This post has been formulating in my mind for two years, and I know I’ve mentioned some of this before, but I thought I’d write about it again. Two years. It’s hard for me to believe that my family and I have been living in this amazing and quirky state for over two years. Wow.
Quirky, yes indeed. I’ve compiled a list of some of the Alaska quirkiness that I’ve observed over the past few years. I know I’ve forgotten some things, so expect another post with additions. Here, in no particular order, are some Alaska quirks:
- Alaska is intimately linked with the other non-contiguous state, Hawaii. You are hard pressed to find anyone here who has not been to Hawaii. And it’s not just a vacation for the well-to-do, even the common folk vacation here, for a couple of reasons- it’s only a five-hour flight with no connections, and the weather is almost always the exact opposite of here. Lots of sunshine in the winter, and you have a reason to paint your toenails.
- Another state Alaskans are strangely linked to is Arizona. If you do meet someone who hasn’t been to Hawaii, chances are that’s because they go to Arizona to warm up. To visit family. To stay a few months in the winter, even. No other state comes close as a warm-weather retreat. Except, of course, Hawaii.
- I have never seen a place with so many vehicles with personalized license plates. Alaskans have a great sense of humor, which is proudly displayed on their license plates. Humor is vital when you live with winter for six months or more. Here’s a sampling of them I found on this YouTube video. A word of caution – you might want to mute the sound if you’re not a fan of Nirvana.
- Alaskans are addicted to coffee. There are hundreds of little coffee drive through huts in this city. Again, with the long winters, it’s good to have some espresso to see you through.
- Other Alaska addictions include lip balm and Dansko shoes. And Uggs or Boggs boots. True Alaskan women have two out of three of these on at all times.
- Dogs are another obsession. I have stated before that I think I’m the only person in Anchorage who does not own a dog. I stand by that. Dog lovers abound here. Again, probably due to the long winters there is that extra need for companionship. I’m actually a cat person, but my husband doesn’t like cats so we are sans pets. Much to the dismay of our daughters.
- Tanning beds are all the rage here. Apparently the news that tanning bed use can very definitely lead to skin cancer has not made it this far north. People with fake tans abound. There is no shame in it either. I can’t fathom that one, other than the fact that they probably don’t want to display their pasty white skin when they go to Hawaii or Arizona.
- The weather is also quirky. Yes, we do have long winters here, but each winter is not the same. Not even close. Last winter we had record-setting levels of snow, this winter we didn’t have much snow at all for months. One lady I met told me that ever since she’s lived here she has heard people say, “We never have weather like this, this is so unusual!” When I asked her how long she has lived here, she replied, “Forty years.”
- People are not ashamed to wear furs here. In fact, they proudly display their fur coats, and are looked upon with jealousy, not shame. Again, the long winter probably has something to do with that.
- The PFD, as Alaskans call it, is a downright good quirk about Alaska. The Permanent Fund Distribution is the lump sum of cash every Alaska resident receives each October, due to royalties from the vast amount of oil reserves in the state. We got ours for the first time last October. Nice.
- The darkness in the winter (in December we have only about five hours of daylight) and the freaky long days in the summer (almost 24 hours of daylight in June) are so very quirky.
- The northern lights, which I have sadly not yet seen. A quirk to behold.
- And lastly, one of the very quirkiest elements of this state is the fact that you can see a moose at any given time, at any place. In urban downtown, in the suburbs, in the parks, in the parking lot at the hospital, you name it. A moose can show up at any moment. I saw one just this morning as I was driving the kids to school.