Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 100th

Being that this is our last post of 2012, and our 100th post of the blog, we thought it fitting to start off by saying thank you for being part of our adventure with us and sharing our journey. It's not always an easy road, but we're thankful for each and every one of you for being here with us.

Can you believe it's been 100 posts since we first decided to go on this crazy adventure? Where has the time gone? Today marks our 5th month here - nearly half a year already! On the one hand it feels like we just got here and on the other hand, it feels like we've been here much longer than a few short months.

It's funny that we keep calling it an adventure when our lives are so routine - not much different than when we were in Ontario: work, home, repeat. We have resolved to experience more of what Nunavut has to offer us in the coming year - these past few months have really been just us trying to settle in and find our footing (I think we have a pretty good handle on things now)!

2012 was a big year for us with lots of monumental changes that impacted our lives in so many ways. We started it off with a bang by getting married, so the rest of the year had a lot to live up to! 2012 was a year of discovering who we are, what we can handle, and appreciating everything we have. The saying of "absence makes the heart grow fonder" holds truer than you can ever imagine.

It has been a year of testing ourselves and relying on the strength of our family and friends to support us when we faltered. Time and again, we have turned to each other and said, "how did we get so lucky?" - a lesson we will always cherish and not take for granted.

Though we are separated by physical distance, it is in this year that we have both felt closer than ever to the ones we love. We have been blessed with amazing people at home, and the ability to meet and build relationships with amazing people here in Baker Lake. If we take anything away from this journey, it's that no matter how hard it gets, the love and kindness of the ones you hold dearest to your heart is all you need.

Happy New Year from us to you, and may your 2013 be filled with more adventure and more love than you ever thought possible.

xoxo
Lily & Jeff

Friday, December 28, 2012

Buffers


For those of you planning to travel over the holidays, let me offer you some sound advice; add a buffer. Or two. To put it more plainly: factor an extra day or two into your trip. I mention this because weather is that great unknown quality that can make your holiday beautiful, or strand you at an airport, and in my line of work, I see all too much of the latter. I've joked with my pilots before about the show Arctic Air, which shows planes taking off and landing in what appears to be really crazy weather, and ask them why they can't do that, and the response I get is that TV and reality are widely spaced. The truth is that the minimum conditions to land an airplane up here do contain ample safety margin, and the other day is a good example of why. Up until about 20 minutes before the plane was due to land, the weather was fine. In those last 20 minutes, though, we had thick fog roll in, making visibility on the ground impossible, and making some passengers' plans all for nought. So take it from the expert - don't assume that travelling in the north will mirror your experience in the south.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

First Christmas

This Christmas was one of many firsts for us: the first Christmas we've been away from our families, the first Christmas in Nunavut and the first Christmas we've shared as husband and wife. A lot of pressure for one day - but it was one that was filled with love and the creation of new memories.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

From our house to yours, the warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas!


All our love,

Lily & Jeff

Friday, December 21, 2012

53

According to the Mayan calendar, the world was supposed to end today - so if you're spending one of your few last moments on earth reading our blog, we're flattered! :) We woke up to the radio playing some horrible new pop song that all the kids like these days (I'm old, ok?) and I immediately thought, "this is the worst way to go!" However, the song ended and not the world, so I guess it turned into a good morning!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Roll with the Punches

One of the biggest tips I can give anyone who comes to the North is that you need to learn to roll with the punches. I wish someone had sat me down and really made me understand that things may not always go as planned (not that they always do when you're in the South either), and it's ok if they don't. There are so many factors that you can't control up here, and it's just something you have to learn to deal with.

Before we moved to Nunavut, I'd say I was/am a Type A personality who always liked to have a schedule that was followed and spontaneity really wasn't my forte. Since moving here, I've had to do a significant readjustment to my level of expectations and need for order/control. It's been an interesting exercise, for sure - as my husband, the easy-going one of us, can attest to.

Things move at a different pace here than in Toronto. The notion of "time" works a bit differently here too and not everything happens when it's supposed to. Schedules aren't necessarily followed all the time. Weather, as can be expected, plays an important role in a lot of things so you need to learn to readjust/rearrange things based on what's going on outside. It's a unique experience that isn't at all what I'm used to. When we first got here, it made me really flustered because it's not how I work - if something was supposed to happen every Tuesday, then I didn't understand why it didn't happen every Tuesday.

The upside to all this is that I'm learning to be more at ease when things don't happen the way I thought they would. It's teaching me that the world won't end if something is 5 minutes (or 5 hours) late. It's also  resulted in some pretty good times when curveballs are thrown - for example, flights were cancelled yesterday for friends, which meant they had an extra night in town, so we had had them over for an impromptu dinner party. An unexpected way to spend our Tuesday night, but it was a pleasant surprise because we had a really nice evening instead of sitting around watching TV.

Over time, you just learn to let things go. So what if that thing that was supposed to happen on Tuesday doesn't happen on Tuesday? It'll probably happen on Wednesday. You thought you were leaving 3 hours from now and you're told you have to leave in 45 minutes? Ok, so you leave in 45 minutes. Or tomorrow. Either way, you'll get to go, so yay!

Whatever it is, roll with it. Life goes on whether you're ready or not, so why get angry? Breathe through it.

Stuff happens.
Things change.
Oh well. It'll be ok.
You'll make it through, and you'll probably have some great stories about it after.

Silver linings to everything.

-L

Monday, December 17, 2012

Checking In

It’s Sunday evening, and Lily is relaxing with a cup of tea on the couch while I take a quick break from studying (and post this note). I’ve been entirely too absent from our blog of late, and while I can use the excuse of work and school, I really shouldn’t, because this blog is our gateway to the friends and family we’ve left behind, and to the new ones we’ve made here in Baker and the surrounding environs. Therefore, I will endeavor to shoulder more of the onerous task of communicating with people so my poor wife doesn't have to do it on her own. . ;-D

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ladies Night

Last night was Ladies Night at the Northern...since it was also Grey's night, the girls and I decided to go see what all the buzz was about. We weren't quite sure what to expect (should we bring small bills and pretend we're on Magic Mike?), but it was an experience we decided we needed to see for ourselves.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bursting


Christmas has officially come to our house in Baker Lake, Nunavut!
We are bursting with FEELINGS, glitter and lots and lots of presents. No really, we are bursting at the seams with all of these things!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Geography Lessons

It is amazing to me how many people don't know where Nunavut is - a lot of the people I've had to explain it to are even Canadians! Considering the territory has been around for over a decade (since 1999 to be exact), there really is no excuse to not know it's part of your own country.

It's particularly frustrating when you're talking to organizations/businesses/corporations and they keep trying to tell you that "a technician will be sent out" or something equally as silly - that sentence is usually followed up after a pause with, "oh...oh no. Our technicians don't travel that far."

Sigh.

First off, if you're working for these companies, shouldn't you know the boundaries of where your technicians will go? Secondly, when I tell you that there are none of your branches in town, please don't fight with me and tell me "well, there must be something nearby."

I thought I was the only one who was getting frustrated telling my banks that no, I cannot walk into the nearest branch - or telling the satellite company that no, there is no one in town from your company to install my dish...but everyone I've been talking to has had the same problem with everyone we've dealt with.

So please, if you're a company that has customer service representatives, please train them on where your locations are and where your technicians are located. And when I tell them that the closest location to me is likely a 6 hour flight away - please tell them not to fight with me. It's just easier for everyone if maybe geography is a topic you cover in training.

-L

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Picket Fence" Dreams

It came up in conversation recently with a friend whether or not I was happy with my life, and I have to say that yes, things are going pretty well if I do say so myself. I'm happily married, I have wonderful family and friends who love and support me, we all have our good health, I enjoy my job, I've a roof over my head and food in my belly...what more could I ask for, really? (Aside from the occasional spa day and 5 star meal that I don't have to cook myself, ha!) As the year winds down and I start to reflect on how much my life's changed over the past 12 months, I appreciate everything I have that much more.

The other night, Jeff and I were sitting and writing our Christmas cards to mail home, and I was reminded of how I used to wish that I'd be doing that exact thing with someone one day. I called them my "picket fence" dreams - where I had the husband, the house, the typical suburban life...too much Leave it to Beaver as a kid, perhaps? Maybe. But I'm still content with how life is treating me. I'm thankful I have a husband who will humour me and sit and write to our family and friends on cheesy cards I painstakingly chose for us - and enjoy doing it too!

Of course, writing Christmas cards turned into an emotional exercise in and of itself since I started to cry when it really hit me that we won't be home for the holidays. Geez, I cried putting the tree up, I cried writing cards...this is much harder than I expected it to be. (I don't cry *that* much normally!!) It's also extra hard because co-workers are planning their trips home, and some are already gearing up to leave (you don't go home for a few days when you're up here - it's not worth the long travel day - so you make plans to go home for weeks at a time, and December is a pretty quiet month in the office.) Thankfully we have plans to Skype with our families for Christmas, but it's not quite the same as being there in person. I guess this isn't quite how I'd pictured my very first Christmas as husband and wife.

That being said, we're making all sorts of plans for the holidays here, building new memories to add to our collection, and experiencing a life that not many people can say they'll experience. It may be more of a "snow fence" dream rather than a "picket fence" dream, but I'm still thankful for every second of it.

-L

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bad Day for Shopping!

When you're shopping online, there's a level of trust that you need to build between yourself and the place you're shopping from: you trust that they will deliver the products you purchased in the condition you purchase, and they trust that your credit card doesn't get declined when you hit that "pay now" button.

It's really frustrating when that trust is broken, and even more so when you aren't the one receiving the purchases, but gift recipients are!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Musings

Mother Nature has flicked on the a/c in Baker Lake it seems. Last Thursday we walked out of the house and it was significantly colder than it has been. Before we moved up here I had wondered what anything colder than -25 felt like, and let me tell you - it sucks. I think the temperature has been hovering around -38 the past couple of days...-53 with the windchill was the lowest I saw. It's a type of cold that the minute you step outside, not only does your nose hair freeze, but you start coughing because it punches you in the lungs for trying to breathe.

Yeah, it's a jerk.

Needless to say, I've been keeping a close eye on our fuel tank because we're in big trouble if our furnace won't run!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Online Shopping Guide

With Christmas around the corner, and a distinct lack of physical shopping at hand, we've (let's be real here, I'm the shopper in this family!) had to learn to be resourceful at using the internet to find sites that offer online shopping.

The trick is to find retailers that offer reasonable, or even better, free shipping. Some sites will do shipping for free in the South and because Nunavut is considered "remote," we may not qualify for these deals.

I thought it would be helpful to list some of the sites that I have found really useful/helpful/lucrative for our shopping needs. Mos of the Christmas shopping we've been doing for friends and family at home have come from these retailers. *I will update the list as I discover more sites I like.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winnipeg: It's the New Buffalo!

A play by play of our spontaneous weekend trip to Winnipeg, complete with numerous pictures of  us looking ridiculously happy and some delicious food - this post is so long it may take you a whole weekend to read it! :)

Before we moved to Nunavut, we lived fairly close to the Canada/US border, and would often drive the 45 minutes to hop over and do some shopping and eat some food. This past weekend was sort of the same...only instead of driving for 45 minutes, we flew for 6 hours. Almost exactly (not really) the same thing! Either way, it was with the same intentions: buy things we can't buy here and eat food we can't eat here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Delayed

After a whirlwind weekend, we are currently delayed (again) from getting home (I'll tell you all about it on Wednesday!), so no real post today. good news though, we were just told "the plane isn't as broken as we thought."

So...um...yay??

Back Wednesday!
-L & J

Friday, November 23, 2012

Operation: Retrieve Husband (aka Our 3rd Blizzard in 2 Weeks)

Blizzard protocol was broken on Wednesday morning when we got up to start our day - the weather looked pretty miserable (lots of blowing snow, crazy winds, low visibility) and yet there was no warning or watch on Environment Canada's site. Hrmmm...this did not bode well for us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blizzard 2.0: More blizzardy. More adventurey!

One of my pastimes these days is to consistently check the Environment Canada weather report for Baker Lake - I check it a few times a day, just to see. The weather conditions looked a little suspicious about a week ago and I remember declaring "we're going to get a blizzard on the 19th" but it was too far out for anyone to really take note. Sure enough, the forecast was right and by Sunday evening we went from "blizzard watch" to "blizzard warning" to "BLIZZARD IS IMMINENT AND OR OCCURRING" ...which basically translates into, "you better have your affairs in order, because you're sitting ducks! Run for the HILLS!", in meteorologist speak.

Imagine our surprise when we woke up at 6:00am on Monday morning and there was no blizzard! Oh, but Mother Nature is a fickle woman and she changed that pretty fast...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Judith Makes Everything Better

After working for 14 days straight, and coming home to frozen water pipes, and in an all-around bad mood, something needed to be done and needed to be done fast. We needed something...and that something was Judith:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

I admit that with work being so busy this week I've been pretty neglectful of logging into my email and twitter accounts to see what's been going on. Imagine my delight when I saw that fellow Nunavut blogger Sarah whom I've gotten to chatting with recently gave our tiny little blog a Liebster! Sarah blogs from the community of Pangnirtung and has the most amazing photos of her life there. Her shots of the Northern Lights make me green (ha, get it?) with envy!!


What's a Liebster you ask? It's an award given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. A German term that means "sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome." Well! Isn't that the nicest compliment someone could give? :) Thank you to Sarah for brightening my day!

Rules:
1. Each person posts 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions the nominator made for you and create 10 more questions for the blogs you nominated.
3. Choose nominations and link them to your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

List: Random Thoughts

Since it's Wednesday and a blog post should be posted, and I come to you fully unprepared, here's a list of random things on my mind today.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Hang of Things

A new neighbour moved into the duplex next door (also a co-worker and his family) and we were sharing a few tips that we've picked up since we got here, and he said "you really seem like you've got the hang of things here." ...it surprised me, because we've only been here 3 months, but I suppose we do know a heck of a lot more than when we first got here. It feels more comfortable know, and I feel like I have a better grasp on where to get things, who to call if something goes wrong, etc. but I don't know if I feel like I'm not new to the whole experience just yet. I'm still learning things every day, but it definitely helps to share some of the things we've learned with people who just got here - being a small group we need to stick together and help each other out!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blizzards: They Blow!

Well, we survived our very first blizzard in Nunavut. It made me realize that any "storm" we had in Ontario was small beans compared to what an actual blizzard can be...and the one we got was considered relatively mild! I can only imagine what else is in store for us the rest of the winter.

Wednesday afternoon we started getting warnings that Baker Lake was under a "winter storm watch" and by late afternoon it was officially upgraded to "blizzard watch" for Thursday. There was an air of tension and a little excitement all around, and everyone was talking about it.

A group of us piled into the truck and went to the Northern to stock up on food and supplies in case the storm was longer than the prediction of a day (apparently last year it was so volatile that the warning could say 1 day but it lasted for 3). I stocked up on fresh produce like it was Y2K prep - (plus I figured it would save me having to go later next week.) Maximum efficiency here, people!

Wednesday comes and go and it started to get pretty cold and snow started to fall...but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I was beginning to wonder what the next day would bring. Well, Thursday did not disappoint!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Daylight Savings

The changing of the clocks have really been messing with me - I get so confused when I look up from my desk at work and realize that the sun is starting to set around 3:30 in the afternoon now, and it's pitch black by the time we pack up to go home.

I guess it shouldn't be a huge bother because we get into work in the dark - it's been dark as the middle of the night when Jeff goes to the airport in the morning - and we leave when it's dark. At least it's usually pretty bright out when it's time to go home for lunch. Have to find the small things.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's Beginning to (Not) Look a Lot like Christmas

With Halloween out of the way, Christmas commercials everywhere you look on TV, and snow falling and/or blowing pretty much at some point every day, it's no wonder I'm itching to prep for the holidays. Since we're not going home this year (super duper sad faces!!!) I want to try extra hard to make it feel Christmasy at our new house.

Unfortunately for me, my husband (and sister...and parents...and friends) have this weird notion that the first weekend in November is too early to decorate for Christmas. I know, right? How unreasonable! He said I should try to wait until after American Thanksgiving but that's AGES away!! Boo!! I promised there would be a plethora of pouts until our decorations are pulled from the closet and I can deck the house out. You've all been warned!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Relatively Speaking

It's funny how quickly we've adapted to some of the changes that come with living in a community so different from home in Ontario - we find ourselves saying the strangest things, bearing in mind it's all relative to our situation here. Here are some of the things we've said recently that made us stop and laugh. Hopefully you get a kick out of these too!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Hallowe'en!

