Living in Alaska

This is a guest post from Barb Moody, who moved to Alaska last year with her husband and three of their four kids. (Their oldest is continuing his college experience in Illinois.) The photo is two of their sons, taken in October 2010.

The learning curve for the Moody’s has been a vertical line since moving to Fairbanks, AK last October. Change is too small of a word to describe what we’ve seen, learned, tasted, felt, smelled, and embraced. Here are a few of the new things in our lives:

A Dry Cold really isn’t bad. Fairbanks is dry, much like Denver, Colorado. When the thermometer dipped below zero (f), which is most of the winter and a few weeks into Spring, we were amazed how “warm” (okay, relatively) it felt. Late fall, temperatures hovers around 0–25. Come December, -20 is the norm. With the occasional warm spell (above zero) we are putting away the coats and just wearing the fleeces. Your body adjusts. Quickly. Now I can’t say the same for other parts of Alaska. Anchorage is on the coast and their cold is icy cold.

Alaskans are crazy for hunting, fishing, skiing, mushing, biking, snow-machining and dogs — mostly out of necessity. Hunting, fishing and gardening are a must because food is so darn expensive. A gallon of milk in Barrow is $11.50! The outdoor activities are a must so you survive the winter — cold and darkness can get you down if you don’t get your endorphins moving.

Alaskans are tough and self-sufficient. I’ll close with a story a gal told me about her first few months up here. She was living in a dry cabin (no plumbing, but heated). She tended bar and after closing she planned to bunk in the bar because she forgot to get heating oil. She mentioned this to some bar patrons. She went home the next day and found her cabin warm and oil in her tank. That night she thanked the regulars, knowing it was their kindness which came to her rescue. They hemmed and hawed yet explained, “If someone’s in need you help, someone will be there because next time it may be you that needs a hand. Always be ready to pay it forward.” But don’t take it for advantage. Alaskans are quick to say, “If you can’t take it, you can leave.” That’s the Alaskan way.

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