My Life in College: The perils of living in Alaska

Moral Mildred/Sun Star Columnist
April 30, 2013

I tend to travel a lot, both because I am a Foreign Languages major and because my boyfriend is European. I also genuinely enjoy traveling and try to do so as often as possible. The only part I have become to really dislike about traveling are the inevitable questions and the dramatized fascination I get from people when they figure out I am from Alaska. Over the years I have compiled a list of ridiculous questions and comments I have received from all those non-Alaskans:

1. Do you have seasons? Yes, I know that Alaska is known for its severe winters. I am aware that most people hear about the snow and the cold and the darkness. The fact that most movies about Alaska exaggerate the dangers of the cold and dark, (30 Days of Night, I’m talking about you) and does nothing to help how others perceive Alaska. However, whenever someone asks me, “Do you have like…seasons in Alaska?” a small part of my soul dies.

2. Do you live in igloos? This question is cute coming from a seven year-old. It’s painfully pathetic to hear it from the mouth of a grown man.

3. Do you have grass? No, absolutely not.  In fact, we have nothing on the ground but snow, rocks and the bones of the ones that didn’t survive.

4. How do you go outside when it is that cold? Yes, winters can be dangerous if not handled correctly. However, the look of near awe I see on people’s faces when I tell them how cold winters typically are always serves to make me uncomfortable. I am not a super hero because I live in a place where the temperature drops to -40 below zero. In fact, that doesn’t make me special at all. I don’t even know how to change a flat tire, for goodness sake and people in California know how to do that.

5. Do you have a pet penguin? Let’s just clear this one up right here and now. The only time I have seen a penguin was at the zoo, just like most of everyone else.

6. Aren’t you afraid you’re going to be eaten by a bear or something? Surprisingly, a lot of people seem to think Alaska is teeming with dangerous wildlife, all intent on eating unsuspecting humans. While Alaska does have its fair share of bears and moose and other possibly deadly animals, living here isn’t some alternate version of “The Hunger Games.” I don’t have to carry a crossbow on me when I go to the supermarket and to be quite honest, most wild-animal attacks occur due to human  idiocy, not because the animal was craving homo-sapiens.

I really could go on and on, because sadly, most people seem to be highly misinformed regarding Alaska and life here. I’m sure most areas in the world have this problem—for example, Germans are drunk pretty much always, and your bed is full of giant, poisonous insects if you’re Australian, but still. Neither of those things are really completely true, but someone it has become common knowledge. Alaska bears the same false-advertisement, and it can be incredibly annoying.

Do we have grass in Alaska? I can’t even.

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