“Hello, my name is Mikalyn Breshears and I am from Wasilla, Alaska.” Whenever I introduce myself, there is always an automatic firing of crazy questions. Because I have been in college for the past four years I am getting quite used to them being asked, though they never seem to get less ridiculous. No, it is not winter all year long. No, I do not drive a dog sled. I do not live in an igloo. And for the last time, Mikalyn is not an Eskimo name! Though those questions are quite humorous, the following are my five favorites.
1. Is Alaska an island?
No. Although most maps of the United States show Alaska in a little box down by Mexico, it is surprisingly located right next to Canada. We share a border in fact! Alaska is also not as small as one may think. If you were to place Alaska over the continental United States, it would touch Florida, California, North Dakota, and Northern Texas. Alaska is two and a half times the size of Texas!
2. How many people live in your village?
Wasilla is actually not a village; it is actually a city! The official population within the city limits was 9,780 in 2007, though there are a lot more people in the surrounding area that call Wasilla home. I, for example, live fifteen minutes outside of town, but we have a Wasilla address because it is the closest city. The actual population for my area is 31,034. Wasilla has a Ser Walmart, a Target, and an iHOP if that helps you visualize it.
3. Do you know Sarah Palin?
I do not know Sarah Palin, but I have met her on several occasions. My connections to her began a long time ago. In fact, my mother attended Wasilla High with Palin. My mom was a cheerleader and Palin was a basketball player. Palin’s oldest son Track attended my high school, though he is two years younger than me. Palin was present at my graduation and spoke at my sister’s after she was elected governor in 2006. I have run into her a few times around town. So no, I don’t technically know her.
4. Do you really get paid to live there?
Yes. Every year, each citizen of Alaska receives a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). The PFD “sets aside a certain share of oil revenues to continue benefiting current and all future generations of Alaskans.”(wikipedia.org) The better the oil does, the more money we get. Last year, each person received $3,269. The best part? I still get my PFD in Idaho check because I am a full time student.
5. Are Alaskan winters warmer or colder than Rexburg’s?
They are actually pretty similar. The biggest difference is that Rexburg is a lot windier than Alaska. Rexburg and Wasilla have similar highs and lows in temperature, though Wasilla has a tendency to drop down to 50 below zero for a cole of weeks each winter. The first snowfall in Rexburg usually happens about the same time as Wasilla, but the Rexburg summer starts at least 3 weeks earlier. It is my opinion that if you can live in Rexburg, you can definitely handle Alaska!
I hope this was enlightening to many of you, or at least entertaining. Next time you run into an Alaskan on campus, make it a goal to ask them a crazy question. It really makes our day.