Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas in Qikiqtarjuaq

My laptop met it's last days a month ago. I waited for Katie to open the laptop that Santa brought her for Christmas so that I could write my first blog post from gorgeous Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut.

Our Christmas tree and our perfect view, Dec 2012
Katie's two year old daughter Shemekia was flown into Iqaluit last Friday, the same day that my dad and sister flew out. She was the most wonderful little house guest for two nights, until our flight to Qik on Sunday. The stress of flying with two babies was there, but was over shadowed by the most incredible view I've seen from an airplane window.

We left the house at 6:15am, my dear friend Nick spent the night, helped store a lot of my large, and not easily travelled items, such as Brody's crib, and then packed us into his truck and saw us off. The flight was full, leaving Iqaluit, landing in Pangnirtung and then Qikiqtarjuaq, when it would then fly off to a small number of additional communities.

Landing in Pang made me feel as though my desire to truly see the North was becoming tangible. Iqaluit, though North, is still a City, with lots of tourists and lots of migrated Southerners. Pang was like nothing I had experienced in my life. It was a fiord, a landing strip surrounded by mountains, we were on our way. The flight between Pang and Qik made the journey feel real. I was thinking of Corey Trepanier, the artist we met in Iqaluit who had documented his travels through the North. Travels on which he painted Mount Thor. He boated from Qikiqtarjuaq to the rock giant, where he camped out and painted the wall, which I believe he said was the highest vertical drop in Canada. I was thinking with naivety, 'wow, how special.' Then I landed, and thought, 'no wonder.... look at this place.'

The view from our living room window is something Corey would have painted. The view from every point in this small town is worthy of being brought to life through art and shared with the world. No matter where I stand, I have a mountain view, with a quaint, and truly Northern town in the foreground.

This is the smallest town I have ever seen, almost eerie in its quietness. It is painfully cold most of the time, almost as if the mountains funnel the cold air right into your face. This, probably being the reason that most of Qikiqtarjuaq's residents seem to try to stay indoors.

Maybe thirty five or forty feet from the front door is the Bay, which is currently home to a team of sled dogs, and a handful of incredible ice burgs. Yesterday we woke up to a pink sky, this morning we woke up to a moon, more orange, more gargantuan, more remarkable than I have ever seen it. I tried to take pictures, using the mountains to show the scale of the moon. Everything looks small in comparison to the real life view I had as I stood by the bay in my snow gear, with pajamas underneath. It literally looked as though the moon was kissing the Earth, brushing up against it, greeting it in passing, for it was gone within half an hour.

There is hardly any day light here, the sun shines on the other side of mountains, casting its glow over top of them but it never presents itself to us. The glow begins around nine in the morning and fades shortly after lunch.

I have so much to see here, with light and babies keeping me from hiking to the base of the mountains and starting a day long climb, the sight seeing will have to wait. When opportunities present themselves, I will walk mindlessly into the freedom that is this small town and it's surroundings.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thinking, planning and day dreaming

I still have a few things to do in Iqaluit, such as take a skidoo trip to Kimmirut, which we didn't get to do in April because the river ice melted too soon. The City has a hold on me, but I think I've known for quite some time, probably around the time I started aching for travel, that I needed to move on from Iqaluit.

I'll be back, probably fairly often, but I think I've enjoyed the City enough that its time for me to move on and leave an opening for someone new to soak it up.

Seeing the awe in the faces of newcomers always amuses me. The other day I watched my dad gape at the almost nineteen dollar price tag on orange juice, his reaction as good as every other visitor. It reminded me of the way I viewed the City and everything in it with fresh eyes, once upon a time.

Now I've seen every celebration, most more than once, been to every show and fair and had more family visit me than I had ever imagined. I have lived through fantastic opportunities and given my loved ones the opportunity to share this with me.

I met incredible people in Iqaluit, and have made a handful of lifelong friends. My baby boy was born here, and most of his relatives reside here. I have loved Iqaluit, Nunavut, and it has been so fantastic to me.

I simply feel that it's time, it is time to find a new adventure, create some new excitement, find new love, new passion, new appreciation.

