August 30, 2009

To the big city and back...

Iqaluit, Old Res, August 28

I haven’t been blogging for awhile because I was determined to upload some pictures first…more of Pang and a few of Iqaluit. It’s not happnin’. Although I can occasionally find an acceptable signal, I haven’t found one that will work with my pics.

Anyway, training this week in the big city was ok; I say ‘ok’ because, although the accommodations at the Old Res were atrocious, the food at the Frobisher Hotel was awesome. The muskox burger was fantastic and my evening yesterday was full of caribou medallions in blueberry sauce. The prices are great there (compared to a lot of the stuff I’ve seen), so I’ve been there pretty much every day…right across from the college.

Other than a mixed research team of archaeologists and anthropologists, I am now alone at the Res. It’s rather disquieting. Like all college residence buildings, it has its stories of students committing suicide…that certain stairwells are haunted…but this one has the extra bragging right of being isolated out by the penitentiary and the scene of a few rapes. I suppose the airport runway is squeezed in on the other side, but no one would be able to see you from the building. I’ll be glad to be out of here tomorrow morning.

Well, I’ve purchased my first piece of northern art…it’s a stone carving of the legendary ‘Dancing Bear’. Sitting at the Frobisher throughout several courses of food and a bottle of wine, the parade of sellers through the restaurant was absurd. I’m new to the whole thing, so I didn’t really know what prices were reasonable. With the help of a few new friends, I was schooled in what to look for: detail, how pieces are held together, polishing (might be shoe polish), and proportion. I like the bear I got, but I would’ve loved to be able to afford the carved narwhale with the ivory tusk which a neighbor scooped up.

I was also twisted into agreeing to buy a ring from a colleague’s husband – I felt a bit obliged. In the end it worked out; he made me a sterling silver wide band (sized for me) with a polar bear detailed on the front and tapering in the back to make it more comfortable to wear.

I did make it out to my last wings night for about a year on Wednesday. What a drill the Storehouse runs. Doors open at 5:00 and by 4:45 there was a cordoned-off line through the Frobisher lobby of people waiting. Doors open, people flow in and disperse, and the wait staff are off and running. Madness. From the Storehouse to the Legion where a few guys from Newfoundland had the mikes. From there it was…interesting.

I really hope I’ll be able to get some pics uploaded soon; a few of us took some time to head out to Sylvia Grinnell Park and it was quite beautiful. The story I was told about this unfortunate lady is that she had bunches of money, but not really the ability to travel too far. She agreed to sponsor a few explorers if they named something after her. So there you go. Her namesake…with a polar bear watch sticker on the sign. If it turns out that this isn’t actually the story of poor old Sylvia, I still think it’s the one I want to believe; it would make a great novel in the Bronte tradition. A formidable heroine who incapacitated in some way. I loves it by’.

Time to pack…

Pangnirtung, My Place, August 30

Yesterday I arrived back in Pang, happy to be home. On the plane there was a family – a dad with his two sons – who were glued to the windows in awe as the plane started to circle the fjord in its final descent. Anyone could tell just by glancing at them that they had never seen anything as beautiful. As for me, I could barely tear my eyes away from the mountains where the bleached stones on the side of one cliff have been arranged into a ‘Welcome to Pangnirtung’ formation. I’m really not sure how the author got the proportions right in both English and Inuktitut…it’s huge. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it either. Talking with them while waiting for the baggage to get pushed through the tiny little gate with rubber flaps, I found out they were staying at Louis’ Lodge (where else would they stay, I guess) and will be exploring the area for the next 5 days. Definitely a great family trip if you have the cash…

I took a few things back from Iqaluit: of course there was the Dancing Bear stone carving and the polar bear ring, but there were a few more tidbits that I think will be more valuable this winter. Food mail, stink pipes, frozen condensation around the door frames, heated keys, sled etiquette, frozen throttles, and, most interesting, how to ski-doo across general crevices in the ice and even open water…no joke!