Yesterday was one of the worst weather days we've had since we arrived here - lots of blowing/falling snow, high winds and it was dark and gloomy. There were parts of the road that you couldn't see in front of you because the snow was so strong. I tried to take some pictures and a quick video but my hands got so cold and shaky that nothing was coming out. That, plus we've used up our internet for the month and it doesn't get reset until tomorrow, so even loading this page took forever - let alone trying to upload some media.

Funnily, everyone kept telling me this was "nothing" compared to what I'd be seeing. Ummm....eek??

Monday, October 29, 2012

Committed

When I was in high school, my friends and I used to joke that you weren't in a committed relationship until you hit the 3 month mark - anything prior to that, either party had the ability to walk away and it wasn't serious. I was just thinking that we are a few days shy of being in Baker Lake for 3 months, so I guess it means we're committed to this relationship. We've survived the transitional hump of getting settled, and from here on out it's just...every day life. I'd say we're still in the honeymoon phase of figuring it out, but in an enjoyable way. So far so good.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wish List

We're blessed to have so many awesome people in our lives who care about us and are looking out for us, and we appreciate every single one of you!

Quite a few people have asked us to post what sorts of things we would like/could use in a care package if one was being put together, so here is a list of things that we can always use/need/would like/miss from home (we will likely add to/edit the post as time goes on):

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cold Shock

Winter looks to have reached Baker Lake, and I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon. The snow that showed up a couple of weeks ago has stuck around and although there have been snow falls here and there, nothing new seems to be sticking to the ground.

It has been crazy cold though, and it scares me to think that this is only October so we're looking at about 8 more months of this progressively getting worse! The other day it was -22 with the wind chill when I was heading into work, and the sun had barely risen over the horizon (it rises later and later every day, and sets earlier and earlier each evening). There is a also a lot of wind here, and I know I've mentioned it before, but I don't think I'll ever get used to feeling the house move when the wind is blowing strong.

We have also been getting a lot of freezing rain in the mornings - that doesn't help on roads that don't get salted/sanded. There's an intersection at the bottom of the hill from my work that has stop signs for people going up/down the hill, but not for traffic going left/right...unfortunately it's one of the more slippery areas in town and there have been many cars who slide right through the stop sign (while praying no traffic is coming). I'm overly cautious when I'm driving, and the ABS on the truck still kicks into gear as I'm coming down that hill. Extremely scary!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Be Careful

Living in an isolated community, there are a lot of things that we have to be mindful of that we never would have thought about at home. Not to say we were wasteful or extravagant in our habits, but there are just certain things you take for granted living in the South that you have to really think about here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sicky McSickerton(s)

We've both been battling a pretty hefty cold/flu this past week, so it's been quiet on the home front (aside from the sneezing, coughing, sniffling, etc.) . It knocked me out for most of Tuesday through Thursday and it started hitting Jeff on Wednesday and he's really suffering today. It's one of those viruses that any movement of your body takes all your willpower, so it's been tough to get going every day.

The upside is that it doesn't seem to last too long as I'm finally starting to feel better today - so I told Jeff there's light at the end of the tunnel! Lots of tea, soup and sleep has been on our agenda for the past few days...we're sick of being sick, let me tell you.

It's definitely one of those weeks where you're thankful it's Friday and we get a couple of days to be in our pajamas. I anticipate much rest in our near future.

-L

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Flying in the North

The last thing you want after a very long week, is to hear that your flight's been delayed or cancelled. So we were pretty happy when our last day in Iqaluit looked pretty clear and our flight was scheduled to leave on time. Jeff, being miles away in Winnipeg, also had a clear go-ahead for his flight home and it looked like everything was going to work out for us to be home in time to have dinner together. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that everything is going to go as planned - as we both soon found out!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Quick Iqaluit Tour


The last day of my Iqaluit visit was comprised of a driving tour and some shopping - I was very excited to get balsamic vinegar, specialty chocolate and some warm mittens. It obviously doesn't take much to make me happy! I took a couple pictures to share:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Long Week

Still in Iqaluit, but  I'm ready to go home. It's been a good trip and the training that I came here for has been really informative, but I miss being around my stuff and seeing my husband every day! We actually figured that we will likely run into each other at the airport in Rankin, so it will be nice to see each other even before we get home!

As I'm writing this on Thursday night, I still haven't gone on my tour yet so I don't really have much to share (being in training all day, every day, kind of limits that). I'll try to share what's been going on for the past couple of days as best I can and hopefully not bore you too much! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Duty Travel

I had to travel a fair amount for my last job, so it's been nice that I've been able to stay home for my current job for the past while. However, I was excited when I knew I'd be doing a bit of travel here and there because it's always nice to get out and meet new people/see different places. Here, they call it "duty travel" - sounds so official. Both Jeff and myself are traveling for work this week; Jeff left for training in Winnipeg yesterday and I left for Iqaluit on Monday. It worked out really well because we're both home on Friday within a half hour of each other, so neither of us has to be home alone.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians!!
This year we are thankful for our lovely new home! Come on in for the tour. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rumour has it...

Rumour has it that it's a very special little boy's 3rd birthday today!! Happy birthday to Liam, the best Godson I could ever ask for (and a handsome ring boy to boot!). We wish we were there to smother you with hugs and kisses, and you can show off all your cool toys. Skype tonight will have to do, but be forewarned that whether you're 3 or 23 - you will be showered with kisses each time I physically see you. xo

Rumour has it that we're getting our furniture delivered today! The barge dropped it off last week sometime, but there hasn't been anyone to sort through the inventory and arrange for delivery. Hoping today will be the day! It will be so nice to finally be able to say we're not waiting for anything else to come and we can make it our own.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Taking in a Show

On Friday, the students in town put on a play for the community and we were invited to come watch. Jeff was out of town, but I thought it'd be nice to do something different so I went to the school with our neighbour for the one-night-only performance of The Secret Garden.

Annually, an organization out of the US (I'm sorry, I forgot their name) travels around the world and helps students put on a play for their community. The group provides everything from direction to costumes and the set - the community just has to provide willing and eager students. Baker Lake did not disappoint, as there were a group of probably 40 students in the play, ranging from kindergarten to grade 12.

Friday, September 28, 2012

On my own

Last night was the first night I've been alone since we got to Nunavut since Jeff was away at training (he's back later on tonight, yay). I had a couple girls over for a Girls Night/Grey's Anatomy watch party (Sobbing forever for McSteamy!!) and as usual, there was an over-abundance of food and drinks available. It was a nice night and reminded me of home because I'd probably be doing a very similar thing for Grey's. I'm hoping we can do it weekly to watch the show throughout the season; it's nice to socialize on a weeknight and Jeff can go next door and watch football or whatever it is boys do. :) However, now I have a lot of food left in the fridge, so I may have to scrounge up some more friends and see if they'd like to come over after Jeff gets home tonight!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Blown Away

The weather has been really temperamental the past week or so. One day it will be sunny and warm, the next it will be raining and turn to big, fluffy snowflakes and then turn into fog and then be warm and everything is muddy. All in the course of a couple of hours! It's very confusing to decide what to wear when you leave the house in the morning, because you have no idea what's waiting for you when you walk out the door.

The worst part that I've been having trouble with is the crazy wind. With no trees or high buildings to break the wind, it is a viscous, bitter wind that you can hear no matter where you are in the house. Sometimes, when the house is quiet and still, and we're sitting on the couch, you can feel the house move from the strong wind. It's unnerving to say the least!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wishes DO come true...


Much has transpired since my wife's birthday, and most of it is positive. I mentioned that we were brought the wrong fridge; turns out that a scant 15 minutes after I posted, BLCS was back on my doorstep, this time with a full-sized Frigidaire - thank God! It's probably 2/3 the size of our fridge in Burlington, yet it looks half-empty compared to the jam-packed bar fridge we had earlier. That's one of many things I've learned to better appreciate since moving here; other items on the list include unlimited water, a wide variety of shopping choices, and $11 cases of pop, to name a few. 

Lily also mentioned in our last post that she made a wish when she blew out her birthday candle, and it came true! That wish was...

Happy Birthday, Little Sis!!

Happy birthday to the most beautiful, smart, funny, thoughtful, generous, crazy, wonderful little sister I have. There are not enough sweet adjectives to describe how amazing you are.

We hope you enjoy the gift we sent!! Think of us sharing it with you when you use it. Wish we were home to give you real hugs!! 

Xoxoxo
-L

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Best Gift

I am a very spoiled girl! Aside from my wonderful husband's gestures, even 1,600 miles away from home I felt very loved and special on Monday. Thank you for all the texts, calls, Skypes, packages, mail...it meant a lot to feel so connected!

