Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dry Grass In May

The nights are non-existent. The light never truly disappears. Katie and I hopped between friends houses and drove home at two am in daylight. It screws me up royally. I don't sleep when I should and I wake up too early. My internal clock has gone haywire. The sun shines so brightly and warmly these days that when I step out from working for a minute and take a deep breath i can feel spring fill my lungs.

The temperature today is negative one, with a wind chill of negative eight. I know it doesn't compare to the twelve degree's that my family is feeling in Oakville but it is really a beautiful thing.

Roberts dad sold the skidoo because he and Robert's mom are moving down South come the end of summer. He kept the ATVs though so Robert and I took our first arctic ATV outing on Wednesday. Ironically the last time I drove one of these vehicles was in the tropics.

I wore rain boots, jeans, a couple shirts and a sweater... that's right, no coat. It was a gorgeous sunny day. We drove up to Upper Base and found a couple of smoking hot RCMP officers in the middle of target practise. The only thing that put a bigger smile on my face than they did was throwing my head back, closing my eyes and literally feeling the kiss of the sun on my face. Those will forever be the moments that I live for.

I imagine that moment to compare to the way it feels to get off a plane in my home town, scan the room for my family and catch them in my line of sight. There are nineteen days until this becomes my reality. I started my count down when my life looked so incredibly different. Every day I have been thrilled by the idea of going home, even if only for a few weeks.

Melvin who works in the deli said to me the other day, "They say you can never really go home." Later that day I got a message on my blackberry from my friend Kayla who had just landed in Ottawa for her vacation, the first thing she said to me was that it didn't feel like home anymore.

I haven't been able to shake the fear that the woman I have become wont be able to find her way home again. What if I am destined to live this sort of nomadic gypsy lifestyle? I am even scared to lay down in my old bed and find that its not as comfortable as I remember. I'm afraid the grass wont be as green as I remember and the birds wont sing as beautifully as I imagine. Its not just fear though, its terror really.

My count down has begun to feel a little bittersweet. Home is where the heart is but this heart has been divided and placed on opposite sides of the Country.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My favorite Inukshuk's

We've spent a lot of time in park, sometimes with our seats reclined, sometimes sitting in silence enjoying the views that Iqaluit offers; they never seem to get old. After dark we drive up to the highest points in the City and look down over the bright lights. It's no Toronto after dark but it certainly has its own charm.

We park and talk, or laugh, or think. We park and find new ways to pass time during the evenings. Katie and I have taught ourselves to jump other trucks and refill fluids under the hood. We have a leak that requires us to refill power steering fluid every few days.

Jumping the Beast

We take turns driving, usually Katie beats me to the passengers seat. After the long stressful days we work, its nice to enjoy the ride without paying much attention to the pot hole filled roads.

I'm learning a lot from Katie, she trades old stories from her culture and her family in exchange for the many useless facts I have picked up through literature. I teach her the meaning behind words from the English language that are seldom used in casual conversation. She teaches me phrases and words in Inuktitut, her side of the bargain being the more difficult side. I haven't got the best memory.

I heard the clang of a cup hitting the metal of the truck bed and just as I was about to accuse her of littering, I saw her grin. She managed to throw the cup out the window of the drivers side and into the bed. My life in Iqaluit has taught me to find entertainment in simple things. We collected all of the cups and took turns trying to land them in the back of the truck. We also took turns collecting all of the cups that missed the bed and trying again until we had scored with every cup and can from inside of the cab. We laugh so hard about the simplest things and it makes life feel light and refreshing. 

Amaaqing baby Mekia

Sometimes we take the baby out for drives. It still feels strange to me to hold a baby in the front seat, no car seat, no seat belt. She likes watching the world go by from her seat on my lap.

At the end of the pier with baby on my back

Some of my favorite memories of my time in Iqaluit so far are with my Inukshuk girls, Miss Katie Inukshuk and Shemekia Inukshuk-Muckpah.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Easter brought so many nice things with it this year. The sun is by far the nicest, we went from being constantly dark in Iqaluit to being constantly bright, it makes me see life in shades of Easter pastels. The sun is on its way up when I wake up at four in the morning and it stays up until after I've gone to bed at night. It is quite refreshing, although it makes it very difficult to fall asleep. I have sworn off the tin foil tradition. I have always had this strange dislike for improper window treatments, bedsheets as curtains, wood in place of broken windows... tin foil. Unfortunately, in Nunavut tin foil is less of a treatment and more of a necessity. After a winter of wishing for sun light, I think that I would feel guilty blocking it out of my life.

I worked all weekend this Easter and never touched one chocolate egg. This was my first Easter without my siblings and our little chocolate packed baskets that my mom decorated with pink, yellow and blue ribbon when we were small. It didn't feel much like Easter, there was no church for me, just donut making. Steven, who is the manager of our four convenience stores in Iqaluit, picked half dead flowers off of one of the bouquets in the store and brought them to me. They made my day.

Even though I was stuck in the bakery, I felt a little bit of Easter love in the air. It was just before noon when one of my girls from store front came into the bakery asking me to call the RCMP to drag a drunk woman out. I walked out and Katie and I watched her. She was obviously disturbing people, but hadn't said anything terribly rude. It wasn't until she spat all over her pants and started to fall asleep that I decided to escort her out. Kicking people out of the store is generally something I would ask one of my male coworkers to do for me but on this day, this particular drunk looked too far gone to get in a good swing at me.

I woke her up and told her she had to go, that she should go home, change her clothes and sober up. She looked at me, trying impossibly hard to focus and said "I'm so sorry, aakuluk." I laughed. Not only did she not spit on me, hit me or call me a bevy of awful names, she told me she loved me and she told me repeatedly as she made her way, very slowly, to the exit. This encounter was the first of its kind and I decided it had something to do with it being Easter. In a strange way, it made my day better.

During the last week I also received gifts, one in the form of fan mail from a University student named Caleigh, who lives in Alberta and reads my blog. I was also sent a late birthday present from a woman who means the world to me. Andrea took the first six months of my blog and had them printed in a beautiful book, pictures and all. When I opened it my eyes teared up, it now sits on my coffee table for all of my friends to look at. Caleigh and Andrea, thank you both so much for your kind words and efforts, I am so appreciative.

My best buddy Robert just got back from a two week Euro trip and brought me a really beautiful glass key chain and a shirt from Athens Greece. Really the best gift is my friends simply returning to me in Iqaluit. The countdown is now on for Nick's return from vacationing in Nova Scotia.