Back in the town, in the cafe, at the window, by the table, on the chair, drinking the latte where it all started, I couldn't help but think about when was it exactly I started this blog. And holysmokes, it was exactly two years and two days ago. Which is ironic, because that also happens to be my father's birthday, which was one of the reasons this blog came into existence: to inform my father of my whereabouts without him having to leave too frequent voicemails. I don't think I planned it to start on his birthday, but since it did; happy birthday, Pappa and happy second, BushRadio. And funnily enough, this is exactly my 100th posting.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I went reindeer herding. After 2500 deer, 13 hours and 12 miles stumbling over tussocks on the tundra in my work-boots not recommended for hiking, I finally got my reindeer footage. Every few miles I'd get picked up in the helicopter, and plopped down where I was needed to keep the reindeer bunched together, which was the main function of the herding. It's the new meets the old, we were three walkers on the ground while the helicopter buzzed above. When I was returned to the cabin where we started, a RedBull was waiting for me, given to me by the young guy who'd been there earlier. I remembered he had a million dollar grin, and was told he was also a convicted murderer. Apparently for running over his dad with a car. Twice. Never met one of those before. It was an Alaska day of firsts, for sure.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
It's reindeer season. Reindeer are penned up, tagged, notched and recorded. While we record, notch, tag and pen, food will be prepared, because it takes days. Food is also reindeer. And since winter just ended, coats are being shed, so reindeer hair is everywhere. And when you finally get to steal some shut-eye, dreams are about reindeer. Yes, it's reindeer season.
Friday, June 5, 2009
I met a man on the beach and he had an ear-to-ear grin talking about how he ended up in Alaska. It had something to do with the weather. Everybody in Alaska has a story about how they ended up in Alaska, even if they're born here they have some story about how their parents ended up in Alaska, only to conceive them somewhere in Alaska so they could end up in Alaska. The man on the beach told a story about being swallowed by the weather, and then the chopper flew overhead running away from the weather.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Religion is very important in Alaska. Nome has eight churches, five of which are spread over a three-block radius, ready to serve. Once upon an Alaska time someone in charge took a map and designated certain settlements to be this that and the other Christian denomination. The Natives already thought there were some kind of higher spirit lurking, but they’d never known its name. In come the missionaries eager to tell. Now the locals could go to a building every Sunday and pay their respects to a specific god, named God, and their place in the afterlife would be a done deal. It must have been the missionaries dream-come-true, and the result is churches everywhere.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Alaska loves dogs. After taking some evolutionary steps from the wolf, the dogs have helped deliver mail, provide transportation and fill the Alaska air with barks, howls and general dog sounds. As the great state continues through westernized evolution it's not surprising to find dogs doing the same thing.
Yearly is an event the locals call Break Up. This has nothing to do with switching partners, but everything to do with the Bering Sea and watching the ice sail away to unavoidable ice-death. Somehow Break Up doesn't seem to come fast enough as the locals started talking about it sometime last month, and a few days ago euphoria hit. The shoreline broke the ice's heart and sent it packing to sea. Welcome back the smell of salt, ripples on the water and the shade of dark blue. It's as if the place woke up; the dancers scheduled to entertain the elders failed to show, apparently they'd taken their boats and gone hunting, and the townies walk around with permasmiles big enough to melt what's left of the permafrost. Good times to be had.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Every day at noon the fire-alarm rings loud over Nome. It’s loud enough to make a cadet stand attention, and the town's many dogs howl. It also announces it's time for town to take lunch, which I think is odd because nothing here seems to open before noon. Which leads me to believe that perhaps it’s not the lunch bell, but the time-to-go-to-work bell. Either way, it’s a sign.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I love English. It has words like boondoggle. I learned it on CNN, yes, I barely have internet, but CNN seems to flow without interruption here, don’t ask... Boondoggle means work that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value. CNN is a bit of a boondoggle sometimes. Internet too. Personally I can spend hours, even days on the internet, surfing blogs, Facebook and the occasional world renown newspaper (only if someone is reading over my shoulder of course, after which I return to boondoggling blogs and Facebook), and always make it seem like I’m doing very important work. Point and case, I just made you spend 30 seconds on my boondoggle of a blog, much appreciated, where I use words like boondoggle frequently and in many incorrect ways... Keep up the good work!
