It’s been a while since I did an update from Kodiak, and it’s definitely overdue. The last time, I mostly talked about the surroundings, and while I always have more to say on that subject, I figured I’d throw in a little bit about my research this time as well. Things have been going well – I’m certainly busy, and I am increasingly feeling like, while there are limitations to this town, I don’t really want to leave. I want to find a cute semi-Victorian and obviously coastal house, settle in with a hoophouse and my dog, and spend time growing veg and knitting. And maybe doing research, because that’s obviously why I’m actually here.
Research has been going well. There are downsides to being here in the summer (although you’d never know it otherwise), because everyone is extremely busy. The salmon fleet is out, and most of the guides that I’m hoping to talk to are presumably very busy for the summer. They have business in the winter, as well (I’m becoming ever more familiar with the hunting schedule here, which frankly, I never thought I’d say), but they are the most busy now, with customers flying in for the nice weather. And it has been lovely – there have been gorgeous days, interviewing folks outside, digging my toes into the sand, and watching the wind turbines turn over town. There have been quiet, rainy days as well, and I can’t say enough how refreshing and restorative it is to be anywhere but Tempe right now.
Research is slowly and quietly coming to a close here for me; I’ve got 36 interviews now, and I need exactly one more before I’ve gotten enough interviews from people from town. I hope to continue interviewing folks later in the season as the guiding and chartering business slows down, so I won’t entirely be done here until the fall, but it certainly is slowing now. I’m hoping to get several more interviews, just in case the quality of some isn’t as good as I’d hoped, and because I have so many surveys sitting in my bag that I really actually want to do more. The amazing thing about it is that, as uncomfortable as I was at the beginning, I am both so much less, and still so very uncomfortable. I am so familiar with the questions themselves by now that there is a sense of ease in asking people. I am getting a feeling for eliciting more information, for asking the questions with the right lilt; I’m learning to read people better, which is a really interesting side benefit of this job, and it’s absolutely fascinating to watch people as they think through these questions. As tired as I am, and as much as I’m weirdly looking forward to going back to a place with normal daylight (this whole 20 hours a day thing is super weird), I’m going to miss the interactions I’m having with people here. They’ve been kind and welcoming, and I hope that I can come back.
Aside from interviewing, I finally made it out of town last week. One of the women I studied abroad with lives here, as does her extended family, and they have nicely been taking care of me. Her aunt took me out to Bells Flats last week, which is absolutely worth going to if you visit here. Walking into Java Flats was basically like walking into my personal version of heaven. Seeing a counter full of nothing but plate-sized, fresh, chewy cookies (in about twelve different inventive and creative flavors) nearly made me swoon. And the taste – divine. We went out to the houses in the Flats (I desperately want to live there), and wandered through the area before stopping at a beach (Holiday? Maybe?). The Coast Guard owns some of the land around here, but before the Solstice, they opened the gate to this particular beach, so we were able to get out and walk around. One of the most surprising things? The sand here is black. Even on a cool day, if the sun is out, the sand is still warm, and it’s wonderful.
As for what’s ahead – I’m leaving on Monday, and arriving home on Tuesday. I’m hoping to get out to the Farmer’s Market, or at least get more interviews in town this weekend. I have a wicked amount of grading to do, but so much longing to just sit outside on the shore and watch everything go by. It has been a charmed time up here – not without its challenges, certainly, but by far I have been so incredibly happy.
In Kodiak this weekend? Support KMXT and do the Bear Crawl! I’ll be at the station tomorrow handing out race packets.
And speaking of KMXT: if you’re interested in hearing more about my research, the team there were nice enough to interview me!