Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Northern Lights

One of the benefits of the cold weather is that it provides the perfect conditions for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) to appear. I've mentioned before that we have seen them on occasion here but they've never "danced" for us, as they originally tend to appear as streaks of light in the sky.

A co-worker recently took a series of photos one evening when he noticed the lights were particularly vibrant, and he caught an amazing show - one that is rarely seen here in Baker Lake to this extent.With his permission, I "stole" a few of his pictures to show you what is literally in our backyards.

It makes you truly appreciate the beauty that surrounds us when you see things like this.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Guest Post: A New Zealander in the North

We thought that it'd be nice to share other people's tales of life in Nunavut, or having loved ones live in Nunavut - to give you a break from our voices once in a while. :)  That being said, we wanted to highlight stories from some of our readers.

Today, our friend Bill from New Zealand shares his story and perspective on moving to the great white north.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fun(ny) Blog Stats

The site we host our blog on allows us to track stats as to where our readers come from, what posts are popular, what search keywords people use to find us, etc. It's a handy tool to see what the most interesting posts are, so we can write more things that apparently interest everyone.

What I didn't realize was how entertained I would be by reading what searches we show up under when people type things into search engines. There are lots of searches for things like "Nunavut blog 2013" or "blizzards in Nunavut" etc., but there are some that make me laugh (with glee) because our zaniness is apparently out there for the world to see. A few of my top favourite wacky ones include:

"ninja hug attack"
"Nunavut puns"
"cheese Nunavut price"
"driving to Nunavut" <--- you can't, by the way, not on roads anyway - you could drive a snowmobile between certain communities in the winter, but I'm not sure that's entirely safe/recommended.

It's also really neat to see where our readers come from, aside from Canada and the United States, we have lots of readers from across the globe (Germany, France, Malaysia, Australia, Russia, China and Bangladesh to name just a few)! 

Considering this blog was started with no plan other than keeping our friends and family in the loop that we didn't freeze and weren't starving, it's exciting to see that our experiences are reaching out to other people. We're so glad to share our time in Nunavut with the world. :)

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Social Butterflies

The title of this post is a little misleading since we are the polar opposite of social butterflies, however it's been a busy week for us and I feel like we're being extra butterfly-y.

Being in a small community, I find that we gravitate towards seeing friends up here more rather than being complete recluses and hiding away with our puppy. It may not be for an actual "outing" but we tend to see someone at least once a week, if not more. This is far more social than we were in Ontario where after a long day at work and a long commute home, it was hard to muster up the energy to drive to another city to have dinner with friends or anything remotely social. As there isn't really a 'commute' here and we're home by 5:10, it's much more likely to have (impromptu) dinners on weeknights or decide spontaneously to have people over on the weekends, etc.

An impromptu dinner was exactly how we decided to spend our Saturday evening so we could celebrate our anniversary surrounded by friends. It was spontaneous, last-minute and filled with laughs, conversation and good food. In other words, a perfect evening! We also made a new friend this week - through the blog actually - and had a lovely dinner last night by way of introduction. More conversation, laughs and's a good theme for any evening. I anticipate we'll be having more impromptu gatherings in the future because only good things have come out of it!

With few choices of places to go, activities to do, etc. in town, this is the type of place you need to create your own fun. If you sit at home and wait for things to come to you, you're likely going to be bored and lonely up here. However, if you put yourself out there, you'll find there are lots of things to do and people who are eager to join you. It's the best way to meet people and make new friends, you just have to be open to being social! A good lesson whether you're in the north or the south - put yourself out there and you'll be surprised at just what's waiting in the world for you. :)


Monday, February 18, 2013

Family Day, but also...

It's been said that every second with someone you love is precious. I agree with that statement, although it's hard to believe Lily and I are approaching 32 million of them together with each other. Today marks the first anniversary of Lily and I tying the knot, which is outstanding, both because it seems like last month that it happened, and more importantly, that we've managed to remain moderately sane while so distant from close friends and family.

