I really haven’t been in the mood to blog much lately. I’ve just been wanting to take in all my surroundings and process things. I’ve also been enjoying the fact that I (almost) have an appetite again, and I’ve been able to get full nights of sleep – for the most part. The most tumultuous upheaval I’ve ever experienced is not quite over yet, but the biggest headaches are out of the way for now. And now, I can breathe.
I’m just glad that Ian’s been able to keep many of you updated with our initial reactions and experiences in Iqaluit. It’s been a serious learning curve that we aren’t over yet, though our levels of comfort are steadily on the rise.
It’s hard not to feel comfortable here. The people we’ve encountered thus far have been very helpful and friendly – aside from a post office experience. I haven’t really had a chance to be doing what I will ultimately be doing for my job, but my division had its annual meetings this week, so it was a fantastic introduction to the people I’ll be working with, and what they’ve been doing over the past year. I can already see the partnerships that I’ll be involved in for the coming years. I have to say, I’m still very nervous about the job itself. I feel that expectations are high for me and I certainly hope not to disappoint.
There are a number of things that I wish I had known prior to coming to Iqaluit. However, lots of them really can’t have been helped. Regardless, here’s some of the things that would have changed the way I prepared to come here…
1. I wish I had known just how many ways an offer of housing could fall through up here. Our housing situation has been a roller coaster from the beginning. There are days where we have housing in theory. And there are days we are homeless. We are still holding on to a few shreds of hope for a more permanent solution to housing, however are working into several layers deep of contingency plans. If I’d known that we would have had this many issues, I most definitely would have placed my name on housing waiting lists when I first accepted the job offer. In fact, I actually would have considered putting myself on a waiting list back when I applied for the job…just in case.
2. I wish I had known just how hilly Iqaluit is. I probably would have started working on my cardio sooner.
3. I wish I had known that the temperatures here in late November were on track to rival a mild southern Ontario winter. I probably would have packed more in the way of rainboots and less in the way of parkas. We could have safely packed away our parkas and deep winter freeze-style gear with the movers and been quite comfortable. Walking to and from dinner tonight saw Ian and I with no mitts or hats and jackets open. It has been a strange couple of months in Nunavut for weather – at least in this part of the territory. I’ve heard many comments regarding the fact that normally there is a solid layer of hard-packed snow out on the land by now, with sea ice beginning to form in Frobisher Bay. Today, we actually saw someone boating…
4. I wish I had known that we would not be in a unit with a full kitchen. We likely would have just packed away all of our kitchen goods and sent them with the movers. It’s hard to use a saucepan or pot in a microwave or on a toaster.
5. I wish I had known how cool YakTrax were for walking on ice. I think I would have picked up a pair of these for my boots long ago. It’s amazing the amount of confidence you can gain in walking on icy surfaces when you have these on. However, it should be noted that extremely smooth and wet ice can still be very slippery, even with grippers on your boots. Ian and I found that out tonight as we giggled and slipped our way about town – trying to safely navigate the icy and hilly walking paths without falling flat on our faces. No wipeouts yet though!
6. I wish I had known that while vegetarian food does exist in Iqaluit, foods that can be traditionally served meatless typically are not. I found an egg salad sandwich the other day that I’m pretty sure was filled with chunks of bacon – though I cannot confirm that they were not soy bacon – and cheese ravioli that I was served tonight was served in a meat sauce. I have to learn to ask more questions about the food prior to ordering it I suppose. Not to worry…I’ve become pretty adept at picking around food items that I do not wish to eat. And since Ian will eat pretty much anything, we’re a good pair.
7. I wish I had known to bring my camera to work today. We visited Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park today – and it is stunning. I cannot wait to see it in the summer. It is gorgeous and hilly with plenty of hiking and camping possibilities. I will most certainly head out there in the coming weeks on a nice day and will certainly bring the camera to show you just how beautiful the north can be…