Nunavut Newbie v.2.0: Iqaluit Newbie

A journal that will hopefully help out anyone who is thinking about moving to Nunavut or anywhere in Northern Canada.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Takeout Prices

Greetings, friends!

It has been almost 2 years since I left Nunavut and today I found some old takeout menus from Iqaluit.

One of these days I plan to scan all the receipts I saved, if they haven't faded too much.

Also, I have cleaned up my Flickr photo page and made it easier to browse. In 2008, I uploaded a few hundred vacation pictures from when I went to BC, which made it hard to find anything else but those photos. They have been deleted so my Flickr is left with only Nunavut photos. Feel free to have a look! I even created a Northern Prices Photo Set which should satisfy the curiosity of many (they're my most popular photos and blog posts, by far).

Without further ado, here are the menu scans:


Sunday, May 01, 2011


Hello everyone!

I have removed the ability to read or post comments on here as I am getting way too much spam.

If you have any questions or comments for me, please comment on a post in my new blog. Please note that I get a lot of questions and can't answer everything.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

New Blog

Well folks, I don't really have much more to write about Nunavut anymore, so I am setting up shop at my new blog, Unexpectedly Jaime. I will be writing more about myself and my new experiences down south, so please check it out.

Thank you to everybody who has commented on this blog over the course of the last 4 years. The kindness of my readers will always stand out to me as one of the best parts about keeping a public blog.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Few Thoughts

Curbs: I don't like them. I am not using to having to mind short walls of pavement when driving.

Spiders: Hate hate hate them. There are no spiders in Nunavut, which I loved. Now that I am back in the jungle of Ontario, spiders are about 10 times more scary to me. There was one on the steering wheel last night and I started to have a panic attack. Thank goodness there was a bunch of napkins in the door pocket so I could grab it and throw it out the window. If not I would probably have driven into oncoming traffic. Spiders, small but indirectly deadly to the unadjusted Nunavut ex-pat.

Grocery stores: Only a person who has not been living in a place with decent grocery stores can truly appreciate them. I went last week to pick up some things and I admit, I was a tad frightened. I was too overwhelmed to do any productive shopping. Today I went armed with a grocery list as I decided to make supper for my dad and myself tonight. Super Store (is that what it's called?) is still a little intimidating but I love how cheap everything is and how much selection of everything there is. I'm not kidding, I stared with my jaw hanging open at the expansive yogurt section for a good 5 minutes. I couldn't decide what to buy, there were so many options.

Inception: My sister and I saw it last night, it was excellent. We managed to get tickets mere seconds before it sold out. I couldn't believe the amazing deal...$10 gets you admission, popcorn, and a drink (not small sized, either). I will be going back for more Telus Tuesdays at Famous Players!

YMCA: Cue heavenly music from above. Yesterday I had my session with a personal trainer. The Y here uses TechnoGym equipment...very neat stuff. It's all electronic and records your workouts and tells you where your seat is supposed to be, how much weight you should be lifting, how many reps, sets, etc. It's just what I need to get back into strength training. Also, may we discuss how amazing it is to have a shower after you're done working out? It's a very new luxury for me and it makes me so happy. One of these days I'm going to blurt out in the showers, "Man I love a good shower after a workout, isn't it amazing!?!" only to be met with silence from people disturbed by my extreme ease of pleasure.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ups and Downs

Yesterday was a long day.

For starters, my sleep is all screwed up. My entire life, I've always been a night owl who sleeps in as late as possible. When I do sleep, I sleep deeply and normally- as in, I don't walk, talk, or move in my sleep.

Since I came back to Sarnia, my sleeping patterns are markedly different, albeit in a good way. I'm tired by 10pm (probably because it's dark here), and then I sleep lightly until about 8-8:30am, at which point I can't stand to be in bed a second longer. I also apparently talked in my sleep last week (I randomly said Anthony's pet name, ha) and the other night I accidentally knocked everything off my night table in my sleep. I attribute the changes to stress, the fact it does get dark out here, and the twin-sized bed I have here. I've been sleeping on a queen-sized bed since early 2008 and I'm used to having space. It's also so warm in my bedroom as I don't have curtains yet, it's uncomfortable to lie there for any length of time.

