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, January 25, 2009

Great News

Good things are happening in the land of Jaime. I'm starting a new job soon! Same organization, same pay and all that, but in a different building and doing different work. I'll be doing completely different work from what I do now, so it'll be a great learning experience. I've been with my current organization since June 2007 and I've been on a term contract the whole time. In Rankin Inlet, it wasn't a big deal, because I was covering a maternity leave and already had my own apartment. In Iqaluit it's different, because federal government employees here get housing (and I happen to be a federal government employee). I'll finally get my own apartment which is a big deal. I can finally settle down a bit and the best part: decorate.

So yay to me! I'm very excited about the new job. I'll be sad to leave my current office, but I need a change and this is a great opportunity for that. I really like my job but I couldn't turn down an opportunity to let my career grow. Now that I have this permanent contract and a new job, it'll be easier to stay here in Iqaluit for a long time. I always planned to stay in Nunavut for ten years. I have no idea if it'll happen, but so far so good. I'm working on my 3rd year already, it's hard to believe.

So, despite a minor setback last week, things are going well. I expect this year to end much differently than it started and I'm pretty darn excited for it.

It's nice that things have been going so well for me since I moved to Iqaluit. If you know me personally, I think you'd agree I really deserve it...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lessons Learned

Well, my dear readership, I never claimed to be a smart person.

I recently moved again (within Iqaluit, long story) to yet another place that isn't "mine." So anyway, I plugged my car in at this new place. Normally, at the old place, the car would still struggle to start despite being plugged in. I moved to a colder area of town and Monday morning, the vehicle starts no problem. It was fairly cold outside, so I was confused. Why did it start so easily? I thought about it on and off during the day, and realized at some point that the outlet at the old place was probably never turned on at the panel! Duh! As stupid as I felt, it came as a relief because it had bothered me before that plugging it in didn't always work. Now I know it was just the outlet. I hope I didn't do any damage to my Suzuki.

Among other recent lessons learned, I learned that moving in -40C is not fun, not fun at all. But that's whole other story.

Well, I'm off to get ready for wing night, one of the perks of living in Iqaluit. Wings and beer and good friends...Wednesday nights don't get any better!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year Ramblings

Whoever suggested gasline antifreeze, thank you! It seems to be working well for my cold-frightened Suzuki. I know a few people actually suggested it but I had no idea how to obtain this product and put in my car. Then someone told me, "Just ask the gas pump attendant and they pour it in." Easy enough! This is my first car so I'm still learning the ropes.

The New Year's resolutions are still going well. I decided to drop the resolution to renew my membership at Atii Fitness Centre. I never really enjoyed going to the classes there, the few times I did. I didn't have a bad experience with them per se, I just didn't enjoy them very much. I think it's the wall of mirrors you face in the "classroom." I don't like looking at myself or the idea that other people could be mocking my complete lack of grace.

I've taken a new approach to my exercise regime. I used to go right after work to get it done with, but I realized that since I generally have nothing to do anyway, I'll push it back later. That way I (usually) get the gym to myself and I know I can't eat snacks when I get home from work at 4. And when I do get home after the gym, I don't have enough time to sit around getting bored. It works for me, though probably not for other people who have kids and spouses and whatnot.

Anyway. The days are getting longer again which I'm sure every northerner is thrilled about. On Friday I was driving home from work at 4pm and I thought, "Wow, the sky isn't completely black! Yay!" It was just mostly black.

Right now I'm in a mental bind about my vacation. I planned to go out in April but every way I look at it, it seems better to wait until late spring or early summer. I don't really want to wait, though, but I suppose sacrifices have to be made sometimes. This time around, I'll be hitting up the Dominican Republic, Montreal, Hamilton, and my hometown, Sarnia. As close as I lived to Hamilton my whole life (3 hours away), I can't recall ever going there. My boyfriend is from Hamilton so I'm going to go meet his family (we're taking vacation together).

As any northerner has probably experienced, going home at holidays is usually described as "busy and hectic." Everybody in a 200 mile radius that you're acquainted with wants you to come visit them when it's generally not feasible for you. I have a hard time scheduling in everybody and every time, somebody has to be dropped. I dropped out Toronto when I went home last March which angered one of my friends. I can understand why they'd be upset that I didn't come visit, but if they understood how many things I need to do when I'm in Ontario, I hope they'd understand. For me, Toronto is the "must go to" spot for all of my vacations. My brother and my two best friends live there, as well as other relatives whom I haven't even had time to see in a few years. It is really hard to plan all this, especially when you have to plan it around people's schedules. I heard someone up here once say that if our friends and family want to see us so badly, they should come to us! I must say, I agree. It would make my life that much easier!

Now for some pictures from December!

My friend Tori's mittens during a walk. Tori, being from Ontario and all, found it amusing that ice was forming on us during a cold morning walk.

Steam rising up from the sides of the breakwater dock. I'd never seen anything like this before.

Another view of the steam at the breakwater.

One last view of the steam.

Boats in the morning.

I love the shape of this building. I can't imagine how cramped it is inside, though!

A dog watching Tori and I.

The road near the breakwater.

Getting ready to go to my work Christmas party. Notice the dress over the snowpants?

Me on my way to the Christmas party. I am actually quite dressed up under all this. I apologize for the weird look on my face.

Sled dogs near the dump.

Iqaluit from New Plateau area.

Iqaluit from the breakwater dock.

Yours truly, covered in ice.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Dear Qiniq,

I apologize for all the lousy things I've called your company recently (never to your face, though, I'm not one of those people). You see, your modem had annoyingly been resetting itself over and over again, approximately once every 15 seconds. The internet was barely useable and was extremely slow when I was able to get sites to load (without photos of course). I blamed your company and chalked it up to the usual slow-downs we experience sometimes as your customers. I understand you are way over-subscribed and cannot help it. When this problem went on for two or three weeks, I still blamed your company and hoped it would get better. I even thought of blaming my wireless router, thinking maybe its signal was getting in the way of yours. Your modem didn't seem to think so, though. It just kept on blinking.

Luckily (and I'll explain that later), when I came home from work today, my modem was being okay but pages were not loading. I unplugged your modem and let it set for about 5 minutes. When I came back and plugged it in, I realized your modem had slipped away permanently to Modem Heaven and would no longer be able to connect me to Facebook. Within 5 minutes of this, I was in your office with my modem, and you agreed it was broken. You gave me a new modem and now I can finally use the Internet in a somewhat-normal way. I'm now SLIGHTLY getting my $120/month's worth, as opposed to NOT AT ALL when it wasn't working. I say I'm lucky the modem died because I probably would have continued blaming your company for several more weeks until I realized something was actually wrong.

RIP Old Modem, you lived a hard life.


One of your surplus customers

Sometimes, I really can't believe I pay $120/month for the Internet, and not even a fast connection at that. The thing is, I've used the lower tier of Qiniq ($60/month) and it was so bad I couldn't handle it. I'm an Internet junkie, I use my own connection probably 4-6 hours a night and if my Internet is slow, I'm gonna be grouchy.

Anyway. I've been keeping up with my resolutions so far. I've been going to bed early, taking my vitamin pills, and today I brought some treats to work (at 8am, not 8:30am). I haven't rejoined Atii Fitness Centre yet, I'm not sure if I will this month. I'm trying to eat healthier and I worked out today. So all that's left are the long-term plans.

Oh, and I am working on a BIG grocery prices post for the past several months. I've been collecting all my receipts and plan to scan them and write a post. Sadly, Iqaluit's prices are no match to Rankin Inlet's inflation, but I hope it'll still amuse some.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! 2009 is going to be a good year, I can just feel it. I'm not sure what I thought about 2008 when it first started, but I do remember feeling like it would be a year unlike any other.

I achieved several goals in 2008. I made a point of being as independent as possible and it has served me very well. 2008 was one of those years where I feel like if I could get through it, I could do just about anything.

Highlights of 2008 include:
-Moving to Iqaluit and living by myself for the first time
-Adopting Moon Unit and Dweezil (kittens)
-Buying my Suzuki
-Going on vacation by myself to BC
-Getting my tattoo and snug piercing
-Meeting my current boyfriend
-My best friend from Ontario coming to stay with me
-My boyfriend coming to Iqaluit for Christmas

On December 11, my best friend came to Iqaluit. