Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Daily Muise {Guest Post}

Tara and I met in Pangnirtung in August of 2009, honestly it seems like yesterday and is hard to believe it will be 5 years this August!  She helped me celebrate my 30th birthday in style in Iqaluit that December  and she helped make the birthday weekend extra special! We have stayed friends over the years and  often our paths have crossed in different communities in Nunavut.  Tara has lived in all 3 regions in Nunavut…Pangnirtung, then Qikiqtarjuaq (in the Qikiqtani Region).  Then made the move west to the Kitikmeot Region and lived in Kugluktuk (I visited her there a few years ago when I was travelling there for work!) .  Then she moved back east to the Kivalliq Region and has settled in Rankin Inlet (where she saved me and brought me food from my crazy long day of being re-routed while trying to get home!) .  Tara is a fantastic writer and I’m so happy to have her stop by Sarah on the Road to share.   Make sure you go check out The Daily Muise for more stories of Tara’s Adventures.

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On the Land with Coffee_481

I don’t have the best track record when it comes to meals before noon, but I’ve be doing pretty good since I started my new job. The reason for that, I suppose, is twofold. First off, I live across the parking lot from my workplace…I don’t really have to put a lot of time into ‘commuting’. Second, if I don’t get something at home (because I slept in, yet again, and had to choose between a shower and breakfast), the kitchen staff here at the facility have great muffins, yogurt, granola, etc. available. I’m spoiled.

Today was one of those days where I opted for a sit-down meal at home. As I sat there chewing on a bagel and wondering if it would be a good idea to start setting my alarm clock earlier to allow for more ‘waking up’ time, it suddenly dawned on me….”Hey, the sun is up. It’s 8am and it’s not dark anymore!”

Yes, the spring turn-around has begun. Although the days technically start getting longer at the end of December, I never really seem to notice until February. I really need this…

It’s been a tough couple of weeks here and the constant getting up when it’s dark, going to work when it’s dark, coming home when it’s dark, going to bed when it’s dark is just…dark. Although Rankin Inlet has been having daylight hours, my classroom doesn’t have any windows and I’m here from 8:30 to 5:00. I can only mark the passage of time by taking note of the moon position when I enter and leave work.

…oh, BTW, vitamin D supplements and SAD lights don’t seem to help me one bit…

I know that, at a certain point, I will be rejoicing the return of darkness…it’s something that is needed after days of sunlight spliced with only brief moments of twilight. But for right now, I’m just going to enjoy all the rays I can. If my 73-second walk in the morning can be guided by light, it’s better than nothing.

Unless you suffer from porphyria or are a vampire who has been around for centuries, wouldn’t you agree?

Musical Score to this post: Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles)

Nunavut Chillers: {Guest Post}

Lily and her husband are southern bloggers living in Baker Lake, Nunavut.  We haven’t officially “met” in person, but I’m hoping our paths will cross at some point in person during travel in Nunavut. Baker Lake is one of the communities in Nunavut that I haven’t been too…I’m hoping at some point to change that!  But until then I read all about your adventures of crazy blizzards and wild weather with envy! Lily has a very regular blogging schedule of Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for posting…which is something that’s reliable and awesome!  Thanks for stopping by here to share a little bit of what it’s like to live in Baker Lake.  Make sure you go check out Nunavut Chillers for more stories of Lily’s Adventures.

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baker lake

Baker Lake or Qamani’tuaq, means “where the river widens” as it sits on the widest part at the mouth of  the Thelon River.  It is the only inland community in the Canadian Arctic and is considered the geographical centre of Canada.  There are about 1,800 people in our hamlet and we are only accessible by air as there are no roads that lead to Baker.

My husband and I are originally from Ontario, and moved to Baker in the fall of 2012 after a spontaneous job application at the beginning of the year resulted in the biggest move we have ever made.  In the year and a half that we have been here, we have been welcomed by some of the nicest people we have ever met, and have made some wonderful memories that we will always be able to cherish.

Baker - whole town2

Baker is known for its blizzards – our high school teams are the Baker Lake Blizzards, with mascot Blizzy – so we are often watching the weather forecasts to see what is blowing into town. Just this past month the town was basically closed off every other day because we had fresh snow that fell and was being whipped around at 90 km/h.

5plex door- filled with snow

We may not get the Northern Lights quite as strongly as Pang does, but I think we do pretty ok here too.

northern lights - 081013

Baker Lake also has the most amazing sunrises and sunsets; it is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. We appreciate it even more after the long winter months where we are dark for most of the 24 hours, minus 3 or so dusky hours in the middle of the afternoon on our shortest days. It evens out when we have 24 hours of sunlight in the summer though!

sun set in Baker Lake sun set in Baker Lake

We have been so fortunate to have the opportunity to live here, and experience all sorts of new adventures. From learning to drive snowmobiles in the middle of the tundra to ice fishing through 13 feet of solid ice; they are but a few memories we have made in the short period of time we have been here.

IQ Day- LIly on the land

Hands down, the best part about Baker Lake has been the gift of our Pepper. He is a dog we adopted from a local family that were not able to keep him, and we quickly scooped him up. I am not a dog person in the least, but I am a Pepper-person and he has become an integral part of our family since he trotted into our lives.

J and Pepper on the land

Yes, it’s cold living in the arctic, and yes the groceries are expensive, and of course we miss our family and friends. That being said – in the past 18 months we have made a number of close friends that will be life-long friends, grown our family to include our adorable Pepper, and created some memories that will last our whole lives. I’d say that’s a fair trade!

If you would like to read more about our lives in Baker Lake, please feel free to click on our blog – we try to update Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

– Lily from Nunavut Chillers 

Jeka of Nunavut: {Guest Post}

Jeka is another southern blogger living in Kimmirut, Nunavut.  We ‘met’ when Jeka was planning her big move up north a few years ago and emailed me.  We had quite a few emails back and forth about what life is like and what to expect…and since those inital emails we have become friends.  It’s a small blogging community here in the north and it’s great to support each other when we can! I hope I get to “meet” Jeka in person…you need to come visit me in Pangnirtung for a weekend, you can’t leave Nunavut without visiting!  Thanks for sharing with us all today a little a bit what life is like for you in Nunavut.  Make sure you go check out Jeka of Nunavut for more stories of Jeka’s Adventures.

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Hi everyone! My name is Jeka and I blog over at Jeka of Nunavut. Sarah asked me to tell of her awesome readers about what it is like to live in my neck of the woods.

In May of 2012 I left my hometown of St. Stephen New Brunswick and my family to fly 2000 miles to the arctic territory of Nunavut. I was moving for work to a place I had never seen, except for pictures, never been to and only had scant knowledge of Kimmirut except what I learned from my month of research.

I left New Brunswick on May 15th and got stuck in Iqaluit overnight… not a good thing when you’re an emotional wreck from leaving your loved ones. Once I arrived in Kimmirut it was much better.

Kimmirut named for a rocky outcrop that is shaped like a “Kimmi” or heel in Inuktitut is a small hamlet of about 450 people 120kms south of Iqaluit. Kimmirut Harbour View

People coming in to our community can do so on four flights a week from Iqaluit on a Twin Otter* airplane. This plane also delivers all the cargo for the store, mail, and necessities of a fly in community. Twin Otter coming in

It was an adjustment at first learning the way of the North. Our water is delivered by a truck and sewage is removed the same way… though not from the same truck!

Once I made friends in town and people grew accustom to seeing me the North did not feel as lonely as it did when I first moved. Kimmirut has so many fantastic sights from the hills that surround the bay to the historic buildings in town such as the old HBC store (which is now our furniture warehouse) the church and the Soper house which is named after a prolific arctic explorer called Dewey Soper and the Parks and Visitors center in town.

In my time in Kimmirut I have gotten to experience so many cool things. I have tried 9 different country foods (Canada goose, Seal, Mattq (skin, cartilage and fat of a beluga whale), Arctic hare, and walrus, ptarmigan, clams, caribou and Arctic Char I love seal meat boiled and eaten with sweet mix pickles but my absolute favorite is caribou! Num!

I have also got to experience so many things living here:

…like shooting a gun for the first time ( it was at an ice burg and I don’t think I hit it!) Jeka Shooting…being out on a boat for my birthday ( it was rather cold ).Boating for Jeka's Birthday…Skidooing out on the Hudson Straight with no skidoo trail with my friend Jen!

…Watching the Northern lights dance above your head.

….I have made my own amauti (woman’s traditional parka with a pouch to carry a baby).

amoutiq

I was also lucky enough to have some of my family visit me. In October 2012 my Nannie came to visit me for almost three weeks (she got stuck due to the weather!) Jeka and her Nanny …and my Mom who came in September 2013.. She stayed for two weeks plus a few days because….. Can you guess? Yup weather! Jeka and her Mom

The North has been an amazing place for me. It has helped me become more independent, confident and sure of the path I chose to follow. I have learned Inuktitut (not well but enough to get by) I have embraced the people and the culture. I love that when someone walks into the store I know them by name.  I will miss these things when I leave. The North can be a lonely and isolating place and even if you’re prepared for it you never really are until you arrive. If you keep an open mind and are ready for new experiences, adventures and a look at a thousand year old culture then the North will never be lonely.

Jeka of Nunavut

* Sarah’s Note:  Jeka is lucky to get to fly on a smaller plane like a Twin Otter! I don’t get to fly on Twin Otters…as Dash-8s & ATRs have the regular commercial flights that come into Pang.

Early A.M. Swim Practice at -13F/-25C: {Guest Post}

Today my friend Keenan is going to share a bit about his life in Colorado.  A few years ago Keenan left a comment on a blog post of mine to let me know he’d been following along my adventures since my “Newbie in the North” days. This started an email conversation which has turned into a friendship based around blogging, setting goals and having adventures. Thanks for continuing to inspire me to set goals and make them happen.  Please check out some of Keenan’s awesome adventures over at his blog “My Colorado Life”.

