Sunday, February 27, 2011

Teacher Tania

My first class was supposed to be last Wednesday but I had to cancel it due to my catching the worst stomach bug I've ever had.  I had to finish preparing for my class on Saturday afternoon totally sleep deprived (from having been up all night with sick boys) and weak (from not having eaten in 4 days).   Preparing for this class was actually a little comical and quite rudimentary.  It has taken me back to my high school days or earlier.  No Power Point or fancy gimmicks, nope, I had to pull out my leftover packing paper and markers to make graphs and other illustrations (the Northern Store didn't have bristol board).  I packed all my things (bakeware, ingredients, presentation copies, muffins etc.) in boxes, put them on an orange children's sled and walked over to the venue.  I walked in, got everything ready and waited... for 45 minutes.  It was at that point I decided to go back home because nobody could be THAT late.
Part of the problem is that everything is lackadaisical here, last minute really.  I asked the lady how many were going to be in attendance and she said she didn't know because she was going to announce it on the radio Saturday morning.  Anyway the lady felt bad (I didn't, I was relieved since I didn't quite feel myself yet), and told me she was going to bribe people with the possibility of winning a prize at my next class.  So here's hoping that a few people will show up on Wednesday.

Plumbing Issues

We've been living in Coral Harbour for 2 months now and I found out a couple weeks ago that many "southerners" here boil their water.  Apparently their was a parasite "contamination" about a year ago.  Nobody seemed to know the details of the story except for the fact that some people were sick.  Someone actually said that the water isn't treated here...  Is that possible?  I have no idea!  It seems strange because the water is clear and tastes so good (the water in Selkirk was terrible!!!!) but I guess anything is possible here.
I'm not sure if I've explained this before, but we have a Water Truck and a Sewage Truck that come by everyday to do the obvious:  fill up the water tanks and empty the sewage tank.  The reason being there is no underground plumbing here since we live in the permafrost.  Anyway I guess the water tank is supposed to be washed once a year but parasites might still live in the tanks despite the cold.  Apparently one could see little red worms coming through the tap during the "contamination".  When I  heard this my stomach felt sick.  Some of you know how much I have a aversion to worms (especially small ones or maggots - I always garden with gloves on!).   So here we've been drinking water from the tap for nearly 2 months...  Why didn't anybody tell us this?  Seriously I need to write a "Things to Know When You're New to Coral Harbour" book.  Now, as you can imagine, I boil water.  All our drinking water is boiled.  It's yet another pain in the neck thing to do but I'm not willing to take that chance with our young boys.  Apparently, one of the male teachers was once deathly sick from parasite contaminated water in another Northern community.  Yikes.      

Sunday, February 20, 2011


The French "word" jobinne (job-in) has always been used by my dad.  He uses it to refer to a small job or short contract (my dad is a drywaller and often does these little jobs on weekends).  Well anyway, I have a jobinne.  In other words, I have a small job, a short contract.  I wasn't looking for a job but it found me.  I got a call on Friday from a lady I've never me from the Health Centre asking me if I would like to teach a class about healthy eating and exercise.  I still have no idea where she heard about me (or WHAT she heard about me) but after thinking about it, talking to Brian about it, getting more information, and setting my stipulations, I've decided to accept.  Here's the rundown.  I will be teaching two classes a week, each lasting two hours.  They will be held on Wednesdays, one in the morning and one in the evening (to be able to reach as many people as possible) and I'll be teaching the same material for both classes.  My first class is on Wednesday!!!  Yup, in 3 days.  I've decided to break the class down into four major parts:  1) Health Topic 2) Making a recipe together 3) Exercise education component 4) Eating.  I figure the chances are better of people actually coming in if there's food involved!  My lesson plan is pretty much done.  I have decided to start by focusing on beverages (people here drink sooooo much pop despite how expensive it is) and the plain and simple exercise of walking (people here aren't used to exercising in the way we do in the South like I've mentioned in a previous entry).

