shouldn’t be too bad.
In a couple weeks, they want to send me to the village of Shishmaref to interview the students about Serpentine. It should be a great experience, but again, a little apprehensive about doing it alone, and feeling a little unsure about my exact assignment and their expectations of what exactly I am to do there. I’m supposed to stay overnight by myself, and it was mentioned that I should bring my own food because they’ll only have “Eskimo food.” Sounds great to me! I’ll be prepared, but I’m totally going to try the local cuisine if I have the opportunity! The plan is so up in the air though, it’s a little nerve-wracking and possible that I won’t even get to go. So I’m a little torn — my inner-anthropologist is chomping at the bit to become more acquainted with the local culture, yet the introverted part of me is quietly freaking out about the vagueness of this ordeal.
In the meantime, I’m trying to just take one day at a time. Today, that involved going down to the beach to watch the sunrise at 10am. Coldest temperatures I’ve experienced yet, at 2 degrees F. It wasn’t bad at all, wearing Smartwool socks, thermal base layers, jeans, rain pants, and my down jacket, but after about 45 minutes my toes and nose completely numb. Also my hair froze, since I had just taken a shower.
Nonetheless, totally worth it for some great sunrise shots over the forming sea ice.