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3 years ago I made the move to Colorado & left my NYC career.  That year I set a goal to hike a different hike all 52 weeks.  What an amazing year – saw so much of my newly adopted home state!  In 2013, I ran a full marathon in Anchorage, Alaska.

All the while I continued to follow Sarah in Pang.  Northern lights, harbor icebergs, Mt Duval, SNOW, last year’s all-girl Yukon adventure, ice fishing for Arctic Char – yeah, I’m a HUGE fan of SarahontheRoad.

Ironman Boulder

We are now 6 months out from the inaugural Ironman Boulder! Who is getting excited?

Yep, this year’s goal — complete my first Ironman.  Sure I’ve never competed in a triathlon, haven’t biked since I was 9 – yet I plan to swim/bike/run 140.6 miles on August 3rd.

My friend & coach, M is a swimmer.

I am a dreamer.  I’m a goal setter.  I’m an adventurer…but I’m not a swimmer.

-13 degrees F, light snow & on the road at 4:45am headed to my gym Colorado Athletic Club in Boulder – to swim.  Crazy cold.

Heated outdoor pool but I punk’d out this day – chose to fight the mobs & use the smaller indoor pool (only 6 lanes).

Hot tubbed for 5 minutes to boost my body temp, then started today’s swim.  Only 3 of us in the pool this early on such a bitter cold day.  By 6:30am though, was no longer lapping up-n-back but forced to circle to permit add’l swimmers in the pool.

Kinda overwhelming with so many faster swimmers.  I’ve hit my Ironman distance 5 times already (90 laps up-n-back) so I know I can hang with the endurance athletes but the sprinters – no possible way.  I watch them play with their watches and stare endlessly at the water.  Suddenly they dart up-n-back once, sometimes 2 times & the routine starts again.  Check the watch, stare at the water, scope out the pool, stare….then zing they take off.  Like flashy schools of sardines.

School of Sardines

{Photo Source}

And me?  Slow & steady –  2 strokes, head up, breathe to the right.  Lap back — 2 strokes, head up, breathe to the left.

Can’t say I love swimming but I’m efficient.  Breathing technique is similar to running – slow steady deep breathing.

By endurance, we conquer – Sir Ernest Shackleton

6 more months ‘til Ironman.  Absolutely anything is possible.

#ABrightProject: Task#1

Last year I participated in Fat Mum Slim’s International Christmas gift exchange–the one where you stalked your giftee via social media and then send them off a wonderful surprise in the mail.  In the Gift Exchange Facebook Group  Carly Grace Lloyd announced how she was starting to organize A Bright Project for 2014.  It would be designed to help women feel better about who they are as a person and encourage others by creating a *Bright* community.  Throughout the Year Carly is sending out *bright tasks* for us to complete.  Each month there is a personal task and then there’s a social task to help encourage another woman in the project to look and be the brightest they can be!

I wanted to join because I wanted to take time to reflect about where I’m going, getting snail mail and connecting to a larger community of like minded women.  At first when I emailed Carly about the project…it wasn’t open to Canadians.  But then she asked if I’d be ok joining the American group…and I said no problem!

During our fist task…we had to pick a word for 2014.  My word is: Creativity…It seems like until very recently, I’ve stopped a lot of the ‘creative’ tasks I did as a child and young adult.  I want to start those hobbies up again, and take time to express myself using creative methods.  I also want to push myself to think outside of the box…look for creative ways to reach my goals! It’s always good to switch it up.

This month I was paired up with my *Bright-Half* from Tennessee, USA. (I didn’t ask her first if I could put her name on this blog…) During this first task we have battled the postal system…(my package to her via an Etsy shop was never delivered…I *think* a replacement is on the way to her but I’m not 100% sure… and my letter&package was returned to me because the post office in Pang didn’t charge me enough postage when I took it in there…I just re-posted it before I left on my holidays earlier this week…I seriously hope that the package gets there soon!)

Friday before I left Pang for my holidays…I went down to the post office and found that my package from my *bright-half* had arrived!  I was so excited…even though it was taunting me on my desk at work, I was busy finishing up things for work so waited until I headed home to open it all up.

A Bright Project

Here’s all the wonderful ‘surprises’ that were inside… two AWESOME quilting magazines…maybe I’ll get inspired to start a new one. But have to finish the one I’ve started first! A personalize note, and wonderful scrap booking quotes that I can put around my house and/or desk area to remind me to be creative!

A Bright Project 1

One of the tasks was to create a visual reminder for your *Bright-Half* to remember her word for the year… I absolutely LOVE the frame that was given to me.  The quotes are so perfect…it’s already sitting on my dresser in my bedroom.  Thank you SO much for your wonderful gifts!  A Bright Project 2

I’m excited to be a part of this project…I’m just finishing up Task#2.  But I suppose that’s another story for another day!

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