Moving to Barrow in July!

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

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Moving to Barrow in July!

Postby Courtneymiddleton » Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:44 am

Hello Everyone,

My name is Courtney and my husband and I are moving to Barrow this summer where I will be teaching at Fred Ipalook Elementary. I am super excited, and also a little nervous about the move. I am hoping to connect with other teachers who are currently living there, have lived there in the past, or have lived in other locations on the North Slope. I also have a few questions that I am hoping I can get help with. :D I am from Oregon originally, but I am currently living in Ensenada, Mexico so I am in for a huge climate/culture shock. We can't wait for this new adventure!

1. What kind of winter gear should we buy?
2. I am planning on flying to Anchorage and spending an extra day there shopping at Costco and shipping the food to myself or adding it to my luggage. Has anyone done this? How did it go?
3. Who is the best cell phone carrier in Alaska? I have my own phone, so I am interested in buying a sim card.
4. Since I am coming from Mexico, my financial situation will make it very difficult to purchase flights, hotels and food. Has anyone been able to secure an paycheck advance to help offset travel and food costs?
5. Can I order produce online to be shipped to Barrow?
6. How far in advance should I book my flights?
7. How often are flights cancelled? I'd like to visit family in November, December and/or March.
8. What is the housing like? My principal mentioned it is an apartment building style that is furnished.
9. Do I need to bring kitchen items, or are they generally provided in the apartment?
10. Do pipes freeze often? Do I need some sort of a back up water supply for drinking, showering, etc.

Thank you in advance !
Courtney
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Re: Moving to Barrow in July!

Postby tnuts20 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:43 am

Moving to Atqasuk !! Interested in seeing the answers to your questions. I have the same questions :-)
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Re: Moving to Barrow in July!

Postby Planetwalker » Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:13 am

I think all of the answers to these questions are within the forum. Dig deep ;)
Changes come from the Power of Many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible. The Power of One. - Bryce Courtenay
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Re: Moving to Barrow in July!

Postby Johncn » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:07 pm

Courtney,

The good news is that all (or most) of these questions are things that people can help you with here. Your district will almost certainly be sending you some general information about many of these questions. They are probably just very, very busy with the actual hiring cycle right now. ;-) As one poster added, you can use the search feature of the forum for some of them.

Here are some quick opinions of mine. Are they "answers"? Probably closer to opinion...lol:

1. What kind of winter gear should we buy?


I would wait until you get there to buy your main winter gear. I'd recommend a polar fleece sweater / coat and parka shell (rain& wind repellent) for when you first get there...and waterproof boots and lightweight glove liners. That will get you in to fall just fine. See what others are using that have been there, and then order online or buy locally.

2. I am planning on flying to Anchorage and spending an extra day there shopping at Costco and shipping the food to myself or adding it to my luggage. Has anyone done this? How did it go?


Many times. Rent a car or share with another new educator. The Airport Post Office, or use the one on Northern Lights near Carr's to ship them. Get boxes early in the morning, or 5-7 PM at the supermarkets who are restocking apples and other fruit. Those are good boxes. And free.

3. Who is the best cell phone carrier in Alaska? I have my own phone, so I am interested in buying a sim card.


Depends where you live. You'll likely need a contract with either GCI or ATT, not just a SIM chip.

4. Since I am coming from Mexico, my financial situation will make it very difficult to purchase flights, hotels and food. Has anyone been able to secure an paycheck advance to help offset travel and food costs?


Some districts will "front you the money" for your tickets and then deduct it out of your first several paychecks. Check with your new district. Some also offer moving allowances, but that is not overly common.

5. Can I order produce online to be shipped to Barrow?


Yes. Amazon Prime is your friend. Many other online shopping options exist at Lower 48 prices. Just insist on Priority Mail shipping whenever possible, as it is cheap and fast.

6. How far in advance should I book my flights?


Part of that depends on if your district is buying them or not. Many large rural districts have their own travel specialists that book the tickets. If not, the sooner the better. Flights only get more expensive in Alaska as the tourist season approaches. Early August is peak season.

7. How often are flights cancelled? I'd like to visit family in November, December and/or March.


It happens. There is no way to predict or know in advance. Your delay could be a day or a week...all depends. It's best to plan a little buffer time on your travel, and use refundable or changeable ticket types.

8. What is the housing like? My principal mentioned it is an apartment building style that is furnished.


No idea, but probably fine. Most major pieces of furniture will be included. Specialty items, and things like microwaves, televisions and so on may not. Check with your district, or new principal.

9. Do I need to bring kitchen items, or are they generally provided in the apartment?


Each district is different. I'd get there first and order whatever is "missing' or things you use in the type of cooking you like when you find out the skinny.

10. Do pipes freeze often? Do I need some sort of a back up water supply for drinking, showering, etc.


Pipes do not freeze often in teacher housing because the district has special insulation and/or heating devices in key locations. If your principal or district says differently about your unit, then you will want to store water in clean garbage cans you ship out for that purpose. Did it for years. Two 30 gallon ones can fit in a typical shower stall and still allow room to sponge bathe. ;-)

Hope this helps, but others may have specific knowledge about your village, or more updated advice. These are generalities.

John
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