Two Years Down…

Ian and I haven’t blogged on here for almost a full year.  Sorry about that.  I guess life’s been keeping us busy.  We’ll try to update with a year-end summary (though, here are some pics in case we fail at that).

But until that happens, you should all know that two days ago marked an important anniversary for us.  That’s right…on November 22, 2010, we began our new life in Iqaluit and I honestly don’t think that either of us knew what was in store for us, or if we’d make it to see two years here.

I’m proud to say that we have.  We’re going into our third winter, about to celebrate our third Christmas in the arctic.  Despite some bumps along the way, we’ve truly prospered personally up here.  It’s been an amazing journey in an amazing place and I don’t think we’d hesitate to do it again.

We’re also now considered to be some of the old-timers up here these days.  Only in Iqaluit, huh?

Skiers on Frobisher Bay, February 25, 2012

Department of Environment IQ Day – Snowmobiling and Ice Fishing northwest of Iqaluit, April 2012

Kobo Town on stage at Alianait Arts Festival, July 2012

Just a typical Iqaluit going away bonfire, July 2012

Suzanne showing off the immense pieces of ice on the tidal flats of Koojesse Inlet, August 2012

The Prince of Monaco visiting the Iqaluit Community Greenhouse, September 2012

Sunrise in Kimmirut, Nunavut, October 2012

Canada Parks Day

So the streak of volunteering continues. We spent this past Saturday helping out at the Canada Parks Day celebration at Sylvia Grinnell Park. The gods were happy that day my friends. They graced us with beautiful weather for the entire 5 hour outdoor event. Clear skies, bright sun and lots of wind (which translated to a reprieve from the mosquito assault… for a little while at least).

I took to the grilling duties promptly at 11am just as the first wanderers started appearing. Burgers and hotdogs were on the menu and with the weather behaving itself we were expecting a crowd. While Suzanne manned the table, taking and dishing out orders, I cooked like there was no tomorrow. I’m no stranger to the grill but I never had to contend with a line up before. It can be quite an overwhelming experience even with pair barbeques and cooks. I admit, a couple burgers may have been still been mooing when they left the fire, but for the most part people were satisfied and came back for seconds, thirds and even fourths. Once we caught on that “cooked till it’s crispy” and “with cheese” were the popular cooking preferences of most, we were belting them out like a conveyor belt. I got into such a rhythm that I didn’t even realize 2 and a half hours passed. I had a feeling I’d been there for a while when I finally stepped away and noticed my forearm fur was singed and my glasses were coated with a nice layer of beef juice. Finally when there was a lull in customers we got relieved and had a chance to enjoy some of the festival from the other side of the barbecue.

The park changed a lot since we were last there. It was much greener and the river was no longer ice choked. The angry rapids and twin waterfalls could be seen all the way from the pavilion making it an undeniably enticing destination. We made our way down the hill to the river bed and traversed the rocky shoreline. It’s a wicked workout but my goodness, don’t be dumb like us and do it in running shoes. Nevertheless we weren’t going to let a little thing like a potential catastrophic wipeout prevent us from exploring. When we finally reached the sandy beach – yes we have sandy beaches just like the south up here – it kind of put things back into perspective about how new we actually are to this area. I personally have been lost in a whirlwind of volunteering the past couple of months. So much so that I started to lose sight of the fact that there is still so much to see, hear, taste, feel and experience up here. Standing on an outcropping of rocks taking pictures of almost intoxicatingly furious waterfall was a real treat that’s been burnt into my memories.