I'm not sure where my next steps will take me and I'm not sure when, but I don't think I will call Iqaluit home for much of the coming year. I will be ringing in the new year in Qikiqtarjuaq and am due to hook back up with my company in the New Year, when I will begin looking into other communities and opportunities that may be our next home.

Written December 15th.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brain Soup, Coming to a Blog near you

My mind has turned to mush. I know I mentioned it before, but really... my mind has become a data base that NEVER turns off. Grocery lists, to do lists, to call lists, to clean lists, to prepare for lists and add a baby to the scenario and voila, mush.

I booked my ticket to Qikiqtarjuaq! I fly out on December 23rd, with a brief stop in Pangnirtung, which I am very excited about as it is a gorgeous City. I doubt I will see it with much quality light as late December is the darkest time of year up where we are. Katie sent me a few photos while she was en route to Qik, she took pictures of the mountains and the airport, they were breath taking, even from her cell phone. I fly out of Iqaluit at 7:45am and the flight is just over 2 hours, not including the stop.

Katie's pictures of Qikiqtarjuaq

The City of Qikiqtarjuaq

The other day Katie was in bed and heard a commotion outside of her house, when she looked outside she found a crowd of people, all looking off in the same direction, their gazes trailing a polar bear that had literally walked right next to her house. I begged for a photo of the paw prints but the following day was a snowy one and she had missed the window of opportunity.

Katie's house while she is in Qik

I get that I wont be able to do much solo exploring in Qik, but the thought of seeing a polar bear thrills me. Iqaluit, as wonderful a place as it is, does not offer a very wide array of wildlife within the City. If you want to find the fauna you need to venture out onto the land. Luckily, we do experience excitement in the form of blizzards, which Jenna got to witness two days ago, I wondered if I sounded so foreign when I reacted to my first storm.

Brody and I falling through the snow in Iqaluit

I haven't quite started packing yet, but it's on one of the many lists in my head. I cant wait to get organized and packed up as my apartment feels like a bird cage, small and cramped. With Jenna and her current diaper caking project on the go, her Christmas shopping sprawling across her dresser (which might I add, is in my living room) and baby stuff EVERYWHERE, we are a little tight.

As you know, I live in a one bedroom apartment. In December, I will have three house guests at one point. My tiny apartment will be temporary home to four adults, one baby and two cats. Yay!

We have a lot coming up, Jenna, like I said, has been making tiered cakes made of baby diapers to sell while she is here, as baby shower gifts. She has booked a table at a craft show this Sunday and asked me to bake real goodies to accompany her diaper goodies. She has also volunteered Brody and I to model with her in Northmart's annual fashion show. Dad arrives on the 12th and my other guest, who I am supposed to be keeping a surprise leaves on the 13th.

Jenna's Project

Lots of excitement. Lots to look forward to.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Music and Costumes

Mommy brain, it really exists. I secretly believe that television sends my four month old baby subliminal messages so even when hes napping I only watch Tree House, no commercials, no advertisements and lots of subtle baby lessons learned. Great for him, however it is turning my brain to mush. Half of me longs for time out, a single drink in hand, a few good laughs and adult conversation, the other half of me trusts no one with my baby's bed time routine and refuses to leave him without his mommy for more than half an hour.

We did go out once since my sister, Brody and I arrived home. When I was away I heard that the National Arts Centre's Orchestra was on their Northern Canada Tour. It was the first time an Orchestra would play in Iqaluit... I had to have tickets. My friend Sherri found them at Ventures, for free! So I sent Katie out to collect a few and on October 27th Jenna, Katie and I had a girls night out at Nakasuk school to watch them play magical music. There was a lighting of the kudlik, throat singing and even a 'blue eyed accordion player from Pangnirtung.' Brody stayed with Stephen, Katie's husband, and he texted us to say Brody was asleep, right on time and went down easily.

Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra in Iqaluit

 Its strange having a baby in the North. We've been practicing bundling up and enduring wind, though Brody still doesn't enjoy the wind part, even if its just a little. He gulps in air, closes his mouth and makes choking sounds while throwing his head wildly back and forth like hes suffocating. It hurts me to watch him so our outings have been limited and usually I amaq him in Katie's winter amauti or push him in the stroller, very bundled and covered with a rain and wind shield. Never the less, I am thoroughly enjoying this left over Hurricane Sandy weather, lots of snow for us and it is igniting the Christmas spirit in me.

Full moon

October ended after proving eventful in Iqaluit, we capped it off with a fantastic Halloween day that included caramel apples, Pillsbury Halloween cookies, a happy jackolantern and two very cute animals.

Halloweeners, my little owl and sad sad tiger

Oh, and Jenna met Polar Man, shes officially seen Iqaluit.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

From Fall to Snow Fall

Brody and Mommy at the cottage

Leaving Ontario to catch a flight back to Iqaluit has never been so difficult. This time, the difficulty was in watching my moms heart break as I packed up to take her first grandson out of the Province. I sat through many a "please come home soon" conversations on our trip to Oakville. I have put a 'most likely no more than three years and we'll be home,' in many an ear. My plan is to have Brody go to school in the South. 

Brody and Grandma taking a yawn break from hiking
We got to spend a lot of quality time with everyone in the family, allowing everyone to fall head over heals in love with my baby boy. If he knows anything yet, he knows how very loved he is.

Baby boy with his Great Aunty Lyn in Toronto

While my sister was in South Africa a couple of weeks ago, I emailed her to tell her I had booked her ticket to Iqaluit. She had been telling me she didnt want to be without Brody. Now she is stuck to us until the end of December and she'll be working for the Company to save money for her four month trip to Thailand.

Our dad drove us from Oakville to Ottawa on Monday and we flew into Iqaluit on Tuesday, landing in a snow covered City. Brody got to see snow for the first time ever and Jenna got to see snow in October, which actually sounds normal to me now. We left behind trees in fall, reds, yellows and oranges for negative temperatures and a winter wonderland. The sun has been out, providing beautiful days for touring Iqaluit and Jenna has already seen the Northern Lights!

The coming months will be exciting for us. Not only will Jenna be with us but my dad will be visiting in December, just before Christmas. I am hoping there is enough snow and ice to send the two of them dog sledding for their Christmas gift. My best friend Katie is also pursuing her own store to manage and will be spending some time in Qikiqtarjuaq to refresh before she takes on her own store. Qikiqtarjuaq is a little over 2 hours North of Iqaluit (by plane of course) and has a population of less than 700. It has been a plan of mine to travel Nunavut while we live here and what an opportunity this will be! Not only will I still be on paternity leave, but Katie provides me with a good reason to visit another town.

Jenna on her first City walk in Iqaluit

Until then, I will spend my days trying to get the little one accustomed to a snow suit and being in an amauti, (neither of which he loves) and re-experiencing Iqaluit through fresh eyes with Jenna.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Little Boy

All of that excitement and anxiety that I had building inside of me has finally come to the conclusion that I had hoped. On Friday, July 6th, 2012 at 11:24pm my beautiful 7 pound, 13.8 ounce baby boy emerged into this world. His little purple toes and squishy face tangible in front of me. The first thing that he did when he arrived was pee on my hands as the Doctor lifted him up to put him on Enoosiq's stomach.

I am a mother now. I'm not sure how it happened. The days stringed together, my hopes and my fears weaving through the hours of each day. I was terrified for more than 6 months, from the moment I decided that the baby my friend had been carrying inside of her would be mine.

When I moved to Iqaluit I met dozens of girls who told stories of the child they adopted out or the baby their family adopted in. I thought that bringing a child into my life and loving him or her as my own would be something I might like to do someday. Perhaps I would do it before I moved back to Ontario, in the future, my plans were always for the future.

And then the day came when there was a pregnant girl before me, a beautiful, kind girl who I knew, pregnant with the child of a good man who I also knew. I was 22, I had planned on having children young but with no man in my life and no immediate plans to start a family, adoption now wasn't in the forefront of my mind.

