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.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Stuffless and Ready to Go

This is just a short entry to say that the (free) packers and movers came on Friday and took most of our stuff away. The mover who drove the truck acted like he thought we were off our rocker for moving to Nunavut. He did what a lot of people have been doing: he got a little huffy and said "Why? There's nothing to do there!"
Jeff and I can't stand that comment. Not only does it ALWAYS come from somebody who's never been to Nunavut, but it's completely hypocritical. We ask, well what is there to do to here? What do we do here that is so much better than what Nunavumiuts do? We go to malls? We see concerts? I can live without malls and concerts.

During my cleaning on Thursday, I thought to myself that the people who make the "nothing to do" comment aren't saying it because they know there's apparently nothing to do. They say it because 1. they don't know anything about Nunavut so that automatically means there's nothing to do there; and 2. they themselves wouldn't move to Nunavut because they don't know anything about it, hence point 1.

One thing I'm glad to leave behind is all the "experts" here in Ontario who think they know what Nunavut is all about. I'm sure anyone who's moved to Nunavut from elsewhere has encountered this.

Anyway, I've got things to do! This may be our last entry before the big move so see you in Nunavut!

(posted by Jaime)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pre-Moving Day

Our apartment is the new Ground Zero, I swear. The movers are coming tomorrow, my last day of work was Tuesday. It is utter bedlam: Stacks, piles, heaps, and mounds of stuff -- everywhere! Fly up piles. Move up piles. Garbage piles. Into storage piles. Numerous give away piles for numerous lucky family members. On top of tomorrow being moving day, it's also garbage day. Us Londoners are subject to a four-bag-per-household limit which may just get violated tomorrow.

On top of all that, I seem to have acquired an on-again-off-again cold which isn't helping my level of sorting performance. I felt pretty good yesterday until last night, but have felt really run-down again today. Not good timing, since there seems to be six hundred new things to do around every corner. Jaime's out doing some laundry right now... She said she was coming back after packing the stuff into the washers, but I haven't seen her yet. I hope she hasn't up and runoft with some laundromat guy just to avoid coming back here.

Right now I'm working on books. Pretty hard to decide what to do with our books (three bookcases full). My job is of indeterminant duration, and I'm having a hard time anticipating whether we're really going to like it up there, and stay for a long time, or if we'll be back in a year. I'd hate to have to pay $10,000 to ship all of our stuff back if we take stuff that's "too good." Ahhh, damn, maybe I'm overanalyzing the situation.

Oh well, back to it...

(posted by Jeff)


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wedding Photos

As requested, here are some of the wedding photos.

Top: The cake, obviously. Bottom: Jeff and me, right after the ceremony.

Top: I sign the forms. Bottom: Jeff signs the forms while I look on.

Top: An obligatory photo of the ceremony. Bottom: Drinking champagne, just before cutting the cake.

Top: Making a goofy face whilst switching to Diet Coke to sober up. Bottom: Take a wild guess!

Hope you like them!

(posted by Jaime)

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Saturday, July 22, 2006


Well, our wedding was yesterday. It went very well might I say. It turned out to be a lot less low-key than I expected. Our original plan was have a ceremony at City Hall with just our witnesses as the guests. It turned into a 40-person, backyard wedding. I ended up getting my hair done and we were happily surprised when the next-door neighbours showed up with an organ to play The Wedding March. The neighbours even took our photos in their beautiful yard with their expensive camera.

It turned out to be so much more fun than I expected, too. Definitely one of the best days I've ever had, if not THE best.

Jeff and I have some pretty intense thank-you cards to send out.

On Wednesday the local moving company came to estimate our things. It was a strange experience. The lady got done fairly quickly and I commented that it's kind of sad when all of two people's life's collections can be counted in 15 minutes. I don't really think that as it's quite a step-up from the "olden days" when people were nomads.

As I've mentioned before, our things are being moved this Friday (July 28). It seems so close and also so far away. I can't believe we're moving to Nunavut next week, it's still surreal. It's almost too cool to be true.

I think Jeff and I are pretty much finished buying things to bring up. I don't think it's actually possible to ever be completely finished but what we have will have to do. With everything we've bought/received so far, I'm excited for our shipment to arrive in Nunavut. So many things are brand new, it's going to be like Christmas when it does arrive.