It was especially unforgettable when I mistook a rock formation for a polar bear. I was about a hundred yards from Suzanne and out of her line of sight so thankfully I only embarrassed myself with my sheer and utter panic. Don’t mock me! I didn’t have my prescription shades on and I SWEAR the damn thing looked like a bear that was looking in my general direction. Despite all that Suzanne tried to inform me about dealing with them, I wasn’t about to stick around and try any of them out. In my defense though I did show some balls and snapped a picture before I bounced. The way I saw it was if I’m gonna get eaten I may as well take a snap of it. ;p

We even decided to further our nooblicious experience by walking around barefoot in the water. Yup. Mark off yet another thing I thought I’d never do in my life time. Yeah okay so we didn’t go far out and it was an inlet of shallow water that was slightly warmed by the sun. So what? I walked in arctic water! That’s all it’s going to say on my life’s resume. ;p

It turned out to be yet another great day with a lot of familiar faces. There was children’s face painting, a scavenger hunt, a bannock competition, traditional tea tasting and food galore. Best of all though there was just good old-fashioned hanging out. Nothing beats just drinking in a magnificent day with your buddies.

We’ve uploaded a ton of pictures to the Photo Diary. I’ve been terribly lax in updating but with good reason. We’ve just been so busy running around that I just didn’t have any time to do it. Regardless there’s over 250 new pics there now dating all the way back to the infamous night of Fondue Debauchery. Some you’ll recognize from some of our posts but many haven’t been revealed until now.

Enjoy!

…and then they came.


Mos·qui·to [muh-skee-toh]: any of numerous dipteran flies of the family Culicidae that have a rather narrow abdomen, usually a long slender rigid proboscis, and narrow wings with a fringe of scales on the margin and usually on each side of the wing veins, that have in the male broad feathery antennae and mouthparts not fitted for piercing and in the female slender antennae and a set of needlelike organs in the proboscis with which they puncture the skin of animals to suck the blood.

I·qal·u·it Mos·qui·to [ee-kal-oo-we muh-skee-toh]: any of the numerous demonspawn creatures that terrorize the city of Iqaluit every summer, that are equipped with lancets that impale humans and animals and suck them dry leaving only shrivelled husks behind.

Since this is a shared blog I’ll try to curb my tongue for the greater good of the viewing audience. However when talking about the subject of mosquitoes here in Iqaluit, I may lose myself so I apologize ahead of time.

I remember hearing about them since day one. Everything from how big they were to how they swarm. I heard a particularly funny reference about them that went  In the summer, if you hear a helicopter… it’s not always a helicopter. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Besides, I’d been camping more times than I can count. How bloody different could a mosquito be?

I should have had a clue about things to come based on the size of the pterodactyl sized ravens up here. Not to beat a drum to death by saying what’s been said a million times over by now but for those who don’t know be afraid. Be very afraid.

I swear I never in my life seen anything like these things. I’m used to normal skeeters. You know the annoying gnat-sized bugs that you can swat away. First of all these creepy bastards are about the size of houseflies. Batting them away only angers them. Don’t bother using chemicals or sprays either. It only makes gets high and they get really violent then. They’re notorious pack hunters as well. If you stand still for more than 2.4 seconds you’ll be engulfed in the blink of an eye.

Speaking of eyes, they fight dirty as well. They’ll impale (not pierce, puncture or sting) any bit of exposed flesh you have if you give them the opportunity to. I got bit on my eyebrow, my cheek, my ears and my knuckles. Who the f**k bites a knuckle? Honestly? The back of my neck is feels like Braille and probably reads like a Tourettes rant.

They lulled me into a false sense of security. With the longest day behind us I thought that the tales were exaggerated. Summer was in full bloom. The days were sunny and warm and the nights cool and crisp. But then it rained.

And then it rained again.

And again.

That’s when they started to appear. They sent their scouts first. They wanted to know what Grade A New York dark meat tasted like. I mocked them as I crushed them in my hands. I made a fatal error though. I didn’t kill all of them. Some returned to their base of operations and gave their leadership a sample of what they imbibed. Weeks later they descended upon the city of Iqaluit like a swarm of locust. The sad part of it all is this is just the beginning according to many I’ve spoken with. If that truly is the case I’m not spending any extended time frolicking outside till I get the hell out of here in August. Bad enough I’m tormented by a never setting sun but now I have to deal with mutant bugs that are hankering for a hunk of Ian. Greeeeat.

I’m kind of regretting signing up to volunteer for Parks Day this coming Saturday. I’ll be working the grill but I think I’m going to be the meal…