I am writing to you currently from my cabin by Arctic Ocean on the Chukchi Sea at a fish camp called LaVonne’s in the city of Kotzebue, Alaska. I am 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle and have been up here for 6 weeks. The phone reception has been super spotty because my phone carrier hasn’t conquered this area yet (“V” and no more hints) thus I’ve been on airplane mode the whole time here. If you want to not be found, then this is your city.
I saw the Aurora Borealis for the first time a few nights ago and tonight is a perfect night for it so I am going to stay up until 1 or 2 am to see them- which now leads me back to my writing from the cabin so I can do something productive while I wait. Being productive isn’t synonymous to my nature but I’m trying to come back to the grind since I’ve already started receiving syllabi from school! I will be missing a week of school because my project doesn’t finish until then but that story will be for another blogpost.
Back to my initial intention—I want to talk about my first internship in the archaeological field school during the first half of the summer. I learned a lot but something I am most proud of is the tolerance to green chile and other hot foods I gained while staying in New Mexico. I don’t cry, I don’t know why but I just don’t, however if you hook it up with a bit of green chile on the side, tears will be shed. Or well, would’ve been shed. Now, I can compete with the medium dogs—the big dogs do habanero and I still can’t, and the bigger dogs do wasabi, something that I ate once when I was younger and felt fumes coming out the side of my ears. Never again, but hey, I’ll take being a medium dog.
On a more cereal note, I really enjoyed the communal lifestyle that we experienced there, camping for 6 weeks in individual tents. Time and the realization of time is so trippy; during the middle of a stint you feel like it’s been dragging on forever but then on the last days you get hit with riding down Memory Lane and can’t fathom the fastness of your experience. I picked up at that stint a love to preserve stories and landscapes and making them accessible to people who wouldn’t ordinarily be exposed to this. I found out that I do not want to be an academic but rather someone who works with a community to help them save their history. One of our fieldtrips was to Zuni pueblo, by the northwest border of AZ and NM. The tribe is in the process of trying to preserve a historical place to the Zuni and have it designated as a federal park. There were a lot of dogs and a lot of dirt involved in my archaeological adventure for 6 weeks. It was awesome.
I am yawning to the point where I can place my laptop in my mouth, pretty big yawns, so I must take the hint and finish this off so I can sleep for 45 minutes or so to go check for the northern lights. There is no official forecast for this phenomenon but usually it happens when there are no clouds in the sky and the sky is dark. Being in the land of the midnight sun, it makes it a bit hard in the first months of spring and summer but then the days get shorter and shorter after the solstice. Wish me luck and also good luck to you on this next semester. See you all later,
Best: Daniel Agudelo