Ok, the first is pretty straightforward…getting groceries mailed from either Montreal or Ottawa (if you’re in the Baffin region) and paying southern prices with only a minimal shipping charge per pound. Although there is some debate on whether the produce shows up edible, there is no argument regarding its importance. With flour at $40 for a 10kg bag, I think I’ll have to get in on that ASAP…I like to bake, after all.

The stink pipe: sounds exciting, right? I haven’t been able to find mine yet (doesn’t that sound suggestive), but it has to be around here somewhere. Or maybe it’s not as temperamental and visible in the newer units? Apparently it’s where the sewer tank breathes. Sometimes, in the winter, the house may inexplicably fill with choking fumes that make you believe you’re hanging out with the Ninja Turtles in their sub-city lair. When this happens it’s probably because your stink pipe is frozen shut. To fix it, you actually have to get up there on the roof and chip away at it. Last winter, the husband of one of my colleagues insisted that she try to do this while he held her and pushed her up the slippery metal covering. It didn’t work…use your imagination. She got back at him by pushing a sled carrying a new stove over him…long story…use your imagination again. Don’t worry though, they’re still married and loving their time in Gjoa Haven.

Condensation freezes around the door frame so, every day before work, you have to scrape it off with a good butter knife. Having a lighter is essential to heat your key when the lock freezes, but you have to make sure it doesn’t heat too much (it might break off). The aerosol anti-freeze is useless in this temperature. Sleds (and their rope-style hitches) need to be angled in a certain way when going down a hill to make sure you don’t take out anyone else who might be around (ok, I knew this one). You also have to make sure you monitor the speed. Check your throttle: sometimes it may freeze when the machine’s off and, if that’s the case, as soon as you give it a good yank to start the beast, it’s going to jerk forward and into the nearest obstacle (read: house, stair, rock, truck…you get the idea).

The techniques used to motor across open water or givin’ ‘er to make sure you don’t get caught up and thrown from your machine in slashed ice is something upon which I’ll have to keep you updated…we don’t get enough ice to get to the Pass on a snow machine until around mid-December. I’ve decided I want to spend Christmas Day on or around the Arctic Circle; it’s not too far from here and easy to make in less than an hour if someone else has already cut a snow path up the fjord and through the Pass.

Well, since I haven’t yet hooked up my internet, I think I’ll be heading to Louis’ tonight for one of his culinary specialties and a quick whirl on his wireless. At $35/meal, it’ll be so much cheaper when I get my own connection! Unfortunately, that means falling back to cooking for myself. Boo.

August 21, 2009

Friday again...

After my super-hike yesterday, I knew I would feel it…and boy do I feel it. Living in the city, I think everyone goes through that phase of ‘I walk by that gym everyday…I should get a membership. If I pay for it, I’m sure to use it’. Fallacious argument. You eventually fall into the self-justification that you can afford the monthly payments on your already meager salary. Have you ever tried to ‘Quit The Gym’? I think there’s even a full Friends episode on the dilemma. It’s impossible.

Why do I mention buying a gym membership and not using it? It’s a little more difficult to decide you won’t do any physical activity in Pang (or anywhere in the north I suppose). Just to get from point A to point B involves walking…in a city it’s amazing how much people (myself included) rely on taxis, buses, and other forms of public transportation to take them just a few blocks. I imagine wardrobe has more than a small role in that aspect. Walking in heels and a power-suit kinda sucks.

Anyway, it’ll be a great day when I can climb a mountain without having to stop so much or feel like this the next day. That being said, though, I will be buying a ski-doo sometime soon…looking for the right deal. To all of you in my pre-Pang life: look right out! It’s a brand new me. There’s no use in coming to Canada’s north and spending the entire time in front of your flatscreen watching CSI (as tempting as that sounds sometimes).

Time to go out and enjoy the day. Happy hiking!

Friday update (before I could even get to a computer):

I needed to get a few things at the Northern Store before heading to the Lodge today. On the way, I met Steve and Ryan…two guys working here in Pang who own a truck and offer people rides. It’s really not as creepy as it sounds. From that short buzz across the hamlet I learned that Ryan is actually the contact for the Department of Heritage and that the two of them are both experts in skidoos (or so they profess). Tomorrow I’m going over for tea and a chat on the finer points of snow travel.

