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What Made Us Move to Alaska? Pt 1 of 2

Neither Stephanie nor I had ever stepped foot in Alaska before we sold our things, packed our car, and moved there.

When I was a freshman at SMU, I got the idea to drive from Texas to Alaska – as far north as the road would go. I bought a map and poured over it, imagining all of the roads and sights I would encounter along the way. It would be the ultimate road trip. I planned and planned. I talked about it. A lot. I planned some more. I even thought I’d take a “practice run,” and drive to the Grand Canyon. That trip crashed and burned. We’ll, at least crashed.

A few years later, Stephanie was flying to visit her grandmothers in Michigan. She has a tendency to make instant friends wherever she goes, and this flight was no exception. During casual conversation with the guy sitting next to her, he told her he was from Alaska. She explained that her boyfriend (me) always wanted to go to Alaska. Stephanie mentioned that she was a school teacher and found that this guy’s wife was also a school teacher in Anchorage. After talking for a while, the guy gave Stephanie his business card and told her, “If you and Brian ever want to come to Alaska, just call us and let us know. You can stay at our house, and we even have a spare car if you need to use it while you are here looking for a job.” Stephanie thanked him and took his business card.  She hung on to that card for five years.

As both of us were finishing our Master’s programs at Hardin-Simmons in Abilene, we started thinking hard about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go next. We were looking for a unique experience and an exotic location. We applied to teach at overseas Department of Defense schools on military bases around the world. I was sending out resumes to places in Arizona, and looking in Washington and Oregon. Basically, she was looking overseas, and I was looking West.  As we kept drawing blanks, one day Stephanie pulled out that business card.

As we briefly considered Alaska, we thought that Anchorage would be a logical choice for us: it was the Alaska that I dreamed of and the City that Stephanie wanted. We thought of it as a good blend of the urban and rural, the tame and the wild, the civilized and uncivilized. We called the guy from the airplane, we'll call him Mr. Planeman, and surprisingly, he remembered Stephanie right away. She explained that we were considering jobs in Alaska and hoped he could give us some direction. We looked at the Anchorage school district but realized fairly quickly that we wouldn’t likely find a teaching job there. Anchorage is one of the only population centers in the state, and most positions are filled from within the system. 

To be continued....

Posted on Monday, November 17, 2008 at 04:17PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell in | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

oh fun! I like this post a lot! Love hearing the history of how you came to live there...can't wait for tomorrows continuation! :)
November 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDayna

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