It was a great day aside from the fact that we woke up to snow! Yes, Mother Nature gave me snow for my birthday. Not a lot, just a light dusting on the ground to remind us of what's to come. It was all melted by the end of the day, but there was white stuff in the middle of September...I'm not sure I'm ready for winter this early!

Apparently my candle-blowing/wish-making skills are powerful because I wished very hard for something and by the end of the day, it had come true! No, not to get our new fridge (which did end up coming on Monday, and I'm thrilled with...so thank you to our property management company for the birthday gift!) but something even better! Had I known I had almighty wish-making abilities, I would have wished for the lottery. What I did receive came a very close second. I won't say anything more about it, other than Jeff will talk about it in his next post.

Speaking of posts, you may have noticed that we'v been cutting back a bit on posting every day. We're going to try a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule to see if that works better but will aim to be as consistent as possible. For those of you who have signed up for email updates and our feed, it will just automatically notify you when we post so you don't have to do anything different.

It's slippery, cold and dreary this morning as I sit with my cup of tea before work. Hopefully it will clear up before the day is out and we can go for our evening walk! Don't know how motivated we'll be once the snow really hits, so we're trying to get as many in as possible! Fingers crossed!

-L

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday Lily!

We started this morning with phone calls and texts from Lily's parents and mine, and our friends, which was really nice. I sneaked downstairs first and got her breakfast ready (we pre-make our oatmeal, so I pulled it out of the fridge, and voila!), made her a cup of Chocolate Rocket (which is one of 12 flavours from Davids Teas that she received from her sister in a care package last month), and stuck a candle in one of the cupcakes I made for her at our neighbour's dinner party on Saturday. Lily liked it so much, she made me take a photo: 

Friday, September 14, 2012

30 Was A Big Year

With my birthday coming up in just a few days, I had to stop and reflect on what a big year 30 was for me. Getting married, leaving a long-term position, starting a new one, moving 1,600 miles away from friends and family...and those are just the big ones. Plenty of smaller things happened along the way as well, and with those are memories that I'll never let go.

I've always been one to love my birthday. What can I say, birthday attention is always good attention (even if I refuse to believe I'm 31 this year!!). My favourite part though, is being with the people I love most in life and sharing the day together. This is actually the first year that I'm hesitant when it comes to my birthday - it will be the first time ever that I'm far away from home, and that makes me sad. I've always been lucky to be able to spend my birthday with my strong support circle, and this year my birthday only serves to emphasize how far away I am from everyone. With my sister being away for school the past few years, and our birthdays being only 4 days apart, this would have been the first time in recent memory she would have been home for us to celebrate together.

30 was indeed a big year, with huge life-changing events to celebrate. It was the first year that I really felt like a "grown up" and not just a kid anymore. 30 has taught me to be more appreciative. More thankful.It's also been a reminder year that no matter what you have, or where you are, the most important part of your life remains your support circle. Everything else is just icing.

Can't wait to see what 31 brings, but I'm going to enjoy my last 3 days of being 30 as much as I can...why rush it! :)

-L


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Daddy!!!

Happy birthday to my daddy!

I wish more than anything that I was home to celebrate with you. Awkward singing, hugs and lots of yummy food. I miss you so much.

You'll always be my Superman, and I'll always be your little girl.
I love you!

-L

Monday, September 10, 2012

Back on Track

Sorry for the delay in posting - a lot has happened in the last few days, some of which I will detail here. First, let me tell you how our tiny hamlet is divided into areas, much like Toronto. Indiantown, which is the part of town where we live, is north of Chinatown - which is closer to the "downtown" area where all the shops and such are. I know what you're thinking - Toronto has little India and Chinatown, but they have 3 million people. How come a hamlet of 1,800 have these population designations as well? Good question, and the answer is simple enough. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Brush with the Law


I spent most of yesterday at the RCMP office. I was involved in a bar fight and it took three officers.....no, I'm just kidding. I had an interview today for a supply teaching position, and part of the process is to have a criminal check done, which of course is handled by the police. I walked from the school to the RCMP, and met a young woman who was the summer student at the office, and who was one of the 15 high school graduates this year. She hopes to become a police officer eventually, although some of her friends are urging her to go to college or university. A number of post-secondary institutions have preparatory programs for Inuit and other tribes whose education system isn't quite up to the standard we're used to seeing back home. A high school graduate from here is roughly on par with a grade 8 graduate in Ontario, so this prep course is like a bridge year to help transition these students to a level where they can tackle university-level coursework. Add to that significant discounts on textbooks, classes, and residency, and you've got a big advantage available, for those willing to pursue it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Canine conundrum


Normally, I love dogs. I have enjoyed their company since we got our first puppy when I was a teenager, and miss my parents' current labrador, Miller. There are a lot of dogs here, so I know he would have lots of friends to play with. At the moment, however, my relationship with dogs is suffering, because some of the local pooches are not respectful of bedtimes. Granted, they aren't likely aware they are disturbing my slumber, and yet, they should know that barking at 1am is not going to produce the results they're trying to achieve, given that an hour later, they are still at it. Most dogs here are chained up outside (most unlike the way we coddle our dogs, as if they're members of the family) and are considered work dogs, although I'm not sure what kind of work they are supposed to be doing. Guarding rusty snowmobiles, perhaps?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Poll Time!

Please cast your vote on the following question:

How often do you visit our blog?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Around Town...

Come. Put on your jacket and your boots. Don't forget your bug hat!
Take a walk with us...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Winter is coming...


To borrow a phrase from Game of Thrones, "winter is coming." Summer is definitely over, and we are now in the midst of autumn, with cold, dark nights (the way they should be) and noticeably cooler weather during the day. The mosquitoes are gone, but the flies are ever-present, though we should be saying a welcome goodbye to those annoying creatures in a few weeks. Back in Ontario during the winter, I would often not bother putting on a jacket if I was taking out the trash, it being a short walk down the driveway. Not so here - I'm told we need full parka and gear to go from the house to the car. I'm actually looking forward to seeing what winter has in store for us. The coldest I've ever experienced before was 35 below, up on Lake Temagami back in '91. I don't imagine 70 below is twice as bad, because -35 sucked. A lot. I think it's just going to be further along the 'suck' scale, but maybe Mother Nature reads blogs and will make me eat my words - I'll let you know in 4 months if I was right.  With 9 months of winter, I've got a lot of time to figure it out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Making a Difference

This week has been a doozy, so I am breaking it up into two posts. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights we've enjoyed in the last seven days. 

Any time we receive something in the mail, our eyes light up and big grins appear on our faces. Being so distant from family and friends is difficult to adjust to, and while phone calls and emails and Facebook help, it's the thoughtfulness of someone taking the time to sit down a write a letter or put something small but locally inaccessible into a box and mailing it that really makes us appreciate our family and friends. To wit, for those of you reading this (and by extension, those that should but aren't), here is your assigned homework: 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Harris Meats and Groceries


We were recently introduced to Harris Meats & Groceries, a company based out of Winnipeg that flies in fresh and frozen foods to Nunavut a couple times a week. Depending on where your community is, the shipping charges vary – but the cost is also subsidized through the Nutrition North Program (healthier foods and necessities get charged very little in freight vs. processed/junk food). They have some things listed on their website, but you can also contact them and ask for anything you want and they will send a shopper out to get it (ie. I wanted "specialty" vegetables and they weren’t on the site, but they got them for me).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Homesick

It really hit me hard yesterday how far away from home we are. It wasn't anything in particular; it actually came about when I started thinking about what everyone at home was doing at that moment in time. The more I thought about it, the more anxious I got. It was the first time since we got here that it hit me that we're really, really far away from our loved ones.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Keeping Active: Physically, Socially, Mentally!


One of the things that we thought we would miss while being up here was the opportunity/ability to go out and find entertainment at the drop of a hat. Be it a game of mini-putt, catching a movie, or even the simplicity of going to a pub for a drink – all things that would be nice, yes, but we haven’t found that we’re actually missing it (yet).

I think living in a community that is as small and “isolated” as we are, you need to have a certain disposition as to what kind of experience you want to have. If you’re going to be reclusive or wait for things to fall in your lap, you’re eventually going to fall into the “there’s nothing to do” group. You have to put yourself out there and ask around to see what’s happening! The more you talk to people, the more you learn about what’s going on.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Work


How far would you go for your career? This was something that was really weighing on my mind when we were presented with this opportunity to go. For us, it was just less than 1,600 miles to make the move that after considering the pros and cons, made the most sense for us financially and as a stepping stone for future growth. For every hesitation we had, we kept circling back to the point that this is going to help us in the long run and we were doing it as a foundation step, not as the end of the road.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Farewell to Summer: in Haikus!


