Friday, December 6, 2013

farewell nunavut!

down to my last few hours in rankin inlet. i've been jotting down reminders of the things i've liked and disliked about staying here, and the like side wins by a landslide.

things i love about life in this little arctic hamlet:
  • i love the sunrise and that i am always awake to see it
  • i love the colour of the snow at different times of day. blue, pink, orange,  white.
  • i love looking away from town into absolute darkness
  • i love the silence, except for the sound of dogs barking somewhere in the distance
  • i love that no one knows their address, but everyone seems to know who lives where
  • i love that people give their phone numbers as just 4 digits, because the first three are always the same
  • i love shared taxis
  • i love that there are no sidewalks
  • i love how trucks and skidoos just made their own roads. why go around the lake, when you can go across it!
  • i love all the homemade parkas (i can never brag about knitting my own scarf again)
  • i love babies in hoods (amauti is the inuit coat the mothers wear - the babies look so cozy!)
  • i love wearing snow pants. this is something i plan to do at home, fashion be damned!
  • i love that it's like a town full ofsouthpark kennys walking around. nothing but eyes in hoods
  • i love having to do that full body swivel to look to the side.
  • i love that i'm "from down south". winnipegger = southerner. weird
  • i love the friday night bingo on the radio that everyone plays
  • i love the sense of a close community and that i have temporarily been a part of it.
things i won't miss:
  • dry skin. seriously, i slather on coats of lotion and i still feel like my skin is cracking.
  • all the static to go along with the dryness
  • brain freeze from the outside in. that's where the cold hits: right between the eyes.
  • coffee. oh my god i am just so sick of it. everyone drinks coffee all the time. i have been havnig 4 cups a day, just because it's the thing to do.
  • coffee-mate. drinking 4 cups of coffee and i don't even have cream!
  • the evil giant ravens. they just hover and circle above me, like they are waiting to pick at my frozen corpse. man, they creep me out
  • the constantly drippy nose
  • wiping said drippy nose with the wad of frozen-snot kleenex that is always in my pocket
  • my eyelashes freezing together when i blink.
actually, i like that. i'm moving freezing eyelashes to the "i love" column.

well kids, that's it, i'm outta here. flying south the rest of the winter :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

a wonderful arctic weekend

what a wonderful weekend! it started off with a walk up the hill at the edge of town to watch the sunrise. i stood on the hilltop, the wind blowing, snow drifting across the rocks like they were steaming,  and everything glowing pink as the sun came up. the world was so quiet and beautiful.

i could see this every morning and still be in awe
i went to the community centre and put a couple of tickets in to win some sealskin mitts... alas, no luck. but a lady gave me her number and said she could make me a pair. then i checked out the Matchbox Gallery, a little art shop and studio, where a couple of people were working on their sculptures, followed by a bite to eat at the sugar rush cafe, a cute place with 50s diner decor. Finished my poutine and headed back out to see the sunset. later in the evening, someone on the rankin inlet facebook group posted that they were having a bake sale, so i decided to go. i wandered around, trying unsuccessfully to find the address. i asked a few people if they knew where it was (giving the address) but no one knew. finally i asked for her by name and was pointed to the right house! it was a bit odd knocking on a stranger's door. and even odder when a young man answered the door, and i had him and 4 kids in the background staring at the unknown girl in the doorway. everything was pretty much gone except for some buns and bannock, so i bought some bannock.

today there was a real highlight. i made arrangements to meet a woman and her mother to look at some mitts her mother made. when we went in the house, two elderly ladies were kneeling on the floor, cutting up a big chunk of frozen caribou with ulus (curved inuit knives). there was also a young couple and 3 children in the small house. they were all very welcoming. the mother didn't speak any english, so her daughter translated. we chatted for a little while, and she showed me the mitts - too big :( she told me how the older ladies really like eating the frozen caribou because they have no teeth and it just kind of melts in their mouth. then she asked if i would like to try some. Yes, i would! i have never eaten caribou before, let alone raw, frozen caribou, carved right in front of me. It was good. it didn't really have any flavour. but it did just melt in my mouth. she even offered to give me some to take home, which was so kind. they have lots of people that needs to feed, and i didn't want to take it from them. the visit with them was definitely one of the coolest things i've done so far.

sweet adele and some frozen caribou meat
this evening i went for a drive with a teacher i met. we drove just a little ways out of town, and wow, it was something else! away from the lights of the little town, the stars sparkled in the night sky, and utter blackness was all around. we stopped the truck and stepped outside for a moment. oh, that wind! i think it must have been gusting at about 80km/hr or something. i could barely open the door, and once outside i could only stand with my back to the wind, it was so powerful. we only lasted about 60 seconds and i had to get back in the truck. i thought my face would peel off out there! god, how could people survive in that?? the final stop was a tour around the dump. it was surreal, like a post-apocalyptic landscape. first there was the stretch of oil drums, and then piles of abandoned frozen trucks, mattresses, coils... it was extra eerie in the dark. no polar bear sightings, just a large white rabbit darting across the snow (perhaps it was late for a very important date).

all in all, a fantastic weekend. i can't believe it's my last!

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