Saturday, October 27, 2007

Top Five Questions & Answers About Iqaluit

When we tell people we are moving to Iqaluit (and usually after getting stunned or puzzled looks), people begin to ask us questions about Iqaluit. Here are the five most common questions we are getting, and our answers.

Where is Iqaluit? In the territory of Nunavut, in Canada's eastern arctic. Iqaluit is on Baffin Island, which is parallel to Greenland. Its about a 3 1/4 hour flight northeast of Ottawa.

How big is it? About 6500 people, approximately 60% of whom are Inuit and 40% non-Inuit.

Can I drive there? We get asked this question a lot. No, you can't drive there. There is no road or winter ice road. You have to fly in. Every summer, community supplies come in by ship (on the "sealift") from Montreal.

Is there 24 hour darkness there in winter? It doesn't get down to 0 hours of sunlight, but does get down to an hour or so at winter soltice. But in addition to the time when the sun is over the horizon, there is usually a lengthy dawn and dusk. And by late March, it back up to almost 12 hours of sunlight again, because the sunlight changes happen rapidly compared to southern Canada.

Why on earth are you going there? Lorraine has worked and travelled quite a bit in northern Canada, and loves the north. She spent two months in Iqaluit in the winter of 2001, and fell in love with the place, and has always wanted to go back. Lorraine took the opportunity for an exciting new job in Iqaluit, and (fortunately) John was up for the adventure. We are really excited about going (especially now that most of the packing and moving stuff is done).

John's last musical gig (for now)

After the movers left, we headed out for Peterborough, where John's band Swingbridge was playing a musical gig. (It was a fundraiser for Ukuleles for Peace). Washboard Hank was there, and so was Mathias Kom, a great uke player who is raising $ for a cool program (which we support) called Ukuleles for Peace. UFP brings together Israeli Jewish and Palestinian kids in a high conflict zone, to learn to play ukuleles and eventually perform together (thus also bringing their families together). Its very grassroots and low key, but after many years of working on cross-cultural issues I (Lorraine) really believe that building relationships at the most grass roots levels are critical for social change and addressing racism and violence.

ANYWAY, political rants aside, the musical gig was fun, and Mathias raised a bunch of bucks for UFP.

It was a little bittersweet for us, though, as it is John's last gig with his band, Swingbridge, for at least a few years. You can find info on Swingbridge on their site on Myspace:

Roots Music / Swing / Folk

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Movers Clean Us Out

Well, the movers were here yesterday and today, packing up and emptying out the house. (This is Jay the Mover waving goodbye, after packing up the last of our stuff).

Yesterday they shipped off the stuff going by air freight to Nunavut (we are too late for the annual sealift this year, which leaves Montreal in early September, and there are no roads including ice roads, so everything has to go up by air).

Tonight John's band has its last gig in Peterborough, at a Ukuleles for Peace fundraiser. (Long story). So this is it, we're leaving Birdland (we'll come back for a bit more cleaning up, but basically the house is packed up now). Yikes. We'll be in limbo for a while, because we don't have confirmed housing yet, so we're staying with family and friends for a week in Ontario, and then we'll be at the Frobisher Inn in Iqaluit for a while until we get housing.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Magical Kingdom We Are Leaving

John calls Bobcaygeon and the Kawarthas The Magical Kingdom (at least, he did in his final good-bye column for the Peterborough Examiner). It certainly is a beautiful place, and all around us, as we pack up the house, the fall colours are blazing. We are going to miss this place a lot (and John's boys Matt, Thomas and Pete will miss it, too). Here are some pictures of the Bobcaygeon home, on the Little Bob River, which are are leaving for a while...

The Great Pack Up

So, right now we are in the middle of absolute chaos. The movers are coming in a day and a half (earlier than originally scheduled, darn and blast them!) and the house has been turned upside down with our desperate attempts to be ready for them. We may or may not retain our sanity by the time they arrive.

So, here's the question of the day: why are men and women so different at packing? Or is it just us? I (Lorraine) am the purger and uber-organizer. John is the packrat who has to spend a lot of quality time have sentimental journeys with every scrap of paper and what-not from his past. I roll out of bed in the morning and begin to update my spectacularly organized lists of things to do. John rolls out of bed, and begins to think immediately about how to spend some quality time with his ukuleles before the poor things have to endure the trek north. We are both working hard on our negotiating skills, and so far, neither of us has inflicted bodily harm on the other as a result of our very different styles. Moving is a real test of a relationship!