One more thing I wanted to add before I finish this is that if you are not a Blogger member and you comment on our journal, we'd like if you somehow let us know who you are. When you comment, you have to option to select "Other" for identity and then type in your name. You do not need a website for that. It would help us a lot as we've received some advice and we have no idea where it comes from or how to get back to you about it. Thank you!

(posted by Jaime)

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Preparation Messes

Here are some photos of SOME of what we've accumulated so far.
I apologize for the bad quality of the photos, I'm tempted not to post them at all but hey, why not! You can deal with blurriness and not enough light, right? Maybe one day I'll learn how to use Jeff's extremely complicated camera.

This is what $300 worth of household goods looks like. We bought multiples of practically everything

The "living" room.

Here we see toilet paper, paper towel, a deep-fryer, a food processor, four boxes of laundry detergent, a microwave, drinking glasses, and a toaster.

This is almoast all cat food. There are some camping chairs and fabric softerner on the side.

Our cat, Leah. You can hardly see her but she's thinking, "Can I open just one of those giant bags of cat food? Pleeeeaaase?"

(posted by Jaime)

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Complicated Airline

Good newses.

1. The moving company is coming to do an estimate on Wednesday morning.
2. They are coming to actually move our stuff July 28th. Yay. It's as far away as possible!
3. Leah is all booked and ready to become an aerodynamic, gravity-defying kitty.

I called First Air and Air Canada today to book Leah. Air Canada was blah and First Air was pretty nice. I asked about bringing her in the cabin and this was the conversation:
Me: Are cats allowed in the cabin?
Rep: Yes.
Me: How big can the carrier be?
Rep: It has to be a soft-sided carrier.
Me: But how big can it be?
Rep: Small enough to be included as a carry-on.
Me: What are the measurements of that?
Rep: Small enough to fit under a seat.
Me: *gives up* Okay, gotcha.

I asked if I had to give a definite answer about my plans with that and they said no. They have to call back to confirm and they did about an hour ago. Someone else called and said, "It's okay for your small cat to be in the cabin."
Me: Uhh yeah, about that. I'd have to buy a smaller carrier and I don't think I'm going to do that. I'll just have her in the cargo hold. Can you change the reservation or does it have to sent through again?
Rep: It has to be re-sent in.
Me: I'm sorry for the confusion, I was told I didn't have to give a definite answer right away.
Rep: Ohhhhhhhhkayyyy, someone else will call you to confirm your cat can ride in the CARGO HOLD.
Me: Uh, okay.

I was kind of amused when I called First Air and there was no long-winded voice menu at the beginning. A human being picked up immediately. Remember those days, before voice menus? I wonder if in the future, everybody will have their own voice menu.
Hi, this is Jaime's phone. If you are calling just to chat, press one. If you are calling to arrange a get-together, press two. If you are family and calling to complain about something, please call while our phone is unplugged between the hours of 12am and 9am any day of the week. If you are a telemarketer and wish to sell me something, please press the number that is 10 times 605.32 minus 3 divided by .457 plus 4 564 482 minus 4577712.

(posted by Jaime)

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Sunday, July 16, 2006


Well, we've got the marriage license and the rings.

Jeff and I had a very profitable weekend in Sarnia.
Not only did we get several lucrative wedding gifts, but we got our upcoming wedding completely sorted out. All that's left is to leave the cooking up to Jeff's mom and everything will be finished.

We got the first rings we looked at today in the mall. They're some "comfort fit" thing but they are true to their name! I am excited for a new piece of jewelry. Jeff and I keep trying on the rings. Unfortunately, they're going have to be resized after the wedding and we won't get them back until July 28th. At least we'll have them for when we leave, that's all that matters! I wish we could just keep them but we have our whole lives to wear them, what's a few more days?

Besides some very generous money (wedding) gifts from three different relatives, Jeff and I have received The Joy of Cooking (ha ha), a deep-fryer (woo hoo), a food processor (woo hoo again), and long-johns. I meant to buy us some long-johns so that gag gift worked out very nicely.

Anyway, this blog isn't a wedding blog, it's a Nunavut blog. Back to business. This weekend we got:
1. A bread maker.
2. A humidifier.
3. Some fancy coasters.
4. A toaster.
5. A microwave.
6. A vacuum cleaner.
7. $131 worth of cat food (60 cans and five extra-large bags of dry food)
8. 4 large boxes of laundry detergent.
9. 3 large bottles of all-purpose cleaner.
10. Other boring stuff I can't remember.
11. Several large (used) suitcases.

We are following advice from the Nunabloggers and the the Gone North bloggers who both gave us some excellent advice. There is pretty much nothing but shopping and sorting until the movers come, which hopefully is later than sooner.

Anyway, we learned this weekend that we have some regular readers. Funny, you'd never know by the amount of comments we get. ;)

Well, I'm not sure how much we'll be posting this week. My cousin is coming to visit me from Barrie this week and then it's our wedding on Friday. Hopefully we still have some energy left by the time this week is over.

(posted by Jaime)

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Thursday, July 13, 2006


Wow, our prayers have been answered.

The relocation officer emailed Jeff with our flight confirmations!!
We leave August 1st (yay). Flight #1 is to Toronto. Flight #2 is to Winnipeg. Then, after a 6 hour layover (ouch), Flight #3 leaves for Rankin Inlet. This is one flight less than I thought we'd take, so I'm pretty happy about that. I'm still very nervous about taking our cat, Leah, but we are going to call Air Canada and First Air to get the information we need so I can stop having a stroke everytime I think about it.

Our apartment/townhouse (don't know yet) will be furnished, too. I am excited about that. New furniture!

Jeff and I have been eating greasy foods for the last week or so because we figure we'll have to start eating healthier once we move up there. I've heard that there are KFC Express things in convenience stores up there and if so that's pretty cool. I'm not a big fan of KFC but it's probably Jeff's favourite place so what are the chances that his favourite fast food restaurant would be in Nunavut?

Okay, so this post was kinda pointless. Jeff says he's going to call Air Canada right now and he may make a post later tonight, so hopefully this isn't all from us.

I just noticed that today is the first day since Sunday when I haven't been bugged by my family with endless phone calls! Yay! It's a good day today.

(posted by Jaime)

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Jeff and I have still have not heard back from the HR Deparment regarding Jeff's references. So I can't really comment on anything specifically moving related right now because everything is still up in the air, but I'll just say that it's highly, highly doubtful we'll be moving when originally planned (August 1st).

Anyway, Jeff has still not handed in his notice at work. I don't personally think they're going to take away his offer; they've already given him an official offer and we know that at least one of his references said nice things about him. By the time everything gets sorted out, it's probably going to be October. It's quite irritating that Jeff is always the one to call them, I can't understand why they're not on the ball a little more.

In other news, our wedding has been set for July 21st. Excluding shot gun / Vegas weddings, I think we're breaking a record for fastest planned wedding. My family (well, my mom) specifically doesn't seem to appreciate it, but they're dealing with it. I've been complained to so many times since Sunday (when we set the date), I almost want to tell some of my family, "Okay, we'll push the wedding back to November. But Jeff and I won't be there, so have fun at our wedding."
I personally don't see what the big deal is. I keep telling my family, "Stop thinking of it as a wedding with short notice, it's just a going-away party where two people happen to be getting married."

I guess I'll finish this post letting everyone know I quit my job on Sunday. I didn't say goodbye to anybody and I kind of regret it, but I just couldn't take all the questions about Nunavut climate anymore. If anyone from my work is reading this, please comment and let me know. I sent out a mass email to all my friends at work but only one has bothered to follow up.

Sorry if this entry seems naggy, I'm just getting frustrated with everything, mainly the lack of real planning that we can do as far as moving goes, and the over-planning of our wedding.

(edited at 3:32pm)
I have changed the layout, yay. It took about an hour but it's finally exactly how I want it. Hopefully Jeff likes it too!

Also, Jeff called Nunavut today at lunch and they said everything is fine, so he is handing in his notice today. He no longer will be speaking with the staffing consultant, it's up to the relocation officer now. Yay!

(posted by Jaime)

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

You Want What Now?