I am really really excited about this opportunity.  Especially it being so soon after we've moved since this opens the doors to meeting new people but also maybe to be a resource person for a while.   I am excited because health and nutrition for the Inuit people has been on my heart since I moved here.  Even on Friday night, I was telling the girls that they were going to get sick of me giving them healthy foods to eat and one of them replied "it's ok Tania.  My mom only buys junk every two weeks when she gets her money.  So we eat healthy food here."  How heart breaking.  How exciting that maybe some moms will be in my class!  On paper I'm not necessarily qualified to do this (I'm not a nutritionist) but I know the basics, and people here NEED the BASICS.  I have to keep it simple.  Nothing too complicated.  I can do that.  I try to provide my family with a basic healthy lifestyle everyday:  no pop, water and milk to drink, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy, outside play and indoor running around...  And so from one mom to another, from an adult to another I do actually feel qualified to do this.  Of course this is now, I wonder how I'll feel Tuesday night - Ha!  Actually I'm treating this like a University presentation (too bad they don't have power point!  Ha!  My physio friends are smiling now!) because that's all I know and I ALMOST always did really well on those (now my physio friends are really smiling because they remember the one my group bombed in first year...).   

I have still lots to learn regarding cultural differences but I'm thrilled that the Canadian Government has a Food Guide especially targeted for Inuit, Metis and First Nations.  I will of course have to tailor everything to what is offered on the Island (no tofu recipes here!) but that will help me understand and get to know the culture better.    

I have so much to say about this and how I feel God, knowing my heart, has opened a door for me without me even asking for it, but it's way past my bedtime.  However I will leave you with these verses from 1 Corinthians: 2:9-12

 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
      and no mind has imagined
   what God has prepared
      for those who love him.”

 10 But[e] it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

Now while (my understanding of) this passage speaks of the revelation of God's plan for humanity in sending Jesus to be a sacrifice that we may be saved.  I can't help but think that in some way, it applies to my life right now (well at least these are the verses that have been popping in my mind all weekend).  I could never have imagined this opportunity.  I've never dreamed of being a teacher and I don't know much about teaching, but God has taken my budding interest and concern for the health of those around me and turned it into something tangible...  Something I simply couldn't turn down.



Coral Kiss FM

Ok so I'm not in the know.  I showed up at my sewing class on Thursday night only to see that it was dark inside with no one there.  Hmmmmm.  I'm the only one who showed up.  How come everybody else knew that it was cancelled but me?  Friday morning I packed up the kids and pulled them to them to Daycare for my much anticipated "morning off" (to clean, blog, exercise, and fold) only to find out that it was closed.  Grrrr (now instead of having a morning to myself I had 2 cranky boys to contend with...).  Last night I walked to my sewing class again to find it cancelled...  I was a little annoyed but walked over to my friends house to have a little visit.  Well on my way back the lights were on at the Daycare building (where the classes are held) so I walked in.  Of course I asked all the questions you are thinking about and the answer was "we heard it on the radio".  What?  When?  In English or just in Inuktitut?  Well anyway I guess I'm going to have to start listening to the local radio station on the days I have something planned.  Since many people here don't have a telephone, they use the radio as a message board.  "Hey I'm looking for so-and-so, could you please tell him to come to my house" or "I have extra food if anyone wants some supper" (as one young girl's mother does) or again "sewing class is cancelled tonight" or "sewing class has been changed from 6pm to 7pm" (as was the case last night!).  I'm going to have ask for more info like when are these such announcements?  It's not much fun listening to, what to me, is gibberish all day long in the hopes of catching something in English that MIGHT be related to me.   I think one of the ladies said that the announcements are from 12pm to 1pm and then again around 5pm to 6pm, but she wasn't sure.  I will also try getting more key phone numbers but often people aren't home.  I'm just really glad that I took the time to go to my friends house instead of going straight home...

Food Issues

The very high food prices in Arctic Bay are getting national attention these days.  Arctic Bay is one of the most northern communities in Nunavut after Grise Fjord, Resolute Bay, Nanisivik and Pond Inlet.  While our food prices here in Coral Harbour aren't quite as high (Cheez Whiz in Arctic Bay is $30 while here the price is $20) people here still suffer high prices.  The other day I spared Brian a heart attack and took the kids after school to buy ice cream at the Northern for Nathan's birthday (it's what Nathan WANTS for his birthday!).  Poor Brian would have had a cardiac event had he witnessed me pay $20 for a 1.66L tub of Breyers Heavenly Hash (the only chocolatey kind).  Of course all of you know I'm only PARTIALLY kidding!  Of course Brian is fine with me buying ice cream for a special occasion, but had it been up to him, I'm sure he would have found a way to make make frozen milk taste good.  Anyway below is a link to an article that was sent to me by my friend Jen in Ottawa about these high food prices.(my friend Karen sent me a link to learn how to hyperlink in my blog but I haven't checked it out yet but I will!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Polar Bears, Polar Bears and Polar Bears Oh My!

1.  Tonight we met the young adult who was kinda attacked by a polar bear while stranded on an ice floe a little over a year ago near Coral Harbour.  He and his friend came to our door to see if we wanted to buy a ring made of Caribou antler.  I could have asked him questions all night about his "adventure", but I felt bad focusing all my attention on him while the other was "chopped liver" next to him.  He did tell us that he had fallen asleep when he felt something pawing him (almost as if the bear was curious and being cautious), well he somehow had enough time to turn over and shoot the bear dead.  It's no surprise that he was very scared of freezing to death while he drifted on the ice floe.  If you are interested in seeing pictures and reading about the rescue, go to the links below (they each have different details of the story)

2.  There is a Wildlife Conservation Officer here in town and we were recently invited to dinner with him and his fiance.  If I never get to see a polar bear, it will be because of his good work.  He's the person who gets the calls in the wee hours of the morning about polar bears lurking close to town.  He's the person who goes out to try to scare them away and if that doesn't work, he's the one to destroy them.  Once again, I could have asked him questions all night (I think all things polar bear fascinate and frighten me) but you can imagine how easy it was to have a conversation with 3 little boys around!  According to him, polar bears come close to town in the fall when they are hungry and are waiting for the ice to freeze in order to be able to hunt for seal.  Apparently, there were approximately 6 that came close.  One of them, a mother with her cub(s) (not sure if the cubs were counted in the 6) were close to the the airport, which is on our side of the town.  Usually the bears come from the land on the other side of town where the dump is.  I asked how we would know if there was a polar bear close to town and he said he would call us.  I'm happy with that!

3.  We've been getting to know a young single mom of 2 girls and one night she was over for dinner and we were talking about polar bears.  I was trying to ask her how scared and careful we need to be.  For example, can I send the older boys outside to play?  What about those dark cold winter mornings when I walk Benjamin to school?  Well anyway at one point she was saying not to send the kids outside at all and I was really surprised.  Not at all?  Ever?  I mean we go outside everyday!  We play on the snow mountains and drifts...  Well anyway the lines of communication got crossed at some point with the language barrier because she thought I wanted to send my kids outside when a polar bear was in town.  She was strongly suggesting that we don't leave the house and so I was confused!  And she was confused that I wanted to feed my kids to the bears!  Ha!  Well did we ever laugh when we figured that we were talking about very different situations!  In the wintertime, polar bears are rarely seen on the land because they are all on the ice hunting.  I will have to ask the same questions come summertime and fall...  But for now it's generally safe to be outside.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Booggery Noses

The other day I witnessed something pretty gross.  Actually it made my stomach turn and I have a pretty strong stomach.  Essentially I saw a mother grab the face of her 10 month old sick daughter, cover the baby's nose and the area above the lip with her mouth and proceed to suck all the snot clean off the baby's face.  My stomach is turning just thinking about it.  Apparently this is common practice here.  If they are outside then the mothers will spit the snot out but we were indoors and so my guess is that she swallowed it...  Thank goodness she didn't notice the horrified look on my face.  I've been practicing my poker face for the next time I encounter this practice.  Seriously though, I would use my sleeves, mittens, my pant leg, my apron, even my HAIR before I would suck the green monsters out of my boys' noses!  Enough said.  

