When traveling to the Lower 48, Alaskans get hit with a barrage of questions about what it's like living up here. That's understandable, as Alaska holds a fascination in people's minds, and they are happy to meet a "real-life Alaskan." Sometimes, the questions are a bit on the crazy side - no, I don't live in an igloo, and no, I don't have a pet moose. But I realize that people just want to know more about Alaska. Inevitably, the questions turn to winter, and how we Alaskans cope with "100 degrees below zero" and "24 hours of darkness" and that it "snows several feet every day."

For the most part, those are just stereotypes about Alaska. Truth be told, we had some glorious days this winter when the temperature was in the 40s. We paid for it with a few days below zero, but overall, I'd much rather have had our winter than that of our friends on the East Coast and the Midwest.

Personally, it's not the snow or the cold that gets to me during the winter, it's the darkness. During the darkest months of the year - November, December and January - you drive to work in the dark, and a few hours later, you drive home in the dark. The darkness can seem a bit overwhelming.

Those days are behind us now. In fact, folks in the Lower 48 may be surprised to know that our days in Alaska are longer than anywhere else in the country already. That's right, we have longer days than Seattle, Chicago and Miami, and it's only the end of March. Today, the sunrise was at 7:38 p.m., and it won't set until 8:33 p.m., giving us 12 hours and 55 minutes of daylight. "Alaska South," otherwise known as Seattle, has half an hour less sunlight today than Anchorage. And it only gets better - we are gaining 5 minutes and 44 seconds of daylight each day right now. By mid-June, you can drive all night without turning your headlights on as "dusk" is as dark as it'll get.

It's a welcome phenomenon for us Alaskans. The return of longer days means summer is right around the corner - yes, we actually have summer, and darn good ones at that - and with it comes time spent in one of the most beautiful places on the globe. The warm sun, longer days and lush greenery is a revival of sorts for Alaskans, who take full advantage by getting out and fishing, camping, hiking, biking and a whole lot more.

Welcome back, Sunshine. We're happy you're going to stick around for a while!