Tonight I ventured back out to the Christmas games with all of my batteries charged in all of my equipment. Good thing, as I stayed until 11 pm taking pictures and video.
The first game that we played tonight was for the 15+ group, where we had a Nerf Arrow Gun, and we had to shoot and hit a stuffed Barney toy. Well, I was just planning to be a spectator so I could just take pictures .. but, eventually my resistance was warn down by the locals and I was convinced to take my shot at Barney. What's the worst that could happen right? Well, I hit Barney square in the head (don't know who to thank ... all of those years playing Duck Hunt on the Sega, or the years of playing Caps while in residence). In either case, I moved on to the second round. And then the third round, where it was between myself and one of my students. After many attempts and many tense moments, Barney was dead. His life was snuffed out in such a violent way, by yours truly. My reward (er... prize)? A 50$ Gift Card for The Northern (sweet! I can buy yogurt now for school!).
Next, there was another game for the 16+ crew (I did sit this one out as I didn't have mittens with me). In this game, there were two circles, the inner circle was wearing one mitten with the other in a pile in the middle, while the outer circle had to do all of the work. Both circles walked around in opposite directions of each other while music was playing. When the music stopped, the outer circle had to drive / crawl between the inner circle member's (that was in front of them) legs, grab a mitten, find it's mate and then crawl between that person's legs and then sit down. The last team to sit down is eliminated. This game went on for quite some time, but it was very amusing to watch.
After, there was a game for just the men (+16). This game involved them rolling a dice trying to roll a magic number (I think it was 4). If they rolled a 4 they got to run to the center of the circle to try to unscrew as many screws from a block that they could before the next person rolled a 4 and bumped them out. This game was very similar to the catalog game that I played last night. The prize? A wicked power tool set (I could use one of those).
Next there was a game for just the women (+16). This game, which turned more violent than I think the organizers planned) involved us racing against each other (two people at a time) hitting a balloon down the gym with a 2x4 and placing the balloon in the garbage can at the other end. Well, we were not only hitting our own balloons, but also the balloons of our opponents, we here hitting each other with the 2x4's, and basically playing hockey at times while trying to get our balloon in the garbage can and at the same time, trying to get rid of our opponents balloon.
There were also two other games for the older community members (+16) as well as several games for the elders.
At the end of the night, before the dance, there were finally some games for the younger kids who were in attendance. The girls got to play a dance type game and the boys had a scavenger hunt. As I was leaving, the elders were just beginning to play one of their games where they had to put together a puzzle as a team as quickly as they could.
It's been pretty interesting up here in Arctic Bay during the Christmas Games. Most of the community members were quite surprised that I was still here, as last year, there was a mass exodus at Christmas time with the southern teachers. One asked if I was the only southern teacher that stayed up here as they commented that I was the only one that they ever saw out anywheres since school got out for the holidays. I explained that no, there were actually many of us still here in town, but that they were all taking some down time, contacting family ..... They asked about me, I said that I just email mine to let them know that I'm alive. They laughed.
This evening, I ventured out with Aletha to the Christmas Games being held in the community / school gym. I wasn't too sure what to expect before arriving, but I am glad I went tonight. I have some pictures of the games , but my camera battery died early on, so I'll post up the ones I have and I'll be posting more throughout the week.
When we arrived, they were just getting started with a dice game, where we had to roll a large foam dice and not roll a 5. If we rolled a 5, we were out. This continued until there was only one person left, and they won a prize.
The next game was a traditional one for the younger girls (7,8,9) where they had to squat down, with one leg stuck out and the other one tucked under them and then switch legs over and over again until there was only one person hopping.
Next was a game was a traditional game for the boys (7,8,9) where they had to leg wrestle each other.
After, was another 16+ game where we had to rip as many pages out of a catalog as possible if we rolled a number 4 until the next person rolled a 4 and took over the page ripper position. I ripped out a total of 60 pages from the catalog. Most of them on my first run out to rip pages.
There were also games for the elders, one of which they had to not make a face after a teaspoon of lemon juice was put on their tongue, and another was a numbers game.
The older kids had a game where they had to put their feet and their arms in their jacket sleeves, and race down the gym floor on their hands and feet squawking like a raven. It was quite amusing to watch (sad that I don't have footage of this game, as it was a hoot!).
The last game that was played before we headed out was a scavenger hunt type game for 16+ (I sat this one out). They had to find people or items that were called out to them by the MCee. It was quite a challenge to figure out what items they had to find as it was all in Inuktitut, but I was able to guess the gist of what was being searched for based on who or what they brought back into the circle.
