So, in order to make our decision, we made a list of pros and cons and also asked a few people what they thought. Most of the people we talked to, said that while leaving Alaska is very hard, Montana is so similar in it's way of life, and people, it would be "trading beauty for beauty" as one person put it.
The cons list is pretty small. Concerns were that homeschooling won't be as easy. Alaska is either the only state or one of very few (unsure) that pay a stipend to anyone wanting to homeschool. This is because they recognize it costs the state more money to have a student in public education, rather than just pay a small amount of money for textbooks and supplies, to teach at home. However, I have a cousin who is homeschooling her girls in Montana that said she would help me figure it all out.
Of course we will miss friends we have made here, but having so many family in the area will be wonderful for the kids. My family is very loyal and if anything is needed, they are quick to help.
No more Alaska Dividend! Well, that's a bummer. While the hike in gas at the pump is totally lame, that price also goes into what we get as a kickback from the pipeline. This year, they are speculating that it could be up around $2000 either right below or even just over that. That is always a nice little bonus near the end of the year to set aside for Christmas, or get caught up on bills. We will get one last one for last year, and then we lose our residency.
The pros are plenty. Kids will be close to grandparents and cousins. We will be living off the land, mostly self sufficient and prepared for the collapse of the economy. More hunting, bigger house, lower rent, ability to have pets, no neighbors, and it goes on.
|The marker is approximately where our property is. (click image for larger view)|
So the "South Central Alaskan Bells" will become the "Montana Bells" at the end of May. It's going to be quite an undertaking, getting from Alaska to Montana. We are weeding out the excess and hope to make a little money in a few yard sales (weather permitting). Our car is nice, but getting old enough that driving it down wouldn't be worth it, so we are hoping to sell that too. Then, it all gets put into a Uhaul, put on a barge and 14 days later my husband will drive it from Seattle to our final destination in Montana. We will all fly down before the barge gets there and "camp out" until our household goods can be picked up. Which is fine, because we need to paint two rooms to the specifications of two little boys (within reason!). It's exciting! I am looking forward to showing the boys where I grew up and Chad my old stomping grounds. It's going to be so great reconnecting with family that I played with as a child. My kids will be able to experience the character building exercises of raising animals and working in the garden. Being paid to do work for family (small tasks) will teach them the value of their hard work and the reward of saving their money. Teaching them good stewardship of our land and animals in our care is such an important one. I am excited to see my boys become amazing young men!
|Red arrow: where our new home is. Blue arrow: old homestead (click for larger image)|
Keep us in your prayers, and your eyes on this blog! I will update with pictures as much as I can!