OK... so I was about to hand in my two weeks' notice at work tomorrow when I received an email from the people hiring me. They sent a document requesting my signature so they can check my references. This worried me because suddenly I wondered if their "official" offer had been revoked.

I gave them a call and got no real answer as to whether or not I should be worried. That in itself worried me. They said that they had forgotten to check my references before hiring me which is a little sketchy. I should keep telling myself that maybe they were just so excited to have found someone as intelligent as me that they just offered me the job without thinking about it first, ha ha. I signed the document and gave them a few references to check. Part of me thinks they may not even call them; they just want them on record. I'm really not all that concerned if they do call my references - I have good ones that like me, but this situation is a bit unnerving... I'm about to start a new project at my current work tomorrow morning (going to the first project meeting) and I really shouldn't go if I'm leaving -- I was going to quit beforehand... and I've pretty much decided to quit before I go, I mean, I have a written job offer, which I signed, and returned... can they even back out now if my references say I'm the most horrendous worker they ever met?

I'm not trying to be bitchy towards the HR people -- they've been more then excellent and awesome in every way, and I think part of the reason this step was missed was because I've been pushing them so much to get everything together, almost to the point that I feel guilty when I call there. I can't help it though, I've never been so excited about a job before... it seems like so much more than just a "job." I'd say this is the first time I've been offered a job where I can say that this is 100% the direction I want to be going in, career-wise. Above and beyond that, it offers a cultural experience far beyond what anything in Ontario could ever offer.

(posted by Jeff with contributions by Jaime)

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

26 Days Until Nunavut

Hey, Jaime here. I figured I'd just elaborate a little bit on Jeff's post.

The people hiring Jeff say we'll be flying up August 1st. I am actually surprised at how soon it is. I figured it'd be no earlier than September. It's a happy surprise though, I wouldn't want it any sooner and it's not so far into the future that it'll drive me batty with excitement before ever getting there.

Jeff and I returned to Sarnia this past weekend to celebrate Canada Day and to break the news to our parents. As soon as we got to Jeff's parents' place, his mom knew something was up. She kept asking what was going on until I made Jeff tell her. She was surpsied, but happy. Jeff's dad seemed pretty happy too. He's like my dad; he's happy as long as we're happy. The rest of our parents had similar reactions. Everyone except my mom, who got ticked off and went straight to bed after I told her. I think she's warming up to the idea, though.

In better news, I handed in my notice today at work. I am going to be finishing next Friday (July 14). It was a great moment, I've been waiting 11 months to hand it in. I didn't know what to write so I made up some BS about enjoying my tenure there (11 months). Jeff is handing in his notice on Friday (for his last day to be July 21st). I'm afraid Jeff isn't giving himself enough time and there's too much for one person to handle. The to-do list keeps growing as the time gets shorter. I am feeling quite a bit of pressure to get it all finished. Jeff and I are NOT to-do list people so having these goals and knowing they absolutely need to be completed is pretty daunting.

Anyway, the real reason behind this post is because I wanted to make a top 5 list of what I'm looking forward to about moving to Nunavut:
(in no specific order)

1. Clean(er) air.
2. The Northern Lights.
3. No chain stores (besides the Northern store).
4. Leaving being all the wannabe Hollywood movie stars.
5. Getting better acquainted with this beautiful country.

(posted by Jaime)

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It's Official!

Well, it's official, or at least it should be. I've always been suspect of job offers, thinking they'll fall through between the time when I hand in my notice at my old job, and start at the new one. Today, I sent back my signed job offer, thereby accepting the position in Rankin Inlet.

We are so excited about this. I recognize that it is a huge change, but we think it's going to be great. Seeing people's reaction to the news that we're going way way up north is interesting. It seems to be a 50/50 split between those who think we're utterly insane and those who think it is an excellent idea. What are we going to miss out on by not being in Southwestern Ontario for 75 of our 75 years? I sort of envision staying here being somewhat like the following: buy a house, pop out some kids, retire, and die - not necessarily in that order. I think we can put all these exciting things off for a few years.

The three things I am most looking forward to, related specifically to the move:
1. Exposure to the culture/language of the Inuit.
2. The stars/northern lights at night. When there is 'night.'
3. The fresh air.

(posted by Jeff)

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