Baby Kamiks

Well the good ol' paradigm "nothing in life is free" is kinda false here.  Many things here are free.  The government pays for it.  I recently inquired about a sewing class that I was interested in and when I asked what the price was she looked at me strangely and asked "what?  you want to pay for this?".  My reply was "where I come from, nothing is free".  She laughed and added me to the list of participants.  So last night was my first class.  We are making sealskin kamiks for a child (boots).  In some ways I think the government is trying.  These programs are set up to teach young moms the traditional skills and crafts that are slowly dying.  They are meant to teach moms of children under six to make things like sealskin mittens, boots or knitted hats.  The programs are set up to bring the young and the elders together since the classes are taught by an elder.  The sealskin is provided for us as well as a healthy snack (it HAS to be healthy).
So once again I will say it, the government is trying.  It's a good setup.

So there I was last night shy and nervous.  I didn't know how well I would be received.  I made sure it was ok with the organizing lady, but I was still afraid some would think that I was taking a local woman's place (the spots are limited).  I was relieved to actually know two of the moms!  One was the quiet birthday party girl's mother, but the other was a cheery girl from Arctic Bay.  I was so glad to have her since it was all in Inuktitut and she was able to translate the important stuff.  It was also nice to have someone to laugh with at how awkward I was at all of it!  I was also well received by the elder - thankfully.  She spoke Inuktitut 99% of the time but switched to English when she had something to tell me personally.  She was patient, graceful and kind to me.  I feel so blessed.  She made the pattern out of paper by wrapping it around Isaac's leg and then cut it.  I had to trace it on the sealskin, then cut the 2 pieces out.  I asked her if I should use scissors and all she said was "ulu" (woman's knife).  Well I don't have an ulu (other than the decorative one I bought) and I certainly had never used one!  She showed me how and gave me her ulu to use.  It's a small miracle that I came home last night with all my digits intact.  Goodness the ulu was sharp!!!!  I wish someone had taken a picture of me bent over on the floor (oh yes, BTW we work sitting on the floor and not at a table) painstakingly cutting my pelt.  One lady suggested I sit upright and steady the skin with my leg but I didn't have enough control I felt so I went back down.

The room stank of dead seal. Yup you read right.  The skins stink like that really stinky fishy smell we all hate.  As I was cutting my skin with my face about 6 inches away from it, I remember thinking that I better not faint otherwise the upward tip of the ulu would slice my jugular...  So I managed to cut my pieces and start sewing the two sides together of one of them.  We use sinew thread.  It's very tough to sew because the skin in tough and the sinew is thick.  Not to mention that I have a crappy PLASTIC thimble and sweaty hands.  This could take me forever...

Interesting fact:  at the end of the night we had to bag the skins and put them in the freezer so that they don't dry out.  I was very surprised at this and apparently some of the women put their own kamiks in the freezer too (or they leave them outside in the cold - but run the risk of having them stolen).  Speaking of the skins, I noticed the bullet holes that had been sewn up, one on either side of the skin.  I imagine that the bullet goes right through them when they are shot.  Yes it's a little morbid but this is life here.  On a side note, today on the way home from picking up the boys there was a caribou carcass hanging over the garbage cans in front of a house...  People here life off the land and the sea.  Not as much as they used to but it's still a big part of their lives.

Anyway, I had fun at my class despite the language barrier and I was glad as usual to meet other moms in the community as well as an elder.  I'm looking forward to Thursday night's class.  I'm going to try to find a metal thimble and a rubber band to help me pull the needle out of the skin after every stitch.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Birthday Party

Yesterday Benjamin came home from school with an invitation to a birthday party.  The invite read:

Who:   Girl's name
When:  Feb 10th
Time:    5:00pm
Where:  my house

First of all I noticed the date.  Woah!  That's today!  Ok, I can miss my exercise class (talk about short notice).  Second of all I realized that we didn't have a gift for this little girl.  I didn't even know how birthday parties went here.  I didn't know how much to spend.  I didn't want to be cheap but I also didn't want to seem pompous and flashy by getting something more expensive than the other gifts (we are trying to fit in remember?).  Third of all (and I wonder why it wasn't the first) I realized that I had NO CLUE who this little girl was, who her parents were, nor did I have any idea where she lived!!?!?!?  No telephone number or address on the envelope.  At this point I'm laughing out loud as to how funny this invite was...  People are so laid back here, compared to me anyway.  I'd want to know numbers, the invites would have gone out a few weeks before and I would have included a MAP.  Yes I know I'm a little neurotic when it comes to details...  Anyway so Brian and I go off searching for this info; Brian at work asking around and myself calling the few people I know.  It gets funnier.  I called a friend and by chance she actually knew the person and told me the house number and a description of where it was.   You see there are no street names here, only house numbers.  Well I guess there's the old system of numbers and the new system of numbers.  All documentation and maps have the new system but the locals still use the old...  Brian drove around and could not find the house.

So we got ready, I ran into the Northern to buy a hopefully appropriate gift and we guessed which house it was based of the description.  Thankfully we were right but I figured that even if we had been wrong the people would have been able to direct us.  Everybody knows everybody here.  Finding a gift was frustrating.  It was all really overpriced junk (not to mention the limited options) and not having ever seen this girl, I had no idea what she liked.  Anyway I found something with Disney Princesses and figured I couldn't go wrong with that (turns out I think she got two of the same).  Next time we go home I will be buying a few boy and girl gifts in Benjamin and Nathan's age brackets.

The actual party went well.  Very simple in the way parties used to be.  No over-priced venues, no pool, no gymnastics, no reptiles or bouncy castles, just kids, hotdogs, jello, cake, a game with prizes and presents.  Oh yes, and party hats - can't forget the party hats.  Benjamin and I were both shy (I'm glad we had each other ;o) but we had fun.  Benjamin was happy to play with a few of his friends from class and I got to meet a few mothers.  One was very nice and we chatted, another friendly but reserved and the third basically wanted nothing to do with me.  She wasn't mean but when I introduced myself she just kinda grunted something like a hello - she didn't tell me her name.  Oh well.  It didn't phase me any.   Some of the women must feel like I'm intruding sometimes, but Benjamin WAS invited.  His name was on the envelope.

The homes here are small.  They are all up on "stilts" because of the frozen ground (not sure if we are in the perma-frost or not - I'll have to find that out).  So to get into every home, you must go up some stairs and then it's a small bungalow.  Usually open concept with a kitchen, dinning area and living room, and then down a hall you have some bedrooms and a bathroom.  Of course, no basement.  The decor is often similar to what homes looked like 20 -30 years ago (actually this home reminded me a lot of my grand-maman Tourangeau's house back in Alfred, ON).  On the refrigerator there was a big picture of some men all around an obviously dead polar bear (it had been shot several times).  It was taken 5 years ago the mom explained, and it was her father and brother who shot it.  On the wall there was another framed picture (8x10 I would say) of a young boy holding two riffles...  Fascinating.

I'm very glad to have been invited to this party because birthday season is upon me for my boys (Nathan's being the first on Feb 28th - turning 4!) and now I can have little parties for them.  They will be so excited!

I Swear I'm Not Guilty (ok maybe a little!)

Good morning everyone.  I'm sitting here with my morning coffee in front of my therapeutic light.  It's brand new out of the box.  I just received it the other day from Sears (it was on sale!).  My goodness is it ever BRIGHT.  I feel silly sitting here in front of it.  I feel as though I'm being interrogated.  Maybe I am in a way.  It feels as though the light can see through me.  The light is seeping through my skin down into my being searching for the reasons for it.  What made me buy it?  Well the obvious answer is the darkness here, but really, at this point, I'm sure we get as much daylight as all of you in the South (and very soon we will get far more!) or at least we are close!  The other reasonable reasons are my once in a while irritability and anxiety.  The one reason I like to hide but I will share with you is my emotional eating.  I hate it and I want to try to deal with it instead of sweeping it under the rug AGAIN.  It seems worse in the wintertime and definitely worse when I'm dealing with emotional stress like a certain big move perhaps or having to make new friends.  Sometimes the triggers are obvious as I just mentioned but sometimes they are not.  Sometimes I simply find myself eating mindlessly and sabotaging by weight loss efforts for reasons I guess I don't take the time to figure out.  My lifelong goal has always been to wear a bikini (wow we are going deep this morning - what is this light doing to me?).  Not that I would ever wear one NOW after having 3 boys and tons of stretch marks, flabby skin and varicose veins to boot, but I would like that to be a decision that I MAKE and not determined by my body.  So here I am.  I'm sitting in front of this light to see if it may help with the emotional stuff enough so that I can learn to deal with dealing with it.  Ha!  I just re-read that sentence and I'm not sure if it makes any sense, but I wouldn't really know how else to put it.  My time is almost up and I need to blog about last night.  Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Anticipated Pictures vol. 2