After I woke up, I had to do several errands. One of which was switching my driver's license to Ontario. My mom had told me to go to the wrong building, so then I had to drive to the right building, where I was told I needed more identification. I had to drive all the way home, grab my passport, and drive all the way back. I was somewhat irritated by this because the drive is about 15 minutes each way through several traffic lights. Sarnia has become quite the retirement community so traffic is often moving at 45-50kmh, much to my frustration (I've gotten used to driving faster now). When I got home, I told my dad it was so annoying to forget something down here because in Nunavut, you turn around and drive 1, 2 minutes tops to go anywhere. Here it's a good chunk of time you're spending to get anywhere.

Anyway, I got my license sorted out, although I was sad to see it go. No more half-smirking when I have to give my license to people and they cross their eyes trying to figure out what they're looking at.

After a few more errands, I came home to find all of my totes had arrived. Canada Post has been very expedient in shipping my bins. They've only taken 3-4 days, tops. I opened all of the bins to inspect my items. When I got to the tote with most of the breakables... broken. Almost everything...smashed. My carvings, my expensive Princess House stuff, my housewares. Garbage. I couldn't hold back the tears when I picked up my beautiful inukshuk carving from Sanikiluaq and I felt under all the bubble wrap that it was in more pieces than I could tell.

One might say, "Oh, it's only stuff," and while that is true, I only kept the things that actually meant something to me. I sold SO MUCH of my stuff, leaving only my "invaluables." Needless to say, my giant pile of garbage put a giant pile of sadness on me for the rest of the day.

When I finished moping, I decided I would go and sign up for a YMCA membership as I had been planning to do that and I needed something to cheer me up. I've got that all sorted out now and I'm so glad to be part of a gym where I can actually shower after working out. Where I worked out in Iqaluit didn't even have running water (though no fault of its own, and I didn't actually pay anything to use the gym). I have an appointment today with a personal trainer (included in my membership) and starting tomorrow -- if I'm not too sore -- I want to start going to some fitness classes.

After all of that, I went out for dinner in Bright's Grove with my mom, her boyfriend, and my sister.

Here are a few photos to keep your interest.

Beautiful Lake Huron sunset.

Me and Anthony in Iqaluit.

I took this photo and I like it a lot!

Traffic jam in Canatara Park, Sarnia.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back "Home" Part 2: Adjusting

I called this entry "Adjusting" because the last 3 days of consisted of basically that. I'm living with my dad until January or February and it is a big change to go from living alone in Iqaluit to living with my dad in Sarnia.

Fortunately, my dad and I are alike in ways that I think will make it easy to live together. We're both pretty laid-back and spend our time just hanging out, napping, watching TV, or surfing the Internet.

It is a bit of a bummer to go from having a 900+ square foot apartment all to myself to a single bedroom with one of my parents, an ad hoc internet connection (no wi-fi yet) and sharing everything else. My dad's apartment does have 2 bathrooms which is definitely a good thing.

Anyway, I've had a lot of time to think about the differences between northern and southern living and I'm eager to write about them before I fail to notice them anymore.

#1. Driving

Driving up north is a laid back and slow affair. There are no street lights, only stop signs. The speed limit is 40kmh and most roads are unpaved or paved but needing repairs. In Iqaluit, you get used to where stop signs are and only limited attention is required for driving. Most of the time you're watching out for pedestrians or just have your eyes focused on the road in front of you.

Down south, driving is substantially more difficult. I find that I have to remember to look at street lights. I'm not used to waiting for something to tell me I can drive, so I'm usually staring at something other than the light.

I also find it hard to judge how fast other people are driving and tend to be a little on the overly patient side when it comes to making turns on busy streets. It's hard to be a good judge of others' speed and I'm scared I'm going to get into an accident. I get nervous near bicyclists but down here, you rarely see small children playing by the road like you do in Nunavut. My worst fear up north was hitting a child with my car.

Also, as I said, the limit in Nunavut is 40kmh unless otherwise posted. Most of the time you're driving between 25-45kmh. Here, I often look down and see I'm only driving 45-50kmh because I'm used to driving that speed. I have to tell myself each time I drive to step on the gas.

The best thing about driving down south? Paved roads. I can't believe I'm in a spot in my life where I am grateful for paved roads, but here we are.

#2. The Weather

After hearing years of "Wow, you live in Nunavut? Isn't it cold there?" I'm now back in the heat. I have to tell you...I don't know what's wrong with people, because a well-dressed person in -30C is A LOT more comfortable than a seasonally dressed person in +35C + humidity. It's disgusting here, I don't even want to go outside. It's too hot to do anything except hang out in air conditioned buildings. I've sweat more in the last 3 days than I have in the last 3 years.

#3. Distractions

Now that I'm back here, I'm interested in everything and anything going on around me. When I drive, I stare at all the advertisements around, and when I'm in stores, I stare at everything. I swear I must look like a confused and lost child in Wal-Mart. I'm so busy looking at all the products around me that I nearly bump into people. Everything is so different from what I'm accustomed to, I can't help but to try and take it all in. I am sure this will stop at some point but until I do, please watch out for the space cadet in aisle 4.

#4. "How was that?"

I got my first one of these today. My parents are selling the house I grew up in and I met the new homeowners today. The wife said, "Oh, you're the one who just came from Nunavut. How was that experience?" I wanted to reply, "Are you asking me how the last 4 years of my life went?"

For starters, I don't even know how to answer this question. It was my life. It was complicated and different but great and always a learning experience. When graduates finish 4 years of university or college, people don't ask them, "How was it?" There isn't an answer. I know this question is going to pop up a lot (for the rest of my life!) so I'd be wise to just come up with a dazzling and amusing response. I replied today with, "Um... life changing." I think I will probably just start saying, "Cold." I'll go for the cheap laugh, it always works.

#5. My Little Secret?

I don't know if every northerner who leaves feels the same way, but I so totally embraced being a northerner that I feel like a different species than southerners here. It's no lie, northerners are different. We've learned to live a different life from the majority of Canadians, away from popular culture and everything else. I feel distant from other people here, like I can't relate with anybody. Basically, I feel like I just came back from living on the moon for 4 years and I'm totally out of touch with everything. My life has been radically different from the typical Sarnia life, almost of the point of being crippling. I don't really understand a lot about basic living down here. It's so hard to exemplify but I feel constantly confused by how things have changed since I left. If you've ever seen Shawshank Redemption, I'm sure I feel a lot like Red and Brooks did when they finally left Shawshank. To go from living in what's basically a bubble for 4 years and then re-injecting yourself back into normal culture is overwhelming.

#6. Small World

It's really strange to sit here and think I am not going anywhere anymore. I'm not on holidays, I'm here for good and I feel like my world just got smaller. When I first moved to Rankin Inlet, the isolation hit me within about an hour. I realized how far away from everything I was and that I couldn't even afford to leave. I felt separated from everything I had ever known and was living in a strange new place. I know it's the just the shock of leaving, but I feel somewhat trapped here. It's the same feeling I had when I moved to Rankin. I feel so far away from everything, even though I'm back in my hometown, back where I lived for 20 years. It's discomforting but I'm sure when I get more settled I'll feel better.

Those are the main things, I might think of more, might not.

This upcoming week is going to be a busy one. Just today I started the paperwork to take over a lease on a 2007 Ford Fusion and on Monday I have to sort out changing my driver's license and getting insurance. I am really sad I have to give up my Nunavut license, it's been a great source of entertainment from other people. "Whoaaa there's a dog sled on your license!" I will miss that so, so much.

I'm also going to sign up for a YMCA membership to give myself something to do for the next few months.

That said, if you're in Sarnia area, look me up. I'm unemployed and kinda bored!


Back "Home" Part 1: Leaving

Well, I have arrived at my new southern home for the time being.

On the 17th, Anthony came up to Iqaluit and we spent the 5 days of his trip packing stuff up and hanging out with my friends. It was SO great to have his help, I don't think I could have done it without him. Anthony has all of the culinary skills between us and he's very creative, so he managed to create us meals with the leftover stuff in my freezer. We ate quite well for the 5 days. I had a ton of frozen smoked trout so we were eating that everyday. After a particularly long day of packing, some friends came over for board games and I wolfed down several packages of smoked trout.

I had already done quite a bit of packing and throwing things out before Anthony arrived so the only things left to do were the end-of-the-line stuff. It was hectic trying to remember to do everything and clean everything.

I had no idea, but Canada Post has a weight restriction of 30kg for anything you send through the mail. Anthony and I hauled down several Rubbermaid totes to the post office, only to find out from Jordan that they were too heavy. I felt terrible for Anthony because he had done all of the heavy lifting and we had to bring them back to the apartment and back up the stairs. Once we redistributed some weight and got them under 30kg (most were 23-25kg), they were much easier to handle.

Anyway, on Wednesday we woke up early and finished everything up. I had my official apartment "march out," I dropped my vehicle off to its new owner, we mailed all of the totes, and checked into the airport. By dumb luck, Anthony and I were both on first class on Air Canada. I had booked his ticket through Aeroplan and first class was the only thing available (for a cost of 25 000 points) and I had gotten first class because it was strangely cheaper than Tango on the website when I booked it. It turned out to be a great happy accident because we were allowed 3 checked bags each, and I had my cat with us in the cabin but there was still lots of leg room. I'd never flown first class and I'm glad I did, it was a nice treat for my last arctic flight. As the plane took off, I was a little upset I'd never see Iqaluit again, but the free wine helped soften the blow, haha.

