Sunday, November 25, 2007


Last Thursday, I finally got Thursday nights off at the library to join the curling team I'd promised to be a part of a couple of months ago. The Thursday league schedule still referred to us as team Quigley, so in my absence my teammates started calling themselves Team Shattered Dreams. Having never curled before, I got a crash course in curling this weekend during the Frobisher Bay Curling Club Bonspiel - during which I played 4 games, or about 8-9 hours of curling in a 24 hour period.

I'm a bit overwhelmed by such an insane amount of curling, but I think I like it. After losing our first game badly, our second game was a tight match which we only lost due to a "burned" rock (one of our players touched a curling stone with their broom, which meant it had to be removed), and a 5mm difference in distance from the centre-circle thing (I'm still working on the lingo). Then, we finally won a game properly, to move us to the Group C final - where we lost, largely due to being kinda tired from so much curling in such a short time. Not that, as a curler with a week's experience, I can really be credited with our team's success - that can mostly go to our skip, Stephanie. But I did go from throwing my rocks wildly and having no idea about judging how fast they were going, to being able to throw them in the vicinity of where I was supposed to. And I think I swept okay, as long as someone told me when to start and stop sweeping.

To top it off, my teammate Curtis along with local blogger Townie Bastard won the grand prize airline tickets.

Stay tuned for more curling adventures.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mail Call

One thing that made the past long weekend even more enjoyable was getting a whole bevy of packages in my mail.

I finally got my hockey helmet that, in a new record of ineptitude for Canada Post, took exactly a month to get here. I inaugurated it at Broomball by taking a tumble directly onto my elbow on my second shift that sent me home to put ice on it, and which is still swollen.

I also got a care package from my mom, which are always filled with consumable goodness not available in this frontier town.

Last, but certainly not least, I got a couple of books I've wanted to get for a while, but had a hard time finding in Canada: "A Parrot in the Pepper Tree" and "The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society" by Chris Stewart. These are the second and third books written by Stewart about his life as a British ex-pat on a farm in the Alpujarras in Andalucia, Spain. His first book, "Driving Over Lemons," I recently re-read in an effort to add some warmth to the barren, chilliness of my current environment. I've actually already read "A Parrot in the Pepper Tree;" it was in a trailer in Portugal I was staying in for 4 weeks back in 2004. I had just finished a 3 week stint wwoofing in the exact area of Spain Stewart lives in and writes about, and he describes the magic of the place perfectly. Once I found out he'd just released a third book, I had to have it, and almost paid to have it shipped from Amazon in the UK. Then, I discovered that Monro's Books, an independent bookstore in Victoria, had some copies available of both books, with very reasonable shipping. So now, not only do I have a couple of books about my favourite warm place in the world, I have the consumer satisfaction of supporting a small independent bookstore instead of a multinational corporation (or, for that matter, Heather Reisman).

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Everyday, I get alot of positive energy sent my way. I teach about a hundred kids each afternoon, and throughout the day they give me high-fives and friendly hellos. There are a lot of great people I've met in this town, who have helped me out as a newcomer to Iqaluit.

But, especially lately, I feel surrounded by alot of negative energy. Often, the kids at the school tease and bully each other and, obviously, give teachers like me a hard time. The lesson-planning and other teacher prep work I do is pretty stressful sometimes, but nothing compared to the emotional drain I've felt at the end of the day during the second-half of this week. And, for all the people I've met who know my name, no one (except for Kate Nova) knows me as well as my friends and family, who sometimes seem far away way down in Ontario. In a more abstract way, I think everyone around here feels sadness about the tragedy in nearby Kimmirut.

On a more positive note, however, I'm in the middle of a long-weekend since Nunavut very sensibly gives people a stat-holiday for Remembrance Day. Time which I'm going to use in part to prep for teaching. But mostly to chill out and surround myself with as much positive energy as possible. Although I am supposed to play Risk later, which is often a recipe for bitter, bitter global enemies. Unless I win, and all my enemies shall be vanquished.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

More darkness, more cold, more everything

Soooo... there has been nothing much besides silence on this blog lately. That's because there has been a multitude of activity in my life: my ever-changing dayjob mornings, my whirlwind afternoons in 5 different classrooms each day, plus my other two jobs I keep on showing up at just in case I become sane. I would like to blog. I would like to call friends back home. I would like to do many things I don't have time to do, because I'm trying to be an okay teacher and an okay human being, all at the same time.

And I'm trying to do this with ever lessening sunlight to guide my path; since the time change on Sunday, the sun sets at around 3:00 and the days are only getting shorter. Monday, it was minus 30 with the windchill, and days with single-digit negative temperatures may be behind me for a while.

Luckily, I got my winter boots in the mail on Friday. They are big and puffy and warm and use a drawstring instead of laces, which is brilliant. I also got a thermos which keeps the coffee from my stovetop espresso maker piping hot all morning, even after the chilly walk to work. These are the simple pleasures I cling to amid the cold and dark. That, and I get a long weekend in 3 days.

Here's a view of the early twilight outside my window: