We had a welcome potluck this evening with most of the doctors, and it was a wonderful way to get to know the community better on fun time (ie. non-business time), and to experience the close-knittedness here. There were lots of fun, interesting conversations and stories—it reminded me of the mission community gatherings in Wewak. The potluck food was dee-lish! I had fresh, home baked bread, and although I’m a vegetarian, I got my first taste of moose. 😕 I’m not going to lie; the omnivore in me liked it… not sure what to do about eating meat up here, because I think it’s different when it’s subsistence hunting. There are a lot of reasons I don’t eat animal products, but more on that topic later. Also, side note~ did you know you can get 100% of your Vitamin D from mushrooms?! Good news for cold climate citizens!
I heard stories of Nome and some of the legendary folks who have lived here. I met a gold miner/dredger who told me about what it’s like to dredge and to live dependent on it. He said right now, people are finding 0.5 to 1 ounce of gold per hour, and some are finding up to 2 oz/hr! (1 oz of gold = $1,325). But then it’s only seasonal when the ice is not frozen, and it’s frozen from Oct-June. And lots of people don’t make it. He and his friend were the ones who got Discovery Channel to create the series “Bering Sea Gold,” which was apparently much more interesting in its early days, but now he laments its downward trend to a “blue collar soap opera.” (It’s still the most-watched show by men, though!) He was on the show in the first season. I might get to go out diving for gold with them, if the weather is good and I’m not working!
Surprisingly, I got to see a cockatoo. Yep, here in Nome. 🙂 I said “koki kaikai” to it (a phrase that our pet cockatoos would say all the time in PNG—in tok pisin means “cockatoo eat”), and it turned its head sideways and looked at me. as if maybe it understood… 🙂
I was given wise advice by a lovely doctor who has been here for decades who is so motherly to all of us. When she first moved here, she had a vehicle and would go out camping in the tundra, fishing, then cook the fish and sleep in her tent…alone. Now she has a cabin on the beach. She said she never brought a gun (which most say you have to have here), because she felt like she would be in more danger with a gun than without (my kind of lady!). Even though she has had moose and bears outside her cabin, she has never had any problems. She was sharing tips on working in the hospital, and she reassured me that I am never alone, and if I ever need help that I should not hesitate to call. Then, in keeping with her spirit of generosity, she gave me a ride home.
Highlights of the day: (besides the potluck) I got to do radio traffic again! It was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to go to Wales (this is confirmed the village that I will be going to—on my own!!!), which apparently hasn’t had a doctor out there for a year. Every Community Health Aid said that they can’t wait to meet the new doctors! They were all so welcoming and each of the 15 villages invited me out to visit them. Big smile! I love this place and its friendliness! Also, I learned from one colorful health aid that “termination dust” is what some islanders call snow (ie it terminates the Summer), and the physical therapist is called “the King of Pain” and one of the doctors who has been here forever is called “grandma.”
Also, I got to do a shoulder injection today, and I got to read two x-rays…all completely on my own! Thanks to Bruner Family Medicine Residency Program and the Ski clinic in Crested Butte, CO for the great training!
Check out this fascinating view of earth’s snow through the year=mesmerizing, breathing earth. (I now prefer a globe picture of the earth, because everything up here is so distorted and detached on the rectangle map): http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/08/14/mesmerizing-gifs-of-breathing-earth/