Hi everyone! So here’s a post that I’ve been DYING to write, but wanted to hold off until the right time. The truth is, from the second I stepped off my plane from Seattle I’ve felt…different than I expected to feel in Anchorage. And I wanted to wait until I’d lived in Anchorage for a full month before I wrote too much about it just to make sure it’s real. And I’m still feeling the same way, so I think it’s safe for me to talk more about it!
If you remember the countless posts I’ve written about our move to Alaska, you’ll probably notice that I wasn’t always feeling happy. In fact, my posts went from excited (before we moved), to sad/freaked out (our drive up here), to excited again once we were in Seward (May, June, and part of July), to feeling anxious, scared, and confused while looking for a job and apartment in Anchorage (July, August, and September), to finally feeling incredibly sad, overwhelmed, homesick, and more confused than ever (while I was at home in Philadelphia last month). In fact, being home in Philly was such an extremely difficult time and I didn’t know how I was ever going to leave. I literally cried every day for weeks and had so many difficult, emotional talks with my family and friends about how much I didn’t want to leave again. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it. While I was there I realized that it’s because ever since we chose to leave Philly and move to Alaska, it was always with “Well we’ll eventually live in Anchorage” attached to it with no idea what that really meant. When we arrived in Seward for our summer jobs, we were able to enjoy things for a while but eventually the big looming reality of our futures in Anchorage was hanging over us. It was like nothing was real until we were there. People would ask me what my plan was and I didn’t have anything – no job, no apartment, no plan – up until I got a job offer three days before we left Seward and flew back to Philly. And we signed the lease on our apartment exactly 3 hours before our flight. It felt like I spent months worrying about our lives in Anchorage, and only had a few days to actually come to terms with what was happening. And then we had an entire month at home to wait before that life actually started! I spent that month worrying about everything – did I choose the right job, what the heck will I actually be doing at work, is our apartment in a bad part of town/should we have gone with the other one, will I meet any friends, how am I going to survive the winter (so many people in Philly were asking us about that one!) – that I felt like I was going crazy. And I didn’t want to leave Philly to go to this place of uncertainty.
To recap for those of you who haven’t been keeping up for the past month, I took a job that required a week of training in Seattle. Which meant that not only did I have to say goodbye to my family in Philly and fly off into the unknown, I had to do it without Andrew and without knowing anyone in Seattle or even really what my job entailed. And I was scared. But it turned out that week was what I really needed to feel okay. I spent my days in health educator training teaching lessons, and my nights getting to know my coworkers from all over our affiliate (Washington, Idaho, and Alaska). It took away my uncertainty about work. And after my week of training when I stepped off the plane from Seattle and finally got to our new home in Anchorage, I felt…happy. And as time passed I’ve still been feeling this way! It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders – one that I’ve been carrying for so long and didn’t even realize it. I’ve been carrying it for years of unhappiness at our jobs/apartments in Philly and even in Seward. But it’s not here anymore. I’m finally home. So what makes me happy about Anchorage?
Our Apartment! I had a good feeling when we first toured the place, and I’m glad I went with it because I LOVE it! It has just enough storage for all the stuff we need every day(the extra stuff like camping gear, our summer tires, and our Christmas stuff is in our storage unit) but is still nice and cozy. Extra perks include an open kitchen with bar seating and two big closets. I’m so close to being doing decorating and I can’t wait to show pictures! Being back in Alaska after spending so much time in hot, crowded cities was incredible. I love the fact that our apartment is in a busy place in town but not too close to downtown. It’s super close to fabulous trails for running and less than 10 minutes from my office, and we have this incredible view:
My Job! I knew from my first day in training that this job was going to be a fun, challenging, exciting place to work. But on my first day at my actual office in Anchorage I was blown away by how amazing my coworkers are! My manager and I are currently the only people in the education department, so I’m glad we get along so well or this would not be fun 🙂 I have so much support with lesson planning, teaching, and paperwork and I never have to feel stressed about anything. Of course I’m still nervous before each lesson but I’m getting more confident each day. I’m so happy that I have the opportunity to teach in this kind of environment – it’s so much more supportive than any school I’ve ever taught in and it’s much less prep work! And I can start and end each day whenever I want (I teach around noon each day for an hour) and my paycheck is insane. I liked my old job in Philly but it was stressful, didn’t respect my personal time, and didn’t pay enough. It’s amazing how much of a difference a good job will make on your overall happiness!
My Running Trails! I miss Ridley Creek State Park sometimes, but my new running trails are so amazing that it doesn’t last long! I get beautiful views and a secluded trail feeling while running very close to civilization. We have an incredible trail system here that I can’t wait to fully explore! To be fair, the moose situation is a bit out of control though. I can’t go a week without them getting in the way of my run!
Eating and Shopping! In Seward we had 1 grocery store. We have so many here! Plus we have Targets and Walmarts and malls. It’s weird how access to stores will affect you but it does. It’s like being able to to Target after work makes me feel normal – like I’m back in Philly without all the traffic and stress. I’m able to recognize now that Seward was a culture shock for me and now that I’m back in a city I’m much happier. Plus I love getting to try all of the new places to eat here that we don’t have back in Philly.
I wish I could go back in time and tell my anxious self to calm down because everything was going to be okay. I mean, I can’t predict the future and have no idea what my life holds or whether we’ll stay here forever. But this past month has been the happiest month I’ve had in a LONG time. I haven’t cried once and had only 2 moments of homesickness which passed quickly with the help of my husband and a few miles on the trails. And the painful anxiety attacks I was having this summer have all but disappeared. There’s still so much I’m unsure about, like our first winter (I’ll be blogging about that sometime soon!) but I think I’ll make it. Now that we are FINALLY setting down into our normal lives in our new home I feel so much better. I’m so excited to finally say that this is my home with a smile on my face. Moving was hard, but it was definitely worth it. Here’s to many more happy months!
Have you ever had a tough move? How long did it take you to feel like home?