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

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Iqaluit – A Year later

Didn’t think I’d have to write this post so soon. I guess that adage about time flying comes into play here. It’s not all fun and games though. We’ve had our fair share of stressful moments but as a whole I rate the experience thus far a strong B.

I feel really fortunate for living here and getting an opportunity every Canadian person should experience. This place does have its drawbacks like any city but when you factor in all of the components it’s one of the most intriguing, stimulating and interactive places I’ve ever lived – and this is coming from a guy who spent 20+ years in NYC. What more can I say about our Year One Anniversary other than yet another list of random observations I’ve made over the past year. Whether you live here, thinking about coming here or want to live vicariously through us, this is for you:

  • The people I’ve befriended up here are enough to keep me in this city for as long as humanly possible. I’ve never met such welcoming individuals in my life. I’ve said it time and time again, you definitely get a feel for a real community here. People really do go above and beyond the call of duty and in turn the infectious reaction is to do the same. Pay it forward means something here.
  • There’s a huge Twitter and Facebook presence up here with lots of useful group pages. Great way to stay in the know about matters up here and abroad.
  • I never expected to see so many cars. Even in the short time I’ve been there the population of cars has grown quite a bit. It’s something you don’t really think about when you look at this place from abroad and hear about our handful of paved roads but you have to remember this city is deceptively big and there are a lot of hills. Not everyone wants to shell out $6 per cab ride to get from place to place all the time. The Cavalier Crusher will be making its northern journey next sealift.
  • I miss many things from the south: family, friends, pop in a bottle, trees, real high-speed internet, paved streets, fresh fruit, fresh candy, the Bulk Barn, LCBO, our garden, normal winds (not this demonic gale force sustained crap up here)…
  • There are so many musically gifted people around here. It’s as though every other person I know can sing, play an instrument or is in a band of some sort. This city is a hotbed for undiscovered musical talent. I’ve probably seen more concerts and live performances than I did for the past decade down south. Truly amazing.
  • I’ve completed an entire year without completely wiping out and putting my well padded ass on the ground. Sure I tried to headbutt my apartment building and bloodied myself but I never hit the turf so my record is intact. Here’s to the next 365.
  • Figures I’d have to come to the arctic to find some gamers. No not video gamers. I’m talking old school pen & dice. I came out of the dungeon and people are noticing. Sure it’s super geeky but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • There is absolutely no time to blog – for us at least. You could see it for yourself as we became more and more integrated into community activities and volunteering, blog posts became a rare sight. There is just so much to do up here it’s ridiculous. If you’re a person who wants to keep busy you’ll keep busy. Even you’re a person who doesn’t want to be involved in everything you’ll still have a full calendar. After a year of being pretty much all over the place I’ve learned that one has to pace oneself. It’s real easy to get swept up in the euphoria of being a volunteer, making friends and helping the community but trust me when I say I catches up to you.
  • Operation Outbreak is coming along well. We’ve successfully infected several households with dominoes gameplay and it is rapidly becoming a pastime here to the point where people own their own sets now. Course we’ve been infected in return by new games as well. Beware family and friends of the south.
  • I’ve been shocked by how many people contact us for advice. Regular Joes and Janes like us who find our blog, read our stories and want to know some more information about the city, its people and how things work up here. It’s quite flattering that people would ask a guy who hasn’t even explored the whole area yet for advice but I’m willing to share what I do know. It’s like I said at the top of the post this is a place all people should get a chance to experience at least once in their lives and I’m more than happy to help bring people in. I’m contemplating adding a business resource index to this blog. I found it hard to know what’s available when we first got here so I figure it may be a great tool for others looking to invest some time here. How and when that actually gets done remains to be seen. I’m on Northern Time now folks. ;p

I could prattle on and on with more tidbits but duty calls. I have to work the desk at Atii Fitness soon so once again, life has intruded upon my coveted blogging time.

Thank you people of Iqaluit for your warmth, generosity and patience in accepting us into the community. Now that we’re official I suppose that makes us Iqalummiut as well.

We are hellbent to get a Zombie Walk going in Iqaluit and Horror Movie Nights at some point in the near future so you may soon regret welcoming us into your arms so willingly. >:)

Love, peace and hair grease folks!