It certainly doesn't feel like it was a whole year ago. Conversely, we've had Pepper for just over a month, but we can't believe it's only been that long. Somehow, time behaves differently up here. I'm sure the seasons of near-constant daylight/darkness are to blame for part of it.

For anyone looking to truly understand their partner, I'd recommend seven months in the Canadian Arctic. A little extreme, granted, but the effect has been enlightening. We make more time for each other, talk to each other more, and generally appreciate each other more, because we're all we've got. Now that we have Pepper, we find ourselves sharing our love for each other with a pint-sized creature, and that too has been a wonderful opportunity to grow more in love with each other. I made a comment during my wedding speech that sums up our experience. For those of you who weren't at "the best wedding ever"1, here is an approximation of my speech:
"People say that one's wedding day is the happiest moment of their lives, but this worries me slightly, because it implies that after today, there is a lifelong decline. My goal is to grow more in love with Lily every day, so that when we look back on our wedding day, we'll realize it was the day we loved each other the least."
Lily has only left me speechless on two occasions. The first was at our matron-of-honour Tori's house for her birthday, and though I won't repeat what she said here, I knew the instant I heard it this was the woman for me. The second time reinforced that opinion, as it happened when I turned around at the church and saw her in her wedding gown for the first time. She was radiant, and again, I found myself at a loss for words.

I recall the advice my Dad's father gave my mother on their wedding day. He said, "The first year is ****. If you can make it through that, you'll be fine." It looks like we're a little closer to realizing that goal. I love you, Lily. Happy Anniversary. And Happy Family Day, too. xoxo

1. Everyone, Jeff & Lily's Wedding. Oakville: Oakville Convention Centre, 2012.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What Else is Expensive in Nunavut?


Everything is expensive in Nunavut if you've been exposed to prices south of here, or have discovered the beauty of shopping online (though some places won't ship this far north, and if they do, it could be crazy that may not be a good option either).

One of the "convenience" stores in Baker Lake also has an electronics counter and I recently found out they also sell furniture from time to time. I think it's beyond a typical convenience store - which there are a couple of small ones in town - because it sells a variety of other things if the stock is available.

The store sometimes posts a few sale prices on Facebook, and I grabbed a recent flyer to show what non-grocery items can look like in terms of pricing:

I'm quite certain that you can get most of these items for a lower price with free shipping if you purchased online. For larger items (such as the appliances and furniture), the shipping is usually at a premium cost so people tend to wait until summer when the barges come and order it up that way (barges are also when many people purchase vehicles and have them sent up, but that's a different story).

Clothing is also quite expensive here, since the only place to purchase it would be at the Northern - and the mark-up is steep. I have seen track pants or jeans that are Walmart or Zellers brand go for $75. I get that sometimes it's necessary to purchase items that you don't have the luxury of waiting for it to be shipped, but stores need to realize this and cut us some slack - prices could be lowered significantly and they'd still be making a huge profit.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Valentines

I know this is a day early, but we don't post on Thursdays so I thought I'd get all the mushy stuff in today. :)

My husband has a penchant for leaving me notes, and while rummaging around in my work bag recently, I found this:

Yep, that's a bag of black pepper.

And just to remind you of how cute my "beloved dog" is:
That face just screams, "smoooosh me!"

This year, I not only have one valentine but two! I'm a lucky girl, I know! :)
The loves of my life

So happy Valentine's Day! I hope it's filled with more love and warmth than your heart can stand.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Weekly Sale at the Co-Op

As I've mentioned before, the Co-Op used to offer more fruits and vegetables that were in better condition than the Northern, but there's been a noticeable decline in the past couple of months - to the point where we hardly go there anymore. One time we went, and the store was in such neglect that there were visibly mouldy bags of shredded cheese in the cooler and bags of fruit that were so past their edible date that they leaked onto the floor in a big brown puddle (ick).

