My parents don’t travel very much so when they told me just a few short months ago that they were coming to visit me in Nome, I was pretty blown away. In my past three years of service my mom and dad have only had a couple of opportunities to peek inside my day to day work life. While I know that they are proud of what I am doing with my life right now, it means a lot for them to be able to see the ins and outs of service that I’m dedicating myself to during this time.
After you’ve lived in Nome for a couple of months and the initial novelty begins to sit on the back burner, you find yourself a bit nervous about keeping busy. When it comes time to have visitors you might worry about how to keep them occupied in this small town when many of the roads are still dwelling under feet of snow, the ocean is less of a summertime beach experience and more so a lunar landscape, and hikes are limited only to those with snowshoes willing to brave the chill awaiting them at the apex. All of my roommates have heard me express my angst at keeping my folks busy and entertained during their visit and each of them assured me that they would have plenty of fodder in which to make an adventure out of.
They were so right.
In just a week’s time my parents have become versed in dog mushing, walks on the frozen ocean, negative temperatures (not a commonality with our home of North Carolina), native clothing, on-air radio time, and many other Western Alaskan gifts. In all honesty, I don’t think I ever realized how adventurous good ol’ Ma and Pa were until I found myself waiting for them to return home from hours of cross-tundra mushing. It’s funny how the roles reversed in my life for a few days. Instead of my parents worrying about me during my Alaskan adventure, here I was wondering when my parents would return to me from their very own.
After having spent so much time away from home post-college, it was so wonderful to have home come and visit me for a bit. The older I get the more I realize that the same fear I had when Mom and Dad would drop me off at school for me to embark on a solo journey is still ever present. I am grateful to have very supportive parents who, even if they don’t entirely understand why I feel I need to fly across the world to be on the radio, give me the courage to embark on this adventure just as they did in my days of grade school.
Should you ever have the opportunity to visit Nome, don’t worry about planning around events and weather. I say you might as well just dive right in. Though we do live in a small community, there is always something to do, interesting people to meet, and places to explore.