I'll be heading back to the games tomorrow to get more pictures and maybe film some of the games to send home for the kids to see.
This is one of those monumental moments in a person's life ... their first Christmas in a new location. And it was a nice one too. Nice and relaxing.
It all very much so began on Christmas Eve when Aletha came by to pick me up for a walk around.... well back up to her place by the time she got here with Susanne. From there, it was just sitting back, drinking tea and watching movies and Law and Order on TV.
Today, well.... was pretty much the same. After tearing into the Christmas pack that Mom sent up full of goodies that I can now enjoy (Socks, send more of those, those are nice socks... DVDs.... cookies ... chocolate.... an Eeyore fleece zip ... more chocolate / food), I gave my chauffeur (hehe - yeah, I know, I can feel the smack coming now) a call to get a lift up the hill over to Christmas supper central.
Well, modern technology has a way of taking its revenge upon us and making us realize how dependent we are on it (or more particularly, how much it will suck to do one's job without a vehicle), the truck would not start. After many attempts and phone calls back and forth, I decided to brave the cold, and just hike up the hill. Although, it was quite chilly (-36!) I did get some nice pictures of Arctic Bay on Christmas Day (and there was not a soul outside ... it was pretty eerie, but I have a feeling most people were still in bed, as games and dances didn't end until 5am this morning).
Smoke, on the Water...
Arctic Bay @ 1:10 pm
Arctic Bay @ 2:45 pm
Arctic Bay @ 4:47 pm
After freezing my butt off outside, I made it to Christmas Central, and of course, resumed my tv watching position from the day before .. but was also treated to an excellent veggie omelet. The rest of the afternoon was spent watching movies, preparing veggies, a quick trip out to the hotel to pick up some fresh buns and gravy ... and of course, calling John with many suggestions as to why the truck wouldn't start.
But, it all worked out in the end, and we had a scrumptious turkey roasted by John (who I think is secretly a gourmet chef).
We ate, and talked, and ate some more. A good time was had by all.
This was the view that greeted me when I crawled out of bed this Christmas morning at 10:30 am:
Apparently, this is not normal for this time of year, and that we should not be seeing this much "pink" .... yet. What's to blame, global warming or did the Earth's axis tilt a little bit? Who knows. All I know, is that it was a nice way to start my morning on Christmas Day.
I have made it to Dec. 21, Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year (light wise), or as we like to call it up North, the Day where we start to head back from the Dark Side. Yes, we are half way through our dark season here in Arctic Bay. Starting tomorrow, we will start to gradually get more "day light" peeking over the horizon (although, I don't think we will notice too much change at first, but once that deep pink color starts to come back over those mountains, we are all going to be extremely giddy. And by February 6th (as I have been told), the sun (the real ball of fire) will be up and over the mountains that surround us, gradually staying up longer and longer each day until we get to our 24/7 Sun Season.
The past two days have been BUSY here in Arctic Bay. Thursday was busy with our Christmas concert dress rehearsal followed by the show later in the evening. Everything went very smoothly and the kids did an excellent job performing infront of family, friends, and community members.
After the students were done singing their songs, preforming their skits or showing us some new dance moves, it was the teacher's turn to dazzle and surprise.
Santa didn't stand much of a chance against us teachers.
Being one of those strange marketing people, I like to know how my visitors actually find me. For the most part, it has been through me either emailing the link out and then it is sent all over the place or through facebook (as my blog is linked from there to here). However, it is always quite interesting to find out what search queries people have used on the internet that have led them here to Tales from the Arctic. Here are the top 10:
10. Twilight zone you are entering: (hmmm... I always thought it was "You are now entering the twilight zone")
9. Pictures of the Snow Dance: Snow dance eh? as far as I know, there is no such dance here in Arctic Bay
8. Surviving Tips 101: The Arctic: Wear a CG parka .. you'll be fine
7. Inuit Fishing Hole In Ice: And where else would this hole be located?
6. Arctic Bay RCMP: I know who you are :-), how's everything down south?
5. Does XM Satellite Radio Work in Nunavut: The Answer is NO works for about three weeks between August and September .. the rest of the year you are SOL.As an add on, Sirius Satellite Radio doesn't work in Nunavut either very well. We get next to no reception in Arctic Bay (except for that three week window in Aug-Sept). Both XM and Sirius will swear up and down that it works all the way up here .. take it from me, it doesn't. But, I do believe that there is decent reception in Iqaluit.
