I spend too much time thinking about all the cons that come with surviving this six month winters in Fairbanks, Alaska. While accidentally running a red light the other day, I had an epiphany. There are a handful of fantastic perks to living in one of the most Northern cities on earth.
1. Running red lights is acceptable
I’m starting with this one because of my epiphany. While attempting to break for a light just the other day, the intersection was far too icy and I slid right through the yellow light that quickly flashed to red. This is not uncommon. Fairbanks doesn’t use salt on their roads. They attempt to use rocks, but rocks on black ice doesn’t accomplish much. Instead everyone who lives here knows that when the light turns green, just wait a couple seconds longer to see if anyone is plowing through the light unable to slow down. This is convenient for reasons I’ll insinuate but won’t write down… (i.e. no one in this town ever misses a light!)
2. Bosses pity their employees in the winter months
My boss wants his employees to have good morale. When we get to work and it’s pitch black and we leave and it’s pitch black, and the sun doesn’t rise until after 10 am and sets again by 2:30 pm all of December and January…he understands long lunch breaks. He understands when we need to just get out of the office during the couple hours a day the feeble amounts of sunlight hit good ol’ Fairbanks.
3. The Aurora Borealis
Those gorgeous Northern Lights dance across the sky from September to March every year and can be seen at least once a week if you step outside in the chilly evening hours. There is nothing quite like that light show. Even though I caught glimpses of it growing up, Fairbanks’ view is the real deal.
4. No bugs/spiders/snakes
No nasty, creepy, crawly, hissing, six-legged, eight-legged, no-legged, slithering, scuttling, creatures from hell. If there’s one thing I hate more than colder weather – it’s bugs. I freaking hate bugs. And yes spiders and snakes fall into the bugs category and they’re equally disgusting and I hate them all. Shout out to Fairbanks for being the most bug-free place I’ve ever lived!
5. Everywhere is a parking spot
Back to #1 with the no salt thing, unlimited parking is also a wonderful consequence of a Fairbanks winter. No salt = no snow disappearing. Snow and ice builds up and suddenly everywhere you can imagine is a parking spot, and no one is parking like a jackass because you’re also parking like a jackass. Did I mention I’ve never actually had to pay for parking anywhere in Fairbanks? Small, frozen town perks.
There are other pros to winter of course! But the above list is exclusively for Fairbanks. This city might drive me absolutely freaking crazy, but I am thankful for it when I remember this short list.
Cheers to my much warmer, bug-infested friends!
“The bad news — nothing lasts forever.
The good news — nothing lasts forever.”
This is one of the first years of my life I’m not asking, “But how is it already November?!”
It’s November. It feels like. It looks like it. I won’t wish for it to be December, but I won’t whine at how quickly it came. I lived out this year intentionally. 2014 was steady, predictable, calm. It was needed for me to gain a solid foundation in my career. It was needed for us to grow our marriage. To find joy in little things like cooking dinner together and turning errand running into adorable dates. It was a good year for me. For my career. For my marriage.
But I’m not a complacent kinda gal. I like super high highs and I take the low lows that accompany them in stride. 2015 will include a lot more of those. I’m aching with excitement for crazy adventures. The calm can come again later. For this next year I want passion and highs and spontaneity.
Which is why 2015 will be the year for travel.
I’ve got a flight booked for January, so I’ll be kicking off the year right. Home to family and friends and a wet, snowy, blustery winter. There will be reconnecting with friends. Spending as much time as possible with my best friend/sister/soulmate. Watching Frozen on repeat and getting milkshakes with my niece. Drinks with my sister. Snowmobile rides with my dad. Long talks and laughs with my mom. This trip will be for the memory books. My heart needs it.
IT’S HAPPENING IN 2015. STAY TUNED. Depending on Michael’s work, it’ll happen anywhere between April and July. Location TBA. We’ve both been talking about sunshine and surfing though…
Ohhhhhh, Canada. Whether we just drive there as soon as we get our passports to say we’ve been, or whether we drive through it because we’re leaving Alaska for good. Off to the land of hockey and maple syrup. And I can make that joke because I grew up in Minnesota and now live in Alaska so people basically think I’m Canadian.
4. New Duty Station
This is supposed to happen! That doesn’t mean it will. Unfortunately with the military nothing is guaranteed. I can’t speak too much on this one right now. But we have the potential to be in Colorado, Washington, Texas, North Carolina, California, New York, etc. by fall 2015.
5. Various destinations around the U.S. of A.
If #4 doesn’t happen due to husband’s work-related circumstances, I intend to visit some places I’ve been promising friends I would for ages. FIRST to New York City and Long Island to visit a friend from high school who relocated there. We’ve been talking about this one since 2009 and I think this year is the year! Then hopefully to Omaha, Nebraska to visit the one amazing friend I made in Fairbanks before she had to leave. And definitely a road trip to a music festival with my bestie because this has been on my bucket list far too long!
Besides my Minnesota trip, most of my travel plans for 2015 will be completely spontaneous and won’t be set in stone until a month or two before. This is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. I know I need to enjoy my time left in Fairbanks (and I am! We just booked some fun plans here for Thanksgiving weekend!) but man, oh man my soul is loving all these travel plans.
2015, I can not wait.
What trips do YOU have planned in 2015?
“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.”
― Isabelle Eberhardt
I saw Interstellar tonight.
