Bearing Tea Co. = bearing happiness

It’s always nice to find a good coffee house where you live, and in Nome, we have a gem! There is the best little coffee shop next to the gift and music shop called Bearing Song and Gifts Shop. You can get a warm drink and home-baked goods~like warm fresh muffins, and sit and enjoy the creative, home-made decorations of this cozy, welcoming place.Bering Tea Co




Mason jar lights

Mason jar lights

Mason jar chandelier

Mason jar chandelier

Cozy corner where I had  a warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven muffin

Cozy corner where I had a warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven muffin

Reading nook

Reading nook

reading nook 2

Bookshelf driftwood

Bookshelf driftwood

weathered coffee table in the sunlight, olive sofa

weathered coffee table in the sunlight, olive sofa

white piano

white piano

window seat

window seat

This is a Russian ukelele:

look a little closer. the details are the best part! :)

look a little closer. the details are the best part! :)


Second Saturday

I love Saturdays (and I feel like I’ve had a week of them)! I slept in a little, then went for a 9-mile jog-walk-explore today around town, and out the Nome-Teller road (it goes to the village of Teller). People are so friendly here—everybody waves passing by. It was chilly and overcast again today, with highs in the 40s. Although it was brisk, I was glad to be outside—in just two layers of thermals!!! 😉 While I saw kids playing and biking around in t-shirts… Kids are so resilient—they can adapt so much better to cold, altitude, heat…etc. And they are especially tough out here!

At this little airstrip (that is ¼ mile from my house) I stopped to take pictures, and a pilot airplanes

wind sock

stopped to chat. He found out that I grew up in PNG, and offered me a flight sometime. Yay! That’s another thing on my bucket list ~ getting get my pilot’s license. :) Heaps of people have them out here, but someone made a joke once (at least I think it was a joke) that it’s the most common cause of death of doctors in Alaska…because they only fly once in a while. Maybe it wasn’t a joke.

On my run, I wandered into an outlying community, called Icy View, a little place with cute street names like Out of The Way, Fore and Aft, Blueberry, Cranberry, Jackboot and Watch Glass.

Out of the way Watch GlassRound the clock Blueberry


I got to talk to a lovely woman who has been an elementary school teacher in Nome for 40 years. I wish I could have taken her picture, because she was just beautiful sitting outside on her green home. But I was too shy to even ask. :)

Sights in Icy View: Guess what animal this vertebrae is from?whale vertebrae

I wandered out into the tundra and saw bagillions of blueberries. More than I could ever eat in a month! handful of blueberries. Even all the bears and all the people don’t get through the bounty of blueberries in a season!








How many blueberries can you spot?!

bagillions of blueberries

Oh! And I was given a lovely welcome gift made with tundra blueberries:

Tundra blueberry bread

There are unbelievable amounts of gold mining and dredging equipment.

Dredge on the Bering Sea:IMG_3322

New gold searching: gold mine

Old gold searching: old gold shack

And now I’m enjoying my favorite Spanish culture: tapas (Alaska style. :))Alaska tapas



Rainy Day 6

It was raining heavy this morning, and so cozy! I was planning to go to the DMV to get my driver’s license (so I can become a state resident and receive the Alaska Permanent fund dividend$!), but found out that today is the one day of the week that it is closed. So, I cooked a yummy, warming pasta with tomato sauce, using the rest of my going-bad veggies. DMV tomorrow.


Deep rain puddle

I went out for a walk after the rain. Rain boots are essential, because there are deep mud (most roads aren’t paved) puddles everywhere with no drainage, so you must go puddle jumping!  

All the kids love to play in the rain and  snow-melt mud puddles here. Often the puddles are deeper than their wellies (muck boots), so their feet must be sloshing around in freezing water!

The rain and the weather moving in made the temperatures a lot colder today–in the 40s, and as if to emphasize that, I saw these guys going South:


Fair warning!!!


I love the sound of rain on a tin roof…but snow?!

Thinking of the cold approaching, I am in awe of the ramshackled, tin shed, weathered wood buildings around town. I know these are normal in places in the south, but in the frozen tundra, just down under the Arctic Circle with bitter, bitter cold?!?!! What really amazes me is all of the tents in the old pictures from the 1900 gold rush. Imacon Color Scanner“Nome, Alaska July 1900” Image Archives, Alaska State Library Photos

I cannot even begin to fathom living in a tent here! People are tough up this way. Today while I was bundled up, I crossed paths with many people in t-shirts and shorts….this does not bode well, I’m afraid.

