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"The fact is, there is no definitive 'Alaska experience.' There are only people, living their lives in an extraordinary place." --Suzan Nightingale

Welcome! Are you curious about what it is like to live in Alaska? In particular, in the "Interior" of Alaska? Then you're in the right place! Though Brian and I have lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for less than a year, we learn more about its uniqueness almost daily. We'll update this page often with anecdotes and comments about our time here. We hope you enjoy reading about our experiences! Please visit often!

Lost and Then Found
Ever seen a camoflaged soldier with a metal detector in the middle of the highway in the snow?

After we moved here to Fairbanks, there was a particularly bad "cold snap." For about two weeks, temperatures were 30 below zero, or lower. When it is that cold, it is difficult to see because of the "ice fog," which is a combination of fog rising from the ice and pollution. (So that their cars don't freeze up, people leave the engines running when they are not able to plug in their cars.)

One morning at 5:30 AM, as we drove in our four-wheel drive truck to Fort Wainwright, we slid into the median of the highway, which was a ditch of rather deep snow. Because it was so deep, we were not able to back the truck out of the drift. As Brian was attempting to dig out the truck in this cold, dark, and foggy weather, his keys fell out of his pocket into the ditch. He realized this a little while later.

Now, I don't know about you, but I would assume that those keys would be gone for good, including the device for automatic entry, which came in handy since we, too, left our truck running at times. Brian was determined to find his keys, however, and rented a metal detector that day. Although the salesperson suggested a "really big magnet!"

There he was, in the middle of the highway, in the dead of winter, with this metal detector. Two hours later, he determined it wasn't to be found. But this humorous story isn't yet over!

A few months later, when the snow had melted, Brian went back to that place. And you guessed it, the keys were there! They were a little dirty and a little rusty, but he had found them!

"Alaska Casual"

If you have ever visited Alaska, the Interior, in particular, then you know that there is such a style of dress as "Alaska casual." Now I'm getting used to this, though it has taken a while to understand. Some Alaskans refer to anyone who is not Alaskan as an "outsider," that is, from the outside, or the "lower 48" (states). So, maybe it is because I'm an outsider that this type of dress has taken me a while to get used to.

You see, when you live here in Fairbanks, any kind of dress goes. Church-goers wear anything from dresses and sport coats to shorts or, well, sweat pants. Anything goes. As author Mike Doogan puts it in his book, Fashion Means Your Fur Coat is Dead--A Guide to Good Manners and Social Survival in Alaska, "In Fairbanks, sophistication means your wool socks match...You can say and do pretty much anything you want in Fairbanks, and wear anything you want while you're saying and doing it." And maybe that is the point. When it's 50 below zero, who cares about fashion?



More Anecdotes and Comments
to come soon!

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Last Revised: Friday, April 21, 2000 02:28 PM.
Copyright 1999-2000 Rachel Stramel