When my friend Jason traveled from Knoxville to Nome the other week, he seemed to bring a few suitcases full of that warm Southeastern sunshine with him. The evening he arrived was the first of about a week of snow melting, come-out-and-play kind of weather. And what does one do after spending an Alaskan winter indoors? Well, you make the most of the new playground that has been defrosted.
Maybe it was simply the excitement of having a good friend from home by my side for a few days. Maybe it was the excitement of seeing all the flora and fauna that I haven’t even thought about since winter began. Maybe it was the realization that my time in Nome is beginning to come to a close. Whatever the contributing factors may have been, I think I lived more of Alaska in those couple of days than I have in the entirety of my stay here.
I sometimes get nervous about playing the part of tour guide. After months of living the day-to-day in Nome, I have forgotten how exciting this place is from an outside perspective. As much as I don’t like to admit it, I take so much of the novelty and beauty of Nome for granted by just looking at it from my bedroom window. As silly as it may sound, I get so comfortable with my work and home routine that I forget we are living in the aptly named Last Frontier.
Luckily my friend Jason can be described as “adventure ready.” In his short stay, we went snowshoeing, explored an abandoned dredge, tracked down the largest herd of muskox I had ever seen, all while introducing him to the ins and outs of Nome daily life as well as that of the KNOM community house. In some respects, it is the latter that I enjoy showing off the most. I won’t paint a picture that our humble home is always brimming with energy, harmony, and laughter – but when our paths do lead towards those things, it is something else to experience. Dance parties, family dinners, movies, and just time spent standing in the kitchen talking – we have gotten comments from all of our visitors about the quality of our family time and our ability to easily open our hearts to hospitality.
*All photos are by my wonderfully talented photographer friend, Jason R. Scott.
Knoxville, in a sense, is my spiritual home; where I will return when my time as a KNOM Volunteer is over. Having someone from there, who was part of my life before I set off on this adventure, and who simultaneously fills the role of being an individual who will be part of my life when all is said and done here, put me in the kind of mindset I really needed. It reminded me a lot of why I wanted this to be my next stepping stone in life; why I wanted so badly to be a part of KNOM’s mission. As I look back on my time here, I am, of course, so grateful for the time I have gotten to spend with my fellow Nomeites, but when it came to opening my eyes to view the wonders that reside around me, I really have to thank all of those who have come to visit us during our time in Nome and all of you who are visiting us through the content of this blog.
Thank you for sharing this adventure with us. You help make it even more worthwhile.