Monday, May 4, 2009
It lives under the motto: There’s No Place Like Nome. It’s true, a city of 3000 on the spit of a peninsula in the Bering Sea, 15 minutes on foot will take you from one side of town to the other, about 7 minutes will do across. It’s a city built on a promise of gold which still holds. Named because of a spelling error, apparently some Brits sailed around in the Bering Sea some 150 years ago and realized this prominent point was nameless. The officer wrote “? Name” on the map, which the guy copying it down saw as “C Nome” which turned into Cape Nome, which means it was officially named by a mapmaker in the British Admirality. Gold was prominent here once, still is, and every year the Iditarod lands about 1000 dogs here. It’s also very rhymalicious: Nome, home, alone, condone, moan, grown, tone, bone, cone...
Thursday, April 23, 2009
My hostess' brother is the Weather Man. He used to work for the weather service in Nome, as the weather forecaster, which is different from the meteorologist, but since he's entirely Inupiaq and born into snow, his instincts get cred. He was known to change the forecast the meteorologist in Fairbanks had for Nome, he'd call up and say: "Hey, do you know something I don't" and then they'd give in. He asked me to go for a ride up the road to see how far along they were on clearing it of snow, and how could I say no to that. I mean, who doesn't want to know how the road-clearing is going. About five miles out he nodded his consent and declared the road-workers were doing a much better job this year. He didn't say much else. He made jokes about things I didn’t understand, and as he’d forgotten his hearing aid, he couldn’t really hear me asking about it either. So we just laughed, which is what people do in the north when things get complicated. Laugh.
Friday, April 17, 2009
They let me back in, these perky people of the north. The framilends grew in size, learned words in need of translation from bi-lingual interpreters, and acquired a particular fondness for puddle-jumping slash rolling. Basecamp Framilends is as warm and welcoming as always, the six-month old who became a one-year old is now a two-year old walking around the house saying “excuse me” and constantly reminding me that I came on a plane and live in the basement, or kjeller’n, as she speaks two languages simultaneously. A fairly accurate assesment of my life done by a two-year old. After I resupply at the grocery store where you can buy your eggs, milk, bread, flat-screen tv, gas, gun and garden furniture all in one go, I bid farewell to fair Faribanks and get on a plane. Nome next.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
My brother works in finance, NYC. Admirable, perhaps a little free-falling at the moment, and all very hush-hush. When I get an email from the bro, let's say to remind me of dinner reservations at 8, I also get a full disclosure underneath stating that the message contains confidential information only intended for the named individual(s) above. In this case me. If I'm not that person, I can't read nor distribute the information anywhere or pass it along. I am also informed that the message does not contain any investment advice, nor should I take it as a recommendation to buy or sell anything. I wonder if purchasing food and eating it is considered an investment. I'll have to ask the bro at 8, we have dinner reservations and I'm disclosing that here...
Grandma giggles. Especially when it comes to her main man Ares, the dog, who unfortunately had an accident and tore his nail. Now he gets to look silly with a tract over his head, and grandma gets to get appalled that I'd photograph him in such a state, apparently I'm inconsiderate of his feelings... I miss grandma.
Sun! In the polar regions there’s sometimes a circle around the sun, but nobody seems to remember what that means. It has something to do with the weather, this much is agreed, but the old folk tales have been lost on the townies of Tromsø. I bid my farevell to Tromsø for the summer, headed for another advendture in Alaska. Four months of frisky funness, stay tuned!
