Monday, March 25, 2013

Why Hello Spring Welcome To Nunavut!

Spring has hit the North!!!!!

I was so excited last week to wake up to some amazing temperatures here in Kimmirut. It was mostly around 0 degrees for most of last week. I think I did the happy dance in my entry way as I did not reach for my Canada Goose parka. 

It has been very interesting to watch Spring come to the North. In talking to my family down south ( who by the way on the first day of Spring got a blizzard and I had 0 degree weather with sun) they are having much warmer days. That is ok a warm day to us here in the Arctic is -5.

My friend Sarah who lives in Pang was having much more Spring like weather than Kimmirut and she is farther North! I loved looking at the pictures she took for her blog www.sarahontheroad.com which showed tundra and shimmering roads. Here not so much we are still snow covered and it is cool enough to keep everything frozen which is keeping the hunters happy.

I think it is funny that last year in May when I arrived it was what I would call "frigid" and now I am basking in the Spring weather. Does that mean I am dancing around in carpi's , flip flops and a tank top ...nope! Spring in the North means you downgrade your Canada Goose or like sized parka for a "southern" winter jacket or if you don't have one ( as is my case) the spring jacket you arrived with. Hats are optional except on windy days and you down grade from homemade leather or animal hide mitts to store bought ones. Your heavy duty -65 degree rated boots can be exchanged for a light winter hiking boot or rubber boots and Sunglasses are a must.

I always thought it was funny before I moved here when I read peoples blogs about the different layering practices in the North now that I am almost full circle I can say to those people who I thought were crazy.... I bow to your superiority in this department. 

I was not prepared for layering. I am actually going to be purchasing a winter jacket when I am South on my vacation just so that I have something for in between light jacket and Parka and Parka and light jacket. The best blog post on layering is located at http://illhavenunavut.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/iqaluit-dress-guide-for-n00bs/  now it says Iqaluit but take out Iqaluit and substitute Nunavut and it is basically the same thing. According to some I live in the Hawaii of the North and I follow the practices mentioned in this blog.

Though Spring has sprung looking at our temperatures forcasted for the rest of the week . The Parka may make an appearance once or twice .....or maybe I will just find a hoodie to wear under the spring jacket....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Oh Sweet Vacation ...only 2 Months Away

Happy St. Patty's Day or rather late St. Pats Day !

Yesterday  marks two months until I leave for vacation!  I did not even realize it until just now . On May 17th 2 days after my one year anniversary of landing in Nunavut and 1 day after my 1 year anniversary of moving to Kimmirut. It is crazy to think that a year has almost come.

Vacation is exciting and scary as hell! I wonder if I will be able to adjust... it is funny to think about having to reintegrate into southern society! Things will definitely be different .. the grocery store will be an interesting experience.

I feel somewhat country bumpkin living in the North... going to Iqaluit which is only 1000 more people than St. Stephen was a shock. I don't know how arriving back in New Brunswick will be I know things will be a lot different than the North ... I am so use to the slower pace of the North that I don't know how the hustle and bustle of the south will be.

I think the things that I will need to adapt to are the following :

Driving in Kimmirut is very slow max speed limit is 30km/h and most times we go much slower due to the road conditions. As well there is probably about two dozen vehicles in Kimmirut , most of them belong to the Hamlet or the Housing corp. Very rarely will you see more than one other car on the road. The south will have a multitude of cars , trucks  all going 50km/h or more in a crazy line.

Shopping in Kimmirut is way different than the south. There are only two stores and they are more grocery stores than general merchandise so alot of shopping happens online here in the North to be able to go into a store and physically buy something will be an almost new experience. One of the things I am planning to do when I go home is buy new clothes and that might be an all day experience!

Weather is also something that will be a change. May in New Brunswick can be one of two things Sunny and HOT or somewhat overcast and rainy. Although I am hoping for the sunny part I am not sure how I will deal if the HOT part is true. I spend few days here in the north wearing t-shirts but most of the time I was wearing jackets and jeans.... I may melt in the south!

Eating Out... in Kimmirut that means I went out to someones house for supper. No restaurants in town so I get to look forward to yummy treats when I am home. For Christmas my dad sent me a card that entitles me to a sub from the local sandwich shop, Chinese food at our favorite Chinese place and a plate of homemade french fries from the greasy spoon.  I am sure I will gain 20lbs on vacation but I will enjoy all the delights I don't have access to here in the North.

Grocery shopping falls into a separate category then regular shopping. A few of my friends who have lived in the North before say that going to the grocery store in the south is a religious experience. I know I work in a grocery store now but I am sure I will spend an hour our more in the local Superstore and Sobeys when I am in the south. The range of fresh produce and goods will be astronomical. I will get to remember what fresh meat looks like rather than frozen.


When I first thought about my vacation I was debating on where to go what to do . I only have three weeks and seeing my family was an important part of my vacation. I was planning on going somewhere for  a week and spending two weeks at home. The only down part is I don't want to travel by myself though I shall have to do so eventually. This time I think I am just going to plan a short trip to Bangor Maine for some shopping  and a trip to PEI to hang with my sister.

Next year however I am planning a 10 day long trip to Scotland and England hopefully with my little sister. I have decided that even if no one goes with me I am going to go . I figured I moved 1800 km away from home I can go another 3000 or more by myself!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Adventure in Shopping

I feel like things are starting to change in Nunavut ...

It brighter  , warmer and there is more snow! We have had two blizzards in the past week .... so not cool but it does mean that spring is coming to the Arctic! I can't wait to see what spring is like in the North. I came in May so technically they were heading into Summer then.... or so people tell me I still think that last summer didn't happen and with all the fog we had we skipped it.


With all the nice weather in the forefront of my mind I began to think about new clothes (hey a girl can dream about wearing nice summery clothes) and one of the ultimate things I have wanted ....a pair of riding boots... Not ones for actually riding but the tall calf hugging looks awesome with legging kind.

This was the realm of impossibility for me as I have quite large calf's ( approx 21 inches in circumference) most boots are not made for people with larger calf's or if they are you have to have a size 13 foot to wear them. So I took to the Internet searching for not just extra wide calf boots but super wide calf boots. During the process I came across a site from the UK called duoboots.com The boots were so beautiful and they had my foot and calf size. So order away I did for a beautiful pair of black leather riding boots.

The email came ..... they had been shipped....by DHL.. not very cool since there is no DHL depot here in the North ( let alone Kimmirut) once the boots made it to Ottawa I saw in the tracking that they were waiting to be picked up by recipient AKA Me. Ummm Hello DHL I am not any where near Ottawa. A frantic telephone call to the DHL ppl and I confirmed that my boots would be picked up by a third party carrier and delivered to me here in the frozen tundra by Canadian North.

Canadian North is the other major airline that serves the North... it does not fly to Kimmirut another frantic phone call goes into Canadian North cargo people in Iqaluit who are very nice in giving me the waybill number and telling me I have to talk to First Air cargo since Canadian North does not service Kimmirut.

At this point I am dreading that IF I can ever get the damn boots here they will probably not fit. So I make the call to First Air cargo ( who ROCK by the way) and the guy tells me yup they have them there. Being impatient I ask ... When I can I expect to receive them ? How about 1:30 pm today... Sounds good to me! Gotta love Freighters!


My boss was going to the plane and as it was my day off I asked her to pick up the boots for me and then I would go get them from the store. I practically bolted from my house when I heard the plane take off zipping my parka on the way out I raced to the store and picked up the bag containing my coveted boots.

Sitting in my living room I opened the box.....they were beautiful black and classic looking I put them on and started to zip and then I hit a road block....They Did Not Fit!

I could have cried ..... I do believe a small tear was shed ....my perfect boots did not fit. What could I do I could return them but that is such a hassle since I am not near a DHL spot I would have to pay for the cargo to ship them back. It was only a few measly inches that stopped me from zipping my dream boots.

Googling how to stretch boots and all sorts of things came up .... then I came across a website called bootbands.com... A woman who , like me had large calf's and couldn't find boots to fit these boot bands come in all sorts of styles and zip into the "gap" area of the boots. So I took the measurements and ordered up a pair.... not wanting to give up on these boots.

I got the boot bands today and zipped them in and they are perfect!!!!! I had to get the middle size so they don't hug my calf's as skin tight as I had originally wanted but they are so awesome. I am so happy I can now be the girl who wears leggings with awesome boots . The great thing about the boot bands is that you can use them in many different boots because they zip in and zip out!

