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Collecting Two Years

You can collect a lot of stuff in your year(s) at KNOM. Coming up to the homestretch here – less than three months before my second year ends and I make my own exit – I’ve reflected on some of the things I’ve accumulated since arriving in August of 2010.

First up, books. Nome is a great place to do some reading. Short, dark, cold winter days. Long, bright, cold spring days. Summer is a wonderful time to be outside, of course, but even then, it’s great to read on a piece of driftwood mired in the sand, hearing the soft lapping of the Norton Sound all around you. Reading in the midnight sun isn’t to be missed. I’ve collected a series of books from yard sales, the thrift store, Amazon.com, and more. Most permanent acquisitions will join the already impressive library at the KNOM volunteer house, which means you’re never far from a good read. I always seem to be juggling a few books, too, to the consternation of the library. I’m currently reading about the evolution of human societies in Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” learning about contemporary military history with Rachel Maddow’s “Drift,” and laughing along with Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.”

Second, crap for my wall. Well, not crap, just a collection of … stuff. Letters from friends, cards, pictures, maps. Airport tags from the villages I’ve flown to via Bering Air. It’s a collage, each item marking a different moment in my time at Nome.

On the collage front, my door. Not much to add to this one. Sure can do some weird stuff when the snow madness is on ya. Full disclosure: most of that door collage was done through some light-hearted antagonism by room mates Linda Maack and Matty Guiffré. I added a few pieces to the door collage, but it was mostly them.

Coffee is another thing I collect. I drink a lot of the stuff, and I’ve had some good friends generously ship me off a couple pounds now and then. Friends from New York, all over the east coast, and Minneapolis have supplied me with top-rate whole bean goodness. Don’t get me wrong, you can get excellent coffee beans in Nome, and the coffee drinkers amongst the room mates are, thankfully, willing to spend the cash needed to get the good stuff. Both at home and at the station, we use whole beans, freshly ground. No dearth of good coffee here.

And finally, beer. I come from Delaware, and apart from having the distinction of being the First State, and getting all the credit/blame for Joe Biden, our only other claim to fame is a wonderfully inventive microbrewery called Dogfish Head. I don’t know how, but several bottles of their liquid ambrosia have magically come into my possession over the last 20-plus months in Nome. I keep the bottles around because, well, they look cool.

And now, just for yucks, here’s a picture out the front door of the KNOM volunteer house, just a few minutes shy of midnight. We’ll be over 21 hours of daylight before you know it.