For a girl originally from a tropical Pacific Island, moving to the sub-Arctic (Nome, Alaska) was a scary thought.
I had no idea if I could make it through the cold, dark winters or not…but I figured there’s only one way to know! I’m not an expert, but here are some of the things I’ve done to get through my first winter so far:
1. Find community, make lots of friends. We need community, and the warmth and love it brings, can stave off the bitterest cold! I love this family! And Carol, their amazing mother, is a fellow third culture kid!
2. Take Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Zinc supplements. For all the sickness going around, so far I’ve only gotten a head cold, but I overall have been well!
3. Get out every day possible and come face-to-face with the Sun. I need the light, the warmth, the reminder that there still is Light. (that iceberg is 10-12 feet tall!)
4. If you can’t get out to greet the sun for whatever reason, get a SAD lamp. My favorites are: Philips Hf3470 Wake-up Light, White. You can set this one to slowly get brighter to mimic the sunrise, PLUS it has bird song that sounds beautiful (optional setting)!
and NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp. It’s so bright–it’s enough to make you smile!
5. Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits!
6. Find something creative that you enjoy doing indoors. I love art, and making things–I really want to learn how to knit cute things like these Eskimo slippers (made by a sweet Inupiat lady from Wales, AK):
7. Invest in a good, warm coat. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” I first heard this from my Norwegian professor at the University of Minnesota, and it’s a circumpolar saying that really is true. Buy a good, solid coat. even if it is expensive. After doing tons of research, and talking to people and lots and lots of outdoors people, I chose Canada Goose-the Mystique. I love it! I feel like I am crawling back into my comforter every time I put it on, and it makes easy to get up and brave the cold outdoors then!
8. Get other warm layers. Like this wool sweater, hand knit in Ecuador. They know how to make warm clothes!
9. Exercise regularly. My favorite now is candlelight yoga. Especially here, because it’s dark so much! I learned to do candle light yoga in Denver, and I am so grateful. Here it makes it feel like it is okay that it is dark–because the candle light validates the darkness…or the dark validates the candles. I do it when I get up, and it gives me something to look forward to, to get out of bed for!
10. Get some awesome videos about the place you are living, to relish it, to enjoy it and admire the history of the world you now inhabit. I have personally loved the 1922 film, “Nanook of the North”, “The Fast Runner.
11. Get warm bedding–fleece sheets, electric mattress pad, microfleece blankets all help keep you warm and toasty at night!
11. You find your happiness and your peace wherever you choose it.
12. Live open-handedly–give freely to others.
13. Live open-handedly–let yourself receive from others. A gift from my neighbors.
14. Get Bogs. Water-proof, insulated, warm boots, rated to -30 degrees is good. I like these McKennas, because I can also wear them to work!
15. Make lots of warm drinks. For your soul comfort.
16. Know that everything is impermanent–the darkness, the cold, the ice and snow.
17. Surround yourself with your favorite things, beautiful, fun things that you enjoy.
It is such a pleasure to eat from this plate!
And to drink from this handmade mug:
18. Be open to what is. Accept it, embrace it. this is hands-down the best advice that I received from some friends when I interviewed in Alaska. They said the people who stayed–and really liked it–were the ones who didn’t have any expectations of how things should be, nor were they judgmental about how things are; rather they just embraced it, as-is.