If I could go back and tell fifteen-year-old me that someday I would move away from Alaska and seven years later would still be missing it, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t believe myself.
Did that even make sense?
As much as I hated that place when I first moved there, I learned to love it even more by the time I left.
It’s been three years since I’ve visited, and it’s starting to wear on me.
It’s just wretched luck that it’s so far and so expensive to go back.
In no particular order, here are the top ten things that I love (and miss) about Alaska (excluding the family and friends I left behind, because DUH, of course they are #1 on the list).
- Those clear, dark, frigid nights when the immense sky was perfectly illuminated by billions of stars. Texas never, never, EVER has nights like that. Too many city lights, I guess.
- The evergreen trees right after it snows. Perfection.
- The coffee shops. Ice Rages! There is no such thing here. And Starbucks pretty much has the monopoly on coffee shops; there are very few small, independent shops that I’ve found. Not that I’m much of a coffee drinker. But still.
- The entire stretch of Alaskan summers. The bonfires, volleyball games, gigantic gardens (where the sun doesn’t burn everything up), glorious hikes, and softball at midnight. All of it.
- North Pole. The corny, but adorable little place I still consider my hometown. Santa Claus Lane, Carrs (aka Safeway, but it’ll always be Carrs in my mind), Chena Lakes, Plack Road. It’s all a part of me.
- The wild, untamed beauty of the place. I especially love the wild roses, that seem so tiny and delicate, but somehow survive those harsh winters. And more than anything else that grows there, I miss the birch trees. I desperately wanted to transplant one here, but my research says they wouldn’t survive the summers. :(
- The Kenai Penninsula. All those crazy, awesome trips to Homer, Ninilchik, and Soldotna. So many incredible memories. I think of those trips often, and fondly.
- Fred Meyer. Okay, seriously, don’t laugh. I know I live in the land of a zillion and twelve stores. But I still find myself missing good, ole Fred Meyer. I’m such a sucker.
- Chitina. You knew it had to be on the list, right? Oh, how I miss Chitina. So many different trips, so many different groups of friends, and so many memories made. Some of us have parted ways, some of us have left this world, but I’ll always remember those trips as some of the best in my life.
Oh, I do miss you, Alaska. Things could never be the same, and they shouldn’t be. But my heart goes on missing you, all the same.