It took one night for me to decide and then in the very second that I knew what the alternative plan for his life was, he was mine. His little heart was mine, his little hidden body, sheltered by hers was mine. His life would be mine to shape, to cherish and to nurture. From these days onward there was fear, not for becoming a mother, this was what I wanted beyond a shadow of a doubt; this was my calling. I was afraid, I suppose for the reasons that every mother is afraid, I wanted to know that my baby had ten fingers and ten toes, I wanted to know that he was healthy, that he would lead a good life and if he wouldn't be able to, if God forbid he wasn't healthy, I wanted to know that I would have what it took to give him a beautiful life, regardless.

I was surprised by the rest of my fears, as they weren't something I had ever considered before I knew I had a baby on the way. A lot of the time I don't like to talk about it, but there is an honesty I cant hide when I write, I never feel free until I bare my soul, unleashing it from buried thoughts. I had fears that someone would take my baby, first that she would change her mind, then the brief passing of the fear that he would change his mind. These fears followed by the terror in the idea that I may not be good enough for Social Services. There are nearly no places to look for guidelines or assurance. I felt very alone in the process, with only the supportive, but naive words from friends and family to comfort me. There were some who met me with reality, assuring me that my fears were real but that they would stand by me regardless, one of whom is an old reader of mine who now lives in Iqaluit. No matter who said "it will be okay," or how many times they said it, the very real nerves in my body kept me up at night. I was afraid of losing the child who was already mine. This baby had become a part of my plans for the future, he was what I based my hopes and dreams on already. My goals in life had been altered to make room for the little human who would be my entire life, who would be absolutely all that mattered. He was already all that mattered.

It wasn't until I met Nicole, the social worker who took on my case that I found waves of relief. She was sent to me by God. A beautiful young woman with a heart of gold. She told me vaguely what Iqaluit holds, the children in need of loving homes and not enough people opening the doors to those homes. Nicole inspired me, supported me and gave me the smile I needed to know that our life would turn out the way we needed it to. The words that came from her heart also made me want to advocate for Iqaluit's children, to search for families who would open their lives to children. Iqaluit needs more foster families, Iqaluit's children need families and love and support.

Today my little boy, Brody Scott Maqaiti Davis is six weeks old. He is laying in front of me with his eyes closed, sleeping to the soft clicking of my fingers on the keys of my laptop. He grunts when I stop typing. He is my muse now, in everything I do in life.

They tell you, you will feel a certain way when you have a child. There was this love you would experience and adding one more fear to my list, I worried I wouldn't feel it. My baby boy didn't grow in my tummy, but he grew just as quickly in my heart. My son is mine, through and through. I held her hand around the rail of her bed as she pushed him out and for the following minutes I could barely see through my tears. There is a love here, in my home, in my body, that is impossible. It cannot be described. Brody and I are a family, he was made for me and I for him. I tell him everyday that I will give him the World, that I will try my best to show him all of the wonder there is here.

Brody at 3 weeks, visiting his family in Ontario for the first time.

In a matter of seconds, my life shifted from being mine, to being ours and my heart shifted from being closed off to being impossibly exposed, it belongs to the little boy in front of me and always will.

Now we will explore the Arctic together and after that, the rest of the World.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Get'n Out - My Not-So-Nunavut Adventure

I'm finding that I have less and less free time these days. I have very few new facts or information about Iqaluit or Nunavut. My life is nearly filled by my work. I don't remember the last time that I had the television on. Today, I left early, sick as a dog. I have no voice... but my typing fingers work just fine. I figured I would blog between naps.

Sometimes I wonder if I've had my fill of Iqaluit; if the adventure is becoming less of an adventure and more of a daily normality. There are select reasons why I stay, the first being my closest friend, and neighbor, Katie, and her family. I cannot imagine my life without them. I'm listening to her baby girl cry through the wall as I type. The second would be the small parts of my job that keep me engaged. We have a fairly new assistant store manager. I believe I have mentioned him in this blog in the past. He is an exuberant man, full of drive and excitement. Its by surrounding myself with people like this that I keep myself going.

Lately, we've had a little bit of 'seperation of church and state,' syndrome in the workplace. Where the senior managers seem to be pulling back their relationship boundaries with the rest of the management team.

At the end of the day, I am feeling entirely unengaged, unmotivated and uninterested. I go home, happy to get away and I wake up dreading my destination.

I need a break, and a break I will have. In five short days (I know this doesn't compare to the 130 day count down of my last vacation) I will be on a plane from Iqaluit to Ottawa. Thursday I will attempt to get into a travel clinic for shots to help me avoid typhoid fever, and I will be doing some last minute shopping for miniature toiletries from walmart. Friday I fly from Ottawa to Chicago to Miami. I've been keeping this a secret because my family, aunts, uncles, cousins... even my Grandma will be in Miami. They are going on a 5 day cruise from Florida to Jamaica to the Cayman Islands. On March 13th, they will be in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. March 13th is special for me, not only because it's my birthday, but because it's my Grandmothers birthday. Being her first grandchild and being able to share the day with her for all these years has been wonderful.

This year, I told Grandma that I couldn't get vacation time. I could hear the disappointment in her voice. It tore my heart apart to lie to her, but it's all in the name of keeping an important surprise. I bought my tickets for the same cruise that my family is on, booked my flights and am going to show up and spend Grams' 80th birthday with her. (If you know my Grandmother, PLEASE don't tell her)

I'd also like to spend part of this birthday scuba diving, I hear they have an excellent beginners course there.

When the boat pulls back into Miami on the 15th, I am heading straight back to the airport, to board a plane to Atlanta and then to Lima, Peru. Where I will start my 21 day Peruvian adventure...

29 Days, 10 major flights...

Iqaluit - Ottawa - Chicago - Miami - Jamaica - Cayman Islands - Miami - Atlanta - Lima - Pisco - Nazca - Arequipa - Colca Canyon - Lake Titicaca - Puno - Cuzco - Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu - The Amazon Jungle - Lima - Atlanta - Toronto - Ottawa - Iqaluit

I will not be starving for adventure after this trip. My Peru itinerary includes some incredible stops, some of which have been on my bucket list since I was old enough to know what a bucket list was.

I have the option to fly a small plane over the famous Nazca lines, see incredible cemeteries and monasteries. I'll see Colca Canyon where we will hopefully be able to see Condors. I'll bathe in hot springs and visit the floating islands of Uros. I will experience a homestay with locals after a tour of Lake Titicaca. We will spend four days hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and encounter the chance to go white water rafting, horseback riding and mountain biking. (which I may avoid after my last encounter) I will spend two nights in a lodge in the middle of the Amazon jungle, an incredible opportunity to spot wildlife that we certainly don't encounter in the Arctic.

When I get back, I will probably be tanned, and definitely be exhausted. Regardless, I am looking forward to the experience, I'm going alone with a group of other G Adventurers, so I'm excited to make some new friends. Life is too short not to take advantage of the chances that will shape us.

Photo from G Adventures - Absolute Peru

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Business Casual in Winnipeg

Katie and I had the opportunity to leave Iqaluit and most of our responsibilities behind for a four day stay in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This was my first visit to Manitoba and quite an impressive one at that.

I'm sitting now at the desk in our hotel room in Ottawa, our flight was meant to leave just after nine but was cancelled after the anticipation of bad weather in Iqaluit. We checked back into the hotel and ended up in the same room.

This is really the first free time that I've had to stop and think about the last week. Day five away from our stores and our team. We stayed in the oldest hotel in Winnipeg, built in 1911 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, their tag line being, "your castle away from home." Although the room are slightly dated, the lobbies and common areas are exquisite with their historic charm and elegance.

Our visit was centered around the fact that as a team, Tim Hortons Iqaluit won a presidents award from the Company. We attended a beautiful award ceremony on Thursday night at The Manitoba Club, which is the oldest private club in Western Canada, founded in July of 1874. Throughout history the club was gentleman's only and only within the last decade or so, have women been allowed to enter the building, even now, entrance is only permitted when accompanied and signed in by a member. We were lucky to be among the small amount of women who have had the opportunity to tour the prestigious club.

