Life in Alaska
They say, either you love it or hate it, after a few years. Life in Alaska is hard, dark and cold, especially if you live in a dry cabin, which the majority of grad-students do. Winters get down to 50 below, or 40 below as the picture below will show. Life continues at those temperatures too, you’ll ski or sometimes even bike to work. You chop wood, or heaven forbid your car breaks down. But people in Alaska are kind, their mentality is sometimes a lot different than in other places across the US. They know that it could have been their car breaking down, and before you know it, four cars have already stopped to help you out.
When darkness turn to magical light
With the dark cold nights comes the aurora too. Fairbanks is the epicenter of Aurora watching in the world. Sometimes the conditions for Aurora are optimal, and yet nothing happens. If you are lucky enough it will put on its best show just for you. In the darkness in the wintertime it gets quiet, but I have heard the Northern Lights sing. It is scary, and I can understand why there are so many legends about the Northern Lights.
We still Love it, with all of our Heart
Many many people have gone to Alaska, for research, army life, adventure or just to get away from the law (or so I have been told). I know many friends who have left Alaska as soon as they are done with their research/degree, and never ever looked back, while others have left and keep coming back, for one reason or another. Then we have the group that finishes, acquire another degree, job or anything, and stays, forever and ever. Because although we sometimes complain about Alaska, and the life it brings, we still love it, with all of our heart. From the tundra up north, and the mountain ranges that spans the state, to the west where we can see Russia (well almost..), to the east where no mans land and Yukon merges like the braided streams do across the landscape, to the south with its majestic cliffs and hanging glaciers.
Love Changes You
You will not understand the tight relationship with this state unless you have lived here, it's hard to come by. Alaska changes you, how you act as a person, what you wear, what you do, what adventures you go out on, what seems reasonable and so on, the list goes on. From appreciating the warm sun on a bright spring morning, to the Aurora over your head when you visit the outhouse at 40 below, or fight with mosquitos on those summer nights when the air is full of smoke from wildfires. You learn how to live, how to survive pretty quick up here, and before you know it it is in your veins. You chop wood like nobodies business or haul water from the water wagon on an early Saturday morning while listening to “this American Life” on NPR. Before you know it you’ll live the Alaskan life.
The Lower 48
It changes you to the point that you have to rethink your ways and how you act as soon as you get on a plane to fly somewhere else, and yeah, from Fairbanks to Seattle, which is the closest town in the lower 48 (as they say) it's 3-4 hrs, by plane. But as soon as you are on the plane, you will see her, Denali, she's beautiful and will make you peaceful for at least a couple of hours.