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
In fickle financial times, what better news to read over tea than the pink paper. Providing gossip on the latest of the former greats being hunted down for embezzling and stealing, looking prison in the eye, it's now as fun as the tabloids. Time to think, re-think and be thankful for modest means...
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Last year I had my picture taken on sea-ice, holding a giant Shee-fish, fur around my collar and sporting a smile only someone high on nature can carry. This year I'll share another portrait. It's from yesterday's fever-daze, in a room as tidy as my brain, wearing glasses which make everything blurry... Welcome, wisdom of the weary.
Monday, February 16, 2009
New adventure. This time I wanted to investigate a place known to be under the plastic on your common classroom globe. This island houses the world’s entire collection of seeds, has more polar bears than inhabitants (although most have never seen one), one school, one university which only offer courses in Arcitc something-or-other, and an automatic preservation of anything and everything placed here before 1945. Even cinderblocks. It is also a place where everything should be in the Guinness World Book of Records; northern-most swimming-pool, northern-most newspaper, northern-most road system, northern-most café-which-serves-lattés, northern-most elementary school, northern-most car dealer, northern-most restaurant and northern-most city where I'm visiting the northernmost-family-who-just-moved-here. And I'm currently the northern-most-girl-in-a-coffeeshop drinking the northern-most-latte.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Since November our days have for the most part looked like this. Nail clipping of light towering 384 403 km above us. Someone told me the Japanese think there's a picture of a rabbit in the moon. I'm still struggling to find that man in there everybody's going on about, wondering what he's thinking about us gawking at him all the time. Must be uncomfortable being started at by billions for eternity. Tomorrow we get our light back, the sun will again arrive to make us happy. Only pity it's forecasted to be a cloudy one...
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Happy New Year, people! It happened sort of suddenly, 2008... It's now an imprint in the memory of times past. Kind of like waiting for the bus and leaving an impression of how that can be done. With this the Bush Bus leaves the station for hopefully more exciting adventures in 2009, stay tuned, I'll try to make it interesting...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Watching sports with grandma is always a favored pastime. Generally I’m not a sports-on-TV kinda girl, but Norwegian commentators, along with an 88-year-old sidekick, are just too good to pass up. Sunday we watch wonders of the snow all over the Alps, people with steady muscles and extended feet working miracles in the hills. Aside from grandma’s extensive knowledge about skiers’ competence and personal life, along with general weather conditions in the area, the commentators are my most favorite part of watching sports. They talk non-stop, in many levels of Decibel, and if the great ski-nation of Norway doesn’t have a competent enough skier, they choose a Swede. If there are no Swedes or Norwegians to get excited about they holler in favor of the Finns. And if there are no Finns, well, then perhaps it's not worth watching...
Friday, November 28, 2008
In the Polar regions there's a symbol for the sun seldom seen other places. It's a simple drawing of the sun below the horizon line, providing local third graders with an alternative way to doodle sunset-on-the-horizon. It never comes up, and it never sets. People get physically affected by this perpetual lack of natural light, so much so it has it's own name: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Treatments include light therapy with bright lights, ionized air, anti-depression medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy and carefully monitored doses of melatonin. Or, simply, go native and drink cod-liver-oil every morning followed by several doses of alcohol at night-time. Whenever that is...
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I live on an island shaped almost exactly like Manhattan, only much smaller. Despite its small size there has been no need for people to build towers to the sky, as there is more than enough space to go around for its 60 000 inhabitants. This polar town comes complete with its very own mountain, university, lake, hotel-shaped-like-a-ship, Aurora Borealis, and towers made from doorbells.
The other day we were at the university learning about this, that and the other when the sudden sound of fire rung through. Memories of childhood past came back as we scurried in an orderly fashion toward the door, only to find that it was completely locked. We school in a building where doors can only be unlocked from the outside, windows don't open more than a crack, and the fire alarm cause a complete lock-down. One of many things about my university experience that defies all logic.
