The following is a newsletter that I first sent out to friends and family when I first got up here September 7th. I wanted to include this one (and the second one) because I want everyone to be part of the fun. Hope you enjoy reading this. Please note before you begin, I was a bit sporadic and my thought patterns are all over the place. This is a good representation of the life I had been leading to this point :P~~
Hi Everyone, I am here, alive and staying warm. The north has been an adventure right from the moment that I received notification that I got this job. It all started with the movers losing the request for my move and I won't tell you until the end how things have progressed. I am alive and as someone told me, I was going to forget something and I was going to be OK.
The flight up was fairly uneventful, except I am overweight on my move and have been trying to reduce 3,000 lbs from my load (this much has been quoted as costing me 15,000 to get it to Cambridge bay). I could only get about 1,500 lbs with out looking at the load and my parents are going to be going in to get some more off on Sept 14th. Then my stuff will be able to leave Saskatoon and begin its journey up. Yup, my stuff hasn't started coming up yet and could take approximately 8 weeks to get here!
This has only been the beginning. Some of my co-workers from the office met me at the airport, which was totally cool, and helped me get settled into the swing of things. My first day in the office was a blur, I spent Sat doing laundry and packing and left for Baker Lake. I took the advice of my co-worker and took extra luggage so I could go shopping on the way home in Yellowknife and pick up some cheaper veggies. The trip in Baker Lake was awesome. We were taken on a tour of the gold mine there and the tank farm they are building by their dock. The most amazing thing about the site visit was realizing that everything right down to a bolt and nut were brought up by a barge!! This site is huge (think Fort McMurray) and it was all brought on a barge.
I would have had pictures of this trip, but my camera decided to pack it in :( I was sad and once I hit Yellowknife again I replaced the camera pretty quick. Oh yes, and before I forget, the winds in Baker Lake were gusting up to 80 km/hr. You could be blown off your feet, and we almost were. On the way back from the mine site, we got to see a grizzly bear and her cub. She was a good size and a blonde to boot ;) She had made a caribou kill next to the road and was startled by a grader when it came around the corner. Of course I don't have any pictures, but that is OK as well.
I also got to see a number of tundra caribou running and lots of little brown birds flying so fast I couldn't identify them. I will fix that problem soon. Now as I have mentioned earlier there was a Baker Lake and there they saw waves on the lake unlike anything they have seen before. Here in Cambridge Bay they had the same kind of day and it poured rain. This rain made the sewage tank at the house I am renting that had recently been replaced to float to the surface. When I returned to Cambridge Bay I spent the first night in my house and on Friday the returned at lunch to find that they were working on the problem and had taken the tank out. It made for a long lunch, but I thought the problem would be fixed fairly quickly. I was mistaken, this is the north! Luckily I had help and now find myself in a hotel room hoping that they find staff to fix my house soon. I can only stay in the hotel until Tuesday morning, but the landlady said I can stay with her if they still haven't fixed the sewage tank by then. it is totally funny actually and par for the course during this move. At least this inconvenience has meant that I have a phone and internet during my move.
I guess I forgot to tell you that my phone will be hooked up sometime next week (they say Wednesday) as they had removed the hardware required for a phone from the house earlier this year. They need to come into my house to put that back together before I can get a phone. Yup, the north is an adventure and I never realized that when I went to Lake Louise that my experiences there would come in handy again in my life. But, life has its way of preparing you for what is to be in front of you.
The community meeting in Baker Lake was most interesting. I sat in the corner watching for the most part, and was able to observe the people there (as well as around Cambridge Bay). So far what I see is a people that are in transition. The are adjusting from their nomadic life to a modern white way of life. The conditions are not unlivable, but the children do go hungry and their diet isn't balanced. The cost of food is impressive, but if you eat healthy and shop carefully it can be livable. For example, a bag of chips is about $5 and pop about $3. But, I can buy a can of vegetable soup for 1.19 and veggies are fairly reasonable... 2lb bag baby carrots $4. Bread can be pricey...$3. Now to get flour, a 5 lb bag is $16 and 1 lb sugar $6. So, I have seen a 10 lb bag of flour is $45!! That's what I said $45, I have got to get all of my flour up here in this load coming up. The groceries are staying on the load and we will sacrifice some other stuff to be brought up when Mom and Son come up. The terrain and surrounding area have their own beauty. There are no trees but there is still a lot of colour. There are willows and woody vegetation, but they come up to your ankle! I plan on going out and seeing what I can find today and I will post pictures on a facebook account and send some out soon. Life is not boring up here and you can find things to do as long as you are willing to look. There was a dance in town on Saturday night and poker at someones house every night of the week. I think that is enough for this update and I hope this finds everyone enjoying the heat down south. The only reason you have it is because I left to come up here...LOL. The temperatures range between 2 and 16 right now. Take care and I will send out another update as soon as I get a little more settled. Good bye for now.