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.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


A few questions to those who would know:

1. Jeff and I are looking at winter boots from Winnipeg Outfitters. We'd like to buy most of our winter gear from the same place to cut back on shipping. I've found some nice boots (seen here) but they are only rated to -40C and the temperatures here can get down to -50C.

My question is, would -40C be good enough? I own wool socks and during the winter I'll probably be wearing the wool socks over a cotton pair of socks. Fortunately I live 1 minute from school and 1 minute to the Northern, so the majority of my time spent outside in the cold will be for less than 60 seconds. Of course, we do plan to get out on the ice and land this winter too, but that would only be a few times.

Maybe it's trivial, but I am trying to buy things I like aesthetically as well as for their practicality. I know I'll be wearing this stuff many times and for hopefully more than a few years so I want to like it and feel good wearing it.

For the ladies reading this, I also plan on getting these. As of right now, the warmest and most rugged pair of shoes I own is a pair of Nike runners so I figure I need to work on my sadly southern-Ontario-wussy footwear collection.

Are ski goggles a necessity? We don't want to buy anything we don't need.

3. Also, if anyone has ever purchased anything from Winnipeg Outfitters, we'd like to know if you had a good transaction or not.

(posted by Jaime)

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Alone on the Mainland

Jeff has gone to Coral Harbour until 11pm tonight so I'm alone on the North American mainland.

I had a Guides meeting tonight which I had to lead alone because our main leader had to leave for a family emergency. I was really nervous about leading Guides alone, especially since we had so much planned. It turned out pretty well, though. We had a mom helper who I honestly couldn't have done tonight without. She was a huge help.

I knew from reading other blogs that Inuit people won't always nod their head to say yes, they'll raise their eyebrows instead (like what people in the south do if they didn't hear something). I've been looking to see somebody do that, but I hadn't seen it yet until tonight. I had to ask a girl if something lying on the ground was hers, and the conversation went like this: "Is this yours? ...Is it? ...Is this yours? ...Yes? ...It's yours? ...This is yours, right? ...Right? ...This is yours? Yes? Okay."

After tonight's jam-packed meeting, I think I will relax by drinking this excellent Pepsi and watching some good old television.

On our sidebar I've added "resources for future Nunavummiut." Since one of the aims of our blog is to help people who are moving here, I finally got around to posting those links. If anyone knows of any other links that would help people who are moving here, please let me know.

(posted by Jaime)

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Something Cheap!

We've found something that is cheaper here than in Ontario! Books! Well, they're not cheaper here, they're cheaper everywhere. rocks my socks off! Their books are so cheap they almost pay you to take the books away!

As a comparison, I priced the same stuff at Chapters, and my $115 order at Amazon would've come out to over $160! It's insanity.

We got Everwood Season 1, because Everwood rocks our socks off. Jaime got a modern art/design book, and I got three novels/non-fiction books about Inuit/northern history. Wow, lots of '/'s in that sentence.

Anyway, I'm off to heat up some Hamburger Helper.

(posted by Jeff)

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Useless Update #1 of Probably Many

I just thought I'd make a little update to let everyone know we are alive, but just that nothing truly blog-worthy is going on right now.

We're settling into our schedules of school and work. My current courses are almost over. In fact, I'm taking my Intro to Computers exam today because I'm "ready" for it. So far in that class I have a 94% or 95%. Most of the things I got wrong were on matching definitions and most of them could be argued, but I don't care that much.

I just had my midterm yesterday in math and I got 96%. My mark in the class is probably 89%-ish. The residence coordinator asked me today how I liked the course so far and it was hard not to say, "It's extremely easy so far!" I just said something about it being, "good" and that I liked it, because I do.

Also, I've been to two Girl Guide meetings so far. I am kind of like the assistant leader I suppose. I am getting together with some other people in a few days to discuss leading Brownies. There is someone else interested in doing Brownies with me and I hope they still want to because I'm not sure if I have it in me yet to be THE Brownie leader. However, they don't just kind of throw you out there and say, "Go!" There's training and other leaders attend for awhile to help you out.