We picked up Anthony's car at the Ottawa airport and drove to Oshawa to spend the night. Since we had the cat, we didn't want to drive the entire distance in one day. On the drive, we stopped at some Smart Centre to eat and change. I took some clean clothes into a WalMart bathroom and changed into them. It felt SO good to put on clean, non-sweaty clothes, you have no idea. In Oshawa I took a shower and put on pajamas and again, it felt great to be clean. I crawled into bed and basically passed out.

The next morning we leisurely awoke and left. We got McDonalds breakfast -- Anthony's treat -- because he knows how much I love it. A bacon and egg McMuffin never tasted so good.

We made it back to Sarnia around one and Leah was eager to get out of her cat carrier.

All in all, a relatively smooth and painless move, though it was long and tiring. I started preparing in early June so I am glad it's finally over. Check out the next entry for my thoughts about being back south, I didn't want to create one giant entry.


Monday, July 05, 2010

Good Mail Day

There's nothing I love more than a good mail day. Today was the ideal mail day. I got 3 items, none of which were bills or junk.

1. I got the handbag I ordered from eBay. This was a little splurge as I'd been wanting the bag for so long. I sold so much of my stuff in such a short time, I decided to buy myself a present. I can't wait to start using it. I was surprised how quickly it arrived! From Florida to Iqaluit in 9 days (it arrived on the 30th). I think it's a record. And surprisingly enough, the USPS tracking information continued to update even while it was in transit in Canada. It's so nice when things actually work the way they're supposed to. Things like quick shipping, accurate information from southern companies...they're luxuries up here.

2. I received a postcard from a cohort on a web forum I frequent. It also came from the USA, though it did take quite a bit longer. It came from New York state, so it doesn't make sense why it took longer than a package mailed 2 weeks later.

3. The last item, also from the USA, was from my boyfriend's mom. She sent me a really nice card and it made my day. Something as inexpensive and easy to do as mailing a card to somebody really makes a big difference. I'm going to try and remember that so I can repeat the gesture.

In other news, I have almost everything packed. The only stuff left is the stuff I'm still using. When Anthony comes up next weekend, we're going to finish it off and then I'll finally be able to relax! I want nothing more than to soak in my last few days here, go for some nice walks, eat some nice meals, and go for a couple drives. Besides the stress of giving away my cats, the move thus far has been seamless and easy. Even giving away the cats happened quickly, it was much quicker and easier to find a home than I originally anticipated. I can't remember if I mentioned in my previous entry, but there was about double the interest in the cats than my Suzuki or TV...combined! That was a big surprise. Had I known it would be easy to find somebody, I would not have been so stressed out about it all year.

I'm also happy because I have and will be donating a lot of stuff to charity. 3 boxes of stuff plus 3 garbage bags of clothing. On the weekend, I filled an entire Rubbermaid tote (the largest size) with clothes. I walked away for a moment and then had a breakthrough thought. I asked myself how I would feel if I was without most of those clothes. I realized I didn't care about most of them, and so with that I filled an entire garbage bag (about half the tote) to go to charity. Now I am bringing half a tote and a suitcase of clothes. Pretty good for a 24 year old clothes-buying addict, I have to say. I'm pretty proud of myself for that. Before last year, I was constantly buying clothes and other stuff online. I rarely buy clothes online anymore (I can count twice in the past year) and I only make the odd online purchase here and there anymore. A pretty big improvement from the once and twice a week online buying habit I had before!

Anyway, enough about materialism. My latest obsession is planning to buy a car when I move to Sarnia. Originally I wanted to buy something brand new but after giving it a lot of thought, I've decided to go with a nicer used vehicle. I've been looking online, but it only serves to make me feel impatient that I can't buy something RIGHT NOW. I know, car buying cannot and should not be an instant gratification thing, but I'm a generation NOW person and delaying the pleasure of buying a car is excruciating. Okay, that was a little melodramatic, but I am excited about owning a car that isn't so much of a soccer mom-mobile. And about seeing my friends and family. And having Timmy's and McDonald's whenever I want, at any time of the day I want. And mail that only takes a few days to arrive. And stop lights and highways and long Wal-Mart aisles of candy. And considering it was 17C today and I was sweating my butt off...air conditioning!

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