Goodbye to summer!
We barely got to see you;
a fleeting affair.

It’s been cold with rain.
The locals say summer’s gone -
at least the bugs left

I packed up my shorts,
tank tops and flow-y dresses.
Why’d I bring so much?

My husband is mad;
he could have sent up more books
in lieu of my clothes.

If he thought that’s bad,
don’t tell him about the shoes!
Our little secret.  ;)

Farewell, summer 2012 – it seems like we were just starting to enjoy you. With the move and finally settling in, it’s now time for you to go. It’s only August and we’re not ready to say goodbye yet!
Come back soon! We’ll definitely be looking forward to seeing you next year!


-L

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rationing


As homesick as we (ok, mainly me) have been, the sting of being so far away has really been lessened through regular texting (so glad I decided to get a cellphone – especially since we still don’t have a home phone, but that’s a whole other annoying story I won’t get into), emails and Skype. I think we’re actually talking more to our families now than before we left, and it’s been really great!

You’ll recall my post about internet pricing plans from when we were researching pre-move, that we only get 10GB of bandwidth a month. I honestly didn’t understand how little that was when I checked our account usage a few days ago and noticed that in the past two weeks we’ve used 82% of our cap. I was floored! How did that even happen? I feel as though we weren’t doing much…a few emails here, a couple of tweets there…I guess it all adds up! Coming off an 80GB cap in Ontario (that we never came close to reaching) to this has been an adjustment.

So we’ve decided to ration our internet usage. We’ll be watching it pretty closely for the rest of the month, and next month we’ll try to split it so we use no more than 5GB in the first half of the month, and see how we make out with that. We also turned off the wi-fi connections on the laptop and the iPad when they’re on and we’re not browsing, just in case we left an email program open or something like that. Every megabyte counts!

I suppose it’s not the end of the world if we go over the cap, they just bump us down to dial-up speeds (*SOB*) which is probably when I’ll cave and buy more bandwidth at a crazy price of $20/GB to bring us to the next month. If I was our internet provider I’d start offering gift certificates so people can gift extra bandwidth to others. When there’s no shopping, restaurants or entertainment, that’d be a great gift certificate idea! 

Oh technology, what would we do without you?

-L

Monday, August 20, 2012

Residents

After an extremely long wait, we finally got our home phone set up!!! It was originally supposed to be wired up and installed before we moved in at the end of July, but there was a lot of technical issues and no technicians to fly out to Baker Lake, so we were told it was going to be a while. Fast forward to Friday afternoon and here we are with a home phone!

Since moving here, we also learned that in super small communities, all the phone numbers have the same first three digits, and it's only the last four digits that are different. So when you're giving/getting a telephone number, you only say the last four numbers. At first I thought everyone was giving out work extensions, but no, that's the whole hamlet. You just go by last four digits and everyone knows what the rest is.

We were also lucky that in the first week we were here, they were doing a P.O. box clean up and there happened to be an empty one that they gave us right away. I know some co-workers who have been here for months and are still on a "waiting list" for a box. It's a good one too - right at eye level, not the ones at the very bottom like some people. Maybe it helps that we've been super friendly with the lady at the post office and she knows who I am when she sees me now!

Anyhoo, our new "official" Baker Lake address is:

P.O. Box 523
Baker Lake, NU
X0C 0A0

It feels incredibly real now that we are considered "permanent residents" so we have a box, and a home phone - and now we're in the process of getting our licenses and health cards.

I guess this really is turning into home.

-L

Friday, August 17, 2012

St. Paul Catholic Church


As there are no real social activities that we have been introduced to yet, one of the ways we thought we could expand our social network and create ties to the community, was to visit the local church. For a small hamlet, there are actually a few churches here, but the majority of them are “closed” unless it is for service on Sunday.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

“Controlled” Liquor – Using the Term Loosely


One of the conveniences of living in Ontario, or most other areas of Canada, is that you could run to the liquor store or the beer store as easily as running to the closest gas station. Nunavut is a little different, because there are communities that are completely dry (no liquor is sold anywhere) or controlled (there is liquor for sale, but it is monitored by how much you are allowed to purchase, how often, etc.).

Baker Lake is a controlled community – something we knew before we came up. There are rules as to how much liquor, if any, you are allowed to transport across provincial/territory borders, and moving companies will typically say it is against their policies to ship it because of the border patrol and the risk of it causing damage on the planes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let’s Go Fly a Kite


One of my favourite movies growing up (second only to Annie) was Mary Poppins, and one of my favourite parts from the film was the end where everyone goes to the park with their kites. I’ve always complained that I’m 30 years old and I’ve never flown a kite, so I know that it has been something that Jeff’s always been wanting to share with me. What I didn’t know was that he actually packed a small kite in his luggage in case a “kite emergency” came up; which is exactly what happened the first week we arrived in Baker Lake.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Careful What You Wish For


Apologies that this post is a day late, but our modem broke on Friday evening and we just got internet back up and running today.  After many promises, we want to finally talk about our trip up from Ontario to Nunavut, and how you really should be careful about what you wish for.

The last few days at home were a whirlwind of tears and goodbyes, a frantic all-night packing of our carry-on luggage and checked bags, and an emotional drop-off at the airport. All of that we anticipated and were bracing ourselves for. What we didn't plan on was the airport stresses of dealing with our incredibly large and heavy luggage, long lines and flight delays/cancellations.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Sorry honey, we can't afford asparagus" (and other things I never thought I'd say)

Note: An extremely long post on the cost of food/groceries.

With the rise in media attention in the months leading up to our move to Nunavut, we had an idea going into it that food was going to be expensive. We took the advice of many people and packed as much food as possible in addition to our things, and our new house is outfitted with an over-abundance of storage space which we are using to our full advantage.

There are two stores in town that sell groceries:
  1. the Co-Op is a newer store that is community-owned and seems to have a much better produce selection, but a smaller variety of all other items.
  2. the Northern is the original store that is bigger, has much more variety, and fresh meat - but the fruits and vegetables don't look great all the time
The two stores are side by side, and the Northern is typically much busier than the Co-Op. The Northern also has the Quick-Stop, which is the KFC and Pizza Hut, as well as the post office. We assume it's busier because people just want to make the one stop for convenience rather than going back and forth for price comparison. To give you an idea of the prices we are facing are, here is a breakdown of what we've been paying based on type of food:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

More excrem...sorry, excitement!

I promise you, one of these days we'll actually tell you about our first week here, but the last few days have been so crazy you need to hear about them first. 

Two days ago as mentioned, we had the second half of our shipment show up and I spent all day unpacking and letting Lily (who is much better at organizing things) figure out where we would put it all when she got home from work. As Lily mentioned in her last post, we were out of water...and this issue continued for two straight days! I flagged down one of the sewage trucks (sewage and water trucks are indistinguishable except for the smell) and the driver told me the main water truck was broken...and the backup was also down for repair? This is fairly common I was told, which did not inspire much in the way of confidence. At least we got our sewage pumped. When I was talking to the driver outside, I was wearing shorts. Today I have many mosquito bites. Deet-based products are about as effective at repelling these bugs as air freshener, so I am going to use Febreze from now on, as it smells better. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

First Impressions/Thoughts: A List

  1. It's been quite warm and sunny here - there were days that were about 25 degrees! The coldest it's been was around 9 degrees, and that was on our first day when it was overcast and rainy. No humidity at all!
  2. The bugs here are ridiculous. They attack you the second you step outside and make you miserable for even thinking of leaving your house. Bug spray has been ineffective, and the bites they leave are big and angry looking. They're also jerks - I've had two bite me on the forehead. There's nothing to bite there!!!
  3. There is more traffic (ATVs, trucks, etc.) passing by our house here, than there was in Ontario. I was looking forward to peace and quiet and I hear a lot of gravel crunching, trucks backing up, and children playing at all hours of the night.
  4. The sun sets around 10:30pm and then it's a light-dark until about 4:00, so you can still see outside. It really messes with your system; especially when you hear the kids playing!
  5. There are a lot of dogs here; most of them are chained outside their houses all day and look really bored.
  6. The water and sewer trucks drive by constantly, but don't necessarily stop by your house on a set "schedule." We have been without water since yesterday morning, but thankfully, more of our stuff arrived so we had bottled water to use.
  7. Groceries are expensive, but you learn to get over that pretty quickly because you need to eat.
  8. It makes me sad/angry that once people are finished with their ATV or other toys, they just park it somewhere and walk away. The landscape is littered with abandoned vehicles. In the winter, they park their snowmobiles on the ice to let it melt and sink to the bottom. Grr!!
  9. It's amazing how a simple thing like having your own dish rack arrive, can make a house feel more like home. For the first week, it felt like we were vacationing at someone's cottage because nothing here was ours and we were scrimping like squatters. We still don't have all of our stuff, nor our furniture...but it's slowly been arriving.
  10. Even though we've literally been here a week, we find ourselves missing the strangest things. Things we wouldn't have wanted at home, but just because we can't have them - makes us want them.
Here's a picture of our lake that we took on the first day, just so you can see how beautiful our view is.
-L

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finally!