Next week the Guides are having an indoor camp and I'll be there. It should be fun.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the Guides thing so far. I'm in Management Studies at the college so I may as well learn some real-life management skills on the side, too. I've never been the type to jump at being a leader of anything so this should help quite a bit with that.

Well, I'm going to try to warm up. I accidentally left the bedroom window open while I went to school and when I came home I could see my breath inside the apartment!

(posted by Jaime)


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Inuktitut Dictionary

This is a list of Inuktitut words that I personally have come across (and not things I picked up from the Internet or other Inuktitut dictionaries).

Feel free to correct me if I am wrong anywhere. Also, please note that these are of a Kivalliq/Rankin Inlet dialect and may not be entirely correct in other parts of Nunavut.

aalliraujaq- table
achu (phonetic spelling)- I don't know
aggak- hand
aiviq- walrus
alluq_- to leave (alluqtunga: I leave; alluqtutit: you leave; alluqtuq: he/she/it leaves)
amautiq- woman's pull-over with giant hood for their child
amisuliurut- photo copier
angajaqpit- are you drunk?
anuri- windy
ani_- to go out (anijunga: I go out; anijutit: you go out, anijuq: he/she/it goes out)
apaakmak- a word children use to say "eating." Possible English equivilant of "num num."
apouti- snow
aqqut- road

iglu-house/snow house
ikima- to mount/ride something
ikpaksaq- yesterday
iksivautaq- chair
ila- I don't think it really has a proper English equivilant. I notice it gets used where a few different English words would be used, such as "yeah..." "I mean...", and "so..."
ilaali- you're welcome
ilinniarvik- school
ingit_- to sit down (ingittunga: I sit down; ingittutit: you sit down; ingittutit: he/she/it sits down)
inuit qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) - traditional inuit knowledge
inuk- 1 inuit person (inuuk- 2 inuit people)
iqaluk- fish (not sure of the specfic species, though, but I'm guessing char)
irmusiq- cup
irniq- son
isuma_-to think (isumajunga: I think; isumajututit: you think; isumajuq: he/she/it thinks)

japa- parka

kablu- eyebrow
kakiaq- fork
kakivak- a fish spear
kamik- sealskin boot
kamotik- dog sled (also spelled qamutik)
Kangiqliniq- Inuktitut word for Rankin Inlet
kayak- qajaq
kiinaujaq- money
kina- who?
kinauvi- who are you?
kiviuq-the first inuit man. Inuit equivilant of Adam. The legend says that he is still living somewhere out in the tundra and is slowly turning to stone (an inukshuk). When he finally turns to stone the world will end.
kublu- thumb
kuluk- endearment, i.e. "darling," or "dear"
kusugak- icicle
kuuk- river

malik_- to follow (maliktunga: I follow; maliktutit: you follow; maliktuq: he/she/it follows)
masak- marshy, spongey ground
matna/mutna- thank you

nakumi- thank you
nanuq- polar bear
naqittaut- keyboard
nasaq- 1 hat (nasaaq-2 hats, nasait-3 hats)
natiq- floor
natsiq- seal
niri-to eat
niuvirvik- store
nuka- younger brother or sister
nuliaq- wife
nunamiut- a person from the land
nungusaut- eraser
nutaralaq- baby
nuvua-point (noun)
nuvvuksaut- sharpener


pallugaaq- bannock
paniq- daughter
paply- the handle of an inuit drum
pisuk_- to walk (pisuktunga: I walk; pisuktutit: you walk; pisuktuq: he/she/it walks)
piujuq- pretty or beautiful
putuguq- toe

qablunaat/qallunaat-white/non-inuit person
qanuipi- how are you?
qaqa- beaming from praise
qaujisaut- clock
qaukpat- tomorrow
qiajuq- he is crying
qimmiq- dog
qingaq- nose
qiniq- to search
qipanniq- full of hatred/anger
qisianni- however/but
qungat_-to smile (qungattunga: I smile; qungattutit: you smile; qungatuq: he/she/it smiles)

sakku- the removeable spearhead of a harpoon
sanaugaq- child
sanaugarijara- I created him/her
savik- knife
sila- temperature
siksik- arctic ground squirrel
siku- ice
sinigvik- sleeping bag
siniktarvik- hotel (translation: place to sleep)
sinik_- to sleep (siniktunga: I sleep; siniktutit: you sleep; siniktuq: he/she/it sleeps)
sukajukkut- fax machine
suna- what thing?
suva- pardon?

