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Old 03-26-2011, 05:03 PM
Location: Pearland, Texas
2 posts, read 3,752 times
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My wife and I are moving to Alaska. We were both born and raised in the suburbs of Houston and were childhood friends before we started actually dating in high school. Anyway, Both us of have been to Alaska on different occasions and loved it. I have been twice, once on an cruise then into Denali and Fairbanks, the other was just a week long trip to Anchorage. My wife's been once and we both just thought we belonged there. We both love the cold and hate the heat of Texas' summer.
I'm not going lie, we are a little nervous about this, both of our entire families our here in Texas, but we really want to do this. We have already found an apartment, jobs, and are moving after our current lease is up in May. Right now we are going through our stuff and trying to figure out what's worth shipping compared to just buying new up there.
Here are the actual questions:
1) For those of you not born and raised in Alaska: What takes the longest to get used to; the cold, long days/nights, or something else?
2) How difficult is it to drive on snow for someone who has driven in snow but never actually on snow?
3) What are some of the best restaurants in Anchorage?
4) Are Alaskans as friendly to each other as they are tourists?
5) last one: Will we most likely need to stop using our southern expressions such as y'all?
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:15 PM
Location: Anchorage
376 posts, read 792,986 times
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I had to laugh at your last question! I hear that phrase "Y'all" quite frequently! There are other Texans up here! Some work at hospitals as temporary employees, or here for the military or just plain live up here! No problems there! I moved here in October of 2009 from Colorado. To me, there wasn't much difference in the cold, snow and ice from living in Colorado. You may have more challenges driving on ice if you haven't driven on it much in Houston. You may need to change your tires to studded tires too. The dark did not bother me. After working shift work and being on call and working various hours, sleeping in the daylight, the winters didn't bother me. What did get to me at first was the long daylight hours in the summer. If you didn't keep track of time, it would be 10:00 or 11:00 at night and you were still up enjoying the daylight! And then I wondered why I was always tired!!! There are tons of things to do in the winter and the summer months! There are a lot of good restaurants in town, including some of the chain restaurants that people are familiar with in the lower 48. The same with stores. However, a lot of fruits and vegetables are shipped in and you need to really look at them before buying them.
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:17 PM
Location: Anchorage
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Don't loose your accents! I love accents.
I think Alaskan in general are pretty friendly but honestly, in all our travels I have not met a whole class of rude people. I think if you are nice, you will get nice in return.
I have never lived in a place where there was no snow (well 10 months in CA hardly counts) so there was no challenge trying to adjust there but after 37 years of snow, I'm sick and tired of it!
I have a blog about Restaurants in Alaska. Food Lover~The Good, Bad & Ugly on Alaska Eateries
I'm way behind but it will get you started.
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:19 PM
Location: Anchorage
376 posts, read 792,986 times
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I do have a friend that also writes things about Alaska Food and Wine. She gets into her food and wine! LOL
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:27 PM
76 posts, read 148,077 times
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We moved here almost 7 months ago ( omg can't believe it's been that long already ) from Oklahoma.

1) For me it's still prices. I have sticker shock all the time looking at houses. Hubby and me love it up here and were originally planning on staying and buying a house, but unfortunately we will never be able to afford one here in a neighborhood we like unless he lands a fantastic paying job when he retires from the military, which is unlikely. ( That is taking the advice to only buy a house 1.5 - 2 times our yearly salaries combined ) A house in Broken Arrow in one of the best school districts will cost you 150-200K right outside of Tulsa ( ready to move in and more or less brand new ). A newer house here in a good neighborhood is 300K + And older houses that are affordable need quite a bit of work. ( I looked at lots and lots of sites and talked to many realtors since I was trying to cut costs by eliminating our high rent *lol* )

2) The only experience I had driving in the winter were Oklahoma ice storms before we came up and I did sruprisingly very well in my little Dodge Neon FWD with all season tires. But we live in town and my commute to Providence is only 20 minutes. A little sliding and almost getting stuck here and there in the first 2 weeks, then I got used to it. So you'll be fine, just take it slow and maybe practice in a parking lot if you are worried.

3) Haven't been to many since we work opposite shifts of each other, but we liked the Brewhouse very much ( pricey drink wise though ) and the City Diner.

