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Thread: Relocating to Alaska in May-June 2012

  1. #1
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    Question Relocating to Alaska in May-June 2012

    Hey there, my fiance and I will be relocating to Fairbanks in May or June of next year and we're not really quite sure what to expect. I am from East Texas and he is from Eastern Kentucky, just coming home from Afghanistan.

    What I've heard so far is that it's cold, dark and expensive. That doesn't sound very appetizing, could someone give me some positive info about Alaska?? Also I heard something about a light that puts off artificial sunlight and Vit. D to avoid SAD.... any info on that?

    We've got a 19 month old daughter and plan on having more children while we're there. Is this a good area to raise children? What about work, I read that cost of living as well as income is higher here, what kind of work is available in Fairbanks. I have experience in anything from construction, sales, surgical assisting, dental assisting, catering, and home health care. What about child care while working. Would it be best to hire a nanny to come to the house or to put her in a daycare. She's been in daycare her whole life pretty much, but with commute and weather I dont know what to expect.

    I've got a Chevy Cobalt, I'm assuming this is not a great car to drive around there but I dont know if we'll be purchasing a new vehicle right away. How can I prepare this car for the Alaska terrain and weather?

    I'm out doorsy as Im a country girl, but he is more of a business man and a little less out doorsy... what are some attractions for us both?

    I sing and am currently in a band, I'd like to join a band when we get settled in. Any info on networking w/ musicians would be great. Are there many pubs and places to have shows around Fairbanks? Im also wondering how paying gigs differ from Texas to Alaska...

    Thanks in advance for the info!!!!

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    Smile Welcome . .

    Can't answer much about Fairbanks 'cause we live way south of there. Gotta ask, where in East Texas? . . we lived for years near Paris.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    We moved from Fort Hood to Fairbanks and we love it and will never leave. You will have plenty of time to get settled in before the snow comes.

    Lots of work in the medial field so you should not have any trouble finding work. Being from East Texas, I'm assuming you have very little experience driving on snow and ice. Many folks find that AWD Subarus make excellent vehicles for the Interior, as a minimum make sure to get winter tires. It is true that the dark winters are hard on some, you will find plenty of activities to fill your time.

    I think the Fairbanks area is a fine place to raise children and I'm sure you will soon feel that it is home.

    Welcome to the forum, feel feel to ask question, many here will be happy to help and Thank you and your husband for your Service!!

    Some pics to motivate you.







    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Your cobalt is a fine vehicle for up here. It gets good mileage and is front wheel drive. Most folks up here have some sort of small-mid size sedan for every day commuting and quick store runs. Gas is expensive so we mostly drive our ford fusion and have a 4x4 crew cab truck for hauling stuff and to use when both the wife and I have different places to be at the same time. For your car you will need to take it in and have it winterized. Studded snow tires that you switch to in winter is the norm and you will need to get a block heater installed that you plug in during cold nights. Also you should get the antifreeze checked to make sure that it is rated for the very cold interior temps.

    We never really experienced SAD symptoms growing up here but after spending 8 years outside in the south while we were active duty my wife started showing symptoms this year. I got her a sun tanning package and a gym membership this week so we will see if that helps.

    As mentioned medical jobs are readily available so you should be fine there. The outdoors is king up here and a lifetime could be well spent exploring new places.

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    I"m from Lindale, near Tyler, Longview & that area. I now live in Arlington, looking at the Cowboys Stadium from my window!

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    Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the motivation. I sure hope we feel the same way!!! I'm totally stoked!

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    awesome! thanks for the tips! it doesnt sound so foreign after all! just a little colder and a little darker.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    The hardest thing for me to adapt to in Fairbanks was the midnight sun. Cold and darkness were not too hard to deal with. Back in the 1980's, when the sun was shining I was doing something - rock climbing, canoeing, mountain biking, drinking, volley ball - then it occured to me that I had not slept in three or maybe four days and needed a nap. There were times that if a business had not been closing up for the "night" I would not have known to go home.

    For "towny" stuff there should be lots of theater productions at UAF during the winter.

    There is a good music scene up there with the college kids and various bars around town. I don't know about choirs, but I would not be surprised there was at least one up there.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Get ahold of COtoAK on this board. She's a music teacher in the Fairbanks/North Pole area.

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    One thing noticeable, from your post, right off the bat, is the predominant "reputation/rumors" that it is cold, dark, etc. but,........
    You Guys, will get to see , the H.A.P.P.Y., Effect, first,...

    That there is an opposite, to the cold, dark deal, is sometimes portrayed by some folks, but there's more to it
    in summer, the daylight will blow you away, and everyone will be out enjoying the LOOOnngg days,
    and it's even pretty warm, (not really Texas warm, but 70-80F up there in Fbks

    Just mentioning that your arrival time is Good, for the adjustment,

    I would advise that you, "get out there," in summer, as much as possible
    find the music crowd then,.... when everybody is staying up late, etc.
    then when winter arrives, "Continue to Get outside as much as possible, to deal with the potential SAD affects

    I grew up in Colorado, then came straight to the UofA in Fbks in September, not much adjustment time,
    but it never really affected me much, my key in looking back on it, was "lots of friends," (don't try isolating in your home if you can help it) and getting out skiing snoshoeing, bike riding, just walking even when it's really cold,
    The Outdoors will really help you deal with long nights in December

    I've read all about the S.A.D. lights and although it looks effective, I've never got around to getting one, just stayed involved with the community one way or another, keep friends around, especially those with good attitudes about AK, I think that is much more effective to adjusting your physical body to the dark and colder winter days
    Hang out with happy folks, bet you'll not even notice the need for artificial lights

    and the Music Deal, wow, I have really good memories of the summer music festival atmosphere up there,
    we had a bunch of friends, and we would all be out dancing the night away in June, Soooo Fun in daylight past midnight, you'll have tremendous energy to Just Keep Going, I bet you'll enjoy that

    You might be surprised, there is definitely an opposite side to the cold, dark story
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  11. #11
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    I plan to transfer to Fort Wainright in another year or two (i am not active duty, but federal civil service). I am at Fort Hood right now. Doing lots of research on where I would want to live...am a country girl, so dont want to live in the "city", so would be somewhere in the outskirts of Fairbanks. The thing I am most worried about is my little dogs and how they will adjust to the cold weather-they aint Texas tough, they are wimps!

  12. #12
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    im stationed at ft. richardson and came here from ft. benning. i have trained in ft wainwright for weeks at a time. the best thing i can reccomend is to get out and do things. there are mountains to hike in lots of lakes and rivers to fish in. i have a dog and he is fine in the winter all you need to remember is to not leave them outside and they will be fine. the summers around here are warm (60-70 degress) and it gets downright cold in the winter. my wife nor i have ever used these SAD lights you speak of and we are doing fine. i cant stress enough that you need to go out and explore alaska or you will hate it.

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