Dusting off the cobwebs

I’d like to apologize on behalf of the both of us treating this blog like an old VCR. That was certainly not our intention and it’s absolutely unfair to the family and friends who have been waiting to hear about things going on up here. We have uploaded lots of pictures in our absence so check them out if you haven’t already. There’s an unwritten blogging etiquette that is shown when you share a blog – at least with us. While Suzanne and I are super competitive with one another it also serves as a motivational tool for the other to write. Unfortunately we both hit the brick wall at the same time and have been stuck in writing limbo for this blog for some time now. I had agreed to let her write the wrap up for Toonik Tyme and Easter but it’s been on her drawing board for weeks now. I’m not trying to use her as an excuse or anything (yes I am…hehe) but I didn’t want to jump in front of her and start posting about stuff she’s drafting and force her to do even more rewriting.

Am I not the poster child of courtesy? ;p

So that’s what brings me to this dancing-around-the-past-month-faux-update-apology-post. Unlike our personal blogs where we have the propensity to rant, ramble and babble on a whim neither of us can bring ourselves to just do “random thought” posts here. It’s not our style. Who wants to hear Seinfeld-ish stories about daily activities? I know some could tolerate it but I know how I feel when I come across other people’s mindless daily dribble and I get turned off immediately. Who knows. I’m probably screaming hypocrisy right now by rambling on… but at least it has a point.

Sort of.

2 weeks from now will mark our 6th month up here (give or take a day or two). Time really has flashed by. I really hadn’t even contemplated it until Suzanne brought it up the other day. Doesn’t seem like that long but then again I’ve been away from family and friends most of my adult life so it’s an easy transition for me. I imagine it must be a totally different story for Suzanne. I know this is by far the longest she’s been without physical contact with her immediate family – ever. I can’t speak for her but she’s appears to be handling it well for the most part. Thank goodness for Skype.

We’ve found ourselves far more – what’s the term … oh yeah  socially active – up here than we ever were down south. Not that we were recluses or anything (well me maybe but not Suzanne) but we simply didn’t interact with people that much back in Kitchener. Sure we made the rounds, hung out when invited but I’ll be damned if I could remember the last time we hosted a get-together. If I recall correctly we invited our former landlord’s real estate agent over for a barbecue mean like 2 or 3 years ago. How pathetic is that? Not that he was bad company or anything. In fact he’s a great guy but it just went to show you that being socially active down there wasn’t high on the priority ladder.

Different story up here.

I’m totally out of my element. We’ve hosted more parties and pop-overs the past 6 months than we have collectively as a couple – and that’s spanning 13 some odd years. It’s weird for me with the whole “not liking people in general” chip I have on my shoulder but it’s very, very, very difficult to be anti-social in Iqaluit. It’s not as tiny as some of the other cities and communities up here but small enough where you can’t not know people. It happens. People will literally just start talking to you out of the blue as if you’ve been buddies for ages. It’s kinda cool actually. Yeah, I know, that’s a bombshell coming from I-hate-everyone Ian but it’s true. It takes the edge off knowing people are very forthcoming around here. I’m not trying to paint a picture of a happy elfy paradise where everyone gets along and we all dance around the boulder made of sweet sweet candy. No. There are douches and ***holes up here just like anywhere else. The difference is they tend to keep to themselves and don’t infect the rest of the community with their bad vibes.

We’re into some community organizations now. As mentioned before we’re both doing work with the Iqaluit Humane Society. I’ve even got a few shifts under my belt at the shelter now in addition to being in the final stages of building the website. I even managed to drag Suzanne down there and introduce her to some of the pups currently there. Needless to say she fell in love with a few (if not all) of them. We’re also hooked up with the Iqaluit Greenhouse Society. She’s even a member of the board with them. Yup. That’s how things work up here. Doesn’t matter if you’re here for 6 months or 6 years. If you are proactive there’s always a need and always opportunity. I won’t steal too much of her thunder there though. I’m sure she’ll want to delve a bit more into her new position in a later post.

They’re starting to play the “get off the stage music” for me so I guess I should wrap this up. It’s May 11th and we’ve had only 2 days where the temperature has been above 1c (but not higher than 3c). That’s not a bad thing. It beats the bone chilling cold that we endured over the latter half of the winter. Like I’ve said so many times before, the temperature is vastly different up here. I don’t know if it’s because we’re becoming acclimatized or what but -1 here feels like 10c down south. I went to the post office the other day with my spring jacket wide open, no gloves and a ball cap and felt overly warm. It was weird because snow flakes were dancing down at the time as well just adding to the puzzlement.  Regardless as beautiful as Iqaluit is in the winter and what I’ve heard it’s like in the summer what the brochures (are there brochures?) don’t tell you is what a sloppy mud bowl it is in the spring.

Should have listened to Missy and got rain boots…

Bye for now!