Friday, April 25, 2008

Word Up

I have been slowly working my way through The Structure of Inuktitut, a program designed to teach you the basic grammar of the language. The lessons remind me of my undergrad days where I would spend long nights declining and conjugating my way through Ancient Greek and Latin word lists, fun times!

One of the little tricks that everyone picks up when learning a new language is to use word or image associations to help you remember a particular word. Inuktitut has fewer consonants and vowels than English so a lot of the words start looking the same to me. You have to read very carefully. Fortunately, I came up with my first association to help me out for the word ikajuq which means to help. Now, I have never seen an episode of Pokemon in my life but I couldn't help but think about the character Pikachu. So everytime I see the root ikajuq I think Pikachu! I don't know about you, but doesn't he/she/it seem pretty helpful?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spoiled Silly

What a first week it has been in Iqaluit! I feel like I have been spoiled silly by everything that has been going on. Everyone has been incredibly kind and generous with their time. My new roommate picked me up from the airport for the 30 second ride home, now that's luxury! Strangers agreed to meet me for coffee several times, happy to sit down and chat with a new face. The Toonik Time Festival gave me a lot of opportunities to see how the locals celebrate the return of Spring. My new co-workers gave me a great introduction to the city and took me to some lovely places to eat. And to top it all off, I asked for some more light at work and was presented with a shiny new reading lamp today! Oh the little things that make us happy!

I have been exploring the city on my own with my camera. Photography is my preferred way of exploring and discovering a new place. It makes me pay attention to shapes, colours, and the little details I would otherwise miss. I think I'll take my time doing this. Iqaluit still feels large to me and figuring it all out too quickly will compress the whole place too fast. I like knowing that there are places left to discover.

I had a great experience on the sea ice this weekend. My co-worker Debbie and I went to see the dog-sled races which were held out on the ice. We bundled up and began the long walk which seemed to take forever in the strong winds. Luckily along the way, someone stopped and offered us a ride on their sled. See what I mean by spoiled silly?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Starting with Goodbye

It may seem like a good idea to start a new blog about my experience in the North with some first impressions of Iqaluit, but I am going to start this blog with a goodbye.

I left Calgary five days ago, my home of sixteen years. Almost everything about my life in Canada is in Calgary: family, friends, favourite places, and memories. Everytime I left Calgary on a trip, I knew I would return home to the same familiar faces. But knowing that I was going to a place too far away to simply return on a regular basis made it a lot harder to say goodbye this time.

Yet I do wonder if anything will really change. My family will always be there for me, no matter where I am. My friends, as busy and as far apart as we may be, will always keep in touch even if we never see each other for months on end, even when in the same city! The truth is that services like email and Facebook will let each of us pursue our own journeys while still being intimately connected with each other.

And that's why this isn't really a goodbye to my life in Calgary but rather an invitation to another window into a life long journey. Remember, if you ever find yourself wondering how I am doing, look up, and smile.