taku_-to see (takujunga: I see; takujututit: you see; takujuq: he/she/it sees)
tapiriit- united/together
tasiq- lake
tikit_-to arrive (tikittunga: I arrive; tikittutit: you arrive; tikittuq: he/she/it arrives)
tingmisuuq- airplane
titirarvik- office
titiraut- pencil
titirarviksaq- writing paper
tuksiarvik- church
tuktu- caribou
tuputaujaq- needle/pin

uanakutsungaa!- an exclamation for when children use adult words (in inuktitut, children have words that they are encouraged to use while they are kids)
ublakut/ullakut- good morning
ublukut/ullukut- good afternoon
ui- husband (uiga- my husband)
ullaaq- morning
ulu- a woman's knife
umiaq- boat
unuksakkut- good evening
uqaluut- telephone

(posted by Jaime)

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Trip to Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Park

We were fortunate enough to have Jaime's classmate and her husband take us out on the land today. It was great. We went to the local territorial park, the entrance of which is on the right.

Here are some more pictures:

Above: This is the Meliadine river inside the park. All you can see is big boulders in all directions. It doesn't look like much of a river, but you could hear it quite well from where we were standing.

This is a sod house. It is a caribou skin roof.

Geese flying South.

Our picture of the day: An arctic fox eating what looks to be a white mitten. Hopefully there still isn't a hand in it.

A portly little siksik.

The 18th hole of the Rankin Inlet Golf and Country Club: where the greens are like carpet.

There are lots more on our Flicker page if you want to see them. Check out the Thule site and a photo of Jaime and me in the sod house.

(posted by Jeff)

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

No Longer Newbies?

I'm pretty sure I just witnessed two qallunaats' first visit to the Northern. They were looking around at everything and talking like they'd never been there before. I've never seen them around town either and even though I know we're still new, you kind of pay attention to the other qallunaats.

I tried to follow them around for a bit but I didn't want to be obvious. And let's face it, I was way too amused with the idea of other newbies to keep my cool. I'll feel pretty stupid if I meet these people (or they read this blog!) and they've been living here forever, but they seemed very green. I suddenly felt like a Rankin guru as I checked out and left. It was a nice feeling.

School is going well. Both my classes are easy as predicted but I don't mind. I like having things to work on. It feels nice to use my brain.

I plan on calling the local Girl Guide leader to see if they need volunteers. My friend from school told me they are apparently always looking for volunteers and that they do a lot of camping and trips out on the land. I really hope they want me to volunteer because it's been my dorky life-long dream to be a Guide leader.

(posted by Jaime)

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Last Summer Days

Well judging by the other Nunavut blogs, Rankin is the place to be right now! Today it was around 15C. It felt amazing. Jeff and I never got to go to the Thule site this weekend but we took a very long walk around town today. It seems that everytime we go for a walk we find more. We found the cemetary today which anyone who has been here will know isn't much of an accomplishment, haha. It's not out of town or anything.

Jeff and I have been toying with the idea of getting a small SUV next year instead of an ATV. I was pretty against getting a traditional vehicle but now that we talk about it, it doesn't seem like too bad of an idea. Tons of people own trucks, vans, or SUVs here.

As predicted, Jeff and I are becoming TV addicts. TVTropolis is amazing! As is The CW. I doubt we'll get satellite now, even if it does mean less reliability in blizzards. I wouldn't want to spend a blizzard watching television, anyway.

