Become Who You’re Trying to Find

Late night lady talk with Jess, while everyone else was out being tourists and doing the “Polar Plunge.” We were inside the apartment alone, drinking tea and reading. And then she asked to talk to me. And I realized that we haven’t talked one on one in quite awhile. And how much I miss it. And why we’re so similar. And how she’s going to start some sort of revolution in Miami this coming year, and I want to come and see it when it happens.

I was so dehydrated earlier today, felt awful when I woke up and couldn’t figure out why. Thought maybe it was the whale. Slogged through the day, drinking lots of coffee and continuing to wonder why I felt so out of it.

Carinne put on a dance show for me in our room, but I was falling asleep as she jumped up and down on our bed.

They all left the apartment to go jump in the Arctic Ocean, and I ventured out into the living room again. I made a cup of tea and sat down in the middle of the living room to drink it. And then I made another. And another. And then chugged approximately six water bottles. And took a shower. And ate five helpings of lentils and dumplings. And played the guitar that has magically appeared in our living room, and listened to Jess read from the indigenous wisdom book.

When in doubt, drink water.

And when in doubt, remember the words.

We’re waiting for our ride home from work earlier today, and we get offered like four rides. After a while, we decided that we will take the next person up on their offer. And jump in this little ATV/jeep/car with zip up windows- ready for an Arctic safari.

I text Heather to let her know we’ve snagged a ride. “We’ve got a ride,” I write.

“Where?” Heather texts back.

“Home,” I reply. Where else?

To make things clear, I follow up with, “We don’t need a ride home, thanks though.”

I immediately get a call, but since I’ve been in Alaska, all calls I receive come up with a 746 number, and I never know who is calling. I assume it’s Heather, and it’s way too loud in this jeep, can’t hear anything. So I don’t answer it.

I get another text from Heather, “Call as soon as you get a chance.”

I look back through my texts, and realize that it’s not Heather I’ve been texting all along, but it’s my Dad.

The ride home is great, we are driven by this beautiful native man who Jess has been eyeing at the BARC for the past few weeks. I’m sitting in the backseat watching as they coincidentally slide closer to each other as we go over the bumps in the dirt roads.

When we get back, Heather gets tense with me for not letting her know where we were at. “I thought I was texting you, honestly. But I was texting my Dad!”

She does not find this as funny as I do.

I call my parents back in Kansas, and reassure them that I am not making my way back home today. They breathe a sigh of relief, as they were pretty sure that I was hopping a plane at that moment and flying back to the Midwest. “It would have put a strain on your relationship with your brother. Irreparable damage, actually,” my Mother lets me know.

I laugh, and think about how amazing it is that I’m not about to jump a plane today. I’ve come quite a way in three weeks.

I am definitely overwhelmed right now. But in the best way possible. Things are perhaps a little complicated. Perhaps a lot complicated. And the rabbit hole just seems to get deeper, and more intriguing and maddening.

But I’ve decided to embrace simplicity and the present moment. And it’s been working out surprisingly well so far.

But writing right now? I think I just need to write for me tonight. Maybe I’ll write about Nalukataq, but mostly I just want to lose myself in a book and read. I have a book full of notes and thoughts taken from the past two days, but I plan on just writing about things as I think about them, instead of forcing anything together onto paper. l will tell you about the generous helpings of whale I was urged to consume by good people later this weekend. I promise.

It’s a cloudy, gray day out today. Pretty cold, but warmer than yesterday. It’s been about 30 to 40 degrees the past few days, but we’ve all been snuggling together to make up the difference. The Arctic life is getting to us for sure… weird, weird, weird dynamics taking shape up here. Fascinating? Terrifying?

“I just keep dropping these fucking bones…”




Thousand year old artifacts being dropped on the floor while we lazily sort through surprise grab bags of body parts in various states of decomposition.

I’m making lentils and dumplings for dinner.


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