Before moving to Alaska, I had visited here twice before. What wasn’t counted on were a couple of things that wouldn’t be noticeable during summer visits. First, there is the PFD which is short for Permanent Fund Distribution. Monies are distributed by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation at the direction of the State legislature annually to each resident of Alaska who resided here during the entire previous year, i.e. January through December. Babies born during the year are also included in this count. They are announced in late September and distributed in early October. A family of four received $7536 this year. Unfortunately, it is taxed as additional income by the federal government; fortunately, Alaska has no state tax.
There is the same hype and anticipation in Alaska for PFD distributions as there is in the lower 48 when tax refunds are available. Every business through commercial ads vie for the dollars given. Wisely, some people buy food and other necessities like trips to see family. Stores are inundated with customers and there is a bit of frenzy in the air out there. It’s like an early Christmas.
The other thing that surprised and amused me is that the weather reporters not only give you the weather but also provide the number of daylight hours for the next day. “Tomorrow, there will be 11 hours and 13 minutes of daylight.” This all leads to the time of the winter solstice when the daylight hours will be few and far between. In late December, there will only be about four hours of daylight before twilight falls and darkness will once again reign. The opposite is true in summer when it is light until about eleven or twelve at night with only about four hours of night.
Almost everything here is the same as living anywhere else but the differences are fun.