Time for Louis’s…


I’ll be writing this next entry in retrospect…I’ve been in Pang for four days already and, though I’ve had time for emails, I haven’t really spent much time online.

Actually, right now I’m typing this at my kitchen table but will probably be posting it tomorrow from the wonderful world of Louis…he’s the token French guy in the community – a chef no less! Although he runs the Auyuittuq Lodge, admin duties fall far behind the more pressing matter of what will fill the guests’ bellies. Earlier this week I had veal and last night I had the best Arctic char imaginable…Louis says the trick is to heat it till the internal temperature is 120’F, then take it out. Wait until it heats another 10 degrees then slide the bone out. Perfection. [I won’t attempt to write in his accent because I know I would never be able to capture the exact essence.]


I flew out of Ottawa on Monday morning, and I don’t know how I got everything done. Thank you Marc! There’s no way I would have gotten on the plane without your help!

The flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit was packed. Fortunately, when you’re carrying a pet they usually give you a window seat. Unfortunately, despite the gravol and mild sedative I gave the dogs, Scarlett was frantic…she started hyperventilating at one point and the air inside the carrier just got hotter and hotter. Poor thing. She ripped up the zipper and I had to spend the rest of the flight bending over and holding it shut.

When we got to Iqaluit it was a short walk across the tarmac and, holy crap, were those dogs ever excited! Then we reached our first set of stairs. They are standard in the north from what I have seen so far…circular grates with spikes around the circumference of each. The dogs, literally, could not climb them. The airport was great, though…dogs everywhere; Nunavut is a very dog-friendly territory. In Ottawa there are always limits on where your pooch can go, but not here.

Not long after we stretched our legs, it was time to board the plane to Pangnirtung. I usually wait till last minute to board with the dogs, so when they called my flight I wasn’t too concerned with jumping on right away. However, after awhile it became apparent that they were only waiting for one more passenger…me. When I realized this, I had to pack up all my crap (including the dogs) in a frenzy to make it to the shuttle bus idling out front. Scarlett did much better on this flight.
Flying in to Pang is an experience that really can’t be described. I know this because I had read so much before coming. It is so much more. But how do you say that without verging on cliché? The airstrip is very small and it splits the hamlet in half. This does not mean, however, that the sounds of planes constantly drown out the water. I rarely hear them…they are so small that the air disturbance is minimal. What makes this particular airstrip unique is that it’s surrounded by mountains and water. For planes to land, they have to get totally turned around; to do this, they literally have to fly towards the side of a mountain…I was sitting eye-level with the middle of the rock-face. When it gets turned around, it has to land and taxi to a halt relatively quickly (ok, really quickly). When we finally screeched to a halt, I didn’t know what to think. Why did I feel the way I did? The landing part of any plane ride and the subsequent pull on my body has always bothered me, but this time it had a weird twist of excitement. Was it the airstrip? Was it the fact I was finally in Pang? Was it because I had no idea if someone would be there to meet me? I don’t know.

I ended up missing 9 boxes of stuff, learning my single accommodation had been switched to a shared 3-bedroom, then finally being transferred to Louis’ Lodge. The latter was definitely the best. As I have already mentioned, the food it great, and it’s the type of place you would go for some lively after dinner chat in the common room. Awesome. I got to know a few people…some passing through; some here to stay…it was a good first night.

Tuesday Morning

I wasn’t sure when the sun would be rising here in Pang, but with the heavy curtains I slept till my alarm went off at 6:45. I took Scarlett and Gryphon out as soon as I was able to wash the sleep out of my eyes, and this is what I saw. Although I had bought a new camera for the trip, it will never capture everything. Chitch and Kristie, you better get your butts up here with that crazy recording device you lug around! Flying from Scotland to Nunavut seems like the perfect transition before hitting Toronto.

After breakfast (eggs, bacon, homemade bread for toast, and fresh fruit), the rep from the housing corporation took me to check out the 3-bedroom I mentioned…I was sooo unimpressed. The (already taken) master bedroom was impressive, but the other two were miniscule in comparison. There’s no way I could even stack my boxes in there let alone unpack anything! The kitchen was super tiny and, from what I could see, the current occupant wasn’t too picky on cooking instruments…I’m past the university-style counter décor.