Now all  I need is the snow to go away so I can wear them!



Friday, March 1, 2013

Hello World Are you Still Out There?!

Hi All!

It has been quite a while since I updated my blog. I feel really bad about that but I have been busy and just didn't think about updating. This blog I am sure will be long since I am going to let you in on what has been going on with me.


I made it through Christmas! I was so sure that this was going to be the end of my journey in the Arctic before I moved up here. I was going to be the first person in my family not to be home for Christmas. My family sent me presents and bright and early Christmas morning ( we are talking 6 amish ) I was awake. My friend Devi who was also staying for Christmas spent the night at my house so we both wouldn't have to be alone on Christmas , she slept through my Christmas morning Skype session with my family. I have to say that Skype and the Internet saved my sanity during Christmas I felt like I was actually there which was awesome. I got some awesome gifts from my family such as a new Kobo Glo e-reader from my mom and dad, Chapters gift cards from my sisters and Davids Tea from my youngest sister and a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer from my Nannie!  Needless to say she wrapped the mixer quite well and my family has some funny pictures from Christmas of me trying to unwrap it.

After Christmas was pretty quite here in Kimmirut. I spent alot of time with my friends who were in town and on New Years Eve I went to 11pm Church service with Devi and came out to hugs , cheers and fireworks as the Hamlet set off a bunch of fireworks. The Hamlet's firetruck came around and wished all of us a Happy New Year, which was followed by a skidoo parade on the ice!
 
This is my friend Devi and I out on the Breakwater on New Years Eve
 
 
Soon I was feeling the burn out of not being able to leave town. Back home if I got bored with St.Stephen I could go to the city and have dinner and a movie here it is very difficult to do that due to the fact we don't have anything like that here. It is a 30 min and $500 flight out to Iqaluit to be able to do that . I was lucky in early January a friend of mine was going to be in Iqaluit and I could use her discount code and got to go to Iqaluit for three days. All I can say is I know what people who live in the sticks feel like going to the city. After being in Kimmirut for 8 months straight I was really overwhelmed!

Iqaluit has restaurants, bars, exotic food ( I recommend Yummy Shawrma!) and the Northmart.... The Northmart is litterly the Superstore of the North it is the big sister to the store I work in. I could have stayed there for hours! It was so different from grocery stores back here in Kimmirut ! I was able to see the Museum and the Visitors Information center as well as just walk around and see the city!

                                                       The plane trip to Iqaluit!
The bright lights of Iqaluit from the plane!
 
 
This is the Anglican Church in Iqaluit it was recently rebuilt after a fire destroyed the original.
Yup want a double double in Iqaluit it is so possible!
 
 
Iqaluit was awesome but it was also good to get back home. Work has been going good and I cannot complain. I was in charge of the store for about 12 days while my store manager had to go away for a conference and there were no problems.

A great thing that my friends and I have started doing was a book club. So far we have only read one full book and one chapter of our second. We started it as a good way to get together eat healthy and read books and have good conversation which has helped with breaking up the monotony of winter. Right now we are reading Shake Hands With the Devil by Romeo Dialler about the genocide in Rwanda. I have only read one chapter but it is shaping up to be a good book.

Earlier this month I had to finalize my vacation time for this year. One of my work benefits is that they pay for my trip out of the North to the nearest major center , which for Baffin Island is Ottawa. After much humming and hawing over what I was going to do for vacation, was I going somewhere other than back to New Brunswick? I wanted to go overseas to Scotland or down the Florida originally but after talking to my sometimes practical older sister I decided to forgo the large trip this year and go home  and do some smaller trips. I plan on going to the states to do some shopping and to PEI to visit my little sister who is living on the island this summer.

However I am planning a big trip to Scotland and London next year for vacation! I think I almost have my little sister convinced to go. One thing I definitely want to do is go on the train that was used for the Harry Potter movies . It goes from Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland to Mallig a small seaside town  where you can take a ferry to the Isle of Sky.


I am sure I will come up with many more ideas for my vacation before it arrives next year until this New Brunswick I will be back home May 17th - June 13th!