Kristin from Kristin’s kNook (kedarhower.blogspot.com)
Branch of service:
Where currently stationed:
Joint-Base-Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in Anchorage, Alaska
How long have you been there?:
3 years on September 28th. We left Pennsylvania to drive to Alaska one week after our wedding. Yes, we drove a U-Haul (hauling a truck!) the whole 4,100 miles. It wasn’t as stressful as it seems, and was a great adventure.
We’ll be out of here in the spring of 2013.
Previous duty stations:
Previous duty stations:
This is the first one! We’ll be here for a little more than 3 ½ years when all is said and done.
Favorite restaurant in the area:
Without writing you a book (see the blog for that), I’ll tell you that we actually live 40 minutes from the base in a small town outside of Anchorage. While there are many raved-about restaurants in Anchorage, I don’t love them all.
Turkey Red (all organic and so fresh), Palmer
Evangelo’s (Italian), Wasilla
Haute Quarter Grille (expensive, but so good), Eagle River
We’re fans of sushi and Anchorage, Wasilla, and Eagle River all have great sushi.
We’re also frequenters of Coldstone.
3 favorite things to do in your current city:
Um. My husband would say hunt and fish…because that’s what he does. There’s nothing that I do do here that I can’t do anywhere else. I’m not into hunting, fishing, hiking, or camping. I do like traveling around and seeing new places with my husband, taking pictures with my DSLR along the way.
I mean, I’ll travel in Alaska... As long as there’s a hotel and a restaurant involved.
Favorite duty station so far:
My husband would jump up and down and said, “This one! This one!” I cannot, in good conscience, agree. I mean, yeah, it was exciting at first. And yeah, I’ve made friends and gotten a great job and blah, blah, blah. I just cannot get on board the I-love-Alaska train everyone around here is riding.
The bottom line is that some people were made to live in a climate with 4 seasons. I am one of those people.
Who is your hero?
My husband, of course! He works so hard at everything he does and I admire him very much for it. There’s no one else I would’ve moved to Alaska for.
What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station?
I suppose the biggest problem, and even my husband agrees, is that it is so far from home. We’re from Pennsylvania. That’s a whole 24 hours of travel to get home and a whole 24 hours to get back. Also, it’s cold. And I like to wear shorts and flip-flops. You can see the difficulty I have there.
How strong/ or not is the sense of community in the area?
In our small town, Palmer, there’s very much a sense of community. It’s almost like one of those small Midwestern towns where everyone knows everybody else.
I suppose there’s a sense of community on base and in Anchorage, but I haven’t lived there. This part of Alaska pretty much exists because of JBER. The military families fund the state through their commerce.
I live kind of a weird pseudo-civilian life (especially now when the husband is deployed) because we live away from the base and I work in a rather civilian town. While I was a Family Readiness Group leader for a while, I’m not much involved in the military community now. I teach elementary school full-time and I’m one of the only working army wives I know.
Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend?
In our 3 years here, we’ve tried just about everything once. We’ve been tourists for sure in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seward, etc.
The big thing to do, year round, is hunting and fishing. You better believe that my husband does indeed hunt and fish year-round J
What is the overall feel of the community/area/base?
The general consensus is that Alaska is a great place to raise a family. I have to agree with that. My students are growing up in, truly, an adventureland and they are so happy. Yes, even when it’s negative 10* and I’m kicking them out into the snow at recess. They love it! The sense of community is strong and people here tend to stick together. That being said, if you’re not going to live on base, I recommend Eagle River or Palmer. Some parts of Anchorage, like any city, are downright scary. If you move here with no idea where to live, you could end up in a bad part of town.
Have you joined any groups on base?
I was an FRG leader for about 9 months, but then someone else took over because my real job required my attention. However, I’m a regular at the gyms on (and off) base!