4) Friendly to us so far :-)

5) I am not originally from Oklahoma, but I say y'all all the time, it kinda sticks with you

Sorry for the long post. I hope you 2 will love it here as much as we do. Despite us planning to move back to the Midwest in a couple of years to settle down we agreed that we will always come back to visit here, it's a special place and we haven't even seen the summers, yet
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:35 PM
Location: Valdez, Alaska
2,758 posts, read 5,002,105 times
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A lot of people here are from other places, so you'll be fine. I grew up in Fort Worth and have a bit of an accent and nobody seems to notice. I don't know how it is in Anchorage, but in a smaller town there would definitely be odder people than you unless you tried really hard, so don't worry too much about fitting in.

How fast you acclimate to the weather, or anything else for that matter, depends on you. I came up last June after having lived in Tampa for five years, and a couple days this last week at work I was the only one wearing a t-shirt outside in 35-40 degree weather. Nobody else there is from anywhere south of Ohio. So it is possible to acclimate, and fairly quickly. Figure out what works for you and dress however you're comfortable. It's not a fashion show up here. Driving on snow isn't that difficult unless it's deep and hasn't been plowed. I don't know how much you'd really run into that in Anchorage. Driving on ice kinda sucks. Slow down and don't stop or turn very fast. You'll get the hang of it. Don't drive a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Some people here do, but it's probably not a good idea for someone who's not used to winter driving. BTW, are you flying up or driving? I drove and it was great. Took us six days from Fort Worth, up through Colorado. Way better than flying up.

The short days this winter were annoying, just because that made it harder to get out as much. And around here it was colder and windier and we had very little snow compared with normal, so it was crummy. If you're in Anchorage, that might not be as big a deal because there's more city stuff to do, and I know they have lighted ski trails and that sort of thing. You'll find most of the city stuff you're familiar with in Anchorage. If you chose to, you can live a very typical, suburban life and rarely even leave town. It seems like a lot of people in Anchorage haven't seen much of the rest of their state. Don't do that. There's a lot to see here. Get out and see it.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:19 PM
Location: Pearland, Texas
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Thanks, we are planning on driving up in separate cars. My wife has a 2004 Ford Ranger from high school. I am already on my second car, I won a brand new Mustang this summer and retired the 1998 one I had in high school and college. We don't want to drive up in two cars but I will not ship that Mustang and she doesn't want to drive to Alaska in that and ship her truck cause she's confident it'll cost more.
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:29 AM
Location: Anchorage, Alaska (most of the time)
1,226 posts, read 3,538,739 times
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I wasn't born in Alaska, but Sweden is on the same latitudes so the cold/constants summer daylight/lack of light during winter wasn't new at all. So what was more specific to Alaska when it comes to adapting was the isolation and the restrictions that come with 1) the geographical location, and 2) the fact that there is so much that isn't around in Alaska.
I'm in Houston, TX right now and just walking down the street I see so many stores and whatnot that are not available in Alaska. That takes getting used to for many people.

And don't lose the accent - there are so many transplants in Alaska (especially in Anchorage - my building is 90 % transplants as it is mostly military living there) and accents are just awesome. Many people are from the southern states too, so you won't have a hard time finding people from e.g. Texas.

And btw, English isn't even my native language, but I use y'all all the time. It's just so much simpler ...
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:36 AM
Location: Anchorage
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I like y'all too, after living in the south for 14 years. The hardest thing for me, and I was born in Alaska, are the length of the winters. It gets really old.
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:05 AM
3,763 posts, read 8,398,778 times
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Driving on snow is not bad- it's driving on ice that can be a challenge.

My husband still has a hard time with the darkness in the winter after 12 years, although it doesn't bother me. We both skate ski a lot in the winter so that gets us outside in the light.

I think Moose's Tooth has the best pizza on the planet & we love Thai Kitchen.

I have found it easy to make friends at work & in our special interest groups (hiking group, backpacking group, Arctic Valley Ski, etc) I find Anchorage folks friendly & casual.

You will notice the difference between dress code in Houston & dress code in Anchorage. And the price of a red or green pepper might shock you! My brother raised his kids in Kingwood & I would certainly go through culture shock when I flew down to visit!
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