We took our parkas out for a dry run the other night. It wasn't very cold, maybe 5C so we stayed pretty warm. And by "pretty warm," I mean sweating. My parka is great on the legs, it's like wearing a down-filled sleeping bag.

I start actual class tomorrow, I'm excited. I only have two classes (until October 4) and they're both going to be pretty easy. One is Business Math which I guess is comparable to high school math which should be a breeze for me (I'm pretty good with math). The other course is Intro to Microcomputers which I've been told is very easy. If we had stayed in London I'd be taking an IT course right now at Fanshawe College so you can only imagine how easy this course is going to be for me. Other students have said it's sickeningly easy. At least I'll have a good average! The courses here last anywhere from 9-20 classes so it should be easy to stay on track and not get sick of anything.

Have a good week everybody! Let's hope the weather stays this nice.

(posted by Jaime)

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Friday, September 08, 2006


Ah, a good week has come to its end (kind of, it's Friday).

We had 2 elders come in to our class today to show us miniature replicas of traditional tools. It was very interesting. They only spoke Inuktitut and at first the person who came with them didn't translate and I was kind of upset because I wanted to know what they were saying. Finally the two of us that don't know Inuktitut got translations which was nice, I was glad to understand! I can catch the occasional word like "qallunaat" (white person), "umingmak" (muskox), "okalik" (rabbit), and "siksik" (squirrel) but not much more than that. Afterward we all got to look at their tools and I asked lots of questions. Their tools are so clever.

After that we had our class photo taken which is going in either the Nunavut News or Kivalliq News next week. I'll have to buy both to see. So anyone in the Kivalliq region, check it out next week! If anyone in the south wants one, let me know and I'll send you one.

I got my college email address and it's only three letters off of Jeff's work email address, haha. Mine is [deleted for privacy].
The J Hunters are taking over the GN! I am amused when I think of how appropriate our last name is here, haha.

Because of our field trip yesterday, I was able to properly identify three Inuktitut syllabics on the wall today of our class (there are flash card type things of each syllabic around the class). One of my friends showed me how easy it is to say the whole alphabet. I'm going to keep working at it and pretty soon I'll be able to translate the syllabics into roman letters. I won't have any idea what they mean but I'll be able to actually say them! I've already translated part of the newspaper, heh. It's nerdy fun.

The same friend said if the weather stays nice that she and her husband may take us out to the Thule site. That would totally rock, especially for Jeff who couldn't make his Marble Island trip.

Weather, please stay nice this weekend!

(posted by Jaime)

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Field Trip Day

I just came back from my field trip! It was very, very cool.

For starters, I haven't used any mode of transportation besides my feet since August 1st so I was even looking forward to the bus ride.

I got to school and someone told me that I should have brought a container for picking berries. I didn't feel like walking home to get one but I was lucky that someone else lent me a container.

When we got on the bus and drove away I was giddy to not be walking! I sat at the very back and it was the bumpiest 25 minutes of my life but a lot of fun. I was kind of disappointed that I didn't have a camera to take photos with because it was such great scenery. When we got there a few of us immediately started picking berries. I didn't get too many, maybe a couple of handfuls. I wish I understood Inuktitut a bit better because I can't understand what people's names are. I need to see them written down before I even attempt to repeat them! Haha.

We picked berries for about 45 minutes until it was lunch. It was great timing because I could hardly feel my fingers anymore. My current winter jacket is quite short and coupled with the fact I was wearing jeans and no wind pants, my lower back was so cold and exposed. When I was trying to get my food my fingers were so cold and tired I almost dropped things.

For lunch we had sandwiches and caribou chili. The chili was really good; not spicy at all which I can't stand. After lunch someone had caught 3 arctic chars and started gutting one right there on the floor. I was mesmerized because I've never fished in my life and I've never seen a fish cut open in front of me. I think the guy cutting the fish heard me say that because he took a chunk of its insides and started eating them while watching my reaction. He cut up some of the fish and only a few people started eating it. Some people were trying to get me to eat it too but I was hesitant because I realized if I didn't like it, I would probably start gagging and I didn't want to embarrass myself. I finally caved into the peer pressure and grabbed a big chunk and I actually liked it. The skin was a bit hard to eat but something tells me they're not big on chewing here.

So that was my proud moment.
After that we all played games of which I won none. It was okay, though, because the prizes were mostly children's sized clothes and we don't have kids.

One of my friends brought her husband, baby, and puppy. Her husband said the puppy was an 8-week-old 95% huskey, 5% lab...but all that meant to me was that it was sooooo cute.

The cabin we had gone to was in Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga park. I tried to find the cabin on Google Earth but I can't seem to locate it.

All in all it was a fabulous day but after today I think it's parka time until next July. :)

(posted by Jaime)

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cable At Last

We have cable!!

The cable is amazing, too. We get so many channels that you have to pay extra for in the south. TLC, MuchMusic, Discovery, Comedy Network, and my favourite so far...TVTropolis!

It appears we may even have some movie channels.

This is awesome.

(posted by Jaime)

First Minus Night

Well, it reached -0.6 last night. It pretty much feels that temperature during the day although the thermometre says it's 4. I put the electric blanket on the bed (thanks for the gift, Laura!) because my feet were so cold. It's very soft...I love electric blankets.

We decided to go with cable TV for the time being. We don't want to turn into TV zombies, we'd both rather spend the winter doing more productive things or at least, less mindless activities. Our cable was supposed to be hooked up yesterday but it wasn't. I called and they told me to call again today if it still wasn't hooked up, which it isn't. I'd really like to watch some TV tonight since Jeff is off to Coral Harbour until tomorrow.

Orientation is still going well. It's a bit boring but what orientation week isn't? I know from our site meter that there are Rankin residents who read our blog so I'm a teensy bit paranoid all the time now that I'm in the presence of one of our readers. If someone looks at me a little longer than normal, I start convincing myself that they're one of the Rankin readers.

I just looked out the window and I see that the windmill is moving! Jeff was told that they locked it up because they didn't have the proper resources to do maintenance on it.

Well, that's all for me until something exciting happens!

(posted by Jaime)

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Parka Arrival!

Our parkas arrived today! Companies can sure ship fast when you spend $1100 on two jackets! Anyway, here we are:

I think my mom had this haircut in the eighties. Just kidding Mom! (sorta)

At least if they're not warm enough in -70C windchill, they'll keep us warm in the kitchen.

(posted by Jeff)

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First Day of College

I just came back from my first half of orientation at the college.
I'm excited to get going with it but this whole week is just for orientation.

There's just over 40 students going to the college. I'm not sure how many of those are Management Studies students but it seems to be a popular program choice. There's not many programs that are offered. There's Management Studies, Office Admin, CARS (some airplane thing), Midwifery, and Basic Adult Education. So that means there's about 5 classrooms and about 6-8 instructors, haha. I kept thinking about my brother and how he went to Western University...the school with the same amount of students as Nunavut's entire population (30 000).

Since it's so small, the instructors I met already knew my name. I was just like, "How did you know my name?" but I never really got an answer. I'm the only non-Inuit female student but there are about 5 "qallunaat" guys. We listened to a bunch of people talk today and every now and then they'd break out into Inuktitut while I sat there pretending I knew what they were saying. I find that if there's a better way to say something in Inuktitut, they will say it in Inuktitut.

Also, our parkas are in!!! I have no idea when we're going to pick them up at the airport. I'm hoping Jeff will slip out of work early and go get them. I don't know when the Canadian North booth closes so I don't know if I can pick them up after school.

I was jealous because Jeff gets to go to Marble Island either this week or on the weekend but it turns out the staff and students from the college are going out on the land to an elders' cabin where we get a catered lunch. Ha ha, Jeff! Two can play at this field trip game!

All in all, I'm totally looking forward to the rest of this week and my school year.

(posted by Jaime)