This was my appropriate reaction upon walking out of the movie theater.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, here’s the trailer:
I’m not going to provide an in depth review of the movie. If you’re looking for reviews check out The Guardian’s here, The Rolling Stone’s here, and The Telegraph’s here. I personally wouldn’t (and didn’t) bother with those before seeing the movie though. Just go. And go now while it’s in theaters. Your living room won’t do it justice.
The movie was incredible. Remarkable. A thrilling wonder that had me at the edge of my seat and with my mouth wide open for at least 80% of the film. Although I watch movies like my dad, moving around and getting deeply involved in all the action with gestures and facial expressions, I’m not sure how anyone couldn’t with Interstellar.
The acting is superb. The surprises are plentiful. The imagery is astounding. The mind fuckery (pardon my French) is A plus. Even the science behind it all is semi-accurate according to Mashable’s round up of scientist’s opinions.
But what hit me the most during and after the movie was the return to my child-like sense of wonder. I forgot I had lost it. Twenty-three years old and so caught up in paying bills and making it on time to work and keeping my life together, I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be so amazed by science, and space, and the unknown.
I have become so caught up in my career aspirations, watching TV shows on Netflix, and knowing absolutely everything about other people on social media I have forgot how to wonder. I have forgot that urge to know more. I am ashamed to admit I have forgot my love for learning.
And God I love learning.
My clearest memories are of opening books. Of asking my dad to save that old Geography book he found while he was teaching so I could learn about where all the countries were in the world. Of pouring through the elementary school age human anatomy book my grandma got me in kindergarten. Of reading our English books before they were assigned just because I wanted to read all the Classics for fun.
Since graduating college, I’m not sure what happened to that girl. She got an iPhone and a husband and a full time job. She stopped learning. She lost her sense of wonder. She became a terribly boring, unoriginal, apathetic adult.
But tonight I had a brief spark of the girl. I came home and googled worm holes. I looked into space time and the fourth dimension. I stared in wonder at information yesterday I would have ignored.
Maybe it was just a movie. Maybe. But it was a movie that reminded me I can never stop learning. I can never become complacent. Knowledge is powerful. Learning is a lifelong journey, not a sentence we have served as children and adolescents.
We’re just singular people on a world of six billion people. A world that orbits a giant star called the Sun that gives light to 8 other plants (unless Pluto has been officially nixed since I took Earth Science). The sun being a single star in our Solar System, but one of 300 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way Galaxy that houses those 300 billion stars, an unknown number of planets, our Solar System, and earth is just one of at least one hundred billion other galaxies.
But we all stop learning and wondering because we have to be at work tomorrow at 8 am.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
– Dylan Thomas
Ahhhh, it’s been a week since pouring out my soul about the little “rut” I’ve been fighting through and I appreciate all the caring feedback I have received from that post. I want transparency on this blog. I want readers to know me. The good and the bad. So thank you kindly. Xoxo.
In other news, it’s November 2nd.
My entire life I’ve had people telling me not to wish my life away, and as I’ve become older, I’ve gotten better at focusing on the present moment. Instead of just “x”ing the days off as I go towards an exciting trip or life event, I have learned to just get excited about the new day because it’s ONE DAY CLOSER.
November feels exactly like that. I’m brimming with excitement because I’m a month closer to a lot of exciting events occurring in the next year, but I know I have to enjoy this day. The next twenty-four hours are mine and it is a waste of a precious day to not focus on them.
Practicing mindfulness is a skill I sadly believe takes our whole lives to master, but taking steps to hone in on it daily helps.
It also helps when I get into those ruts. I can’t compare my situation to others or wallow in self pity when I’m concentrating on breathing deeply and remembering I’m alive. I can’t be sad when I focus on the food I’m eating and really taste each bite and feel how it’s nourishing my body. I can’t dwell on the future when I’m trying to pick out groceries, or running on a treadmill, or doing a TV shoot with my husband (all events happening today!). Today is good. Today is now.
It’s 7:26 AM and I am thankful for an extra hour this morning (did you turn your clocks back?!). I’m thankful Fred Meyers is going to be chalked full of Christmas decorations because I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS. I’m thankful I have this fancy new computer to type out this blog post. And as always, I’m thankful for my sleeping beauty husband in the next room who probably won’t even try to wake up for a solid three more hours.
Here’s a glimpse of a few more things that have been uplifting me the past week:
We were Sister Mary Eunice & The Monsignor from American Horror Story: Season Two. We went out to a big Halloween party at an awesome venue in town and it was so much fun.
Afternoon drives with my favorite and red lips. I’m obsessed with red lips lately.
Outtakes from our Christmas card shoot. Michael found the perfect spot for photos but we had to do lots of maneuvering with our camera and tripod since we’re amateurs! The squinting in this is just lovely, isn’t it?
It was my sweet niece’s 2nd birthday! Her party is today and I’m hoping to FaceTime in when she eats her cake and opens my gift. Such a character. I was there 20 minutes after this little monkey was born and I pretty much bawled the moment I saw her, and it makes me tear up thinking she’s already two!
Last but definitely not least, have you heard T-Swift’s new album?!
Can’t. Stop. Listening.
I have never been a huge fan of her past work because I’m not a huge country lover, and she always seemed so innocent and whiny? This album is nothing like her others. She’s edgy, sexy, and she grew up. A lot.
I’d recommend Blank Space, Out of the Woods, I Know Places, and Clean. Oh and Shake It Off of course! The best possible jam to listen to when moving forward from rough stuff.