Anyway, after talking to my employer, a 2-bedroom unit miraculously appeared on the other side of the hamlet. I have been guaranteed that I will remain its lone tenant. Guest bedroom…yay! Or maybe an office. This is what I walk by on my way to work (see right).


‘Humpday’ was the first out-and-about day for me. I had already made a few purchases at the Northern Store because my bags were held up, but I hadn’t really done a whole lot of shopping. I made my list of errands, laced up my awesome hiking boots (thanks mom), and headed out. I had already checked the Northern Store - to no avail - to replace the contact solution I had lost, so I decided to stop in the Co-op. Word to the wise: contact solution cannot be found in the entire hamlet. Eyedrops, yes…it’s incredibly dry here and the dust will kill you.

Anyway, nothing at the co-op so I headed to the post office…can’t really sign up for anything else without having a P.O. box. Now, just to clarify things: I come from a very small town in Nova Scotia. The people are nice and helpful there, but I will forever be Tara, daughter/sister/cousin/granddaughter/ etc. to someone. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but being here is a more poignant reflection on the goodness of human nature. It’s the first small-town place I’ve encountered where I am the only Muise, Corbett, or something in between.

Back to the post office…

After roaming around like the male driver who refuses to stop to ask for directions, someone stopped and asked if I needed help. That’s where it started. From that point forth it was basically leaping from the post office to the hamlet office (for the water/sewer hook-up) to the power corporation to the airport (still looking for my bags). My boxes did arrive, but I had no idea how to get them across town until a guy with one of the many trucks in town asked where I was going as he started loading the flatbed. Saa-weet!

Back to Louis’s for dinner…I couldn’t help myself. Char night. There were heaps of military folk in town on the eve of the PM’s visit, so I saw a few more guests sitting around at the Lodge – with squishy combat boots. This is the story I heard (and witnessed in the pics that one of the conservation guys took):

Pang was gouged out of the land by a huge glacier, and the resulting fjord is naturally shaped to mask the strength of the water at certain points during the day. Apparently there was a large group of troops out on the sand on the wrong side of the breakwater construction fooling around with a few quads and walking around. The tide washed in so quickly that they were knee-deep in water before anyone could really react. They had to slosh out and deal with sopping legs for the rest of the day. I hope their pics made it worth it for them!


Well, Mr. Mountain-guy Logan had somehow convinced me to try hiking this peak. As he hails from B.C., it was more of a hill for him. As a Nova Scotian, it was definitely a mountain for me. If I were on my own, I probably would have stopped half-way and decided it was too dangerous to continue. This would make sense to me…“ok Tara, you did a good job for your first time out. You’re a teacher. Stick to classroom climbing.” Anyway, I was not alone, so onward and upward. And I do mean upward. I’m not sure how high it was, but I know that the rocky terrain makes it look deceptively short.

With Mr. Mountain-guy as a coach, I was able to get this picture half-way to the top, and the next few with me at the top. My climbing experience before I reached Pang consisted of a few steep hills (which ended up in cool destinations such as thundering waterfalls in Cape Breton) or being strapped into safety gear heading straight up a cliff with someone to brace me at the bottom. What did I discover? I think I might be afraid of heights. Once I got to the top I was ok, but every time I looked back on the way up, I felt sure I would fall right off. It’s a strange experience to stand somewhere and believe you could fall off the ground and not over or down. Very weird.

Thanks Mr. Mountain-guy! You’re right…the blackflies at the bottom were worth the blueberries and beauty at the top.

…time to stretch my tired muscles a bit more then rest my tired bones…

August 14, 2009

The squeak of tape...

Yes, the squeak of packing tape...who actually enjoys that sound? Or what about the scratch of permanent markers on cardboard? It gives me goose pimples but, when someone else is moving you, it's something I'm learning to deal with.

