An Inside Look from an Outsider’s Perspective

I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I decided to come to Alaska for the summer. In typical Cindy fashion, I got it stuck in my head that I wanted to go to Alaska…and then I made it happen. Was there really that much research that I needed to do? I mean…it’s part of the US, I speak the language, how different can it be? Well…as it turns out…very.

Cordova certainly has character – of which I am am big fan. Here are a few Cordova quirks that distinguish my little town from pretty much anywhere else I’ve lived.

“Saying Hi Means You’re Flirting”

As a female in a town filled with men, I get lots of unsolicited attention. No shouting or touching or obnoxious staring like in other countries…but an over-eagerness for conversation in the hopes that I’ll fall in love (or into bed) with whomever I’m speaking. I’m generally smiley and chatty and always have a witty comeback (No comments from the peanut gallery – you know who you are) or at least I put up a good front of conversing and feigning interest. In a town where saying hello is basically flirting…I’ve had to tailor my responses as to not feed the rumor mills. Or…at least feed them less.

Which brings me to my second point – men and women cannot be friends. Cordovans are super jealous. I’ve been warned by several friends, several times. If I talk to a man…it is obviously because I’m sleeping with him (oh boy). And if I see a guy in the grocery store who I know and he’s with his girlfriend…I’ve been instructed not to give him any more attention than I give her. Otherwise I’m likely to find myself in a fight. It’s a little like I’ve found myself in a grownup version of high school – all of the social rules, cliques, and behaviors tend to leave me scratching my head when friends explain to me the rules of the game.

And apparently the fears are generally based in reality. Most of the men that live here are fishermen and spend half of the year sleeping away from home. People are basically expected to cheat. Women, too. And the single people that stay here over the winter are so lonely after spending all those months in the cold and dark that “hello” is all they need to hear.

Such a strange little bubble. It will be an interesting next few months to say the least…if nothing more than the people watching. Key word: watching. I hate drama and plan to avoid the aforementioned fights. Stay tuned.

Rain

It rains here. A lot. Basically every day. We’re currently in a 2-week stretch…forecasters say that we will have a sunny day in 12 days (May 15th). The clouds pass so low that I can’t even see the mountains looming over the town. The first day that I arrived…the sky was clear and the sun was shining. That was April 1. Since then…we’ve had two other days of sunshine.

I’ve invested in some rain gear, which makes a huge difference. Being able to splash around in my boots and rain pants with my big hood over my head keeps me warm and happy. And it means that I can still go on hikes and get out of the house when the weather isn’t too bad. It’s usually not. During this past month …I’ve kind of gotten used to it. It’s like living in a cold rain forest.

Just 12 more days. Bring on the sun 🙂

On a Scale of Crazy to Cordovan Crazy…

For the most part, the people here are your typical friendly, small town folks. Almost everyone I’ve met is very kind. For example, they’re always willing to give me a ride when I get one too many Amazon packages at the post office (which I greatly appreciate). There’s just this tight-knit sense of community, solidarity and being neighborly. I like it.

But I’ve been warned by locals. No judgement involved – but the people here…they are just a little…off. Any person who lives in Cordova will likely laugh and agree. And I say that with nothing but love for the people that I’ve met so far…in fact…they’re the ones that have shared the insight. People in Cordova spend all winter in the dark, they work intense hours for only a few months a year, and they live in a town with no road out (ferry/plane only). It takes a certain type of person. So…if a Cordovan tells you that someone is crazy…you listen. Cordovan crazy is a new level.

***

Here are some cool clouds I saw the other day on my way to the store – a wicked storm headed out to sea. The blue sky only lasted five minutes until it was chased off by the next storm system…but it was nice while it lasted! Soaking in that vitamin D 🙂

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