According to Genesis, God worked feverishly for six days to create the world, then rested on the seventh; we took a different approach. We've had a reasonably leisurely six days of touring the hamlet, setting up our Internet, and shopping for food, amongst other things. Yesterday was the complete opposite. The movers greeted Lily at 10am with half of our belongings, so we spent the morning and early afternoon unpacking boxes and filling shelves with food, closets with clothes, and drawers with everything from Tylenol to tequila. At 2:30 we drove to the airport to pick up the other HR manager (our next-door neighbour) and his family, then continued sorting and re-arranging until 10pm when we surrendered. Upstairs is mainly complete, while the main floor still resembles a college dorm/cardboard hoarder. Lots still to do but by this afternoon it should look a lot less cluttered. I never realized until today how little things really turned this house into something resembling our home. The dish rack, the rice cooker, and even my Despicable Me minion plush (thanks Omi & Kaitlyn!) make such a difference just on their own. 

It's hard to believe we have another 100+ boxes to come, and all of the furniture ordered for us. Lily's off to her first day of work today, and I'll be finishing the organization of the house. There's still lots to tell you about - shopping for food, taking Lily kite-flying for the first time, our horrible-but-in-the-end-great trip up, and I'm putting together a video of the town , so stay tuned for more shortly. 

As always, let us know if you like our blog, and suggestions and comments are welcome. 

-J

Monday, August 6, 2012

We made it!!

We just wanted to say hi to everyone and let you know we finally made it to Baker Lake. See below for a quick video introduction.
video

We love you and miss you all!
xoxo
-L and J

Friday, July 27, 2012

Crunch time!

Now that we're three days away from lift-off, I'm finally weighing in with my take on this whole process. It's hard to put into words the feelings we're experiencing right now. I imagine it's like sitting in the plane moments before you jump out for your first skydiving experience. We are eager to begin this new chapter in our lives, but we are also trying valiantly to stave off our anxiousness. Doing anything new is scary, and this journey we are about to embark on is equal parts exciting and terrifying. As I reflect back on the last three months, there are a few things I wish we'd done differently. I would have liked to spend more time with more friends, and that goes for family as well. I would have preferred to send some furniture and books instead of all of our dishes. All things considered though, I'm pretty happy with where we are now, and we did a good job preparing to leave without a how-to manual.

There have been hundreds of little details that needed to be dealt with, and about a hundred major ones, too. Transferring insurance, selling our cars (on that note, if anyone wants to buy a Kia Soul, email me!), and buying ridiculously warm jackets are just three of them. Even now there are a dozen things left to accomplish before Monday, not the least of which is mentally preparing to kiss our old lives goodbye, and all the comforts and people that have been a part of them for so long. The old adage is true: you don't realize how much you love something until you don't have it anymore.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cell Phones

I know I said we weren't going to get a cell phone. We had these grandiose ideas of saving extra money, etc. Well...I couldn't do it. I caved. Threw in the towel. Waved the white flag. You get the point. Long story short, I got a cell phone that will work in the North.

Having had two (work and personal) cells for the past few years, quitting cold turkey was going to be a challenge. I've been transitioning this week with a non-smart phone and it's already been giving me withdrawal symptoms. That was pretty much when I decided we were going to have to get a phone that was going to work.

The satellites in the North run off the old CDMA system, so we needed to find either a Bell, Koodo, Telus or Virgin phone that hadn't switched to the 3G train. That in itself was pretty difficult, because most providers are moving away from CDMA and it's becoming obsolete here.

My intention was to get a compatible phone and keep my current 905 number (which I've had for over ten years). I'd then get a Canada-wide plan so I could talk/text unlimited without incurring long distance charges.

In the end, I went with Virgin because it was the only phone I could find that would work. However, this phone is so basic, it makes the one I had in high school seem fancy. Coming off a Blackberry, it also feels about the size of a peanut when i hold it. Sigh. BUT! It will work (hopefully) and I got my Canada-wide plan for $50/month, which seems pretty standard.

I just have to get used to not being so reliant on the phone!

-L

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blog Maintenance

As I'm getting more comfortable with blogger, you may see the layout of the page change now and then. For now, I think I'm happy with how it looks. Let me know if there are things about the layout you like/don't like.

With the move ramping up and my not being sure how soon our Internet connection will be set up once we are there, I wanted to take a minute to let you know that our posts might be a little sporadic over the next while.

I've been trying to keep to a steady schedule of blogging every weekday, and taking the weekends away from the computer - and I think it's a schedule I'd like to keep. Either Jeff or I will try to blog at least a little something every weekday morning to keep you updated (next week being the possible exception).

We have also set up the subscription links in the bar on the right so you can also get an email sent every time we update, or add us to your RSS feeds. Trying to make it as easy as possible! I also have it set to update both my Twitter and Facebook accounts every time there is a new post, so be on the lookout for those as well!

We are also looking for suggestions as to what you would be interested in us writing about, so feel free to leave a comment below and we will try to write about what you want to hear about!

5 more sleeps until we go!
-L

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Drowning in Feelings

It hit me like a tonne of bricks last night over dinner - at this point next week, we will already be in Baker Lake and starting our new lives. It's a scary realization to have over a pint of beer, let me tell you.

It's been an emotional few days, and I anticipate it will only get harder as our departure draws closer. Friday was my last day at work; bittersweet to say goodbye to good friends and comfortable surroundings, but at the same time, I really felt like it was time to move on. It is time to spread my wings and take the next step in my career, even if it is a scary, unknown step.

My sister came home this weekend and we got to see her a few times. We had a wonderful family dinner on the one night for mom's birthday and then we also saw her for brunch the day she left. As this was going to be the only time we saw her before we leave, it turned into a tear-filled visit for most of the weekend. Even now, I get tears in my eyes thinking of how much I'm going to miss her. :(

I know that this is only the beginning of a string of tough goodbyes, and I'm not sure I am hydrated enough to handle the onslaught of tears that are on their way. It is tough to remind yourself you're making the right choice when your heart is in so much pain. We are blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives who are supportive of our decision, but it doesn't lessen the heaviness in our hearts as we get ready to go. I don't regret our decision, and I'm still extremely excited, but it still hurts.

As we wrap up this final week in Ontario, surrounded by the people we love, I'm again reminded of how lucky we are to have the lives we do. Love is such a wonderful thing.

-L

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Happy, happy birthday to my mom today!!!
There are not enough words in the world to describe my love and admiration for her.

She's my home.

xoxo
We'll see you tonight!

-L

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Delicious

When we were up for a visit, Jeff got to go on the Baker Lake tour with my co-worker who's been living there for a few years. While driving around, they stopped the car to let some cute birds cross the road. They reminded him of a partridge, but surely they could not have made it so far North. Here's how the conversation went:

Jeff: Those are cute. What are they?
Co-worker: Delicious.
<pause>
Co-worker: Nice looking things, but they're incredibly stupid. And delicious.


Well then.
Welcome to the North! :)


Note: Turns out they were ptarmigans - kind of like a partridge, or other small gamebirds. They change colour depending on the season, but they really are kind of cute!
...I'd still probably eat it. Probably. ;)

-L

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hey Winter: Bring It!

I don't know if you live in Ontario, but it is hot outside. Like, wear-as-little-as-possible and you're still a mess, hot. Sooooo hot. Yesterday, I was a puddle of perspiration. 45+ (after humidex) is cruel and unusual punishment! It was one of the moments where I wished we were already in Baker Lake because I was a grumpy, sticky, sweatball the second I stepped outside. This heat wave's gotta get outta town.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am not a fan of winter. I don't like snow, I'm perpetually cold, the dreariness and short daylight hours bring me down, etc. So when I told people that we were moving to Nunavut, a lot of my family and friends laughed and laughed before they realised I was being serious.

