Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Three Months In...

Oooh kay. I’m off work and sick and feeling disgusting, so what a great time to reach out to the outside world! *sniff, sniff* I’m a terrible worker this week, and missed Monday, tried to rally for Tuesday, but then my lymph nodes said “get ‘er boys” in that creepy, 1930s mob voice, and their little mitts and dangling cigars were all over me, and last night some time I finally gave in. Moral of the tale? Don’t tell me any secrets because it only takes a few well-placed germs to make me sing like a canary.

Well, it is the end of three months in the Arctic, so not a bad time to reflect I suppose--just a wee update. I do have a hot beverage near me, which I can pretend is coffee and not neocitron; I can further pretend that I’m a hard-edged travel writer, and not a slightly whiny she-beast wrapped in an ill-fitting but “comfy” sweater sniffling into tissues and occasionally trying to sigh but slightly gurgling instead. *sig.g.g.ararag*

So, the Arctic! It’s still summer! Yay! Though it’s definitely been a tad grey this year, and as such as I was going into work yesterday (remember people, I did attempt to rally!!) I saw a butt-load of ice in the harbour. I say butt-load because I’m trying to be, you know, romantic here. It is damned pretty to have it be summery, yet have a bunch of mini-icebergs floating around and the blue skies reflected in the water around them.

It has been a bitch for the sealifts though. When the first sealift came…wait…what’s a sealift? Why you…how dare you interrupt my narrative!

Well, the sealifts are the big ol’ cargo ships that come in as soon as the ice is clear enough to get through from Montreal. Since you can only order things here by boat (and that’s on a very limited run) or by air, and since to ship big things—like furniture, or building materials—would be a million billion dollars by air, folks get in a sealift order once a year (usually). So, they either go to the South and shop their faces off, or hire a company in the South to do it for them, going to Costco, Shoppers, Wal-Mart, etc. and load up on a year’s worth of non-perishables (canned goods, bottled goods, liquor, toilet paper, paper towel, laundry soap, cleaning products, cooking oil, dog food, etc.)—all that stuff that is extremely pricey to buy on a regular basis in the North due to weight or space cost on shipping. You might also load up some new furniture, new flooring or windows for your house, paint or reno products. All the building companies get in their building materials, you might ship a car up, fuel for both the airlines and gas bar gets sent and stored in giant tanks for the year, all kinds of tires, electronics, goods, equipment. Schools will do sealift orders for supplies to give kids breakfast all school year, and the grocery stores load up as well.

Sea cans, the big ol’ metal cargo containers, can be used, and then people either sell them, or keep them and use them as storage sheds (some even wiring their cans for lights, etc.), or they save them to ship stuff back South if they are from there and plan to return at some point. Or, folks get stuff in wood packing crates, and crack into them with crowbars and hammers, and then break down the wood to sell, or use for bonfires, etc.

So, when the first sealift came, it was like Christmas in July. There were trucks everywhere with loads of cargo containers, or goods, or giant tires. I heard we even got a new fire truck! And everyone was hoping their sealift order had come in, and there were cargo containers in people’s yards, and there was new stuff in all the stores! Seriously, it was hard NOT to get into the excitement of it.

I wasn’t able to make it down to the waterfront yet, to see this crazy action (just the action in town), so here’s a couple pics from the Nunatsiaq News. (If you’d like to follow Iqaluit news, here’s their website, by the by: t

 Barge bringing in stuff from the sealift ship. Frobisher Bay is too shallow, so barges have to come in and out during the high tides.

The stupid ice in Frobisher Bay. Very pretty, I guess, but you know…screw you, Ice! You can see the sealift in the distance.

I’m obviously not here long enough to get a sealift order, but I’m excited for my pals Lynn and Kevin to get theirs, so I can see the process at this end!

Work is going very well…something about coming back into the work force after so much grad school that makes you dizzy. Grad school has this way of kicking you in the balls (regardless of gender) and making you feel like you really can’t do too much of anything all that well. Suddenly I’m kicking ass and taking names! Well…ok, there’s not a lot of that going on at the Government of Nunavut (GN), but yeah, I’m suddenly feeling more useful and able than I have in a long time. And I’m earning money, rather than spending it! What the…?? I can see the danger of getting back out there, and suddenly not finishing. It’s a good thing this job (at least at the moment) is somewhat finite…ha ha ha…heh…oooh….. Also, we have such a great and crazy crew at the ol’ GN, and I kind of love everyone there for a variety of reasons. They’re nuts. Pure, unadulterated nuts. But glorious! And so far I’ve been treated rather nicely, thank you very much.

I’m slightly concerned the guy in the cubicle next to me is a spy, though. I mean, who is a scientist, GN worker, sportsman (well, he fishes and hikes!), part-time fireman, and flamenco dancer ALL AT ONCE! Sheesh. It’s been bloody nice to goof around over the cubicle walls though, and makes the say go faster! There’s some great entrepreneurship going on as well, as one fellow in another area has a Keurig coffee maker, loads up on cool coffee flavours, and then sells them for $2 a cup! It’s cheaper than a large at Tim’s, and is RIGHT IN THE BUILDING! Though it’s fine now to creep about the streets and get coffee somewhere in the sun, I can see this being a gold mine in winter! I’m an honorary Policy Analyst as well, and know all the gals in that section, and we form a mighty postal gang! We often strut (what else can I call it! Well…hobble in my case, but shut up, you!) to the post office as a gang of awesome ridiculousness, and get the mail at coffee break! “Get the mail” being a euphemism for “picking up our post.” I love these gals. (We also get some hi-larious email strings going, though you didn’t hear that here!) I work for a couple of Newfoundlanders who are pretty wonderful, and make me much less homesick for Newfoundland after I lived there for almost a decade!  I’m now staying another month, so will get to have my birthday here as well in September. Weee! If only I didn’t have to give blood, three of my eggs, and do hard labour in order to afford toilet paper, this place would be even more fantastic!

The skies have been pretty epic, and very “biblical,” and I’ve been loving the purple saxifrage (Nunavut’s official flower, y’all!!). The nights are starting to get a bit more “night-y” again, after long, long, long summer sun, which I’m rather grateful for. Not sure how I’d do with ALL night, but lord knows I didn’t “love” ALL day. I’ll leave you with a few pics from the past few months. Viva la North!

Yes, this was stupid snow in June. June 8th to be exact. Me and Lynn were NOT impressed.

But then it did this a couple days later.

And this was at midnight a couple days after that. June 13, 2012.


Sometimes it does this. Super fog on June 19, 2012

3 a.m. June 9, 2012

Just before rain, July 2, 2012

Cool clouds.

Yeah, I'm a little obsessed with clouds.

Frobisher Bay, July 14, 2012

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