Their prices have also gone up fairly significantly in the past little bit as well. When we first got here, bagged salad kits were $3 and now they're anywhere from $6 to $8. They've also stopped putting price tags on their produce so you're not quite sure how much something is until you get to the till. I was very excited to see Asian Pears the other day and thought as a treat for Lunar New Year, I'd buy one so we could share it. Unfortunately I wasn't man enough to pay $3 for one (not very large) pear, so that went back on the shelf!

When you don't have much choice in terms of shopping options, it still helps to do price comparisons for items. Although not as fancy as the Northern's, here's the flyer from the Co-Op from last week. We bought the apples and although they are very small, they are still pretty good and crisp.

Looking at this flyer makes me pretty thankful we stocked up on toilet paper before we came up though - pretty sure we paid no more than $0.16 per roll, and this sale brings it to an astonishing $0.71 each! You don't even want to know what the cost is when it's full price. So next time you're at the store and you're looking through your flyers, think of us and be glad you're not paying 4x as much!


Friday, February 8, 2013

How the tables have turned!

Thinking of our family and friends today as they are battling a storm in the GTA that predicts up to 40cm of snow in some areas by the end of the day! The good thing about being here is that I haven't really seen massive amounts of snowfall at a time. There's a lot of snow after the blowing stops, and the drifts can be taller than buildings, especially after the plows push them up - but the amount that falls at any given time isn't a lot at once.

I feel like the tables have turned today and I'm actually glad to be in Nunavut with our weather today as Ontario digs itself out through the crazy snow. If you have to be out on the roads and take your time! It's cold here -54 with the wind chill, and the wind is definitely blowing, but at least it is sunny clear out.

My nice view this morning!

Stay safe!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pepper: The Arctic Puppy Supermodel

Pepper's clothes, food, vitamins, etc. finally arrived this week and I was so excited to pick it all up from the post office and bring it all home! I had visions of suiting him up and taking him for a walk since it wasn't that cold, and we were going to have a grand old time!

Unfortunately the parka, even though it was the smallest size available, is huge on him. The booties aren't even negotiable - he will not wear them no matter how hard we try. His ankles are too skinny (that's a problem I wouldn't mind having!) so they keep slipping off. They'll have to be returned and hopefully I can find something else for him. I've been eyeing a snowsuit...

Everything else looks good on him though! He didn't love getting dressed, but once it was on him he didn't even notice it was there. So, without further ado, here's our little Zoolander showing off his new dapper duds!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cell Phones, Part 2

In our original post about cell phones, I mentioned that I have a Virgin phone that runs off the old CDMA network and works here in Nunavut. For the most part, the phone works pretty well - the reception is quite clear, texts are sent/received in a fairly timely manner and only during blizzards and such, does the service get lost. There are some oddities that occur occasionally - texts that show up a week or two after they were sent, or texts that are broken up into multiple parts and random parts are missing, etc. However, for the most part it's been fairly consistent and reliable and allows us to keep in regular contact with our friends and family.

The phone I have is on a monthly Canada-wide plan that allows me to talk/text unlimited (no pictures or anything fancy like that) for $60/month plus tax. I was able to transfer my 905 area code number from Ontario to the phone so when people from Ontario call us, it's free for them and neither parties get charged long distance. In all, we've been happy with our choice to go with Virgin since it provides us with the basic necessities that we needed to keep in touch.

Enter the confusion.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Taking it In

Yesterday morning when I arrived at work, I looked around me and really took in how pretty everything is. The sky was pink and purple with the promise of a new day ahead, and I just stopped to admire everything.

I don't do it nearly often enough, but it's nice to take a moment and absorb how the world looks around you. Makes you appreciate the beauty of nature - something that you forget when you're surrounded by buildings, roads, developments, cars, etc. and get caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life.

Take it in. Slow it down.

Admire what the world's given you; a feast for your senses! Be thankful for the beauty that surrounds you.