...that I owe Alaska an apology.
I realize that in an earlier post, I may have painted a minor dismal picture of the life out here. And for that, I apologize. Especially to those fellow military wives whose husbands have dreams of dragging them out here.
Big, FAT, snowflakes fall as I type. I look out of my window, and I see a postcard come to life before my eyes. I never get tired of the view from my windows, and it would only get better if I lived high on a hill somewhere, so I could see a snowy forest below me (which is really weird, because I'm a "city girl"). I do a daily "track check" in the snow, to see what animals have come to visit recently. And where else can you eat breakfast on a Saturday morning, and look out of your back door to see a moose standing just 15 feet away? I've seen a fox carrying off some small animal for a snack; we have a snowshoe hare living in our yard.
It is quite peaceful out here. The only sound from where I am is a near silence. I check my news apps everyday, and I'm kinda thankful that we are apart from the bad news coming from the Lower 48. Over here, there is not much need to lock your doors (though we do). I feel safe here. There is no traffic, no fuss to get somewhere.
At first, one of the things that annoyed me about moving out here was that there seemed to be no places to shop for the things that we're used to, or that there weren't any good restaurants to eat at. As I've mentioned before, Amazon.com has become a great place to find things, and there are quite a bit of unique specialty shops out here. A major problem to me was that there was nothing to do! I came from the Austin area, where if you were bored, then you had a problem. The new way of life out here has forced me to look at things from a different perspective, and to use my creativity more. As far as the restaurants, well, I can only think of one nice chain eatery here, but we tend to favor going to the local places. We have our favorites; lots of them. When it comes to choosing a Thai or Asian place to eat, we've got lots of DELICIOUS choices, and the Italian, Greek, and Mexican places are really good as well.
Still, I had to laugh this morning when I went into Gabe's room to wake him. He was talking in his sleep, and asking his school teacher where the Olive Garden was!
We do have to deal with such things as extreme cold, snow, critters in the woods, the whole day light/night time thing. Really though, a person just adapts. I'm all cozy and warm in my house right now. Driving in the snow is like driving on gravel (I've learned to pull out and stop slowly). And yes, I do worry about what will happen in the spring, when our neighborhood moose and her new baby will be out looking for food; it's a dangerous thing to come between them. But, all I can do is teach the kids to be aware, and to always make some sort of noise (as Gabe walks through the woods on his way home from school) so as not to sneak up on them. But really, it's kinda a unique thing to have to worry about. Don't ya think?
The people out here are also really wonderful people. The majority are so helpful and welcoming. I say this, because there are a few that like to keep to themselves (mostly the natives or long-timers). Everyone, I can truly say, is GENUINE. And I like that.
I can also say that I'm happy to live, and raise children, in a place that people sometimes save up for their whole lives to see. I mean, this is the Last Frontier and it certainly feels that way. Summer time is approaching, and the cruise line tour buses will soon be out (and then we'll have to fight a tourist for a space in line for a cookie from The Fudge Pot).
I've realized that I've become a bit of a different person since I've been here. The very things that depressed me and had me wanting to run South when we got here, are the same things that I'm going to miss when I leave (I didn't want to mention my negative thoughts to any of my fellow military wives, because I wanted to give it a fair chance first). Always looking for something to do, I've slowed down a bit. I can go days without feeling the need to leave the house now. I read more. I cook more. I exercise more. I've learned that I don't need my husband to teach me how to survive my first winter here; I did it all by myself.
They say it takes up to a year to see if how you really feel about Alaska (and to get over the initial culture shock); it took me 3-6 months.
Overall, I like it here. Not enough to retire here, but enough to look back on this experience with fond memories.
And to my Husband's and Brother's disbelief, I'm a little excited about the snow that will have to be shoveled (I like doing it) after we're done with this latest shower...