What is summer time like in the arctic? Well, it almost reminds me of spring time in Alabama. Wildflowers are blooming everywhere, it’s raining on and off, and the temperature is mild (in the 60′s). Other than those similarities, our arctic summer is a very new experience.
The most obvious is the fact that the sun has not set at all in the past month. On the occasions when I am called in to work at 3 in the morning, it is so strange to see the sun sitting low on the horizon. Sunrises and sunsets are long lasting and run into each other, so you never know if the sun is coming up or going down around here. My Husband and baby seemed to adjust pretty well to the 24 hour light, but I have to wear an eye mask at night to get any sleep.
Another peculiarity of living so far north is the idea of not having an air conditioner to run during the summer. It is very strange to me, but we are usually pretty comfortable with the windows open and the cool breeze blowing in. It can get pretty warm in our apartment though, whenever the sun is constantly shining in our windows and the temperature outside gets into the mid 60′s to 70′s.
Young children and babies are so amazing with their ability to easily adapt, as long as they have a source of stability (Mom and Dad) they can embrace all these crazy changes. The only change that my little girl is still unhappy with, is the steady wind and very strong wind gusts that we get up here. She hates the wind blowing in her face and insists on wearing her hat and sun glasses whenever we go out. Even with the wind, she loves being outdoors.
Her favorite outdoor activity so far is collecting rocks, especially at the beach or lagoon. (Geography Lesson: Our Kotzebue Sound beach is connected to the Chukchi Sea, which is a part of the Arctic Ocean. I think that is really cool!) The beaches here are not like any others I have visited. The sand is very coarse and mixed with pebbles, with larger rocks a little further away from the water. So, when we go to the beach, Anneliese loves to throw rocks and pebbles into the water, and brings many back home with her too.
When we are not playing by the beach or lagoon, we like to take Anneliese to the playground, which we have two that I know of here in Kotzebue. This first one is a little rundown, but it’s fun to play peek-a-boo there.
The other playground is much bigger and has a lot more to it. Anneliese is a little daredevil and loves to go down the big slides. As long as Mommy or Daddy is at the bottom to catch her, she is fearless.
It has been a while since I played on playground equipment, and I forgot how much fun it can be. That carefree feeling, along with the hidden exercise, makes you feel like a kid, and it makes me wonder why I ever stopped playing. After all of this fun Anneliese is exhausted and sometimes she just passes out right on the couch.