MOVING to ANCHORAGE at the end of the summer

May 1st, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 6
MOVING to ANCHORAGE at the end of the summer

Hey, so pretty much the title says it all. I will be moving to anchorage at the end of the summer and by that time i will be 19. My boyfriend already lives up there because he is a soldier stationed at the base (JBER) I'm not here to get lectured about how young I am, etc... Because we know what we want so sorry haha. I like the heat so obviously Alaska is not my first choice but I am excited and I want to make the most of it. I would like to know about peoples experiences (preferably someone close in age) I was a collegiate athlete so i would like to look into the possibility of continuing my education (preferably community college since i will be paying out of state tuition) I will also trying to get a job as a swim instructor or lifeguard because i have loads of experience there and i swam in college. We are already looking at this one apartment in particular and i think that will be the one but it could change... so please just tell me what life is like up there( i've only gone to visit) and what the adjustment might be like (i am from colorado soooo i know what winter and heavy snow is like but i am also used to 90+ summers)
misstobe1 is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 03:28 PM
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No clue - but thanking him for his service and wishing you a great adventure. This is the time in your life to try new things/new places before encumbered with mortgage, serious career, kids, house.
gail is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 04:59 PM
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You want to go to Alaska to be a lifeguard. I just don't even know what to say to that one.
I won't give you a lecture on being to young. I married at age 21 and my wife was 18. We've been married 25 years now. I think you should get married before living together, though.
Alaska is a very lonely place as most everything is isolated. It typically has the highest suicide rate. Do realize you will have only a few hours(3-4) of daylight in winter
spirobulldog is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 05:17 PM
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There might be a pool on the installation. They do give job priority to military spouses, but it might be worth looking into. Have fun and good luck! Thank your service member from me too.
suewoo is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 05:24 PM
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I agree with all that gail wrote. I can't help, but wish you the best

As suewoo mentioned, most bases do have pools so I would start there.

My DH was a career military officer, so I know all about moving to unfamiliar areas and making the best of it. Sometimes you love a place and other times you wait it out. Attitude is everything and you seem to have that, so as I said, best wishes.
mms is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 07:31 PM
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spirobulldog: yes i have gone to visit in the dead of winter... i am completely aware/ok with the darkness thing. And you do realize there are pools everywhere right? Like they may not have outdoor pools but they most certainly have indoor ones that i've been looking into.

and to everyone else thank you!!
misstobe1 is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 07:50 PM
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They will not give priority or assistance of any kind to a girlfriend, only to a wife.

I was in Anchorage twice, for a week each time, both times in winter--so I'm hardly an expert! The darkness impressed me, but so did the locals' attitude about the place. They all loved it, loved it more than any people I've ever met love their home state. They talked a lot about how wonderful the summers are, not hot but sunny, and daylight almost 24 hours a day. The winters didn't faze them. I think you might end up loving it, but then again, your boyfriend won't be stationed there forever, so enjoy it as an adventure. Good luck!
NewbE is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 09:59 PM
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I moved to Anchorage when I was in my early 30s (but had been there for work numerous times prior.) I met my (second) wife there, her son (my stepson) was born at the Elmendorf base hospital, so we know the ground pretty well. We lived there for a number of years before moving back to the lower 48 for (her) work and after I had walked away from my third plane crash (flew a lot in the bush for my job - felt the odds were getting lousy.)

I'll just give some superficial impressions - take it or leave it.

Anchorage is two towns - military and civilian. While it's a town of 300,000, it feels much smaller sometimes - maybe it's because there isn't all that much mingling of the military and civilian populations, maybe because there are so many kids (it's a young city)... but it feels like you hardly ever go someplace where you don't know someone - in line for movies, at the supermarket or airport... So you will have to make an effort to break out of the military world (if you want) because it's easy to stay in your own orbit.

It's not the cold, it's the dark. There are plenty of places in the lower 48 that are colder than Anchorage, but none that have the darkness nor the length of winter. I used to hate watching baseball on the TV with the snow piling up outside the window. You need to find some indoor activities (swimming is good, or hockey, or...?) that will keep you busy in January, when it's dark all day and cold as hell.

All roads lead to nowhere. Once you leave Anchorage or the Mat-Su valley, the next traffic light is hundreds of miles away, in all directions. You are very far from everything.

Learn to fly. Seriously. By far the most fun you'll ever have in Anchorage is to get up in a light plane over the most amazing country in the world. If I were 19 and moving to Anchorage, I'd sign up for flight lessons the minute I landed. Not sure if you're Army or USAF, but I'd bet money there's a flight club or flying school available through the base.

Anchorage's schools, and the UAA, are very good. Use them.

Get out into the bush, and by that I mean native communities. So many tourists think Alaska is all bears and glaciers and moose. But the human story - all the history, the cultures, the art... amazing. Learn it.

Have fun, and plan to be somewhere else in April, when you'll experience breakup as the world turns to mud. But don't be anywhere else around the first of March, because Fur Rondy will knock your (woolen) socks off.

