Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Around Town

Hello Again,
So, I finally went down to the high school to give them my resume at the end of last week.  It was quite the trek.  First, I had to walk down to the RCMP office to get  a criminal background check.  I met one of the local RCMP officers; he was really friendly. However, since I am an American, it takes a week (it can be done overnight for Canadians) to get the check completed.  Technically, I can pick it up Friday but I don't know if that's going to happen.  Then, I went down to the high school.  The doors which appear to be the main entrance are not accessible from the outside so  I walked around a few times.  Even though I realize that it's a bit different up here, I was somewhat concerned about just wandering around the halls of the high school (I didn't want my (hopefully) future co-workers thinking I was some sort of creeper).  I did, however, finally find someone to ask directions to the main office.  The students were REALLY friendly; I got several "Hellos" and "Good Mornings" as I aimlessly wandered the halls.  I was kind of surprised by this because...well frankly because they're teenagers and we all know what teenagers are like.  I'm curious as to whether they thought they should suck up (if I'm going to be a faculty member) or maybe they are just a bunch of really friendly kids.  Either way, it seems like a good environment to work in.  I met the principal and one of the office ladies.  They seemed really eager to help me out in terms of getting a job (and the work visa I need to work). So, here's hoping that it all works out.

Then, after that was done, I had to pick up some groceries at the Northern Store.  Since I had been walking all morning and was quite tired, I decided that I wanted to take the cab back home.  However, the store was CRAZY busy (I guess because it was lunchtime on a  Friday) and I couldn't figure out how to get someone to call the cab for me (that's what you have to do since there's no payphone or anything).  So I went outside and figured I would wait for a few minutes and if the cab didn't come by, I would just walk home.  As I was waiting, a man idling his Suburban outside the store asked me where I was going and if I wanted a ride.  Now, I have to say that if I were in the south, I would not have jumped in a strange man's car.  But, this is a small town and I've been told to get to know people (and there were a few other people in the car anyways) so I jumped in.  Everyone was very nice, and one of the passengers (his nickname is Pav or Pov, I'm still trying to wrap my head and mouth around some of the Inuit names up here) told me he has worked in Colorado in the past.  Who knew?  So, all in all, I got a free ride home and made some new friends.  This is one of the things I have learned to love about the North.

Then, this weekend, D. and  I were invited to go to a "Craft Fair" at the community hall.  We thought it would be a good place to pick up some Christmas presents.  However, when we got there, we discovered it was more of a community rummage sale.  I remember helping out at church rummage sales when I was a kid.  We were a bit disappointed because we had hoped to get some of our Christmas shopping done, but I'm glad we went anyways.  I got hit in the torso by a stray hockey puck (it was soft and didn't hurt but I did think the kids playing hockey outside were pretty hilarious).  I am glad we went though, even just to participate in a community event. 

Well friends, that's about it for now.  Since I'm still jobless I spend most of my days doing housework and watching Star Trek (Next Generation) since we have it on the hard drive.  D. and I are leaving for Pangnirtung next week to visit his parents for Christmas so I'm pretty excited for that.  I hope you all have an excellent holiday season. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I have decided to dedicate this entry to pictures of Cape Dorset.  Some of you have seen some of these pictures on my Facebook page but a few of you don't have Facebook so I thought I would post them here.  There are also some new pics which are exclusive to the blog (just because I love those of you that read this blog more than my regular Facebook friends).  There hasn't really been anything exciting going on lately. I am going to drop off my resume at the high school in the next few days and, hopefully, I can get them to hire me as a substitute.  I spoke to the principal this morning and he said they would be willing to help me out with a work visa so keep your fingers crossed (I really need a job). Although, since the high school is at the bottom of the "Hill of Doom" I really hope that I can find a ride home on some days so I don't have to brave the hill EVERY DAY.  Or, maybe D. and I can afford a snowmobile if I'm working too.  I really like the exercise that the hill provides but I think I'd be frustrated having to hoof it every day from work.  Not to mention that I usually go walking during the day when the sun is out, but it is certainly down by the time school is out and it's much colder than it is during the early afternoon.  Speaking of the weather, I was amused by the fact that this morning it was colder in Greeley (Colorado) than it was here.  HAHAHAHA! Sorry, but for all of those people who told me I was crazy for moving someplace so cold that is some sweet sweet irony.

And now, for the pictures.

This is a picture taken at around 1 or 2 in the afternoon.
(Yes it is THAT dark at that time of day)

This pic and the one below are the exact same view but at different parts of the day.

The Co-op Store.  (One of the two stores in town)

PUPPIES!  These little guys are so cute.  But I couldn't get them to stop jumping on me long enough
to take a picture so I had to take them while they jumped on me.  These are the two main types of dogs you
see up here.

ME!  Not a great picture, but I felt like I needed proof that I am actually alive. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

American Thanksgiving in the Arctic

Ullukkut (Good Day/Afternoon)!  Since cooking (uusimajut means cooked food)has been a large part of my life since moving to the north I have decided to dedicate this entry to some of my culinary experiences so far.  D. and I (as most of you will already know) are big fans of food but we are trying to eat healthier while living here.  Nonetheless, because of the lack of other things to do or places to go and eat as well as the much larger amount of exercise we do here, a lot of our free time is spent cooking our dinners, making bread and other such activities.  D. bought a pretty sweet bread-maker before moving up here and we use it ALL THE TIME.  (In fact, I am writing to the cadence of its kneading function right now.)  I just have to say I love this machine.  It is so easy to make delicious, homemade bread and sans preservatives it has to be better for us than store-bought.  The other night, D. and I were craving pizza but the frozen ones at the stores are like $16-20.  We discovered that the bread-maker would make pizza dough in less than an hour.  So, while we went to the store to buy the goods for our Thanksgiving dinner for Sunday (more on that later), the bread machine whipped up some tasty pizza dough and all we had to do was put the toppings on and bake it.  IT WAS DELICIOUS, better than most pizza places in my opinion!  So, even though we can't order pizza here, at least now we know that we can make our own very easily.

