Inside the Gates: New life in a new place
Military families move a lot — every couple of years, they take everything they own to a new home in a new community. It can sometimes mean adjusting to a whole new way of life.
Paul and Nichole Napoli recently moved from Germany to Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks. They landed in Alaska a couple weeks ago and since then, a hotel room has been home for the pair.
They’re starting to settle in after a rough start. The Napolis arrived in Fairbanks with no home and no car. They lost contact with Paul Napoli’s new unit and turned to Facebook for help. Luckily, they received a quick response, including directions to the welcome center and advice on where to stay and how to get around.
“The military community is really cool like that,” Nichole Napoli said. “It was actually really relieving to know that there’s a lot of people that are willing to help you.”
“It felt really good to know that ok, people actually, people are looking out for you and they care about you,” said her husband, who is a sergeant in Alpha Company, 25th Brigade Support Battalion.
Now that they have a roof over their heads, the couple says the cold has been the biggest shock to their system.
“We learned real quick you’ve got to wear layers,” Paul Napoli said. “You can’t sweat so you’ve got to wear the perfect amount.”
The frigid Interior hasn’t stopped them from jumping right into Alaska life.
“The aurora borealis, looking out for that and stuff. But we keep missing it or I keep falling asleep too early,” Nichole Napoli laughed.
Soon their house on base will be ready and they can move in and get unpacked, just in time for another big change.
“A month or so after we move in, we’re going to be having our kid, so we’re getting in there and settled pretty fast,” said Nichole Napoli, who’s seven months pregnant with the couple’s first child.
The growing family says they’re happy to know they have the support of the Fairbanks military community to make their new life a little bit easier.