I know I’ve been in Alaska for a long time because:
- I eschew umbrellas – the only people who use them here are the tourists.
- I always bring a rain jacket with me, even if the sun is shining, because we rarely go a day without rain.
- I own a pair of XtraTuffs and a pair of yak trax.
- I’ve eaten more halibut in the last two years than in my lifetime.
- Having giant bears on my bedspread and on the shower curtain seems perfectly normal decor.
- I know that bear spray is not like mosquito spray; you spray it on the bear, not on yourself.
- I stop at Gold Creek on the way to work to watch salmon running (and dying).
- I've resigned myself to the fact that you can't tell brown bears from black bears by their color. (Why call it a brown bear, when it's clearly black...??)
- I say "suckerhole" every chance I get. Just like the sound of it...
- I keep binoculars in my desk at work to check out the mountain goats scrambling up the steep hills outside our office window.
But I haven’t been here long enough because:
- I haven’t caught a fish yet (haven’t tried).
- I haven’t seen a non-green aurora.
- As many boats as I've been on here, I still can’t remember the difference between port and starboard.
- In two years, there hasn't been enough snow in Juneau to make a snowman.
- I haven't seen Russia from my window.