Hooray for Brian!  He finally received a work camera and now we can use the cables to upload our pictures onto the computer from our Nikon.  It may not seem like much work, but uploading all the pictures in vol. 1 and 2 has essentially taken me all day.  At one point I was doing the dishes while uploading the pictures.  Today was a "cold day" when school is cancelled because the temperature was below -50 degrees.  I was nice to be able to focus on getting these pictures on - but I had to ignore my boys for a good part of the day (I am mostly kidding, they played really well today so it was a mellow day for all of us.)  Anyway I hope you enjoy them! 

One of the many fishing boats in town.  Notice the polar bear skin hanging from the back pole (no idea what that's called).

Benjamin and Nathan by the Inukshuk behind our house.

This is the community grave.  I can see it off in the distance from my back windows.

Moonset.  Once again, my lack of a zoom lens really takes away from the picture.  The moon was the biggest that I had ever seen.  This is also part of our view from our back windows.

The rectangular blue building on the left hand side is our duplex.  We live on the left side and this is the back of the house.  In the middle is Nathan exploring his new surroundings and there is one of the two Inukshuks on the right.

My boys playing on a mountain of snow in the afternoon.  This was taken not long after we moved here and so it was getting dark quite early.  It was actually quite mild when we moved here so we were able to take the camera outside a few times before the real cold hit...

Anticipated Pictures vol. 1

Sunset during a windstorm.  The fuzzy colour is due to the wind blowing the snow across the land.

Moonset.  The sun had not risen yet but the sky was becoming a brighter blue.  I wish I had my zoom lens (we found it broken days before we moved!) because the moon was huge and pink.  The pink moon set up against the different hues of blue made for a spectacular sight one morning.

Northern Lights.  These were taken the night we all hopped in the truck and drove out of town to see them.  The pictures are fuzzy because we didn't have our tripod and for nighttime pictures the shutter stays open for 20 seconds or more.  Therefore the camera isn't very forgiving even for slight movements like breathing.  But you get the picture...

While this one is extra blurry, I love it because it gives a glimpse as to how grand these lights are compared to the town of Coral Harbour in the background.  The lights engulf the sky from one end to the other.  They are majestic.

Brian took this one and it's our best one so far.   Now that we have our tripod, we hope to get out again when it warms up a bit.

Sunset.  I love looking at the contrast between the sky and the flat land (and they say the prairies are flat!)

This is a terrible picture taken from our window (with Brian's reflection in it!) , but I wanted to share what it looks like to us even from inside.