"End of the summer" for you might mean "start of winter" in Anchorage. It's called "termination dust" - the white stuff that starts at the tops of the Chugach Mountains and crawls down until one morning it's on your car. Best time of the year - feels amazing to be alive.

You'll be addicted before you know it. Resistance is futile.
Gardyloo is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 03:45 AM
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We have friends who moved to AK for a couple of years. That was back around 1996 and they are still there. DS and DIL lived there for a few years, first in Anchorage, then in Kenai. Kenai is far more isolated in winter and many people there have seasonal jobs. DIL left a good job in Anchorage because of DS's job change and then ended up working as a nanny but only part of the year. They keep in close touch with their best friends who were born there and live in Eagle River (suburb of Anchorage). On the good side, your chances of finding a job in Anchorage are a lot better than in Kenai!

My impression was people did a little resting in the winter unless they were involved in winter activities like mushing. Sled dogs are pretty lazy in the summer but training starts as soon as it gets cool enough. Wheeled rigs until there is snow. I think the locals joked that winters could be pretty quiet since people rested up for summer. I'm not sure Alaskans sleep once it starts getting light out.

Find a club to join. Follow your interests. DS joined an offroading club that had regular meetings, frequent trail rides, and lots of fun. Be careful about where you are since the world is different. For example, glacier fed streams/rivers get deeper on warm days trapping the unwary on the wrong side. The friends did frequent camping trips.

Maybe it's a good time to take up a new hobby that can be enjoyed indoors. Although I'm not a quilter, I enjoyed talking with a quilt shop owner in Skagway and enjoyed the quilt show in Kenai/Soldotna. If we lived there (seriously considered if DS didn't move back to NH) I would have done volunteer work with 4-H just like here. Since you're not a parent, you might not consider something like 4-H but there are probably other volunteer opportunties whether it's on trail crew for sled dog races, church or whatever.

In Kenai, their apt had a heated garage. Apartments are expensive. You might want to check out the neighborhood first. Moving to any new place is going to depend on how good you are at meeting people. Best wishes on your new life.
dfrostnh is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 04:48 AM
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That priority everyone is talking about depends on what kind of funding the job has. Some of those so-called "recreational activity" jobs are non-appropriated funds based, not Federal employee system based IOW don't COUNT on getting any sort of priority placement even if you DO get married.

I am sure you are aware that alcohol-based problems are somewhat of an issue in that area and living in or near Anchorage is not quite the same as living in so-called "tourist areas" where cruise ships and the like are primary drivers for some activities.

If you like the outdoors and doing things outdoors then you will love Alaska IMO. And no, I do not think you should "get married before you live together" since it is obviously a bit late for that piece of advice and I'm not convinced it necessarily leads to holiness, either.
Dukey1 is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 05:50 AM
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Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 6
Gardyloo: wow that was great info thank you loads!!
dfrostnh: same goes to you very helpful as well
Dukey1: yes we have talked about marriage and i have a lot of reasoning as to no right now. money is better spent else where if we are happy where we are at, which is true.
But thank you to all who are helping i am getting some really good advice. i asked about this on another thread and everyone seemed to think since i am from colorado it would be the same.... my boyfriend had the craziest shock of his life when he moved up to anchorage (we are from the same town in colorado) so any tips on anchorage as a whole is great! keeep them comin!
misstobe1 is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 08:46 AM
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Go for it! Anchorage is one of my favorite cities. Spirobulldog, you haven't lived until your sleep has been interrupted by a baseball game at midnight in July. I second the "learn to fly" idea, although I was already licensed before my first visit to ANC. Flying down the Kenai Peninsula on a clear blue day with white mountains shining in the sun....woweee!
Bobmrg is offline  
May 2nd, 2013, 12:37 PM
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Ones psychology is central to the undertaking. Anchorage seems fair sized but the attitudes are pretty frontier and individualistic. Drinking is a problem especially after the sun gets put away. Geography is pretty local with limited access to any countryside. I suggest some sort of productive hobby like knitting or tanning hides or gold panning, whatever may suit. I grew up in Minnesota so understand cabin fever but there is a special cabin fever associated with living in Alaska.
Katzgar is offline  
May 7th, 2013, 11:49 AM
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Wow, can't get away from a troll like spirobulldog even on a simple request. That's one of the reasons I left this board after being a regular poster for years.

Plenty of pools in Anchorage and good-sized indoor waterpark. JBER has pools and a youth swim team -- may be coaching opportunities.

Lots of folks make generalizations about the people there, but an important thing to remember is that unlike a lot of places where folks are there because that's where they grew up, Anchorage is a place that a lot of people go because they seeks to live there and close to the wilderness.

Yes, there are end of the roaders, but there also of communities of young, active talented people who enjoy having mountain hikes out the back door or watching moose munch your garden.

It's easy for outsiders to pigeon-hole Alaskans as a bunch or Todd and Sarahs, but the truth is there's a more diverse population there than all the generalizers suggest.

It's a great place to be young and active. Enjoy!
repete is offline  
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