Friday, November 7, 2008
The dusk is hitting the north like a vortex swallowing the earth. Daylight's few hours become precious minutes of D-vitamin boosts, eating fish and consuming cod liver oil to fight the darkness depression. And when not scurrying to the top of mountains or drowning the boogeyman at the bar, the blog gets plotted. In the wee hours of surfing the web a fun project presented itself. A website for the website, which can be found here for all you facebook enthusiasts. Coming soon will be the myspace-page-for-the-facebook-page-for-the-blog-for-the-website, or something along those lines.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Somewhere over the rainbow is a beach over the arctic. People go here to surf! They travel this surge above the circle, as if jumping into sub-zero is the most natural thing in the world. Waves of the North Sea, watch out for the children of the 69th latitude.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
In the face of the elderly you can find the wisdom of the past. Every little wrinkle represents a story, every word lost to memory is another sign that the inevitable is at the doorstep. They live in homes, where the only people who can benefit from their wrinkled knowledge are the other wrinkles, bunched together in circles trading stories of the old days. On a recent outing to such a home I witnessed a room full of elderlies with missing words learning how to use YouTube. The intention was to invoke memories of the past by teaching them technology of the future. To the sound of old folksongs, the elderlies sang, laughed and cried, and it made me wonder if we sometimes forget that even the old are young at heart.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Somewhere in the maze of scholastic information I’m expected to write a paper. Writing, along with talking and making photographs of stuff are a few of my favorite things. I’m assigned an academic paper with an opinion about approaching people, which in my science is profoundly non-academic and also one of my favorite things. I’m expected to write a paper where I pepper in words of scientific significance, big words, which makes me feel somewhat like a 1-year-old trying to read a book my way, and having an adult tell me it’s up-side-down.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Moving to Norway proved to be just a matter of some heavy packing, some even heavier luggage, a plane and a small move to my grandmother's basement. Only then to be informed that the most northern university in the world had accepted me, but couldn't inform me until a week before school started, due to the administration being on vacation. Thus some more packing, some light luggage, another plane, and a small move to a city three degrees north of the arctic circle. Things here move like syrup. Everything seems to happen tomorrow and next week, only to be happening tomorrow and next week again. And after three weeks, it's still going to happen sometime tomorrow or next week. If you ever try to speed up the process, the answer is always the same: "Keep some ice in your stomach and see what happens." Luckily the first ice has appeared on the tallest mountain around, so there's enough to go around. More tomorrow. Or next week.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
It happened, it's over! Summer in Norway has taken leave, and fall has made its gray entrance. Gone is cucumber news full of water and fluff, shrimps on the dock, laps in the ocean and shameless flirting. So long summer, hello winter!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
It's a humongous question. Open to and subject of all kinds of philosophical discussions done by brains everywhere. Particularly in the US where they once defined it, only to loose the definition in order to create newer definitions on something already defined. But if you'd met this five-year-old girl in a field somewhere in the middle of Norway a summer afternoon, she'd have no problem giving you a satisfactory answer. Sunny day. Dirty knees. A large field of really tall corn, the ability and willingness to run run run, fall fall fall, and perhaps, at the end of the day, an ice-cream cone from grandma's freezer. Sometimes looking hard for something means it's just right there.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
On a recent stroll in the many parks of my hometown I came upon a childhood favorite. Cherry trees! As a young punk I used to steal cherries from Arnardo, the circus family. They had several large ones, surrounding their house by our cabin, and all summer they’d be gone circusing leaving us free to pillage their trees. We’d sit for hours shoving our faces, making our moms very upset over our cherry-soaked t-shirts, rendered un-cleanable and making it impossible to stand before a judge with innocent faces. Now these trees scattered all around the public greenness that is Oslo serves a different purpose. Free food! In these times of low income, new beginnings and an anorexic wallet, the red berries have become a valued source of vitamins and juice. But as I bite down and devour the pulp, I admit, getting them off the forbidden trees tasted much better.