The Simple Life

I love the simple life.  There aren't many complications here - at least not in my household (I'm not sure what goes on in other households - I have yet to be invited into a local's home).  My friend Jen from Ottawa (we've known each other for what now? almost 20 years?!?!?!? Wow that makes me feel old.) came to visit me in Selkirk about 2 years ago and I remember her commenting on how she thought my life was so simple.  How she nearly envied that aspect of it (not necessarily the part about having 3 small rowdy boys though :o).  Part of it is being a stay-at-home mom, part of it is living in a small town, part of it is a conscious decision not to get over-involved or over-commited.  Part of it is enjoying the simple things in life like getting good meals ready from scratch, reading books to my boys, playing outside in the snow (or once upon a time playing in the garden!).  I remember so many people commenting on how much time I was going to have when I moved here.  I couldn't wait to have ALL this time especially after running around so much in the fall.  I have long standing projects and goals that I want to conquer:  organizing my pictures in albums, learning to sew, being better at keeping in touch with friends and family, teaching my boys French (the never-ending challenge!), getting in better shape (never ending challenge II) etc.  Well let me tell you that having a simplified life does not mean boredom!  Not here anyway.  In some ways I have much less to do.  There are no stores to shop at, the errands are few, not many activities to take the boys to, nowhere to go on weekends really.  We really get to spend lots of time as a family.  We get to be lazy on Saturday mornings.  I've realized however that the things that I DO have to do are more time consuming.  My mornings are spent getting 3 young boys and myself dressed to conquer -40 and colder weather and let me tell you that is no easy feat!  Then we walk Benjamin to school, walk back and take all our stuff off only to have to start all over again a couple of hours later.  Now let's talk about dishes.  I used to love doing dishes.  I find it relaxing.  Now I nearly hate it.  Now, I stare blankly at a boring wall for hours daily washing my dishes.  No dishwasher.  How I miss my dishwasher.  You see I'm the kind of person who put everything, except for my china (or the "not dishwasher safe" items) of course, in the dishwasher.  Now I'M dishwasher extraordinare.  Brian usually helps with the after supper dishes but his fingers were bitten by a drunk man on the weekend - badly enough that it's bandaged and he can't work all week (or do dishes or fold laundry...  as you can imagine it's killing him not being able to do these things!).  I find that once all the dishes are done and the kitchen is cleaned up, there's not a whole lot of time for much else.  Also there is no takeout.  If I don't feel like cooking well, I have to cook - something!  While Brian and I were not big on takeout we used to get those little pre-cooked rotisserie chickens or frozen pizzas once in a while.  How I miss M&Ms and President's Choice frozen meals.  They were usually partially healthy.  Here, the frozen food selection is limited and it's extra pricey.  Not to mention complete junk. My only saving grace are leftovers.  I have to ban Brian from eating them at lunch so we can have them for supper.  I shouldn't complain that my husband loves my cooking (most of the time!) and enjoys it as much the next day...  As long as he stays away from the leftovers until supper!  And if I have guests coming, I can't stop at the bakery in a pinch to buy my favourite imperial cookies (how I miss the delicious goodness of those melt-in-your-mouth-raspberry filled darlings!).  Or stop at the store to buy flowers to say thank you for dinner when we go somewhere.  It's all me baking from scratch.  Don't get me wrong I LOVE cooking and baking, but it takes time.  Even my attempts at keeping in touch are quite time consuming.  Blogging, emailing, telephone calls, reading Facebook updates...  Lets face it, I have friends and family in many parts of Canada (and abroad!) from my many walks of life and I still try to keep in touch with many of you.  I could go on about having to patch the 10 or more pair of pants that Benjamin has put holes in the knees, the socks that need mending (we don't have carpet here and my boys throw themselves onto the floor racing their cars and trucks... I guess it doesn't hurt that much!), doing laundry in tiny washer and dryers (double the loads), online shopping (I really don't like it yet) and all the general stuff.  Life isn't very stressful here but I'm far from bored.  And if I'm going to achieve any of my goals, I'm going to have to TAKE the time just like I'd have to back home.

Social Butterfiles

It's crazy how things can change in 5-6 weeks.  Of course we didn't know anyone when we first moved here, but last week we were very busy with dinners invites, dinner guests, playdates, yoga and exercise classes nearly every night.  It's been great getting to know some of the local moms as well as some of the "southerners" (mostly the teachers) that are here for work.  The downside to all these food related activities is that it's been not so good for my plans to lose a little weight...  Oh well, all the exercise classes kept me at "neutral" - thank goodness!  I've decided to have a girl's night at my house this Saturday night (Feb 12th) for a chocolate fondue.  I've tried to make it a tradition to have these girl's nights no matter where I am so this is my first of many for Coral Harbour I hope.  Thinking about these such nights is making me homesick for my girlfriends in Selkirk.  Sadly, I was unable to plan as many playdates and girls nights as I would have liked in my last number of months there...  I have only invited the "southerners" for this one (as opposed to also include some of my local friends) since I'm not sure how it would turn out.  And since I don't know anyone here very well, I decided to take it slow.  My friend Jenna has called me "the glue" in the past.  Referring to a person that brings people from different groups of friends or from different walks of life together.  I imagine that I will think of something to bridge that gap...  In time, when I get to know everyone better.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fishing Village