I know this is going to sound even more crazy - but for the first time in my life, I'm actually really excited for winter. I want to see what an Arctic winter will be like, to feel how cold cold can be. I want to look outside my window and understand what "winter" really means. I think the thing that will be hardest to adjust to will be the darkness in the winter, but we are fully stocked on vitamin D and I've been trying really hard to find a light therapy/happy lamp (anyone have any idea where I can get one, please let me know!).

I think it's going to be really cool (pardon the pun) to experience Mother Nature at her best/worst. I bet I can make a lot of snow angels and snowmen for our front yard! :) Best part is - no one's going to have to hear me complain about a southwestern Ontario winter after this!

-L

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Positive Vibes

All the positive vibes and love in the world to Mum today, who is going in for surgery this morning. We will see you shortly with good cheer and plenty of (gentle) hugs! xoxoxo

- L & J

Monday, July 16, 2012

Essentials

I started looking into weight restrictions for our luggage when I heard that our stuff didn't get loaded onto the truck until this morning (ummmm, we're definitely going to beat it at this rate??). So I started thinking about stuff that we should bring to hold us over until our things arrive...and the list felt really long in my head, but now that I see it written out, I feel like I'm forgetting key things.

Since we are flying on First Air, the baggage restrictions are pretty limited because we're going to be on a smaller plane. Basically, if we don't want to have to pay for any excess fees (though they may be cheaper than paying to courier/ship things up separately and we'd be guaranteed to have the baggage with us), we both get 2 bags at 44 pounds each. That sounds like a lot, but after going through the process of packing up our house and under-estimating our belongings, I don't want to take any chances.

I think we're going to have to borrow someone's scale next week and do "practice packs" to see what we're looking at in terms of weight.

Below is a list of things that I can think of as essential to get us through the first while that we're there in case our things haven't arrived yet.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tuning In

Note: Another cost comparison post that may be a little boring for most of you (sorry). However, if you're interested in learning about TV options in Nunavut, read on!
 
I had no idea looking into television packages/providers was going to be as complicated as it has been. I feel like we've been researching so much that I'm practically an expert! We went into it thinking that we wanted something that made us feel connected enough that it felt like "home" but also wasn't going to break the bank. With very little social activities, and Netflix probably not being a viable option, we also figured we should be looking at something that offered a lot of channels.

The people that we've talked to have mostly been on Team Satellite. It gives you the widest variety of channels, but the reception may be spotty when there's bad weather. I suppose that's true no matter where you are, but I feel like we'd be more likely to have worse weather in Nunavut as opposed to Ontario. However, with satellite, you're looking at doing a self-install (I would be soooo useless in this task) and more money than going with a regular cable provider.

At the end of the day, here are the costs that we were looking at:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Surprise!

My lovely co-workers (in cahoots with my husband) planned a lovely surprise cocktail hour for me last night at one of the local restaurants by our office. Wine, yummy appetizers and lots of laughs were shared by all and it was so nice to mingle outside the office. I also got these pretty flowers, complete with pink lilies, of course!
As much as I am ready to make the move to a new role, it's always a difficult decision to make. I've made good friends over the past five years here, and there will be people that I will truly miss.

It still catches me by surprise when I think of how little time we have left in Ontario. It seems not so long ago that I gave my very long notice, and now we're talking about how next Friday is my last day. Where does the time go when you try so hard to slow it down? It's slipping by so quickly and we're trying hard to soak up as much time with our friends and family as possible - but it's hard when silly things like chores and work get in the way!

We'll just keep taking everything a day at a time and keep surrounding ourselves with hugs and love. Can't really say I'm complaining about that!

-L

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Keeping in Touch

We stopped by the moving company yesterday to sort through the things they pulled off our shipment (just to make sure there wasn't anything dire that needed to come and had been pulled) and we managed to convince them to let us drop off our pillows and duvets to add to the shipment. I think at the end of the day we are slightly over 4,000 but everyone was tired of us trying to sort/pull things, etc. and just said to forget it. Ha!

I'm thankful we were able to squeeze in a little more because I really didn't feel up to adding a trip to the post office on my To-Do list this/next week. I figured our stuff will take about a month to get up there, and I've been told that mailing things/having things shipped - it can take anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks (6 even, during the holiday season!!) So yeah, you should probably start sending me my birthday gifts now for September! ;)

Due to Baker Lake being such a small place, there are no actual road names, or "addresses" per se. The entire hamlet shares one postal code, and there are post office boxes at the Northmart for some people and everyone else gets General Delivery.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Under-Estimated

Yesterday was a big day in terms of the move - the moving company came and took our Nunavut-bound things away! While we thought we were going to be fairly accurate around the 4,000 pound mark, we were actually over by 700 when they went to weigh our things. Oops! So that meant that unless we wanted to pay for the freight (we certainly didn't want that, eek!), they had to pull the few furniture pieces off the truck that we had packed (no more bookcases, desk, freezer, etc. BOO!)
Look how big the truck is! It made our house look teeny tiny and took up 3/4 of the street to boot! The movers arrived around 9:30 and we helped them finish the rest of the packing before they loaded everything up. That was actually pretty frustrating itself because when they left last week everyone knew that more packing was supposed to be happening this week - but they didn't bring any more boxes, and said that we didn't discuss that. I know what was said, and I absolutely told them as we did a walk-through, that there was going to be more stuff to pack (considering there were entire rooms they didn't get a chance to go into last week!) Grr! Luckily we had a couple of empty boxes and we ended up packing most of the remaining items ourselves while they moved the other boxes out to the truck.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cakes!

Happy Monday! I can't believe that 3 weeks from today, we will be on a plane and heading off on our adventure. Time is certainly flying by!

Jeff's wonderful family threw us a "going away but coming back" party yesterday, and we had a lovely time surrounded by our loved ones. The weather was beautiful, the bbq was kept busy and the wine was flowing. I love days like yesterday - just relaxing with family and friends while loving life.

Aside from a dinner of my *favourite* White Hots (so glad to have been introduced to this awesomeness!!), our family friend Natalie made the most amazing cake for us as a delicious dessert. Look at the ridiculously cute penguins!! And the pink wreath!! And the igloo that's actually a mini cake on top!! Agghhh the cuteness is too much to handle!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Packin' Up

It has been a busy week so far! We spent a day sorting through things into different piles, and then the packers came by yesterday to start boxing everything up. Who knew we had so much stuff?? The moving company sent two people and one man spent the majority of the six hours they were there, packing up my kitchen. Not including the food, just dishes and small appliances and everything that wasn't the kitchen sink. It was getting pretty ridiculous. He estimated that it was probably about 800 pounds or so of just those things.

Oops. I guess I really have no excuse to keep buying dishes (but I love buying dishes!). It also turns out we have 9,893,238 glasses (thereabouts, anyways.) Add in the food and supplies we've been buying and we're probably at about half our weight limit already! I had no idea things were that heavy; I thought we'd be struggling to reach our limit! Now I'm hesitant to bring some of the "nice-to-have" pieces of furniture that we were contemplating because I don't want us to go over and have to pay for the shipping.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Goosed!

When we decided that we were making the move, one of the first things that we started looking up was which jackets to buy. I have a closet full of winter jackets that have kept me warm enough here, but we both needed something that would be able to withstand the extreme conditions that we'll be facing this winter.

There are a lot of options when it comes to jackets, and two separate camps of people when it comes to what is the "better" route for protection. First, you have to decide what is best for you: either you want to go with a lighter jacket and layer underneath with good base layers, or you can get a thicker jacket and you're all set. Most of the time, the base layer method results in a less expensive jacket - but don't be fooled, you can still spend a pretty penny by the time you're done.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dates

We finally have a date set for our move! Something that I've been anxious to have since we made the decision to leave, because I'm the kind of person who needs to know what my schedule/timeline looks like. Even though I was told not to worry about it until July, I pushed for a contact at the moving company a couple of weeks ago - and that woman told me that I really should have called earlier because the end of June/beginning of July is the busiest moving weeks out of the whole year. (Grr! I have been trying for over a month to set this up!!)