The movers showed up promptly at 8:30 this morning and have been going at it for almost an hour. They know exactly what they're doing and, since they're both female, the dogs have settled down somewhat - I think they've accepted their fate of being locked in the bathroom for a bit. I've already heard some nasty reports of this whole experience so, unless everything gets lost, I'm going to count myself lucky.

Ok, the rest of the day...

Doctor's office, pharmacy, and maybe the contact place; since I have to return to the pharmacy tomorrow, I may leave that last one another day as well. Moving heavy furniture and storing stuff will be covered on Sunday, then it's off on Monday. Oh, and I also have to pick up some dogfood. Crap.

I really need a coffee, and my coffee-pot is already packed. The movers brought their Tim's and all I can do is sit here and type away. I just have to keep saying to myself, "soon young grasshoppa. One must wait for the crane fly to drown" (or some such crazy thing).

I need to eat sometime soon too...


The movers just left. Even after throwing in a bunch of extra textbooks and heavy stuff my final weight limit was well under 900 lbs...I was cleared to take 1250 lbs. I wish they would ship food!

August 13, 2009

In the air again...

Well, I’m on my way back to Ottawa after a crazy flurry of family-time back on the east coast. As always, the company was great and the food was fantastic. I must admit, though, it gave me a weird feeling to watch the ground fall away from beneath this 737, seat 21F. Nova Scotia drifted away as it always has, but somehow it felt different this time. Pangnirtung is definitely closer than a lot of the places I’ve ventured off to, but it seems bigger – greater – somehow. I’m not really sure how to explain it.

I decided against giving the dogs any gravol for the flight back…they’ll be getting it on their next journey. Poor Gryphon is here beside me crying like someone in pain. I won’t say a baby because a baby is more apt to give out a wail; this is just a constant, high-pitched moan. Like I said: painful.

Things are coming together for the move. Although I have a lot to do, it’s all organized into discrete time units. I should be able to swing it if I just keep moving. Keep moving. It’ll start when the plane lands and end about an hour before I have to board on Monday morning. I think the flight north will involve a little shut-eye. Maybe. Hmmm…which will win: the accumulation of far too many skipped sleeping hours or the anticipation of a new adventure? I’ll keep you updated.

August 10, 2009

Airline entry...

Ahh! Despite my personal promise that I would blog regularly, I’ve slipped already; I have to say, though, that I really do have a good excuse. I’m moving in a week! So much has happened since my last entry…

First off, I have spent a ridiculous amount of money preparing. WalMart was awesome and, I’m sorry Costco lovers, I enjoyed my time there much more. I now have a bookshelf (one of the glaringly obvious missing items in my new place) as well as all my bathroom stuff, new sheets/blankets, dishes, toiletries, and a few other things. Most of this was on my second run…after I looked for all this stuff at Costco.

Actually, perhaps I’m being too hard on the place; I just expected the one in Ottawa to be better than the one in Halifax and it wasn’t…not by a long shot.

Do you remember that Seinfeld episode where Kramer buys a bunch of ‘Beef-a-roni’ at a Costco equivalent? He had to feed it to the horses that, in turn, got pretty ‘gassy’. That’s how I feel about some of the stuff. I’m feeling gassy. Who needs 12 toothbrushes, 26 razor blades, 6 extra huge deodorant sticks, and 8 tubes of make-up pad removers? They’re all things that I wanted but in a crazy quantity. How do I decide what I should actually use up my baggage space?

Next to Canadian Tire to get my humidifiers (neither Costco nor WalMart were stocked) where I also picked up a great coffee bean grinder. I figure there are a few things I cannot do without and, if I have to take pre-ground stuff, I will be a very unhappy camper by January. Another $130 on pee-pads at PetSmart. I still have to head to the vet to get the right kind of food for the two monkeys.

Phone calls: cancelled hydro, internet, downgraded Gyphon and Scarlett’s health insurance (didn’t want to cancel altogether), contacted movers re: allowable items, pharmacy re: prescriptions, NAC re: forwarding address, and…hmm…I know there must be more. I know there’s still more to do.

