For those of you who follow me on facebook or instagram, or for those of you who speak with me longer than oh, about 30 seconds, you may get the impression that I hate living in Alaska. It is dark, very, very, very cold, the roads are horrible, and it just won't stop snowing. Basically it must seem downright miserable to those who don't live here. Let's be honest here, it can be pretty miserable at times for those who do live here. Sliding through intersections is never fun. Every red light or stop sign is a game of "Am I going to stop this time?" Shoveling a million pounds of snow, not fun either. You have to put on 72 layers of clothing just to go the grocery store, because there is no such thing as a short trip (thanks for that advice, Lizzie!). When you leave for church in your cute shoes and skirt, you better make sure to throw some snow boots and snow pants in the car, just in case. Even if you are only going a couple of miles, you could end up stuck in a ditch or get in a car accident and have to wait in your car in -20*F (-29*C) weather. Oh and that's only if your car will start, which you hope it does because you spent hundred of dollars getting it winterized so it better start gosh darn it. Even going around the corner to the mailbox seems like too much some days. The snow piles keep getting higher and you run out of places to put the new snow. I am pretty sure we are in for a flood of epic proportions when it starts to melt. The fruit isn't fresh or plentiful, and what is available is expensive. The vegetables go bad after a couple days. Food shipments are delayed and sometimes that means no chicken at the grocery stores. You go through bags and bags of ice melt, trying to keep your driveway clear, which is a losing battle. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I say insanity is trying to keep your driveway clear in Alaska in the winter. You have to wash the floor of your arctic room (mudroom for you non-Alaskans) every day because snow gets tracked in every single day. It all sounds like a dream come true, doesn't it?
And yet, I feel lucky to live here. We had our first white Christmas in 8 years. We also had a white Halloween, white Thanksgiving, white Valentine's day, and most likely will have a white Easter, but Christmas seems extra special when there is snow on the ground. We have gone dog sledding, and snowshoeing. We have seen the Northern Lights. We have stood in the middle of a frozen river and watched Yukon Quest participants go by. We have seen ice sculptures and we have been to Santa's House in North Pole. We have sat in hot springs in -20*F (-29*C) weather. We have moose that live in our neighbourhood. We have been to the northernmost point in the United States. We have stood in the Arctic Ocean. The snow that we have to shovel is, for the most part, the lightest driest snow I have ever seen (so shoveling is manageable, even if still annoying). We have experienced cold that not many people can say they have felt. We have endured days with less than 4 hours of sunlight. We have seen the most magnificent sunrises and sunsets. We have seen colours in the sky that we have never seen before. An all pink sky? It does happen. We have seen light pillars and sun dogs. We have seen Denali in all its snow-covered beauty. We haven't been in any car accidents yet; well, unless you count the time that *someone* hit the side of the garage while pulling in and broke the side-view mirror off her car, but let's not talk about that, okay? We have strengthened friendships over dinners, board games, and many cups of hot chocolate. We have found new shows to watch on Netflix. We have read many, many books.
Everyday I get to look out my window at the whiteness that surrounds me and think "I live in Alaska." And sometimes, I even like it here.