Monday, January 31, 2011

139 days left

With only 139 days to go until I escape this frigid City for vacation, I am somewhat proud to say that I am experiencing my coldest day yet. We currently have a day time temperature of negative FIFTY EIGHT. It is nearly impossible to see outside. Even wearing two pairs of wool socks under my baker’s shoes, I cannot feel my poor toes.

I just came home from dropping Katie, Stephen and baby Shemekia off at Iqaluit’s little yellow airport. Every time I go in side of the building I am reminded of the rainy day when we landed here. The day that would change my life. That day seems so long ago but on the same note, the time slips by more quickly than I imagined it would.

It didn’t seem like their Canadian North flight would leave anytime today, especially considering it hadn’t even landed in Iqaluit after an hour of waiting. And we were even late getting to the airport. The flight was stopped in Kuujjuaq, Quebec because of weather conditions. All of my closest Inuk friends run late for everything. This makes me laugh because my Jamaican family is also fashionably late for any occasion (including their own weddings) and we blame it on Jamaican blood, living Island time. It seems the Inuit appreciate a laid back approach to life as well.

Miss Katie Inukshuk in the airport shelter

After waiting in the cold airport for a toe-numbingly long time, my friends were transferred to an Air Canada Jazz flight and if it hasn’t taken off yet, hopefully it will at some point today. I don’t particularly want a reason to have to go outside again, let alone get back on the roads with such awful visibility.

Since our store manager, Rick, has been gone, Katie inherited his work truck for Tim Horton’s related purposes, and now that she is gone, I have inherited it to get my girls back and forth from work, do deliveries and check in on our satellite stores.

I cannot even begin to explain how good it feels to be back behind a steering wheel. I love driving the truck. It makes me feel a little bit honky tonk and a whole lot free. The feeling of entrapment vanishes, lifts right off of my shoulders when the key is in the ignition, even when I can’t see a thing and the blowing wind makes the journey a constant fight to stay on the road.

I find myself growing more comfortable with the temperatures, the snow, the winter driving and my surroundings. I also find myself lifting my eye brows and letting off soft moans as if to say ‘yes’ the way that the Inuit do. I laugh at myself every time I do it without thinking. I think I am starting to fit in too well. I am coming to feel pride in my new home and as badly as I want out, once I sew my wild southern oats, I know I will miss the snow blanketed tundra.

I will also miss the Northern Lights. This time of year we see them every night that the sky is clear. I get asked everyday from my southern friends if I’ve seen them. Then they ask, “What are they like?” They’re hard to explain, there are no words for the way they make you feel.

I have done lots of reading about the science behind the borealis but still, when I look at them, the science goes out the window and they are simply a miracle, a gift that needs no rhyme or reason just an incredible display. They literally dance across the sky, smoothly and gracefully. Like a pair of dancers who are putting on a show just for you, they glide around the dance floor and when they come close to where your standing they seem to acknowledge you watching them. They glow and then they fade.

Katie and I once stepped out of work to catch a glimpse of them. She saw the disappointment in my face when they began to fade away. “Whistle and they will come closer,” she told me. So I whistled, no tune in particular, just the way you would beckon an animal. She laughed as I kept whistling. Slowly I turned to her and said, “I thought it was a bad thing to whistle to the lights?” She smiled her devious grin and said, “In our stories, it has been told that if you whistle at the Northern lights, they will come down, chop off your head and play soccer with it.” I followed with a smile, “I forgot about that story... I’ll be inside.”

Cheers to unspeakably cold days and a third pair of wool socks.

All my love, from Iqaluit


Anonymous said...

Wow! You're Jamaican, and you're living in the Arctic! Good combo. Haha.

Well at least the sense of time is the same for the two cultures. lol.

I too have family in Jamaica, and living in southern Ontario, is 'arctic' enough compared to where they live. Haha.

geohockey said...

I am thinking of applying to a job and moving out there. I am Jamaican and need all the encouragement I can get.

Melissa said...

Even if you hate the cold, you will never regret the experience. I will be thankful for this opportunity for the rest of my life. I'm sure you would feel the same way. Canada's arctic is gorgeous.

Kellie said...

I have really been enjoying reading your blog. I know just what you mean by the feeling of entrapment lifting when you are in the truck, I found myself feeling very "stuck" without transport in the bad weather. Hopefully we'll have a vehicle for my next stay!