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Becoming Alaskan • A blog about life at the end of the road

Ever wonder what it's like to give up everything and move to bush Alaska? I didn't. Not until I met my future husband on an internet dating site. After two years of dating, I took one giant plunge and left my home, career, family and friends in British Columbia to join him in bush Alaska. We later moved to Homer and now live beside stunning Kachemak Bay. I am Sarah in Alaska (but not that Sarah). These are my stories.

Selling Homer

It's been a full month since Alaska gave me the privilege to help people buy and sell houses. One month in and I'm really enjoying this.

One of my most favourite things about this job is getting to meet other Alaskans outside of my circle. There are some quietly fascinating people in this town and it's exciting to me to get to meet them. Like the home builder who's constructing gorgeous Alaskan homes that are heated with unique passive solar systemw that will save home buyers many thousands of dollars in heating costs.

Milton's Home

Hunters first order of business (after checking his plane) was go to fetch Milton from the amazing people who had been watching him all year. He was pretty excited to see his furry friend and I think his furry friend was just as excited to see him.

I've been entertained by the changes to Milton and the changes to Hunter since Milton's return. For starters, the two have become even more inseparable. Milton now occupies a permanent space in the truck's passenger seat.

Home.

Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures...
~Lewis Carroll
Alice in Wonderland
 
About a month ago, I bid farewell to New Zealand. It was harder than I thought, saying goodbye to a group of amazing people that I had the good fortune to call friends. Saying goodbye to a country I could have easily called home was just as hard. I shall return, New Zealand. I'm not done with you yet.
 
Back in Homer, things are upended.

Chillin' Down Under

I know a few people who split their time between New Zealand and North America, never getting to experience winter. I see the method to their madness because I tell you, winter in New Zealand isn't as lovely as it is in North America.

I am going to grouse a bit... I can't feel my toes (I tend to grouse when I can't feel my toes.) I was living in a land of Cadbury-fueled nirvana until the weather turned. That's when it dawned on me just how uninsulated New Zealand houses actually are. I know there's a good reason for uninsulated houses down here, I just don't know what it is.

The Hostel that Stole the Show

So Hunter and I have been working on a plan to see as much of the South Island as we can on the wee little travel budget we have. It was Easter last weekend and for Hunter, that meant a four day weekend. So I got to work on a trip to the South of the South Island.


I figured we'd hit up the south end of the South Island before Winter set in and head north as it gets colder. So I booked us a trip to Invercargill and the Catlins. The area known as The Catlins is a sparsely-populated, rugged and exquisitely scenic area on the South Island between Dunedin and Invercargill.

The Kiwi Rings Twice

Three months in and we're finally getting a handle on life in New Zealand. While Hunter and I navigate all the complexities of setting up a new life down under, the kids have adapted like little champs.

There are some very simple things that are new for my kids. Things that I took for granted growing up but as Alaskan kids, they wouldn't necessarily have access to. First is sidewalks. The street we now live on is basically one giant oval and there is a new sidewalk that goes around the whole thing. For two kids with access to scooters and tricycles, it's heaven! 

Doorbells are another

Breaking out the Stretchy Pants

We've been in New Zealand for a month or so now. I still love it here.

Before I left, my uncle told me two things about New Zealand: the internet is horrible and so is the food. While I can agree about the internet (it took us nearly five weeks to get internet hooked up) I have to wonder what he was eating.

New Zealand takes eating to a whole new level. For starters, they have Cadbury and lots of it. As I type this to you, I'm sucking on a velvety, rum-infused dark chocolate. Quietly. Because I don't want to share.

They have all sorts of delicious Cadbury chocolate down here.

Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road

It’s been five days and New Zealand is amazing. There are so many things to love here.

We arrived in Auckland on Monday morning. To put it mildly, we planned poorly for our arrival. We had a two-hour layover between our arrival from the States and our connecting flight to Christchurch. I thought that would be more than enough time. Turns out it wasn’t.

We brought a mountain of luggage along for the ride. Air New Zealand allowed us each a 60lb bag and two carry on pieces. We packed that, plus a duffel bag full of fishing gear and one hunting bow in a ridiculously awkward case. 

We landed

Bad Mood Thwarted

For several weeks now, we’ve been waiting for our passports and visas to arrive from London.

What we didn’t know was that the process of getting a visa approved was the quick part.  The process of sticking said visa into your passport and mailing it to you could take upward of a month. That’s a long time to wait when you didn't realize you'd have to wait so long.

I woke up last Monday feeling like my life was moving at a glacial pace – like the universe was trying to teach me an unwanted lesson in patience.

Alaskans Down Under

I decided to turn my life over to chaos. I tend to do that every few years. Must be from growing up with a Mountie for a dad. We moved a lot and I think I got used to shaking things up.
 
We’ve been in Homer five years and I’ve been yearning for a shake-up. Luckily for me, the fates agreed and handed our little family a very cool opportunity.
 
Hunter’s contract with his last employer stipulated that he could not work in his field for 12 months after said contract’s end. As we neared the end of his contract, we had a few options.

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