49 Voices: Laurie Fernandes of Anchorage

This week we’re hearing from Laurie Fernandes. Laurie moved to Anchorage with her husband and children last June from Houston, TX.

Laurie Fernandes (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media)
Laurie Fernandes (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media)

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FERNADES: When we told people we were moving up here, we got different reactions. There were some people who kind of chuckled like, “Well… you know, have a good life. We’ll see you. You’re way up there.” And then other people had been here and were so excited and said, “Oh. I loved when I got to visit Alaska.”

People do a lot outside in Houston, but I think we just felt it was a great opportunity with work to come up and a great opportunity for the family to see a different side of life and explore and have so many different experiences.

The summer when we came was so beautiful. Last summer. So we tried to get out and hike as much as we could and now, we’ve taken the kids ice skating on the lagoon and they’re in Junior Nordic and Little Nordic and we’re learning to ski. And we’re hoping to Alpine ski later in the season. We weren’t cross country skiing three nights a week in Houston.

Only in Alaska would my trunk be packed full of sleds, skis, extra sleeping bags. Only in Alaska would we have a moose in our backyard a few times throughout the summer. And I think only in Alaska would I not care if my kids put on a jacket if it’s over 35 (degrees). In Houston when it was like below 50, we’d be in hats and mittens and coats, but here if it’s over 35 I say like, “Ok. Just make it quick. Don’t stay out too long.”

Honestly if we could stay until our kids being through high school, I would love to. To me this is an ideal place to live: the mountains, the ocean, tons of stuff to do outside. People are really down to earth, I think, here and have a really realistic perspective on life which is really refreshing. There’s kinda no fluff. What you see is what you get, and I like that a lot. In Texas, you get a little more fluff. And that’s ok; that’s part of Texas culture.

The Alaska experience is one of a kind. You get all of the access to so many things here meaning great restaurants and with Amazon you can access quite a bit of any sort of consumer goods. But it’s hard to think of any other place where you can get the beauty and the wildlife and there’s so much you can explore in a place like this.