My new work pays for 4,000 pounds as part of our relocation assistance, and we have been thinking that we were well under the limit and needed to buy more food and supplies so we don't let any of our allowance go to waste. However, according to the man who came to do an estimate of our stuff, we are putting 4,000 pounds into storage and bringing 6,000 pounds with us. Really? We own 10,000 pounds worth of stuff in the house? No! Surely there is a mistake somewhere. Aside from a couple of chairs, we aren't bringing any furniture - so I have no idea how he came up with that amount. The woman from the company who received the estimate went briefly through the list and suggested that perhaps he over-estimated but we should still sort things into a "must-go-with-us" pile, and a "nice-to-bring-with-us" pile the day the movers come, since they'll be weighing our things as they pack.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Taking Inventory

We received some disappointing news last week, and although we weren't entirely sure we'd hear good news, there was always a sense of hope that maybe the stars would shine down on us. Hearing a definitive negative response is always hard. So that's really been weighing on us both. I'm not going to lie. Last week was tough.

It also feels that time is speeding by much too quickly as we near our moving date. Whole days will pass and we look in exhaustion/bewilderment at each other and wonder where the time went. Work has been busy for both of us as we prep to make our respective departures, and we have had something to do/somewhere to be almost every night. Our weekend was also packed with seeing friends and family, which we absolutely want to soak up every single second of, but it feels like we haven't been home for anything other than sleep these days. Not that I'm complaining - there will be plenty of time to sit around just the two of us on our own when we get to Baker Lake - so I often find that if there's a gap in our schedule, I'm trying to squeeze in an extra visit here and there with whomever is available. Exhausted by bedtime, yes, but thankful for every moment we have here with our friends and family.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mental Prep

We would be remiss to talk about how we're prepping for the move without mentioning how it's affecting us internally. I thought planning a 200+ person wedding on an extremely tight budget in 9 months was stressful, but that was a walk in the park compared to this. Mainly because a wedding is something that you have a general idea of what to expect...but how do you know what to expect living thousands of miles away from your family and friends, in a community and culture that is very different from what you're used to? To say it's mentally draining would be an understatement.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Cost of Staying Connected

Note: This is going to be a long post (sorry) - and not very exciting - unless you're one of our geeky friends, in which case, you too, will be appalled at our internet "conditions" we'll be facing; but I wanted to share the research we've done on what kind of bill prices we're looking at for phone, internet, etc. So family and friends: appreciate the lengths we go to so we can stay connected to you! HA! :)

One of the things that we've been researching is how to stay connected after our move - I want to try to work it so that the minute we walk through the door of our house, we just need to plug in a phone and our computer and be connected. I've heard a few stories of it taking days/weeks to get things hooked up, and I don't want to be disconnected from our loved ones for that long - especially when they'll be anxious to know that we've arrived/settled in ok. We've been told that we absolutely must have a land line because it is much more reliable than a cell phone, and we will obviously need internet (How did the world survive without the internet? I remember tying up my parents' phone line for hours with our horribly slow dial-up....sigh, those were the days!)

Friday, June 15, 2012

What If?

I've been having a lot of fun telling people that we're moving to Nunavut, because it is so completely out of left field that people are simply gobsmacked when they find out. It's to the point where I have to start the conversation by saying "I have news! (No, no babies yet.)" Everyone assumes that since we're newly married, I'm going to announce that I'm pregnant - so it's taken what is some pretty big news on its own and amplified it by 2378327 because no one would ever expect it.

Whenever I tell people that we're moving to Nunavut, it's generally been met with a "Nunavut?!? You're not really going to Nunavut??" Surprisingly though, as it's never been on either mine nor Jeff's radar in any sense, most people seem to have some sort of six degrees of separation to Nunavut - either they've known someone who's been, or someone who's there, or they've wanted to go. After the customary questions of why we're going, what we're going to be doing, etc. it inevitably turns into the "What if" game.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feeding the North

I don't typically talk about politics or anything that may be seen as me getting on my soapbox, but if you follow the news, you may have noticed that there has been a lot of buzz about the high cost of food/living for Nunavut residents these days.

I knew from other blogs I've found and our quick trip to the store in Baker Lake, that the prices for items were going to be high. We've been told time and time again, that we should be bringing as much as we can in non-perishable food items and household goods, because spending the money now will save us thousands of dollars later.

However, a woman in Nunavut wanted to bring attention to the issue of high prices/low incomes, and started a Facebook group called Feeding My Family and it's been picked up by media worldwide. It's mind-boggling to think that prices can be so inexplicably different between provinces.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Intangibles

It's a warm and overcast Monday morning here in the GTA, after our first really warm weekend this summer. We finally cracked and turned the A/C on and have finally given up on sleeping with the windows open. I will say that the mugginess and heat will be things I certainly will not miss when we move.

We had a busy weekend, selling one of our couches (of all the things I have for sale, we've sold 2 couches - they seem to be hot commodities!) to a nice woman and her cute baby. The couch didn't go quietly though, and managed to damage our lovely wooden banister, a few walls and a toe before driving off. Good riddance, Couch of Mass Destruction - you may have lured us in with comfort, but you are a dream-killer!

Speaking of selling things, I also handed over my car to her new owner, and I'm happy to see that she's gone to a good home. The girl who bought my car was super nice and gave us a thank you card with a gift in it as well - what an unexpected but sweet surprise! Although I was sad to see my car go, it was one of the biggest items that we needed to sell before we left and I was happy that I was able to sell her quickly and for a price that I was happy with. Unfortunately, it means that poor Jeff has to drive me around in his car everywhere, but really - who doesn't want to spend more time with their wife, right? If it's any consolation to him, dropping me off at work 2 hours early is no walk in the park for me either! ;)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lists

With being so overwhelmed and having a lot to do over the next couple of weeks, I thought I should write everything down in lists - maybe if you're looking to make a move (big or small) these might trigger you to add things to your list too! Our lists may be a little different because the new house will be fully furnished, and our current house is going to be rented out so all our utilities, etc. aren't being cancelled...

I'll keep adding things as I think of them, but it's a good start I think. (Please comment and add things if you think I'm forgetting them)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Making it Official

My announcement at work came out yesterday (one that I wrote, mind you) - I tried to slip "princess of awesome" into it, but I didn't want to seem egotistical. :) There's really no turning back now that it's out there for the "world" to see. After the announcement was sent I was flooded with emails and phone calls from people - even those I didn't expect to say anything - and everyone had the nicest things to say. It made me get a little teary-eyed, actually. So often you get into a comfortable zone when you're at a place for a while, and you don't realise how appreciated you are until something like this happens. I felt very validated in my career and the work I've done over the past 5 years. It was a good/emotional day. I kept telling everyone to hold the goodbyes in though, because I'm still here for another 6 weeks or so and I didn't want to start all-out crying just yet!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

No Turning Back

Up until now it hasn't really sunk in that we're going. I mean, we talk about it and plan it - but it hasn't felt real. Until yesterday that is. Yesterday, I gave notice at work and officially resigned. True, I gave them 6 weeks notice, but it feels like the end of a huge chapter in my life. Being at my company for 5+ years, it's become part of who I am...and there's a sadness over closing that chapter and starting a new one.

I stressed about telling my team and hyperventilated every time I started thinking about it, so it was obviously not a decision I took lightly. In the end, they were really supportive of me and happy that I have the opportunity. I feel like a huge weight's been lifted off my shoulders because I've been worrying so long about it.

On the flip side, it makes it feel SO real. I've been putting off packing or buying anything for the move because sub-consciously I wasn't ready to face the reality of what we're about to do. After I told them I was leaving, I emotionally shopped and impulsively (not really, I've been tracking the prices and it was on for a ridiculously awesome sale) bought an elliptical. I figure I will need something to keep me active on the days that it's too cold or snowy to go outside, and I've always wanted an elliptical...the cherry on top was that it was 70% off and poor Jeff found himself lugging the box home.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

...and Out

If I thought the Winnipeg airport was small, the few airports after that were even smaller. The Baker Lake airport was a counter and a couple seats...and that was pretty much it. You get on/off the plane outside and have to walk into the airport from the runway.

When we landed, I was anxious to see what Baker Lake was like, but also to meet my new boss and co-worker, who were coming to pick us up. I shouldn't have worried though, because we got into the airport and I was greeted with the warmest hug from them and I immediately started to relax. We didn't have to wait for any luggage, so we got into the truck (the extremely high truck that Jeff had to push me up into) and drove the few minutes into town.

I admit it all went by so fast that I didn't really get a good look at everything. I did note that although it was after 8pm it was still bright and sunny out - and was told that this was about as dark as it got these days because of the 24 hour light during the spring/summer. Well, I'll be darned!