We have made a few friends here but not quite the kind I was expecting. Three 11 year old girls have taken a liking to us (and we, a liking to them ;o). Tamika, Haley and Lilian are their English names (I have yet to keep track of their Inuktitut names). They are sweet, eager, helpful, respectful young girls. I met them one night on my way to the grocery store (along with 2 boys). Within seconds I had one linking with each of my arms and the other linking with her friend. They followed me all the way to the store, helped me shop, and pulled the sled home with all my groceries. I invited them in that night into my entryway so that Brian could meet them. They were so shy yet very excited to be in our house. They polished an entire tub of gummy Christmas wreaths before I had my boots off.
Tamika was the first to come to our house. There she was just staring at us through the window. She caught me off guard but I was happy to see her. I invited her in. I was reluctant to do so and asked her many times what her mother would say and the answer was always "she doesn't mind" or "she doesn't care" (which Brian reassures me that it's true - parents don't care, they are happy when the kids are out of their hair). That afternoon we coloured with the kids and had hot chocolate. I wondered why she never answered my questions and always made a funny face and then I remembered!!!!! She was lifting her eyebrows in a surprised kinda look every time she was saying "yes". Eureka! She didn't seem so awkward once I figured that out!
The next day there was Tamika and Haley. And the next, Tamika, Haley, and Lilian. Today, Tamika, Haley and Lilian. I look forward to their visit after school. I've had to set a few rules however. Departure time is 4:30pm (they would stay all night if they could) and no playing upstairs. They are very curious and I don't blame them (RCMP housing is the nicest in Coral Harbour and we have "stuff"- toys, iPad, food etc), but now that they've seen the upstairs really there's nothing for them to do there. I am also hoping to limit the visits to weekdays and not on weekends as to keep our family and down time sacred.
You might be thinking that I've opened up a big can of worms by inviting them in my house and I wonder if I have but I can't help it. Even if tomorrow 10 kids show up would it really be that bad for an hour? Brian talks about how his home growing up had a revolving door of people coming and going and I know that we've always wanted our home to be open and welcoming. I feel that we've been given so much (and have so much compared to those living here) that it would be so selfish not to share our "wealth" even if it means letting them take turns using the iPad, eating half of my cake, letting them paint their nails... This verse keeps coming to my mind and I simply can't ignore it.
Luke 12:48 says "For everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked"
I am trying hard not to cross boundaries and so today I asked the girls if they could ask their moms if they would like to come over and meet me and possibly avoid misunderstandings (should there be any). Tamika said that her mom doesn't like whites... Yikes. I don't feel bad though because Tamika also spends time with her white teacher Robin. I'm looking forward to finding out what the answers will be.
The girls love the boys. All of them, including Brian! Ha! They get all shy and giddy when he comes home from work and it's so cute to see them. Of course Brian teases them in his usual manner and they love the attention. They especially love Isaac. They want to hold him, love him and take care of him and of course he isn't always receptive to it, but by the time they are leaving he is usually begging them to read stories or to play tickle peek-a-boo.
Two days ago the French Canadian and Inuit Cultures collided. Ok, I'm being a little dramatic but the girls did get a taste of one of my family's traditions growing up. For New Years my dad had sent a tub of "tire', pure maple syrup that has been boiled down to a very sticky and thick consistency. Every spring, at "Sugar Shacks" (Cabanes a sucre), people line up with popsicle sticks by big tubs of clean snow where the boiling hot "tire" is poured over in patches. The fun part is picking the biggest patch and rolling the congealed tire around your stick to make a "popsicle". If one can handle it, you can try to roll TWO patches of tire, but then you run the risk of making a big sticky mess (as a kid, WHO CARED!). Anyway when I asked the girls to go outside and fill a cookie sheet full of snow, clean snow because we'd be eating some of it, they looked at me with big eyes and ran out as fast as they could! We'll to get to the punch line they loved it! We all sat around the table, including the boys, and dove in with our spoons, twirled, licked and sucked. It was so good and we were completely sticky. I took the opportunity to explain the sap and maple syrup process. They actually seemed interested. They asked for more. I guess I'll be asking my dad for a special favour...
The girls are very mature in some ways. They love to care for young children, they play with them but they also help them get dressed and carry them around - like little mothers-in-training. They are also very good about cleaning up after themselves. They offer to do the dishes, pick up toys and even replace the garbage bag when it needs to be replaced. Did I mention that they are eager? ;o) The sad part about all this is that the mentality here for many is similar to that in third world countries where girls get married and have children very young. Also, few get an education. Last year only 2 teenagers graduated high school... I noticed that the girls have trouble reading out loud and they are in grade 6. I am hoping to pick a novel (Anne of Green Gables or Alice in Wonderland for example) and go through it with them reading it out loud to one another.
The girls are trying to find an Inuktitut name for me. They pondered "flower", and something else I can remember right now but I think they've settled on "Napaqtuq" meaning "tree". I have to ask them again why "Napaqtuq". I think I like it - we'll let's put it this way, I've been called worse!