Right now I’m on the plane heading back to Nova Scotia for a quick visit. It’s the first time that I’ve travelled with both dogs and, I have to say, I’m terrified about what Scarlett is going through in cargo. Poor thing. At least there’s no turbulence (yet). Gryphon is here at my feet, and he seems to be doing pretty good. Rescue Remedy…herbal stuff that my vet recommended. Good stuff for cabin travel.

Well, if I write much more I’m going to lose readers I’m sure…that is assuming I have any left. What’s up with the lack of comments? I know that you’re out there because you mention it on the phone. Starting on the 13th I will no longer have my cell!

Ahh! Turbulance! I hope to hear from you soon…

August 05, 2009

Wal-Mart wandering...

Yee-haw! I finally got my flight information; on the 17th I'll fly from Ottawa to Iqaluit then on to Pangnirtung about an hour later. I still need to get the dogs checked in and registered, but that can be done tomorrow morning. Canadian North will actually let me put both dogs in one carrier to take in the cabin :-) Gryphon still needs some practise in there, but once the two of them are used to it, everything will be so much less stressful!

I had my last shift at the school today. I'm glad I'm moving into a new position, but I don't really have anything bad to say about my last had just run its course. Now it's on to bigger and, well, really different things.


A little break and dad wanted to try out a Skype call with my new netbook. The webcam is ok considering the cost of the computer, but the microphone isn't so hot - need a new headset.

Now it's Thursday...

Wal-Mart, Costco, PetSmart, Bulk Barn, MEC, and Superstore are the places I had planned on hitting before leaving. My friends have been so great in taking me to different places...thanks Kim (and Michael, in advance). Last night I only made it through Wal-Mart and PetSmart. Definitely impressed with the amount of stuff I was able to get for $355 at the former. Ok, perhaps some of the stuff isn't the best quality but I love the bookshelf and the new bedsheets/quilt will be a good addition to the stuff I already have. My visit to PetSmart was pretty speedy. I knew what I needed...just an airline approved carrier which had more ventilation than the one I already have. It's ugly, but it'll work.

Ok, this morning I got involved in a little bit of a time waster...I took a gamble on a movie I had never heard of, and it paid off in spades. Death at a Funeral. Check it out. You'll love it if you're anything like me; I suppose, though, that one thing a wise person once said (Jordan or Steph in your 500 Days of Summer post) is true: movies are subjective and it's always a risk to suggest a winner.

Anyway, that was pretty much my Wednesday night. Spending money. Yay! This afternoon will be more spending at Costco, but that's more like an experience than a mere shopping trip. I'll be leaving my heels at home, picking up a coffee, then roaming the aisles like a child in a candy shop (or me in a candy shop, come to think of it). I've added a coffee grinder to my list; I figure it will be better than taking the vacuum-sealed stuff from Ottawa.

After Costco it's off to see my bestest of best friend for the last time (well, the last time until next summer sometime). Boo. I'm craving some naan and pakora's so those, along with some butter chicken and samosas will probably make up our take-out for the evening...I'm pretty sure there's no Indian Express in Pangnirtung...

August 04, 2009

Broken fax machines, cream of wheat, and fried chicken...

Well, the update goes like this: The trip to the optometrist today was a complete waste of time...I'll have to head back again next week to get my contacts which - oh - nobody had ordered yet! Really, really not impressed with that; it's not the easiest thing to get back and forth.

Checked the Rideau Center for some hiking boots. No luck. I just got caught up in the heels again...I'm reeeaalllly going to miss my shoes :-( I think I'm just going to have to hunt something down at MEC. Money clears tomorrow, so I'll head out in the evening.

Today I also cleaned out my fridge and cupboards...there was some really nasty stuff piling up! It's so funny to see the kind of stuff you accumulate and forget about. I had two half eaten containers of kimchi - baechu and ggakdugi. Well, that stuff doesn't actually spoil for a few years, but I think I'll chuck it anyway. I had 2 eggplants that I forgot about (don't ask) sitting next to a bottle of lemon grass for some Thai dishes. Korean hot pepper paste, soybean paste and dehydrated smooth seaweed for miso soup, stacks of canned tuna and dogfood, and nori with short-grain rice to make sushi were the final bits of sustenance on the shelves...I don't really want to buy groceries before I head out, but I'm going to have to get awfully creative to keep eating! Like the title mentioned, I had fried chicken for lunch and a nice bowl of cream of wheat to get me through the night.

