As of yesterday, we’ve officially been living in interior Alaska for six whole months. We arrived in Alaska in late July, fresh from traveling across the United States and the AlCan Highway, and we dove straight into life here in the 49th state. Living in Alaska is about as different from living in South Korea as you can get, but we continue to remind ourselves how blessed we are to have this opportunity to experience living here before we have to choose where we want to settle down permanently. So, in honor of six whole months at Fort Wainwright, we’re sharing a little bit about what we’ve learned, experienced, loved, and done so far.
6 Months of Living in Interior Alaska
It’s funny; I distinctly remember writing a similar post to this about 6 months in South Korea. I feel like moving to South Korea and moving to Alaska were similar in so many ways. Both were just absolutely massive life changes, both moves challenged us individually and as a family, and both have been beautiful adventures.
Though we’re somewhat homebound because of the temperatures right now, we’ve managed to do and see a lot thus far – even with all the challenges. Here are some of our favorite adventures and experiences living in interior Alaska thus far:
- Hiking in Hatcher Pass
- Sledding down the UAF sled hill
- Our first Nooks hockey game
- Seeing epic northern lights at Cleary Summit with my parents
- Visiting the Chena Hot Springs
- Exploring Murphy Dome
What We’ve Learned Living at Fort Wainwright Thus Far
We came out here with really big, lofty goals. While the kids and I really didn’t want to leave South Korea, Ryan was burned out after losing both his parents, and he really craved stability, which we’d hoped to find here at Fort Wainwright. Candidly? We even dreamed big enough to think that maybe, maybe we might want to put down roots here in Alaska post-military. Ryan has less than five years left, and that’s an actual thing we have to think about now.
Ultimately though, we don’t plan to settle here in Alaska long term. It’s gorgeous, and we are beyond grateful for this experience, but in absolute raw honesty, Korea changed me – and us – completely. I’d heard once that once you live abroad, moving back to the US just isn’t quite the same, and it’s so true. South Korea became home, and we hope to go back to retire.
Looking Back on 6 Months of Life in Fairbanks
Like most military moves, moving to Fort Wainwright presented unique challenges. But in six months, we’ve done a lot. We transitioned to homeschooling all three children (and in the US, no less!), we’ve hiked, we’ve explored all the way down to Anchorage and back, and we’ve embraced wider, far more open spaces.
I’ve also discovered a lot about myself. I’ve never felt more displaced than in these past six months in Alaska. I’ve never been more homesick for a duty station – and one in a foreign country, might I add. I’ve learned that there is such a thing as toxic positivity, and it’s important to share both the good and the bad if only to honor those feelings. I miss South Korea with all of my heart and soul, but I’m endlessly grateful for the friends we’ve made here and the opportunity to explore this wild, wild state with my people.