It’s summer in Norway. Summer is a favorite of Norwegians, it gives them free rains to party, drink and fornicate. To assist its citizens in this endeavor, various festivals have been created with this purpose in mind. And music, of course. Jazz, rock, punk, indie and classical can be enjoyed in a natural, outdoor setting. Add some overpriced beer in plastic cups, a scorching sun overhead, and you have the ingredients for the perfect Norwegian summer. It also has another interesting, yet determining factor. It’s called the Universal Vacation. Every year, around July, Norwegians go on vacation so they can enjoy said festivals and the summer cabins they occupy only a few weeks a year. This sociodemocratic nation provides its citizens with five weeks of vacation a year, most of which is taken during July and August. The result of this is that doing things like eating at a restaurant, seeing your favorite dentist, having a baby, taking a train or seeing a judge becomes very difficult as all these people, and more, have gone on holiday at the same time. Norway in the summer moves at a slower speed than a slug, but the happiness is vast and bountiful.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Relationships can be hard. Sometimes the love just isn’t there anymore, and passion fizzles into a memory of the past. Instead of skipping a beat, the heart feels dreary and lame, searching frantically for feelings once there. Nothing. Gone. No deal. So as I packed my bags and closed the door behind me one last time I remember the good times, what once was this magical city which taught me so much, but alas the magic is gone. Later Yorkis! I'll miss ya!!
Monday, June 23, 2008
As I leave Alaska for what I'm thinking will be a while, salmons are starting to school up the rivers. Readying themselves for what salmon do best they take off for multiplications, smelling their way toward an inevitable death. Little do they know what awaits them on the way. If it wasn't enough that these swimmers had to swim against the flow and switch from salt to freshwater, they have another predator to fend off. And it's not only the bear. Once they reach the mouth of the river, the worlds most dangerous predator awaits with a stick. As the salmon season starts, people everywhere sharpen their hooks, string out their rods and prepare for little more than Last Frontier elbowroom in an event coined Combat Fishing.
Crazy is such a good word. The US loves crazy. There is a whole industry of doctors out there who rely heavily on Americans acting out of the ordinary and needing to talk about it. Even the shrinks go to see shrinks and talk about the crazy stuff they hear from the crazies. Crazy is cool. So when you go to the middle of nowhere, to an island sans trees which was never intended as a place to live, and meet some crazy locals full of spirit and spirits, crazy hits another high. And all the while you watch the craziness unfold, you come to the realization that these people aren't crazy at all, but I am for thinking so. They have come to terms with their craziness, and are completely at ease in their findings. As Captain Ahab says: "They think me mad--Starbuck does; but I'm demoniac, I am madness maddened! That wild madness that's only calm to comprehend itself!"
Sunday, June 22, 2008
One of the most amazing things about this country is their road system. It just works, it's a fine tuned machine. Americans love their cars so much there are actually on average more cars than there are people to drive them. Each U.S. household holds 1.9 cars and 1.8 drivers. Every day people set out on roadtrips, ready to spend some quality time with their vehicles, seeing the land buzz by in a fleeting and speedy way as they howl to their favorite pop songs. It's the freedom of the land of freedom. But there are other ways to see land. By boat, for example. Less people do it, there is no hassle with traffic in your lane, and the road is always not taken. So, in these times of costly fossil energy and much disdain with general gas consumption, I urge you Americans, set sail and find a different freedom. It's the ultimate roadtrip.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Nome. Again. Only this time there's no snow. At all. Completely gone. In the stores hang posters wishing welcome to watchers of birds. Apparently one of Nomes biggest pulls in the summer is birds. And gold. The miners are in full fledge dredging the sand through washtubs resembling half-sunken ships. Apparently there is money in this gold business, although you wouldn't imagine by looking at them. Face and hands are so embedded with dirt they look like they just came out of a cave. They probably did. Come out of a cave. Like the bears. Come to think of it they actually kind of look like bears. Their stories are great and they are always busy with something. I am also going on a boat. In the Bering Sea, an ocean I'm completely facinated with, but also a little scared of. Which is the best reason to go I think. I'll be back in three weeks with some pictures and some more stories, wet stories.