Welcome to North Pole, Alaska!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our first visitor!

Last Wednesday we ventured to the airport to welcome our first visitor, my Mom to Fairbanks! It was also my 22nd birthday (I know, old, right)so we ate dinner at a local Chinese restaurant, Pagoda, which was DELICIOUS! With my mom visiting for only a few days I knew that the four hour time difference would be hard to adjust to. It took Andrew and I a few weeks to get used to the time especially because we arrived at the height of winter when the sun was only out for four hours, if that! If my mom had a motto for the week it would be early to bed early to rise, as she was up by 6:00 each morning and down by 9:00! It was a great visit and I just wish my dad was along for the trip!

Hmm...Mom's leather coat might not be as insulating as she once thought! I sent her out to get the mail!

Also, just an FYI to everyone...if you are ever traveling and want a hassle-free visit through security...DO NOT wear two coats at once! My mom found this out the hard way. Although she looked quite innocent, security had her profiled because she was wearing two coats...less to carry! Also, she was carrying a "flaming muffin"in her carry-on bag according to TSA. Please see the below picture to view the "flaming muffin." It was really a fake cupcake with a tiny light bulb on top! Very funny!

It is never wise to drive your car around with a cracked and leaky power steering wheel line (which of course we did for six days), so on Friday morning, with Mom in tow, we took the car to Doctor Diesel (yes, really the name). Our nice little Ford needed a few hours of work and a lot of bucks, so we dropped it off for the day and hitched a ride with the owner of Doctor Diesel to the nearest car rental. We spent the majority if the day hitting up the Fairbanks hot spots (Fred Meyers, gourmet kitchen store, Sears) in our new and abused Subaru. We decided to meet up with Andrew at the PX (a store akin to a giant Rite Aid on-post) for lunch. My mom had been anticipating the visit to the PX and the Commissary (grocery store on-post). Upon walking into the mini-mall-like format of the PX, she exclaimed "They have a hairdresser here, too!" She was so excited about it and I couldn't contain the smile on my face...too cute!

Friday afternoon was spent in the kitchen. We decided to have a small party in a belated-celebration of Saint Patrick's Day and my birthday. My mom made a delicious pot or Irish stew, I took care of the dessert, and Andrew was put in charge of the beverages. It was a great Friday night and it was a great way for my mom to meet our Alaska friends too! Catch Phrase (the game) is a MUST at a party too!

The weather was the warmest that it has been since we have lived here! All week and weekend it was in the high teens and mid-twenties...beautiful! We didn't even wear coats on Sunday! The mid-twenties here is definitely not like the feeling of the mid-twenties anywhere else! With the sun shining it really feels nice, and with a sweater it is definitely bearable. On Saturday we headed towards Fox, Alaska, a nice LITTLE town (village) of a street or two with a really good brewery and a bar. It's about fifteen miles from Fairbanks. We went for the brewery (great food and beer) but ended up disappointed since we didn't have a server visit out table for over twenty minutes and we left. It turned out to be best because we discovered a great little Italian restaurant whose slogan happened to be "Say yes to garlic!" We all LOVE garlic, and their pizza (with lots of garlic) was the best we have had while living here!

On the way to Fox we pulled over on the side of the highway to visit the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Andrew I didn't even know it was there since every time we had driven to Fox it was dark outside! Take a look below at the pictures from the visit! For those who do not know this, part of the revenue from the pipeline goes towards the Alaska Permanant Fund. In other words, any resident of Alaska, gets a big fat check (the amount depends on the year, etc.) up to $3300 just for living in the state! We considered setting up our residency in Alaska but then just found that it would be a big hassle. We know that we are not going to visit Alaska every six months (a stipulation of being a resident there) once we move! I'll leave the money to the real Alaskans...because really, we are just good ol' Pennsylvania folk and I hate to think of turning residency on my home state!

On Saturday night, we headed to the store, and purchased some GIANT Alaskan King Crab legs! They were huge and delicious but certainly annoying to crack open. I had never bought them before for two reasons: 1. Their price (about 13 bucks a pound and most of them weigh atleast a pound each!) 2. Their price AND the fact that I don't know if I would prepare and cook them properly and I could possibly be flushing my hard-earned money down the toilet! So, I left the preparing and cooking to Chef Kimberlay and it was a success! With a side of sauteed scallops, we had an Alaskan seafood feast!

Early Monday morning I drove my mom to airport and choking back tears (I hate good-byes) waved her away. Andrew and I loved her company (and her decorating tips and her willingness to cook and clean). She had a long journey ahead of her to get back home, flying into Washington D.C. My dad was anxious to get her back home and we were ready to fend for our ourselves once again. This is the real world now where I can no longer say I am a dependent of Mr. and Mrs. Wallick, or that I live at home, or that I live in Pennsylvania! I am happily married to the greatest man, living in Alaska, making new friends, and loving life...but I do miss my family and friends back home! Visits are always welcome and appreciated!

Goodbye for now!

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