Friday, August 10, 2012

Going North in less than a week I am, sitting in my parent's house in Chilliwack, BC in the middle of summer.  Its gorgeous outside today and will likely be a warm-enough-for-the-beach day again.  The birds are singing, the vegetation is lush and the people seem to be getting nicer (although their driving is not any better).  This all leads me to the inevitable question: "What the hell am I doing going north?"

This happens every time I move anywhere.  Near the end when people in my life are either clinging or pushing me away, when everything I'm leaving behind seems sad even if it's things that I hated while I was here, when I realize how many people I know and like, when the things I can get, things I have achieved and moments I have all seem bitter-sweet all of a sudden; this is the time when I regret leaving and wish I hadn't decided to go.

Don't get me wrong: I still need to go.  If I had decided to stay here I would have felt trapped. Trapped by the mountains, the rain, the rude people, the high prices and low wages (comparatively speaking: my employer was generous but the price of everything is so high here).  I would have wished I was going just like I wish I was staying at this moment.  So I decided to make a list of things I will miss about the south when I am gone to Nunavut:

1) The availability of goods. - I am really going to miss being able to go to the store and buy almost anything I want or need.  Some of the places I thought I could order from when I am in Nunavut actually doesn't ship to there. An example is Avon Canada.  That is a company that sells beauty products and for some reason they have decided to stop shipping to the north.  In small town Nunavut, there are two stores: the Coop and the Northern store.  They are usually quite small and carry only so many products.  An example of this is cereal: in the last village I was in they only had 5 kinds of cereal.
2) Restaurants - There are no restaurants, no coffee shops, no fast food of any kind up there.  Fortunately, I am a fairly good cook but it is nice to be able to go out for a prepared meal every once in awhile.  I remember coming out at Xmas time when I was in Umiujaq and heading to a pub after getting off the plane.  We ordered chicken wings, fries and all sorts of other fried stuff.  I was so sick!!  After 4 months of having no fried food and no prepared meals, that kind of food made me very ill.  So maybe it's partially a good thing.
3) Alcohol - I am going to a community where alcohol is restricted so I won't be able to get alcohol in easily. I will miss being able to have a glass of wine or beer every so often.  I will be missing it especially on te 23rd of August when my divorce is finally through.
4) Fitting in - I know that I will be a minority and while that is a good thing for us, I will miss just blending in
5) Safety - I was fairly certain of my son's safety at his daycare here in BC. There are a multitude to choose from and I think I chose really wisely and trusted those daycare teachers without reservation.  However, there is only one daycare in Kimmirut and I don't know them yet and no matter what I think, Im going to have to leave my son with them. Scary.
6) My family - I will be so far away!  If my father wasn't dying it wouldn't be so hard but leaving them now and not having them there for me too is going to be really, really hard.
7) Fast internet - Oh I am SO going to miss fast internet!
8) Driving my car anywhere I want - This community where I am going is fly-in only.  To be honest, I didnt miss my car last time and actually started to enjoy the slower pace of walking places and not having to rush all the time.  So I am guessing about missing my car. Maybe I won't at all.

I think that does it for my list of things I will miss.  As I said, they are guesses becuase Im not there yet and may not miss those things at all. Who knows. I may miss completely different things than what I imagine right now. In the interest of being balanced, here is the list of things I will NOT miss:

1) Rude people - as a result of being in a large place wih lots of people, many people feel anonymous so they feel free to be rude and obnoxious. In smaller places, they usually try to be nicer to everyone.
2) Traffic and bad drivers.  I had a lady yelling at me the other day because I wasn't going fast enough for her liking.  The reason I didnt go through the intersection was because there was a pedestrian there that she couldnt see.  Rude.
3) Boredom - there is something boring about having everything right in front of you and never having any challenges.
4) Rain - Oh I hate this incessant rain so much and it's about to start again soon. I will not miss that rain.  I know there is a lot of precipitation in Kimmirut too but it will start snowing soon.  No rain.
5) Rushing - people rush everywhere here and there never seems to be enough time for anything.  I spend entire days shopping for groceries, running to this store to get that bunch, that other store for produce, another one for other things.  In the arctic there are two stores and you don't get too many selections so once a week you shop and it takes a half hour and then you are done. This lack of shopping will free up a lot of time. 
6) so many people all over the place, crushing each other. - I know in canada we have wide open spaces and compared to other countries, we have a lot of space for each person.  However, here in the south it seems so FULL of people. I am going to a village of 411 people and it will be quite different.  Also, in the north there is more a of an emphasis on outside activities and outside is wide open.  No neighbouring towns so there is just a lot  I cannot wait for that feeling of freedom to kick in (after the price shock at the grocery store, of course)
7) Prices vs income - huge disparity here in BC.  disturbing.  My rent was $950/month plus heat and hydro. My car insurance, despite the fact that I have never had an accident, was $160/month and groceries were expensive too. Gas is ridiculous.  In Nunavut prices are higher. $1440 for rent, no insurance and heat is included but groceries are supposed to be even more ridiculous.  However, they are paying me $40,000 more a year so maybe it evens out.
8) Not having time - There is always a list in my head of 1,000 things that must be done and it never gets done because there isn't enough time.  Down here in BC there just isnt enough time for things and it has been affecting me having time with my son.  In Nunavut, since there is nothing to take up time except for work, I anticipate having a lot more of it.  With the extra money Im making, I will have time to get that MEd degree I've been wanting to start.

Ok, this blog is getting so long and you people probably have little time too. So I will leave it there.

5 days to Kimmirut!

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