Wednesday, February 20, 2008


At least when you're 30, you can imagine that you're just barely 30... sort of an extension of your 20's, where the number is just a technicality. But in a few hours, I'll be 30+1. In other words, pretty solidly and unavoidably a thirtysomething.

I've lately thought of birthdays as a sort of personal New Year... a fresh start where I can get a better perspective on things in my life. Which is kind of what I'm looking for these days, as I start thinking about things like how long I'm going to stay up here, what my next teaching job is going to be, etc. Along with wishing for the cold to subside - it's been flirting with minus 50 with the windchill the last couple of days, and days above minus 30 seem a distant memory. I bought travel books at the library booksale about Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica, not because I'm planning a trip to those places really soon, but just so I could read about warm places.

As I go to bed on birthday eve, I'm getting an early present outside my window - a full lunar-eclipse, which looks really cool, especially with wisps of northern lights underneath it.
And tomorrow, I'll get to do one of my newest favourite things, since curling is on Thursday nights. And afterwards, out for a few drinks at the Nova bar. If you live in Iqaluit, hope to see you there. If you're reading this and you don't live here... I probably wish you were here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Life, and its opposite

There are various happy, interesting things I could blog about, and likely will soon. My life, I realize, is generally quite good, and I feel fortunate for it.

But I found out on Friday that a child at my school died. That fact has cast a pall over everything else. And there's not much to say about it other than it's pretty awful.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I am Dave Seville

The other day the kids at my school were let loose at the local movie theatre to watch "Alvin and The Chipmunks." While I was sitting there watching the film with about 4 classes of kids, I had a surpristing epiphany: I was, in fact, watching the story of my recent life (albeit with more special effects).

In the film, an unsuspecting, childless, creative-minded man finds his life invaded by small, unusual creatures who sometimes sing, but mostly spend their time terrorizing the man and making his life difficult. Some of the creatures are really intelligent, but mostly they're full of attitude and like eating alot. Over the course of the film, the man comes to warm to these small creatures, and accepts them as a dysfunctional but loving adoptive family.

Six months ago, I was looking for a job in teaching after getting my Bachelor of Education with a specialty in Intermediate/Senior levels - in other words, the complete opposite of the little chipmunks I've spent the past months hanging out with, first at a daycare, then an elementary school. I had no real experience with children before that, and they frequently seem as unusual to me as talking, singing, dancing chipmunks. But, without sounding like too much of a pushover, I have gotten more hugs, hellos, and high-fives in the past 6 months than in about the past 6 years of my life.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Week 2 of the School with No School

Well, I'm approaching my second week of working out of the Parish Hall, which is where I've been placed, along with 5 or so other teachers and 3 classes worth of Grade 1's and 2's, since the school building we'd normally be during the day was declared unfit for, well, breathing.

My normal job(s) of teaching ESL and tutoring reading have been replaced with basically helping out a regular classroom teacher keep their class going, which isn't as easy without as many resources and with a less than ideal set up (if you've ever heard the noise a classroom full of elementary school kids can make, multiply it by 3 to get an idea of the audio environment I work in these days). Luckily, we told the kids we have invisible walls... and enough of them believe us to keep things relatively under control. Actually, the kids have been great about the upheaval in their lives. Plus, last Friday, we got to go sledding on a big hill out past the new arena, and this morning we went skating (not such bad things to get paid for doing - go teaching!).

Occasionally, we have to pack up our makeshift classrooms at the end of the school day to make room for other community events happening at the hall. Right after the school closed down, before we turned the hall into a triple-classroom, the teaching staff were meeting - a meeting that ended early when a coffin was pushed into the room for an afternoon funeral. I left before they opened the coffin, but a few squeamish teachers told me their story of hightailing it out of there pretty quickly when they did. So, hopefully there'll be no mid-week funerals while the kids are still around.

The school is being cleaned pretty thoroughly right now, with all of the rooms being emptied and scrubbed before everything, lastly humans, are moved back in. This should all be done by March.

One of the best things about work lately has been running into my old ESL students at the bus or wherever... and they're just sweetness and light, and actually seem to miss me. Maybe when I'm back in their regular classrooms, they'll all do their work, and treat me with respect, and things will be way better!

I'd better not hold my breath, though.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

La Musica

I ended up playing a couple of songs at the Music Society coffeehouse last Saturday, which were well received. I say "ended up," because I was on-call to sub for other musicians throughout the evening, and went on second-last. I'm also playing a couple of songs at a "Musical Tea" at the French School at 2pm this afternoon, for those in town.