The awards were wonderful. Our friend Mike, who works at head office in Operations, introduced us with a speech. We shared the table with the President and CEO of our Company and had the chance to meet some very important people to the success of NWC. We were honored to be in the company of everyone who surrounded us.

We got to take part in a regional meeting and hear about business aspects that we don't usually touch at the store level. The trip has been a learning experience for us.

On Saturday night the company held a 25th anniversary dinner that was attended by over a thousand people who have a hand on the running of our Company. The night was MC'd by Peter Mansbridge, who we had our picture taken with and who promised to come and visit us when he lands in Iqaluit later this year. Peter shared the stories of his connection to the North, including his beginnings as an anchor man. He got his start as a young man, working in the airport in Churchill Manitoba as a baggage handler. Peter was asked to make a flight announcement and after hearing his voice, he was recruited by a radio executive who happened to be in the airport.

We saw drum dancers, not of Inuit heritage but aboriginal, who were mesmerizing. We listened to an aboriginal prayer and watched the lighting of a kudlik. After an elegant dinner we watched Susan Aglukark perform. The last time I watched her was when she came to Iqaluit to help us open Tim Hortons. We had the opportunity to meet her again, have a photo op and talk about a prospective literacy program in Iqaluit, which one of our managers, Matt, has been trying to push into existence. Susan may be making yet another partnership with us in Iqaluit, she is a wonderful supporter of Inuit youth and education. I have had the chance to hear her speak briefly and she is always very passionate about the projects she engages in. We flew back to Toronto on the same plane with her and her band, who are also fantastic people.

We never did have a great opportunity for shopping, other than quick trips to pick up pieces of business wear, which we don't own much of in the North. Last night we took a trip to Walmart and today we may do a little bit more shopping, keeping in mind, the lack of luggage space remaining. We packed in a lot of freebies that we picked up along our journey and at a trade show that we attended. Katie's luggage was seven pounds over weight... we had to dump seven pounds of free beef jerky on the lady at the check in counter.

This month, as well as the next few months will be very exciting for me. I have some travel plans, which I am keeping under the rug until I set off for the next adventure.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Landing on the Moon

When my moms eyes lit up as she walked off of the airplane, it lit my soul on fire, drowning me in the reminders of my landing in Iqaluit. Everything she sees excites her and every day she experiences half a dozen "firsts," every single one, just as exciting as the last. The feelings I experienced when I first arrived in my arctic home, came rushing back to me. The things she said to me made me smile. She said she felt as though she was 'landing on the moon', describing her landing here as surreal.

Most of the emotions I felt when I arrived here have been buried under the experience of my day to day life. I thought it would be wonderful to dig up those old feelings, my mom, Lisa, has agreed to write the rest of this blog with her very fresh perspective. Enjoy.

-Melissa Davis

It all started in the Ottawa airport with the 40 minute de-icing process, first we were covered in a pink foam, then they coated the plane with green slime. The young man beside me said, "We've been slimed, just like in Ghost Busters." His name was Nick and he has been living up here for several years. I met a lot of very nice people on the trip up on Canadian North. We were loaded into the back end of the plane, separated by a partition, everything else was loaded up front. We had stickers stuck onto our tickets that said, "Landing subject to Weather," warning us that they would not provide any services if this happened. 'So,' i thought, 'what happens now?'....This did nothing to help with the nerves. As we flew, there were a couple of turbulent moments, I was okay though. When I noticed that the landscape had changed, my face was plastered to the little oval window, my camera clicking was AMAZING!! White,white and more white with little dips and lines in the snow scape, all I could think was ..'wow this is sooooo beautiful!' I truly felt like I was flying over the white moon, there was nothing, no poles, no buildings, no roads...nothing!! I felt like I was heading to another planet, we couldn't really still be in Canada. The flight was approximately 3 hours long, though it went by fast. Then we started the landing process, I could not believe I was actually here and I still couldnt see anything, then I saw the bridge that Melissa has taken pictures `planking' on. I then thought, 'I`m here, actually here!'

