Saturday, October 15, 2011

Well, it's over

I have been dumped, painfully, through email. It was one of those, "it's not you, it's me," situations. I woke up the other morning at four am to get ready for work and I had an email waiting for me on my blackberry. I opened it and read the entire thing through my stinging, sleep deprived eyes. I nearly cried. has decided to start charging thirty dollars for shipping to remote locations.

I am not the only person taking this badly, apparently half of the staff at Northmart were equally as heart broken. I have been recommending to everyone since the first time I put in an order. They pack and ship orders quickly, they have decent prices and the best part of it all was that they offered free shipping. When I need something for my house, I use for their free shipping and when I need personal items I use well.

The email made so much sense, Ali, the CEO and founder of well, explained openly that they did not want to have to implement a shipping fee. It was simply too expensive for them to send our products to us, often times they were spending more on shipping than they were making in sales. It was mentioned that a long time employee of theirs had recently moved to Iqaluit and was looking for a solution to our problem. They are also attempting to find support from our Government.

Alas, these long distance relationships never seem to work. They say it takes half the time you're with someone to get over them once it has ended. This will sting until I leave the North. Shopping for shampoo just got a whole lot more depressing. I cannot believe that it's really over.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thanksgiving in Iqaluit

October 10th, 2011

This makes day 13 of working extremely long hours and surviving on very little sleep. Four am feels earlier every morning. Katie and I lost our bakers, Emily and Nadine, to vacation for most of the month of October. Because of this, we are working triple duty. I am taking the day off tomorrow and letting Katie suffer alone and then I will do the suffering on Wednesday so she can spend one day at home.
This life is crazy and often rewarding but is currently draining us of all of our sanity, energy and patience. It's hard to manage people when you can hardly manage your own emotions and thoughts. I'm lucky that I get to suffer with one of my dearest friends by my side. Instead of fighting with her when I start to get overwhelmingly frustrated, we get it out in less conventional ways.
This evening I went to throw out the leftover unfinished donuts, I took one in my hand and looked at Katie, "can I smoosh this in your face?" I asked. To my surprise she gave me permission. To her surprise the donut had already been filled with the filling of a Boston cream. The smoosh was satisfying and made us both laugh.
I came around the corner a few minutes later, got pegged against the back wall of the bakery and had no choice but to let Katie have her revenge. I took a glazed and filled blueberry fritter in the face.

We also celebrated Thanksgiving last night, which brought together many of our Iqaluit friends on the bottom floor of our building. We ate, we drank and we laughed. I say it all the time but thanksgiving reminded me of how thankful I am for each and every one of the people in my life. I am blessed to have the family that I have found in Nunavut. The people that surround me have changed my life, they keep me going and they inspire me everyday. 

The Dinner Table

We have had so many friends leave over the past year but have made so many new ones as well. This year Cara, Shawn, Marcel, Edith and baby Dryden moved to Iqaluit from Inuvik. Cara and Shawn are also Southern Ontarians. Matt, our new assistant store manager and his family joined in as well. We also had Kayla's mom Kathy join us this year.  

Cara, one of the newest residents of the 8 plex
It was another successful, family away from family, dinner in Iqaluit.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stranded on an Island

Thursday October 6th, 2011. 5:28pm

I always wonder what would happen if I were in Iqaluit when the world came to an end. Morbid and strange, I know. I imagine we would drown if it were water and ice that would take us down. The city is literally in a large bowl and I picture us being engulfed in cold water. I used to assure myself that somehow I would make it onto a plane and fly to safety.

Today, Northwestel's service went down, I'm not sure why or how but it resulted in an interesting day. Our debit machines went down, our atm's, internet, telephones and cells went down. We have been able to use land lines to call local numbers but we have lost all contact with the outside world.

Flights stopped coming in and going out due to planes not being able to communicate with airports and towers. A Canadian North flight went out a couple of hours ago, but all other flights are staying put. My bakers were supposed to leave for vacation today but have to wait until our world starts turning again. My friend Kayla was waiting for her mom to fly in today, which breaks my heart.

Obviously none of our departments at the store recieved any freight and no one could place any product orders. Our suppliers were probably stressing out trying to contact us but they'll have to wait for our excuses until service returns.

Earlier today I heard that we would be without connections for a minimum of eighteen hours and that we could go without it for up to four days. I'm not sure how straight those facts are, as I heard them through a very long grape vine.

I knew I relied much too heavily on my cell phone but today, I realized just how bad my habit is. I was sitting at the lunch table and went to message my friend who was sitting directly across the table from me, not because I'm sick and twisted but because we use that method for private conversation. While I was working on our Tims schedule for the next couple of weeks, I went to text Katie a couple of questions and ended up having to physically find her instead. This morning at 5 am I messaged my sister after she asked me for some advice, I never even found out what advice she was looking for. Life without constant social updates and networking, is very... last century, almost refreshingly oldschool.

I can live without my phone, but loosing all connection is a little unnerving. I couldnt call my family if there were a real emergency. We have no way to communicate with the rest of the planet. Which brings me back to the end of the world... it looks like my plan to fly out would fail.

I'm not going to lie, I enjoy a little switch up in the way my days play out. Internet and phone service down, rotating power outages, water cut off's, losing our satelite. We see it all in Iqaluit, perhaps a little too often.

Playing Catan by candlelight during last months blackout

I have four words ladies and gentlemen, Welcome. To. The. North.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

One Year Later

I had planned to celebrate my one year of living in the arctic with a glass of wine but I was so busy working that the day flew by and I forgot about it until a week later. I can officially say that I have lived in the North for a whole year.

I just got off the phone with my Grandma, who lives in Toronto. She told me about the last family gathering that I missed and how wonderful it was. The joy it brought to her made me so happy that I cried silently while she spoke. She talked about my sister, whose twentieth birthday just passed, and the cruise my family is planning to take in March. I cannot believe I have lived without the people I love most for a whole year.

In the last year I have moved across the Country, moved in with my boyfriend, started a new job, switched jobs, opened the first Tim Hortons in the arctic, endured an awful breakup and lived on my own for the first time. I have met incredible people who have changed my life. I fell in love again and had my heart broken. I have gone on amazing skidoo trips, hung out in polar bear feeding grounds and experienced sun that lingers in the sky all night. I have seen snow ten months of the year and made snow angels in a bathing suit. I have taken a polar bear dip in the freezing cold waters of Frobisher Bay and danced under the glow of the Northern Lights.

If anyone had asked me where I would be in a year, I would never have said here, living this life, blessed with the people I have around me. I never knew I had this kind of independence in me or that I was strong enough to overcome the challenges that I have faced.

This life is so unpredictable and has taken me on a ride that I never expected. Sometimes there are things I wish I could take back or do differently but when I think about it, I am a completely different person than I was before this year. I wouldn't take back all of the lessons I've learned or the experiences that I've had. I've always believed that everything happens for a reason, so I'm learning to simply hold on for the ride.

Here's to another enlightening year in Nunavut.

With love from a snow covered Iqaluit