We live in this frozen state of white beauty. Icicles on ever branch, snow laden fields, dogwood trees, the aurora borealis every day. I look out my window at the pink sky outlined by smokey chimneys thinking, this is beautiful. This is truly a white Christmas. A Winter.
There are a lot of TV shows about “Alaska the Final Frontier,” none of which I watch because they are not our narrative. We have running water, heat, we live in a small (very small) city, and our lives reflect that of an average working couple. The difference is, it’s -40 and we have limited daylight. While this might deter some from moving up here, I find it just takes a little creativity and flexibility of spirit.
Jason and I went to the Nutcracker the other day, and while bustling our behinds across the parking lot he said, “I would like to see our family live here for just one day. Just to see what it is like.” I laughed, but that thought provoked a mental list. What do my friends think it is like up here? This list sprung from that conversation.
1 You have to plug in your car when you park.
No, it’s not because we are environmentally friendly.
We plug in our cars to keep the engine warm and the fluids from freezing during long periods of rest. In most parking lots there are places to plug up!
2 You have to buy pants one size too big (at least)
In order to fit the fleece-lined leggings or “long Johns” underneath (will post my preferences soon) you have to buy pants a size up (at least!) This means I have my “Alaska pants” and my “lower 48 pants.” Some people does the whole snow pants or snow skirts thing (will post about this soon too) but I just can’t seem to get into that. In sum, I choose to wear multiple pairs of pants everyday.
It’s funny- I was reading a friend’s blog the other day, and she was talking about the warm weather, and how “she had the windows open for Thanksgiving” and I laughed. It was -15 up here. We opened the windows when I smoked the kitchen out a bit with too much cooking! Different worlds.
3 You will cough when you breathe outside
It is not all of the time, But that dry air gets in your lungs and PHEW! Coughing. When it’s -10s, not bad at all, but in those 20s, 30s, to -40, yeah. I never thought I would crave the humidity of North Carolina, but it is one of the things I have been looking forward to over the Christmas Holidays. The chance to sleep through the night without the 3-4 times of waking up to drink bottles of water!
4 The “cold” of -40 is manageable
Do not get me wrong, it is cold outside. But if you take it in small amounts, and you wear the appropriate clothing, it is bearable. I mean, people live here, right? I remember times in Pennsylvania when the chill would just get me to the bone, and I would not be able to get warm for hours. I don’t know if it is because I am dressing appropriately for this weather, or if it is the fact that there is absolutely no moisture in the air, but once I am inside, the chill is gone.
5 It’s not the snow, it’s the ice that will get you!
When I am driving, I am never afraid of snow, it is the black ice I am afraid will send me off the road. The same with walking, to be frank. Up here, it is pretty regular to see someone wipe out on the walk to the local coffee shop. Or to see someone run a red-light because they just couldn’t stop safely (the Alaska stop.) I am learning that traffic lights are “whatever is safest.”
Now you know a little more about the great Interior of AK. More is to come from Twice Dutch.