    I was greeted at the little Yellow airport by gusty cold snowy winds that took my breath away, little did I know I was being watched by Melissa and Katie both watching for my reaction from a window of the airport. I saw them as I climbed the stairs in the tiny airport, greetings, hugging, kissing my daughter and her best friend with huge smiles on their faces, I was really here. It was so very nice to hold Melissa again and tell her how much I loved her. We would be celebrating both Christmas and new years 2012 together! I was really here, sorry, but that feeling lasted awhile...I WAS REALLY HERE!! The airport was full of families getting together for the holidays. Happy people were greeting other happy people all around me, they wore furs and large coats and sealskin boots and had babies attached to hoods on their backs I felt like I was in a different world, not Canada. They quickly hustled me out to the waiting pick-up truck and threw my luggage in the back of the snow filled bed. Katie crawled in the backseat and we were off down gravel and snow filled streets. I noticed buildings on stilts and lots of colourful wooden buildings and houses. I felt out of touch with reality like I had arrived in a foreign country.

     I have adjusted and I feel like I have arrived in Gods Country, the most awe inspiring, beautiful, breathtaking, stand still and don`t move feeling. The sunrises and sunsets are the most beautiful I have ever experienced. I could stand and watch for hours but I`d freeze. Each day while Melissa goes to work I roam Iqaluit, climbing the hills, scouring the waters edge, everyday I see something new and wondrous. I can`t seem to take enough photos, desperately trying to capture this phenomenal land. I really can`t even explain the feeling.

Dog Sledding

     The people of Iqaluit have been very welcoming, some, life long residents, others, people from the south who have fallen in love with the North. I had the honour of meeting Miss Kitty as well as Polar Man on my travels through town. Life is interesting in Iqaluit, a slower pace and close knit friendships.

Lisa and the Northern Lights

    While wandering the town the cold creeps in quickly, Katie gave me an amazing gift of a pair of seal skin and fox mittens they are beautiful and I will treasure them, I purchased a fox fur to replace the fake fur on my collar, I now know why they dress this way, what a difference. Now I can wander until my toes grow cold or the sun sets. Tomorrow Melissa and are going on a 4 hour dog sledding adventure, I can't wait. So far this has been an amazing experience, spending time with my daughter and her northern gypsy friends in the great white north.

Very First Igloo

-Lisa Davis

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holiday Happenings at Northmart

There's nothing quite like the feeling of walking into the GTA's shopping malls after they've been decked with huge Christmas trees and decorative ornaments. I remember as a child, going into the malls, packed with people. I remember the hustle and bustle of running between stores with a shopping check list in my mind. I always hated the suffocation of the crowds but I loved the music and the beautiful shiny, spirit filled decor.

Christmas in Iqaluit is different. Maybe it's only because I've left childhood behind. It's different but its wonderful. This year we've had festivities around every corner, mapped out by an enormous calendar I made that is hanging from the ceiling in the store.

It started with the one year anniversary of Tim Hortons in Iqaluit opening. It feels like just last week that we were sent down South for training. This last year has been incredible, hard but incredible. I decorated a cake in twenty minutes and cut it up for all of our customers. With the restaurant decked out in streamers and balloons, Katie and I talked about the trials and triumphs of the last year.

Santa came by Northmart before Christmas, he stops here first because we're so close to the North Pole. We handed Dryden and Shemekia over to him... they didn't exactly enjoy his visit.

December also held Northmart's famous balloon drop. With most of the balloons holding tags for free prizes, the anticipation was high and the fight for everyone to get their hands on one was very fun to watch. I stood back with my camera and recorded the fall.

This year I wanted to be a part of Iqaluit's Santa Claus parade. We took two ATV's, the big red side by side and one skidoo, which we strapped onto a trailer. We drove all of the toys down to one of our warehouses and decorated them before joining in on the parade. I rode on the skidoo, sacrificing the ATV so Collin could join in on the fun too.

My purpose in the parade was to be Northmart's Price Blaster. I threw candy to the kids on the side of the road. The parade was nothing like the ones I remember down South. The floats are small scale and there are no crowds in comparison to the streets lined with people for parades in Ontario.

We froze ...