What a beautiful morning.  Of course it was beautiful, it was 30 degrees warmer than just a couple days ago (it was - 24 this am)!!!!!  I REALLY enjoyed my morning walks today (dropping and picking up the boys).  Of course I did, I could breathe, I could see, and I could feel my skin.  I could take my time and enjoy the scenery around me.  I could wave to passer-bys and I could walk to the Northern Store to buy a few things.  I took in the scenery this morning and I've decided that Coral Harbour is pleasant looking. It may actually be really nice, I think.  Either that or it's really grown on me.  It's a small town with a few hills and big rocks.  The town caresses a weaving shore.  Today I noticed all the boats.  There are actually quite a few homes that had fishing boats parked beside them, especially the homes right on the shore.  Then I noticed that some of the newer housing complexes (I think they are apartments or condos) are brightly coloured.  One was red, one dark blue, one light blue, two creamy yellow and one beige. All of a sudden it hit me.  This reminds me of a fishing village in Newfoundland!  The coloured houses, the boats, the shore, the rugged terrain...  How quaint.  I can't wait to see this place in the summer.  I can't wait to see the water.  I bet this place is beautiful.  I can't wait to take my kids to see and play by the shore - they will LOVE it.  I can't wait to experience the buzz of the local people coming and going on the Bay.  I bet more people will be out and about.  Actually I've heard many stories of the town never sleeping in the summer because of all the daylight.  It's interesting that this place reminds me of Newfoundland (Rankin Inlet really reminded me of NFLD because it's even rockier) since many people who come to these communities to work are Newfoundlanders, especially the managerial staff at the grocery stores (actually ALL the managerial staff that I've met here at both stores and in Rankin where all from NFLD).  I'm not entirely sure of all the reasons why, but I've heard that NFLD advertises working in Nunavut.  Well if you have managerial experience and want to be able to retire early come work in the North!  Apparently it's well worth it.  I like it!  And I'll be your friend ;-)

Future Opportunities

Today it occurred to me that I really like living here.  It's amazing what a month and a half can do!  I wonder if we will have any say, but I'm already thinking that I won't want to leave in two years.  Actually, I don't want to leave now.  Having to start all over in a new community makes me want to cry.  I find it really hard.  I love going to daycare and chatting with the ladies, going to the grocery store and knowing many by name, and having people over for dinner or playdates.  I love the feeling of settling in, of being a part of the community - despite being and looking so different.  Brian and I have talked about the possibility of going to Rankin Inlet after our stent here.  It would make a lot of sense.  Rankin is closer (one less flight) to home, it's bigger (has 2 hotels, restaurants, coffee shop, and I'm assuming more stores or amenities) and the detachment is bigger too.  Actually the Ranking Inlet RCMP boss (I forget his ranking oops!) has been here in Coral Harbour this week and he was telling Brian that we should head there in 2 years since he will need a member then.  This should be great news.   Funny thing is though is that now we aren't so sure.  We've met a few people lately that had moved there and having been so homesick, they moved back.  They talk about how different it is.  The people are different (more alcohol related problems since it's not a dry community like Coral Harbour), the hunting isn't as good (more caribou here and there aren't any geese in Ranking like they have here - I'm looking forward to seeing them this summer), it's bigger and it's much colder there (nobody seems to know why).  Hhhhmmmmmm.  Something to pray about.  I wonder if they would ever let us stay here for the 4 years?  One downside to this is the fact that we wouldn't get to experience living in a different Inuit community.  They say every community has it's own "feel" or "flavour".  I mean, if we are going to come this far we may as well experience as much as possible.  I a lso have to think of my boys and possibly being able to offer them more in a bigger community. I will have to look into what that "more" would be.  Would there be "more" for my boys to get into trouble or would there be more athletic, recreational and educational resources?  I think I would like to spend a day or so in Rankin on our way through this summer to look around, get a feel for the place and see what it has to offer.  It seems terrible to talk about leaving when we just got here but I know that it will fly.  For now I simply need to take in and enjoy this lag of the trip.