Ketchikan, Alaska was my speech-language job assignment for the months of January and February. The second time around was much easier as I was already familiar with the kids, their objectives, the schedule, the town, etc. Within the one month that I was absent, they'd gained an hour of sunlight on each end of the day! No more leaving and returning from school in the dark. It looks as though I will be returning to Ketchikan a few more times this semester, but my next stop is...
KOTZEBUE, a native village (pop.3,600, approximately 70% native) located 33 miles of the Arctic Circle on Alaska's western coast. Today, the sunrise is recorded for 9:18am and sunset will occur at 6:45pm; they are currently gaining 7 minutes of light each day. Fast-forward to June 4th and the sun remains up until... July 9th! The average high temperature for today, February 25, is 6 degrees while the low is 7 below. Tourism, so says the internet, is limited as this is a working town. However, native art made from mammoth and walrus ivory as well as furs and beadwork are of high quality and are 1/2 to 1/3 the price of that which is found in Anchorage. "Cash is king" in Kotzebue and credit cards are often not accepted. I stumbled upon a website's list of reasons to live in the arctic (http://kotzpdweb.tripod.com/reason.html) that I think is worth sharing:
- Thunder (and Lightning) storms are rare.
- 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit are considered HOT days.
- 24 hour sun for 20 days in June, 24 hour Dark for 20 days in December, equal 12hr sun/dark at March and September Equinoxes. Always changing!
- The Sun is in a different position at any given time of the day. In other words, that morning commute 'sun in your eyes' will only be for about a week.
- Aurora Borealis -the Northern Lights- always inspiring and viewable 6-9 months of the year!
- No fleas, no cockroaches, no ticks, few spiders (unless you bring 'em with you).
- Little chance of sunburn, sunstroke or skin cancer.
- Less light pollution for viewing the stars and planets.
- Less crowding, less traffic. You can usually walk where you need to go.
- Cold air is heavier, so aircraft fly better in the cold (to a certain degree).
- With Global Warming, the climate is only improving!
I'm not quite convinced--I love good ol' Colorado sun--but I'll try it for a week! I believe that during this assignment I'll be staying in the school. I've been told that when youth travel to towns such as this for school sports events, they spend the night in the school buildings as lodging is limited. Also, the focus of my job will shift from treatments (my primary responsibility in Ketchikan) to assessments. I'm excited about this--I love conducting evaluations. Well, now you know everything I do about my next assignment. Here's to my next adventure!
OF NOTE: Austin's sister, Maggie, just confirmed that she will be McCarthy's museum coordinator for the first half of the '14 tourist season! Yes, that's the job I had last summer--more later about my plans for this summer. It's gonna be great to have her as a neighbor. Also my two brothers, Will and Jesse, are planning on fishing in Cordova, Alaska (1 hour flight south of us) in August, along with our buddies Ryan and Forrest! Thus, my parents are planning on coming up for a visit! How about you? We'd love to have y'all!