4. Purple Arctic Birds: As far as I know, we have no purple birds up here
3. Anti-Snow Dance: Yes, I did blog about the anti-snow dance when I was heading off to Iqaluit back in September
1. Kendra Haines: now, how exactly has my real name made it out? And why has there been 70 searches all on the same day? And all of the hits were on November 28th, 2007 ... have a feeling it might have been that CBC clip on Arctic Bay .....
So there we have it, Tales from the Arctic's Top 10 List.
Ever since I moved here to the North, I have been trying to find two things. One was a Dancing Bear with "attitude" ... well, a Dancing Bear that at least "talks" to me (yes, I know. Kennie, an inanimate object cannot talk to you. Duh, I realize that, but like any art form, it does speak to the viewer, and I am looking for one that speaks to me). Second, a Polar Bear carving. Number two has been crossed off the list this evening.
One of the local carvers here in town, JN (the same carver who I bought the Seal from), brought me my Polar Bear carving today. When I got the Seal, I mentioned to him that I was looking for a Polar Bear with attitude and gave him a quick sketch of what I was looking for. I have to say, the carving is excellent! And I now have my Polar Bear with Attitude.
Today my Christmas box from my mom arrived (whoot!), and inside were all sorts of goodies! (I hope I was actually allowed to open the box mom... wanted to make sure everything survived the long plane flight). There were candy canes, butter fudge, a couple of those microwave molten chocolate cakes (uh... can we say weekend breakfast?), Nutella and the piece de resistance .... REAL maple syrup! And of course, all of my Christmas presents nicely wrapped up (yes mom, they are still wrapped and in the box. I promise, I won't open them until the 25th).
On my journey to get the parcel from the post office, I managed to lose my footing on a slick hard packed patch of snow and went down rather hard on my knee, where I managed to give myself a rather good cut and a nice hole in my jeans (always great when a rock breaks your fall ... or cushions your impact to the ground). So right now, my knee is nicely swollen and turning a nice dark shade of purple. It hurts, but nothing that a couple of Motrin's can't numb. All part of living in the North.
What an excellent Saturday! This early afternoon (12:30)ish a group of us (Monty, Petra, Nick, April, Aletha, John and myself) set off on skidoos hoping to make it out to Cowboy Canyon to spin and rip around for a little bit. Unfortunately, there was not enough snow down on the tundra yet and it was rather rocky, so we are going to try again later on in the year (like late February or March).
Not to be deterred, we set off instead for Victor Bay to check out the icebergs (yes, bergs, as in two). The first one we rode to was one that I hadn't seen yet ... and it was cool. One side of it was shaped up almost like a mushroom cloud with it's top cut off, and the other half was a typical iceberg. Sadly (and this is part of living in the North) there was not enough light for me to get good pictures of it. But, I can always get back out to it when the sun comes back up. We then next went off to the iceberg that I had already visited for a quick drive by and soon we were zooming off towards Adam's Sound to check out the next iceberg.
The ride out to Adam's Sound wasn't as bad as I was told it was going to be, as it is usually rather chilly and windy as it is a wide open space (as we are zipping across the frozen bay). So we bundled up, and all put on our extra face protection layers and off we went zipping across the bay. The ride out to the iceberg was I'm guessing 25 minutes (as there isn't really any way to really judge how long it took us as it was .... well... darkish out) - but I do know that we started heading out to Adam's Sound at 2:30pm.
The iceberg out at Adam's Sound was quite impressive .. 4 times, if not 5 times the size of the one in Victor Bay. We didn't stay out there too long, just long enough to go for a stretch and decide that we will have to definitely come back when it is light out again.
Now, not having a skidoo can be a bummer here in the Arctic (as I am beginning to discover), but there is always someone that has an extra seat (or space) to take another person. Fortunately for me, one of our permanent RCMP members here will probably become my skidoo buddy as he has access to two seater skidoos for the duration of his posting here. And, if I decide to extend my contract for another two years in Arctic Bay or to another community, I am strongly considering buying a skidoo. Looks like I have some research to start doing.
Last week at school (Nov. 26 - 30) we had a Scholastic Book Fair. It was quite a busy week and busy nights for us book fair volunteers who helped out Nick and April with set up, supervision and tear down. We all had fun.... and bought a lot of books (well, the teachers did :-) ).
After spending six years living and teaching in the Canadian Arctic (Nunavut and Yukon), I returned to the Maritimes to work at my Alma Mater, The University of New Brunswick, as the Media Lab Supervisor with the Centre for Enhanced Teaching and Learning. At the Media Lab I help faculty and students learn how to use instructional and media technology in their classes and projects.