You can’t imagine living in Alaska? Is it the cold or because you are not an outdoor enthusiast? Or both? There is more to Alaska than the Great Outdoors, extremely cold winters and cool summers. Read what I love about living in Alaska. And yes, for me outdoors is the space between buildings.
- I Like the Friendliness of the People in Interior Alaska
- Life of a Non-outdoor Gal in Alaska
- Affordable Tickets for Great Opera Star Concert
- Awesome Fiddle Musicians
- Dance Privates from Champions
- Attending an Inaugural Ball as Jane Doe
- Alaska Twinkle Lights
- Warm Houses
- Dancing Aurora
- Wearing an Andrew Marc Shearling Motorcycle Jacket with Skirt
- Alaska Humor
- What I Miss Living in Alaska
- Wrapping Up Some Reasons to Live in Alaska (as a Non-outdoor Gal)
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I Like the Friendliness of the People in Interior Alaska
A while ago my friend Greetje from No Fear of Fashion asked me what I like about living in Alaska. Here is an example of many reasons to love living in Alaska:
No. 1 The friendly people in Alaska who are happy for others’ achievements.
Let’s turn the clock back about a decade or so to Mother’s Day. Since years, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has her commencement on Mother’s Day. This story happened early in the 2000s after the commencement celebration was over and everyone rushed to the restrooms after 3.5 hours of sitting and drinking water in the hot arena of the Carlson Center.
Many women still stood in line when I left the stall in the restroom. Being a faculty I was dressed in full doctoral regalia. I was about heading towards the sinks when an old lady who was next in line for the stall stopped me. “Congratulation to your graduation. Your parents must be proud of you. Seeing her daughter graduating on Mother’s Day is probably your mom’s best Mother’s Day gift ever.” she said. “Thank you” I replied and smiled.
In the twilight of the restroom, she must have overlooked that I was already in my end-thirties and that my hood was not blue and yellow. Despite at that time my doctoral graduations were quite a while ago, I liked that someone who did not even know me, took the time to congratulate (even though several years belated).People in Alaska care about each other. #Alaskalife Click To Tweet
Another example of the friendliness is that people follow an unwritten law to help when you have a problem.
Life of a Non-outdoor Gal in Alaska
Why the heck would someone who is not into the great outdoors enjoy living in Alaska? Here is one of my reasons: Access to top notch people at an affordable price.
Fairbanks has brought up several musicians, dancers, and athletes who have become famous after they left (Obviously, you have to leave to become famous.). The long dark nights require people to be self-entertaining. Thus, many kids learn to play instruments at an early age, dance ballet, or play all kinds of indoor sport games.
Affordable Tickets for Great Opera Star Concert
For instance, when I lived in Europe, I could not afford to buy ticket for listening to a concert by Vivica Genaux – an American coloratura mezzo-soprano born in Fairbanks, Alaska. Since her parents still live here, Fairbanksans do not have to go to the Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Dallas Opera, or the Bayerische Staatsoper where she sung The Barber of Seville, L’italiana in Algeri or La Cenerentola. When she visits her parents, she usually gives a concert in either the Herring Auditorium, which is the concert hall of a local high school, or the Davis Concert Hall of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The price for a ticket is not much more than a cinema ticket plus a bucket of unhealthy popcorn and a soda.
Awesome Fiddle Musicians
Have you ever heard of the Irish fiddler Caitlin Warbelow? She regularly comes to visit her mother and/or dad (both are dance friends of mine). When she is in Fairbanks, she usually plays in a pub or roadhouse. The information about the when and where goes by word of mouth. She always gets a full dance floor. And she is just one example of the many Fairbanksan musicians out there. Sure that she also is a regular to teach at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival which is also one of the highlights of entertainment in late July.
Dance Privates from Champions
Another example is Melaina Larson. She studied classical ballet. She has been a finalist in many US National Championships in American Smooth Dance. When she visits Fairbanks to see her father and stepmom, she teaches ballroom lessons at the Fairbanks Ballroom Dance Club. My dance partner and I can take the opportunity to have private lessons from her. We are not sure whether we could (afford to) get on her calendar in Orange County where she lives and teaches today. Did you know that there is even a dance shoe named after her as she used to compete in these?
Fairbanks is also a place that people are curious to come visit. For example Juval Hod, a swing dance champion. When he visited Fairbanks in 2009 to work with a local high school dance team, he taught my dance partner and me to make a “flip.” This means I go into a hand stand, my dance partner catches my legs, and I land on his shoulders. From there, I just slip down, and on we go.
Attending an Inaugural Ball as Jane Doe
In which State can Jane and John Doe get a ticket to the Governor’s Inaugural Ball?
Alaska Twinkle Lights
Twinkle lights are all over town to illuminate the darkness. They are wrapped around trees. Some buildings have snow flake or icicle lights hanging down the roof. Others have twinkle lights along the gutters, sometimes even down the corners of the houses. Twinkle lights are on fences. Some people even enter a competition for the best twinkle lights display. The local newsletter publishes the winners and people actually drive there at night to take photos.
The photo below shows twinkle lights wrapped around the entry arch of a local restaurant. In the back, you see further blue twinkle lights, but also a green oblong twinkle light display. It is actually an ad board. Who takes the effort to put twinkle lights around an ad board? I cannot imagine that anyone, but Alaskans do.
I am fascinated that a wall of just about 7 inches (18 cm) makes it possible to have 68F (20C) inside at 40 below. This condition means a temperature gradient of 15.4F per inch (3.3C per centimeter). Ok, to keep it that way one needs a lot of energy. Now think about the human body. The outside air and skin have an even larger temperature difference! The temperature gradient is even larger as it is a thin air layer skin to air. Having this in mind, can you imagine the feeling on your skin walking from the cold inside (or vice versa)? I enjoy this feeling. Do you see the glow?
I love to watch the green aurora dancing in the sky. Unfortunately, at the moment, the aurora displays are very late at night. This fact is not the reason why there is no photo in this post. Since the aurora moves, it is very tricky to take pictures. Furthermore, nights with aurora are typically very cold (because there are no cloud, not because of the aurora) and you have to bundle up for aurora watching. I prefer to watch the aurora from the warmth of a car or standing at the window inside. The painting in the photo below shows an aurora. I bet the painter did not sit outside painting. 😉
You can find more on the aurora, for instance, why a green aurora means the planet has oxygen in its atmosphere and the impact of the aurora on radiowaves.
Wearing an Andrew Marc Shearling Motorcycle Jacket with Skirt
Alaska strongly depends on bush pilots for supply and travel to remote village. Thus, you can wear an Amelia Earhart type of look for my outerwear with my Andrew Marc shearling jacket (first photo in this post). Nobody would think of the outfit as a costume (unless it is Halloween). On the contrary, they would assume you are a bush pilot.
Moreover, I love layering for style. There are not that many places where you can layer for style and thermal comfort.
Check these other 33 cool things you can do in Alaska.
Would you have your photo taken in a bikini in winter? Well, many Alaskans think that 40 below is great for a bikini look photo in front of the temperature display at the University of Fairbanks east campus entrance.
Nowhere else someone would get the joke about wearing ducks with heels.
What I Miss Living in Alaska
Sure there are things I miss living in Alaska. And admittedly, if my younger me had told me that one day I will live in Alaska and love it, my response would have been “No way! When I immigrate, it will to a warm place.” I absolutely disliked the weather in West Germany in winter.
Here my list of things that I liked doing when I lived in Europe that I miss since living in Alaska:
- The possibility to decide at 2300 in the night to drive to Paris for breakfast
- Driving thru the city during rain at 100 in the night just because the reflections of neon lights in puddles look so great
- Eating fresh lettuce in winter
- Window shopping
- Walking over Leipzig’s Christmas Market on every non-rainy/non-snowy evening in December
- Driving to the Dutch or Baltic coast for beach walks on a gray, but dry weekend
- De Ruijter chocolate chips, Dutch yogurt, Harzer Roller, Paderborner bread
- Italian ice cream cafes
- The beauty of spring vacation in Tuscany, Provence, on the Canary Islands or in Barcelona
- Shopping for hats and rain proof pumps in London or Reading
Wrapping Up Some Reasons to Live in Alaska (as a Non-outdoor Gal)
The job at Alaska’s first university brought me here and I didn’t expect to stay longer than 8 years. However, there are much more reasons to live in Alaska, which include cultural opportunities, nature, fashion and societal behavior in the community. Enough reasons for today. Of course there are many other reasons, and I will write about them in future posts on Focus Alaska.
Moving to Alaska or planning a vacation in the 49th State? Read these other things you should know about Alaska. Do you like to live where you live and why? Are you living in Alaska? What are your reasons to live in Alaska? Let me know, I am curious.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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