Northern lights. Midnight sun. Dogsled teams, glaciers, and breathtaking mountain views. What's not to love about Alaska?
Actually, quite a bit.
I make it a point to try not to complain. I really do. But sometimes I think we Christians can put on too good of a front so that we convince everyone (even ourselves) that life is perfect and rosy when it was Paul himself who reminds us that it's in our weaknesses that the power of Christ's power is made perfect in us.
I love Alaska. I would be heartbroken if the Lord ever called us to leave our home. But that doesn't mean it's easy.
First off, there's the weather. Have you ever been so cold your snot freezes? And then have you been outside forty degrees colder than that? If you're not accustomed to the cold, you might just think that all freezing is created equally. Let me tell you, there's a huge difference between thirty degrees above zero (where we're at right now even though it's technically spring) and thirty degrees below zero (where we spent a couple weeks this winter). At forty below, not an unheard of cold snap in our neck of the woods, your hands will blister if you accidentally touch metal outside. I learned this firsthand once when I tried to open up our car door without gloves.
If you can acclimate to the sub-freezing conditions, that still doesn't mean you'll be able to handle the long days of darkness. From early November to mid February, folks who work bankers' hours arrive at their office in the dark and go home in the dark. The sun never gets more than about ten or fifteen degrees below the horizon. Some neighbors of ours who live by a small hill (known as a mountain in most other parts of the country) don't see the sun rise for about four weeks every winter.
There's something else difficult about Alaska that's harder to put into words. There's a fiercely independent spirit out here, which for the most part I love. Folks are far too busy getting ready for winter or staying warm in the winter to worry much about things like silly trends, social status, and the like. But that independence comes at a price, mainly relationships. Alaska's a wilderness. A lot of people come out here because, quite frankly, they want to be left alone.
Of course, rural living (not just in Alaska) comes with its annoyances -- power outages, internet issues, and so on. But even for all its associated trials, Alaska living is most definitely the life I love, and I'm proud to call it my home.