Another interesting cooking situation came up when we decided to make tacos for dinner one night.  My Great Grandma Clay's taco recipe is something I have been sharing all over since leaving home.  Tacos are one of my favorite things to make and, in most cases, SUPER simple.  However, D. and I ran into a snag when the store did not have any soft-shelled tortillas.  My friend Kristin taught me how to make home made tortillas before I left Colorado so I knew that we could make them here at home with just some flour, shortening and water.  So, we bought the stuff for the meat part and decided to make our own tortillas. This turned out to be quite the task because we don't have a rolling pin.  Had we realized that, I'm sure I could have picked one up at one of the stores but I just totally spaced out on it.  And here, our improvisation skills came in handy.  I rolled out 8 tortillas with....(drum-roll please).... A FULL CAN OF PEPSI!  That's right folks, and it's no easy task.  Rolling tortillas WITH a rolling pin is a fairly physical job and without one...well let's just say I was tired by the time dinner was done.  They did, however, turn out really well (with the exception of one which badly burned one of our pans).  And, like the bread, being home-made they taste much better and I think that working hard for your meal makes it taste all that much better.  So, anyways, a shout-out to Kristin (or Kristinkins as I like to call her) for sharing her magnificent tortilla making abilities with me.

And, my friends, this brings us to the magnificent feast which D. and I made yesterday for some of his work friends.  Since he just made rice on Canadian Thanksgiving and I missed out on American Thanksgiving we thought it would be a nice way for me to meet some of his co-workers and their families to host an American Thanksgiving meal.  We made: turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, cranberries, and of course, pumpkin pie.  Everything turned out really well and tasted great; the turkey literally fell off the bone.  We didn't even have to carve it at all, just pull the parts off. (The trick to getting your turkey to do this is to soak it in salt water for at least 12-14 hours before you cook it). We're going to be eating leftovers for weeks I'm sure.  We plan on making some turkey soup in the near future.  It was really nice to meet D.'s friends and we had a really nice evening.  It was also my first time hostessing a real, grownup dinner party so I felt pretty fancy.  Despite the mismatched dishes and lack of enough silverware I thought we put out a pretty nice spread.  We had wanted to take some pictures but totally forgot and I doubt that anyone would want to see pics of the ravaged turkey carcass (and if you are a sick sick person). 

And, on that note, I need to go check that the bread is rising properly and finish up last night's dishes.  D. wanted me to mention the Inuktitut word for domestic partner/common law spouse is "aippaq" because in my last entry I mentioned how much I HATE the term partner.  So, from now on, we are going to refer to each other as aippaq. I think all of you who hate that term should just adopt this Inuktitut word.

Love to you all.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tunngasugit! (Welcome!)

Tunngasugit! Or, welcome in Inuktitut.  I have been advised by many of my friends to start a blog of my experiences while living here in the Canadian north.  Most of you reading this will know why I am currently residing in Cape Dorset, Nunavut; but just in case you don't I have moved up here to live with my partner. (even though I HATE that term, it is the most appropriate).  I feel like the first few entries may be a bit awkward because I am not used to writing like this but hopefully, I will get the hang of it.

I have now been in Cape Dorset for a week and I am now just starting to really settle in.  Right now I am unemployed but I am hoping to remedy that situation.  We live in a nice little two bedroom place at the top of a treacherous hill which I have dubbed "The Hill of Doom". Cape Dorset is basically just a group of hills and in Inuktitut the name for Cape Dorset is Kinngait which is the word for "mountains". Since all the grocery stores are at the bottom of the hill, running errands is quite the task.  I'm sure that as I get accustomed to it, the hill will seem less daunting and although I know I need and usually enjoy the exercise (more-so after it is done).  I have actually just returned from a trip to the Northern Store and I am attempting to get some housework done before I settle down for the evening.  I have a feeling that living at the top of the hill will be excellent for my cardiovascular health and eventually (and hopefully) some significant weight loss.

My first impressions of Nunavut are mostly positive ones.  Although I definitely feel as though I am in a completely alien place (both in terrain and culture), the people seem to be very friendly.  One odd thing that I have encountered is that young children (I would say around 10 years old) here often ask for cigarettes.  Of course, in the south, smoking is a taboo habit anyways but that does not seem to be so much the case here.  And I do not wish to judge this culture because that is not my place.  It was just a shock to me when it happened; I have been informed that this was not an isolated incident but something that happens quite often.  Make of it what you will. 

While I am here, it is my goal to learn as much of the language as I can.  I think that if you are going to live in a place where you are the linguistic minority, you should at least put as much effort as possible into learning the language of where you live.  Thus, I will probably be practicing my Inuktitut on you all, but I will try to define everything I use.  I think it will help me learn.  For now, I am getting a lot of reading done (in particular because we don't have a TV) and trying to be a good domestic partner.  

And thus concludes the first entry.  I have no idea if anyone will actually read this but I am keeping it largely for my own sake.  If you do read it, please feel free to ask questions. 

Tavvauvusi (Goodbye All),

This is a picture I took the other day.  I will try to include pictures in my posts when I have them.