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I forget about this town sometimes. Sorry, city. The City. It’s as if this place is a universe of its own, with small solar systems spinning around at different paces within. Sunday I went on a nature hike with 45 000 other walkers, 6.5 miles of gridlock exercising, if you will. Granted, it was for a cause, successfully collecting some 7 million dollars to fight AIDS. Thursday I had an assignment to photograph a businessman in his office who subsequently announced he’d just lost two million(!) dollars overnight (ooops), and in the same breath offered me espresso. He didn’t even flinch. In fact, he smiled even more broadly. Wow. Then there was the wedding assignment in Tribeca, two lovers getting hitched at a loft, which happened to belong to a famous Pop artist, as in late 50s art. Casually he was wedding the couple, yet not casual at all, as I had photographed this same painter five years prior when his work had invaded the whole Guggenheim museum. I think they called it a retrospective. Hellonicetomeetyouagain, as I’m hoping my awe isn’t showing too much as my nervousness trickles out of my pores and stains my armpits. Awe! Sometimes this town, city, universal gridlock of a place is just too much to handle. In a good way. I think.
Monday, May 12, 2008
They run high, especially at airports. Old friends, family members, the car service guy from Brooklyn who doesn’t know where he’s going nor speaks any English, emotions everywhere. The worst part about meeting someone at the airport is the waiting. Worrying about your meter expiring, thinking about the work you’re missing. Regretting you didn’t bring that book. Or flowers! How could you forget the flowers! But wait, in America, flowers, like chocolate, Pepsi and convenient snack sized potato chips, come in vending machines, so if you had that affair or forgot that anniversary, savior is conveniently placed in a machine. Welcome home.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
In an alley under a market behind a bar stands a wall. Once upon a time this wall was just like any other brick wall, standing solid, protecting it’s inner sanctum from forces fumbling outside. Until one day, one fumbler deposited a piece of gum, radically changing its fate forever. Because, like all things one person does, another has to mimic and so on. Until finally the end result is a wall no longer recognized for it’s bricks, but for its crummy and colorful array of gum, rendering it brilliantly disgusting.
It’s all the rage. Getting married. Wiser people than myself blame it on age. I remember when my parents were my age, they were really old. Adults even. The fact that I can remember my parents being my age, not only makes me old, but also a late bloomer. I’m not bothered by this. In my generation being a late bloomer is all the rage, as well as saying all the rage multiple times in one blog. Which is another thing that is all the rage. Blogging. My most recent friend to get hip and engaged was perhaps a bit more curious than the others. She’s a woman who likes other women, until she met a boy she liked more, and now they’re engaged. She is a self-proclaimed hasbian, making it all the rage enough to earn its very own hip word.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
It’s spring! This is evident by the sun being up when I get up and go to bed. Spring is, as always, highly unpredictable. One day there will be people in shorts and flip flops running around eating ice-cream with glee in their faces and a skip in their hop. The next day ice-rain will prevent mail planes from landing anywhere in nowhere, and put wool shoes back in fashion. All the while people will shake their heads and wonder what happened to spring, certainly this has never happened before. As far as I can recall this event takes place most everywhere seasonal with the same outcome. As it were, spring also signals another very important event in Alaska. Break up. It’s the time when everything shifts, but until the change is complete limbo rules. You can’t travel on the ice, and ice renders your boat useless. Driveways are knee deep in mud, and people use the puddles on their lawn as training ground for the upcoming canoe trip. The bear resurfaces after its long doze as do odd creatures from other bubbles. So as I watch the white man in the extravagant indian costume bob to his iPod I take a minute to realize I’m going through my own breakup. I’ll sure miss this wonderful and smelly place.