Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas in Qikiqtarjuaq

My laptop met it's last days a month ago. I waited for Katie to open the laptop that Santa brought her for Christmas so that I could write my first blog post from gorgeous Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut.

Our Christmas tree and our perfect view, Dec 2012
Katie's two year old daughter Shemekia was flown into Iqaluit last Friday, the same day that my dad and sister flew out. She was the most wonderful little house guest for two nights, until our flight to Qik on Sunday. The stress of flying with two babies was there, but was over shadowed by the most incredible view I've seen from an airplane window.

We left the house at 6:15am, my dear friend Nick spent the night, helped store a lot of my large, and not easily travelled items, such as Brody's crib, and then packed us into his truck and saw us off. The flight was full, leaving Iqaluit, landing in Pangnirtung and then Qikiqtarjuaq, when it would then fly off to a small number of additional communities.

Landing in Pang made me feel as though my desire to truly see the North was becoming tangible. Iqaluit, though North, is still a City, with lots of tourists and lots of migrated Southerners. Pang was like nothing I had experienced in my life. It was a fiord, a landing strip surrounded by mountains, we were on our way. The flight between Pang and Qik made the journey feel real. I was thinking of Corey Trepanier, the artist we met in Iqaluit who had documented his travels through the North. Travels on which he painted Mount Thor. He boated from Qikiqtarjuaq to the rock giant, where he camped out and painted the wall, which I believe he said was the highest vertical drop in Canada. I was thinking with naivety, 'wow, how special.' Then I landed, and thought, 'no wonder.... look at this place.'

The view from our living room window is something Corey would have painted. The view from every point in this small town is worthy of being brought to life through art and shared with the world. No matter where I stand, I have a mountain view, with a quaint, and truly Northern town in the foreground.

This is the smallest town I have ever seen, almost eerie in its quietness. It is painfully cold most of the time, almost as if the mountains funnel the cold air right into your face. This, probably being the reason that most of Qikiqtarjuaq's residents seem to try to stay indoors.

Maybe thirty five or forty feet from the front door is the Bay, which is currently home to a team of sled dogs, and a handful of incredible ice burgs. Yesterday we woke up to a pink sky, this morning we woke up to a moon, more orange, more gargantuan, more remarkable than I have ever seen it. I tried to take pictures, using the mountains to show the scale of the moon. Everything looks small in comparison to the real life view I had as I stood by the bay in my snow gear, with pajamas underneath. It literally looked as though the moon was kissing the Earth, brushing up against it, greeting it in passing, for it was gone within half an hour.

There is hardly any day light here, the sun shines on the other side of mountains, casting its glow over top of them but it never presents itself to us. The glow begins around nine in the morning and fades shortly after lunch.

I have so much to see here, with light and babies keeping me from hiking to the base of the mountains and starting a day long climb, the sight seeing will have to wait. When opportunities present themselves, I will walk mindlessly into the freedom that is this small town and it's surroundings.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thinking, planning and day dreaming

I still have a few things to do in Iqaluit, such as take a skidoo trip to Kimmirut, which we didn't get to do in April because the river ice melted too soon. The City has a hold on me, but I think I've known for quite some time, probably around the time I started aching for travel, that I needed to move on from Iqaluit.

I'll be back, probably fairly often, but I think I've enjoyed the City enough that its time for me to move on and leave an opening for someone new to soak it up.

Seeing the awe in the faces of newcomers always amuses me. The other day I watched my dad gape at the almost nineteen dollar price tag on orange juice, his reaction as good as every other visitor. It reminded me of the way I viewed the City and everything in it with fresh eyes, once upon a time.

Now I've seen every celebration, most more than once, been to every show and fair and had more family visit me than I had ever imagined. I have lived through fantastic opportunities and given my loved ones the opportunity to share this with me.

I met incredible people in Iqaluit, and have made a handful of lifelong friends. My baby boy was born here, and most of his relatives reside here. I have loved Iqaluit, Nunavut, and it has been so fantastic to me.

I simply feel that it's time, it is time to find a new adventure, create some new excitement, find new love, new passion, new appreciation.

I'm not sure where my next steps will take me and I'm not sure when, but I don't think I will call Iqaluit home for much of the coming year. I will be ringing in the new year in Qikiqtarjuaq and am due to hook back up with my company in the New Year, when I will begin looking into other communities and opportunities that may be our next home.

Written December 15th.