Two days left...
My parents were visiting for a week and a half, thus the hush on the blog. Now we're in our final week in Fairbanks (actually, the final few days) and the packing/sorting/giving away has commenced. Interested in a half full container of vanilla protein powder? A frozen package of ground bison? A blue toddler sled for the winter months? I'm spending the next few days running around town (not literally--the bump has grown to massive proportions and running is definitely NOT in the cards these days), dropping off a box of toys here, taking the high chair and pack'n play there, and hoping desperately that our stuff (plus a few new things) fits back into the six pieces of luggage it came in.
It's crazy that our Alaskan adventure is almost over. Lukas arrived as a 7-month-old baby, only semi-proficient at crawling, and he leaves a walking, "Mama-and-Dadda" uttering toddler. It's strange to think that he won't remember any of this. In fact, I could see him demanding that we come back one day. He'll tell us that he doesn't remember a single thing--not the frigid temperatures or the gorgeous views or the frozen nose hairs. Drew and I already decided that if he begs to experience the crazy winter temperatures, we'll tell him to spend a semester away at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Us living with plummeting temps of negative 40's and 50's twice in the same lifetime? Thanks, but no thanks.
If I'm being brutally honest, I miss North Carolina desperately. I'm an east coast girl at heart and this wild state, while fun to experience, is not my jam. I miss the conveniences of a larger city: the plethora of local restaurants, the shopping options, the tidy neighborhoods that don't sport "No Trespassing, Keep Out" signs. I never used to think of my rectangular, narrow state as a small one, but compared to Alaska...yep, it's miniscule. I miss the mountains and the coast being only a few short hours away.
Everything here is so big and wide and far. Alaska does things in a very big way, which is definitely something to get used to. Go big or go home, essentially. The light (or lack thereof) is an example of that. Do you know just how excited I am to return to a state where it gets dark by 8:30-9PM? Imagine my hands about as far away from each other as they can get and you'll get the picture. These days, the sun sets around 12:30ishAM and rises at 3AM. As someone who thoroughly appreciates a dark sleeping environment, that was an extremely hard thing to get used to (BUT! But! A plethora of daylight is vastly preferable to the mostly dark days of winter!). If you plan on leaving Alaska to travel, it's got to be by plane. As someone who grew up in a family that road tripped from Florida to Maine, it makes Alaska a very remote, inaccessible place to live (which let's be real, it is).
I am, however, leaving Alaska with a pocket that is bursting with memories. This has been the adventure of a lifetime. I'll miss the birch trees. Their white, papery trunks consistently dot the landscape here. I'll miss the icy cold water that flows from the tap. I'll miss the hours of quiet, when Lukas is napping and my fingers tap the laptop keys busily, iced latte within reach. I'll miss the $5 cheese basket at Fred Meyer; the fresh, hot crepes at one of our favorite restaurants downtown. I'll miss how a snowfall of 8-12" occurs regularly here and is no big deal. I'll miss having the windows open in July (July!) to let the sweet, cool air float in as we slowly drift off to sleep.
But otherwise, I'm ready; ready to resume our life in the lower 48. To figure out how our particular puzzle piece fits back into the wonderful, colorful puzzle that is life in Durham.
Two days left...