My friends Phil and Sarah told me that the best way to acclimatize to the winters is to just get out every day. And that sometimes Sarah even likes to go run when it’s dark and cold and the winds are howling (even into a subzero headwind), because it’s a way of embracing what is here, accepting it, and even enjoying it. She did that especially while Phil was kayaking (for a charity cause) from Nome up north to Barrow, deep into the Arctic Circle…at the top of Alaska. It blows my mind. Check out their awesome blog~ Nome Misadventures. I like their advice. It’s applicable for anywhere, really. We will see how it goes… :)

I walked down by the sea with a chilling wind, but the sun came out, and the Norton Sound was as gorgeous as ever. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then I walked to the grocery/trade store to get a couple of items. The prices still take me by surprise (see post about cost of groceries in Nome). I also bought a bottle of wine—what I normally pay $10 for, was $22 here!!!

Of note, there are 9 churches and 11 bars in town. That’s a lot of both for a small town! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cost of groceries in Nome …(is crazy!)

Expect to pay about double (compared to average national prices) for groceries in Nome, Alaska–especially for fresh produce! Everything is shipped in–either by sea or air, so the prices reflect that. Luckily the water here is great, so no need to have a filter or bottled water. [If you are thinking of moving to nome, don’t let the cost of living be something that discourages you, because somehow, everybody makes it here.]

Budget: For one person (me), a medium eater, I paid $200 for about 1.5 weeks of groceries, so I expect to budget ~$500 per month. Granted, I do like to eat mostly fresh produce, I am vegetarian, and I like to eat as organic as possible (not a fan of toxic pesticides/herbicides). I also try to avoid processed food (19 Foods That Aren’t Food)–this website is a good reminder for me to avoid those appealing-but junk-fake foods!

For example: A gallon of milk costs $6, a small loaf of fresh bread is $6, a green pepper $3, a small bag of baby carrots $4. (Update: the fresh produce seems to go moldy very quickly–I imagine that by the time it gets here, it’s near the end of its freshness, so I’m learning to eat it up right away).
Some Pics of prices:

Yellow summer squash--also nearly double the price!

$2.49 per pound for yellow summer squash–also nearly double the price!

$1.79 each (normally I can buy 2 for $1)

Cucumbers $1.79 each (normally I can buy 2 for $1)

Broccoli: $2.99 per lb (normally ~$1.50/lb)

Broccoli: $2.99 per lb (normally ~$1.50/lb

Raspberries price

Organic raspberries and blackberries: $5.99 per box, normally ~$3.

Here's what $200 worth of groceries looks like

Here’s what $200 worth of groceries looks like


Check out this fun article by National Geographic: $16 Breadsticks: The High Cost of Living in Nome

Nome Sweet Homes and a PO Box (Day 4)

It’s drizzling today. The first overcast day since I’ve been here, but it’s still in the 50s and not too bad! I went to the post office to drop off my application for a PO box. There’s a waiting list to get a box.
Nome Post OfficeSo until then, my address is:

Shana Theobald
General Delivery
Nome, AK 99762

Here are some pictures from the post office:

Picture in the Nome Post Office

Picture in the Nome Post Office. Wow!

Wow! (it’s not quite this busy anymore)


Then I went to look at houses with a realtor, Nome Sweet Homes (it’s not often that you find an igloo and a cute name on a realtor’s logo). I’m not planning to buy a house yet, but wanted to get an idea of what kind of houses and prices are around here. Houses are very expensive here–it’s the first time I’ve seen a trailer house for over a quarter of a million dollars!: Nome Sweet Homes 2

The rest of the day I wandered around town, and here are some random favorites of what I saw:

The inviting local flower shop


The local Flower Shop. Owned by Trinh, a lovely woman of Vietnamese heritage, whose family has been here forever. She used to be a behavioral health counselor for 14 years in Nome. And now she runs this flower shop, which is lovely. And healing.

Sayings written on the flower shop walls.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nome Outfitters store (the flower shop lady’s husband owns this store):OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dredging bucket flower pot:

Dredging bucket flower pot

More flower pots ~ These are old buckets from the gold dredging machines that are discarded and then used to decorate parks and yards.

Dredging bucket flower pot 3    Dredging bucket flower pot 2

My favorite grocery store logo ~ from Hanson’s Trading store:

Hanson's symbol

That is how the sun rolls across the horizon on the long summer days.

Barge on the Bering Sea–this is what my cargo is coming in on! Should be here in 1-2 weeks!


I love the lego-block containers

Ladder on a roof:


This is not one of the Nome Sweet Homes that I looked at today.:)

I can’t get over the colors here, everywhere!: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA