I am moving. Again.
In fact, my entire family will be leaving Fairbanks permanently. And if you've been up here or ever explored the possibility of visiting, you know that it's incredibly expensive to come up. Which means we'll probably not be back again. I can't even begin to describe what this means to me... .
We moved to Alaska in 1982, lived in a tiny Eskimo village for a year and a 1/2 and then moved to Fairbanks in '84 and have been here since then. That's almost 25 years... Way more than half of my life. I've thought of Fairbanks as home for so long. It's been the heart center for my family - even when I lived outside (lower 48 states for you who wonder) I thought of this as HOME.
I always thought it was incredibly cool to be able to say I was from Alaska, or that my family lived in Alaska. Mostly because it's different, I guess. Alaska is enormous (if we divided it in half, Texas would still be smaller than the two halves!), beautiful (with snow covered mountains and glaciers as big as some cities, dancing Northern Lights, moose walking through your backyard), rugged (in Fairbanks we can get temperatures from +95 F to -75 F), unique (eskimo and Native indian cultures right next door to Russian immigrants and people who still live without running water or electricity BY CHOICE, which I personally think is crazy, but, hey, whatever floats your boat, or doesn't...) I went to jr. high, high school and college here. I've had my second child here, and been able to show my husband most of the places I've loved or that have special meaning to me. I love the summers with everybody madly rushing about taking as much advantage of the light as they possibly can.
I'll miss that uniqueness... the sense of being someone from a special place that most people want to see... But also I like the feeling of knowing what has happened here in the last 25 years. I know the changes that have taken place- we've got a Wal-mart here now, which seems crazy to me. Two huge Fred Meyer's, a Barnes & Noble, there's a Chili's on what used to be a plot of trees and a small mall that reminds me of some of the ones in the Seattle area. And I miss what Fairbanks used to be. Smaller, more intimate... Although there are really only two clinics, with family doctors working together... And I know at least by face, sometimes by name, everybody that works in the Fred Meyer's over by our house.
Here's something else I'll miss: it's 8 p.m. right now in the middle of the summer and as light as if it were 4 or 5 p.m. in Seattle... and it will stay light all night. It will get "darker", but the sun really won't go much below the horizon. The flip side is that I WILL NOT miss the middle of the winter when the sun just pokes his face over the edge of the horizon for 2 or 3 hours and then dips down again.
I'm still processing what it means to lose my physical home.. or at least the place I've thought of as home for so long...
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