But, enough of that...since I'm not a model, actress, or rockstar, I doubt that anyone is really interested in my eating habits.

So...I was in touch with the relocation department today, and things are moving along smoothly. All of my sheets have been filled out correctly, the movers have called for an estimate, I'm realizing that not having to pack my own stuff rocks, I've found someone to help me move stuff from my apartment to the airport on the 17th, separated all the books I want to take, put together a detailed inventory of everything to be packed up, ....anyway, I got lots done.

And...I was in touch with my grandparents today to try out my new webcam on Skype. Awesome. Now I'm set on the communication end of things.

On a more interesting note...any Billy Joel fans out there? If so, you have to check this out: We Didn't Start the Fire. It's a great song - read the lyrics sometime (in the song he goes through them very quickly). A verse for each decade. What would be in your verse? It's an interesting mental exercise.

August 02, 2009

Check this out...UPDATED for Jordan and Steph

The perfect site if you're moving somewhere, but you're unable to figure out what to bring: won't regret checking in out. Yay for 'free shipping anywhere in Canada'! Some friends of the family have been living north of Igloolik for years and they use this site all the time.


Hey Jordan and Steph!!! I know you haven't ordered your jackets yet, so check out this site: . The Canada Goose stuff there is legit (it's on the website) and it's significantly more reasonably priced - even with the exchange rate from USD to CAD. Problem is's free in the States, available across North America, but that's about all I know. More research needed.

My dogs smell like Jiffy Pop...

I've been told to focus on buying and packing things which are really difficult to get in the north. Can anyone tell me if Jiffy Pop is readily available? I'm assuming it isn't since such luxuries are generally only found in the Giant Tiger stores which sell food or a few of the independant drugstores. Whatever happened to its popularity? Microwave popcorn? It's just so much more satisfying to watch the spiraled foil atop the butter flavoured kernals expand than it is to listen for the telltale decrease in popping frequency which indicates microwave popcorn is ready.

In all seriousness though, packing has been a huge concern; what to bring, what not to bring. The relocation instructions about packing seem to be so specific, yet written the way they are (in legalese) is making me paranoid. What if I do something wrong and end up having to pay for the whole thing? That would suck. I get to take 1500 lbs of belongings (not including furniture) and, although I'm on the older edge 3 decades, I don't think I have that much. I have lived in Halifax, Tallinn, Seoul, Hong Kong, New York, Montreal, and Ottawa in the past 13 years and, with all that moving, haven't had the chance to accumulate very much. Just a suitcase or two of things I would never part with - the rest is mostly there for convenience. One of the sticky elements to this move with be the two dogs...they're not covered in my relocation package and I'll be the only one who will be transporting everything. Ah!

Moving along...

One thing that I've noticed in the past few weeks is that, as soon as you make plans to move, everyone wants a piece of your time. Sure there are friends that you definitely want to see, but there are also mere acquaintances who want to meet up for a farewell drink; why were they so busy when you actually had time? Would you suggest spending your time hanging out with some relative unknowns or actually preparing to go somewhere else? My money's on the latter.

I only have two more days of work...actually, since they're half-days, I only have two more mornings of work. Sweet! Things are moving along relatively smoothly, but I have this sneaking suspicion that it's because there's no one here with me to point out what I'm forgetting to do. To Jordan and Steph: one of your posts spoke about trusting your 'better half' to balance out your preparations. About how important it is to have each of you involved in the process. Well, I certainly am jealous of you two in that regard...I share my apartment with two small dogs, and they just want to play.

Well, I suppose it's time for me to update my to do list. I have papers everywhere, but they're only making things messier...I need to merge them, stick them in a Google Calendar format, and hope that I don't get pulled back into the world of aimless websurfing.

Oh, and for the record, my dogs really do smell like Jiffy Pop. What's up with that?