We’ve begun making adjustments to life here in Kodiak. Some of these have already become outdated as the weather has warmed up some (mid-30’s instead of 2-20F). Some are just part of being here. We’ll start with wardrobe. In San Diego, our standard wardrobe was shorts (for Fred) or lightweight pants/capris (for me), a t-shirt or tank top and flip-flops. In Port Angeles/Sequim our standard dress was street shoes, jeans, t-shirt or long sleeve and sweatshirt or jacket. That’s winter wardrobe, if you were wondering, though the only real difference between winter and summer dress on the Peninsula is that you switch to flip-flops in the summer. And can sometimes wear capris or shorts. Here in Kodiak they have had what we are assured is an unusually cold winter, with more snow than usual. So up until this week our standard dress was thermal pants with jeans, wool socks and snow boots, long sleeve shirt or thermal shirt or both with a coat and often a sweater or sweatshirt as well, gloves, often a scarf and or hat. Neglecting one of these items led to bitter lamentation and vows to never repeat the mistake. Ice cleats were also growing popular in our daily preparations. They fit nicely over the sole of your boot and keep you from imitating an Ice Capades routine on your walk to and from your car. Since it has started thawing some, even if only temporarily, we have begun to ditch some layers, though the cleats still come in handy on walks.
Driving is another adjustment, though Fred has done most of it and handled it admirably. In San Diego you deal with traffic. On the Peninsula you occasionally have to be careful of hydroplaning, and sometimes mild traffic, but not much else. Here we had the constant (until this week) ice everywhere, that gave us the fun of sliding through a stop sign and across one of the busiest streets, sliding past our turn multiple times, spending two days stuck in our parking space, you get the idea. That said, our car and its driver have handled pretty well, comparable to most of the locals. We also deal with “Rush Hour” around 6pm, when it takes us all of 8 minutes to get home from Safeway instead of 5 or 6. There is also the isolation. If you want to get anywhere other than Kodiak, or the villages that share the island, you take a 4 hour plane ride to Anchorage or a 10 hour ferry ride to Homer and proceed from there. Which is better than other places in Alaska that are only accessible by plane.
We’ve had to adjust to the cost of living, primarily with groceries. A flat of apples will cost $10 or more. Bananas might be 59 cents each. A $5 footlong at Subway in San Diego or Washington is $7.50 here. We go to the grocery store and cringe as we shop, paring our list down as we go. However, we have been blessed with friends who gave us several meals worth of halibut, with family sending spices up in our shipment of belongings, and with an enjoyment of cooking from scratch, so this adjustment too is manageable. On the note of shopping, there are 3 grocery stores in town, of various sizes, one small Walmart and several small, specialized stores. A McDonalds, Subway (in Walmart and downtown), Starbucks (in Safeway) and KFC/Taco Bell represent the fast food industry.
We have been adjusting to a continually changing sleep pattern, as I have worked day shifts, then evening shifts, then night shifts and am now alternating between evenings and nights. Fred adjusts some with me, so that both of us are tending to stay up late and sleep in, him until mid-morning, me until early afternoon. Every few days it switches again, making for fun planning (“When are you heading to bed tonight?” “Are you sleeping at home tonight or tomorrow?” “Do you want to run errands without while I’m asleep or wait until I’m up and do them during rush hour?”). Fred has handled it well, making sure I get enough rest and keeping things running smoothly at home, while looking for a job too.
Speaking of Fred, we have been adjusting to being married, which is still novel in a lot of ways. And wonderful. We take care of each other and enjoy both the care and the caring. God has been very good to us, showing Himself to be our provider again and again, as He gently laughs at our worry over the present and future. “He did not bring us our this far to take us back again, He brought us out to take us into the promised land.” Clinging to His promises, we continue to move forward, adjusting where needed as we go.