Monday, September 22, 2008

...a picture's worth a thousand words...

Water, Earth and Sky: Staff Day trip out on the land

Heading Home: Fishing boats we travelled in on our Staff Day

Ain't it pretty?

Inukshooks on top of the mountain we climbed a few weeks ago. Remember that...I call it: The Mountain Climbing Fiasco.

Today I walked out of the school and had to laugh at the fact that I am, indeed, living in the Arctic. Sometimes I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday I was living in the tropics...and as I smile at the memories and shake my head in disbelief, I turn and watch a 6-year old boy pop a wheelie on the snow-dusted dirt road and wave at a woman driving by on a 4-wheeler.

Yes, this is Qikiqtarjuaq. And it's started snowing already.

This is the view from the mountain we climbed. The picture I have of this mountain is not very impressive...but trust me, it's a high mountain and currently completely snow-covered. Karen and I hiked this mountain...twice. In one day.

This is the mountain. Trust me, it's more impressive than this in person. I swear.

And in case you're worried I'm not getting my balanced diet of fruits and vegetables...we picked some 'black berries' on our Staff Day as well. Can you say muffins and pancakes?

Who is this devilishly handsome brute? Oh wait, it says. One day, maybe I'll take art classes too, Dad. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

...really, kids? REALLY?...

I'm a little grumpy (shocking, I know) from a lack of sleep.

As I've mentioned, the children run around like banshees up here. Last night, there was a group of 6 youths lurking around the Co-Op Store and the Hamlet Community Centre (we just happen to live in the middle of one of the busiest intersections in town. It has its own stop sign) and these 6 youths were bludgeoning an empty plastic oil can with a 2X4.


Who honestly knows.

And do they really have to do it at 1am? FOR 40 MINTUES??

Other things that happen for 40 mintues:

1. Supposedly this is how long I'm supposed to teach each subject in a single period. As if the students actually achieve or accomplish anything in this amount of time. I've already started 'doubling up.'

2. Children incessantly ringing our door bell and knocking on our front door and calling 'Eeeemmiiiilllly" in high pitched, banshee-like voices. Annnooooooying. This is why we bolt the outer porch door. I suspect we appear highly anti-social.

3. Our walk around town last night where we collected rocks to make our own miniature Inukshooks, almost adopted a puppy, and were scared half to death by students careening around town on a 4-wheeler. I don't care if it's the kid's 13th birthday - don't scream at me on a road where I could be attacked by Polar Bears!

If you're reading this blog, you should also check out Karen's ( as she has a few more pictures up plus a hilarious story about our mountain climbing adventure last weekend.


Friday, September 5, 2008

...i can see clearly now...

the fog is lifting...for about 30 seconds.

Just a few quick observations:

1. The hot water temperature here is unregulated. It must be regulated in Ontario and other places because here it is scalding. Always. I could practically brew tea with what comes out of the tap but not quite, because the water does need to be boiled and filtered before it's actually drinkable.

2. Non-potable water, empty water tanks, wild dogs, swarms of children, phone delays, and endemic tardiness are just a few of the things about living in the North that remind me of living in Africa.

3. The kids here are like wild banshees. They roam the streets at night until all hours, unsupervised and uncared for. Sometimes, for fun, we watch them throw rocks at each other from one of our upstairs bedroom windows. It's like Lord of the Flies, but instead of a dead pig it's a seal carcass they're fighting over. And in school, it's a circus and I'm the ineffective ringleader.

4. I'm going to need to order more wine. Every day is 'one of those days.'

5. They don't actually pay me enough. Show me the money! (Love you, Tom).

6. Seal meat tastes like a cross between some sort of fish and animal liver. Narwhal tastes like a cross between lobster, and squid/octopus. Let's just say I don't think I'll be making seal meat stew any time soon.

In other news....

If you want to reach me, my mailing address is:

Emily Harrison
PO Box 167
Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut
X0A 0B0

Our phone number is:

(867) 927 8978.

Our phone plan is horrible so please call me because I can't call you that often!

Photos of our staff bondage...I mean bonding day out 'on the land' will follow soon.

Have a great weekend.

I plan to....drink....

(kidding Mum; I don't have a problem...just a solution).

Monday, September 1, 2008

...out and about...

Well, it's been a bit of a foggy, rainy week here... there was one day that was nice, but it happened to be the day we were in school so I didn't get a chance to snap too many pictures. I took these over the weekend.

This is the view from my bedroom. Note the functioning power lines. The icebergs are starting to move into our bay now as well and eventually all of the water will freeze over.

Don't worry, I brought my skates.

It seems to take FOREVER for the pictures to upload here - I feel as though the signal in Qikitarjuaq is worse than that in Freetown. Who would have thought?

As I wait for the next photo to upload, I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you that our Sea Lift order of frozen foods has yet to arrive, as does any of my cargo shipment. For the last week I have eaten pasta and pizza almost exclusively. For variety I add the occasional serving of canned peaches or applesauce. Delish.

This photo is taken on the way to school (it's a short walk down an unpaved are all the roads here). In the distance you can see a hill with an Inukshook on it. Karen and Tara (one of the other new teachers here) went for a walk up the hill but I didn't join them. Along the way a wild husky dog jumped out at them and Tara's dog, Mavic, and tried to take a bite out of Mavic's hind quarters. Needless to say, I won't be walking alone here.

We had a long weekend this weekend only there were no docks, barbeques, or sunset beers involved... Today, Monday, most of the teachers were at school planning for the rest of the week's classes. On Thursday the staff are supposed to be going to the national park here, weather permitting.

Can I just mention again how SLOW it is to upload pictures? Oiy.

Eventually...when it finally loads, you'll see a picture of the outside of the school - Inuksuit School. The school is fairly well equipped and I'm not worried about supplies or anything like that. We even have a coffee fund. It's wild.

My classroom is pretty typical - a bit bigger than the one in Sierra Leone and I have a view of something more inspiring than just a stone wall growing moss. Super!

And now, to end this update, a warning to you all... make sure that when you enter the computer lab you abide by the sign on the door:

And I mean it.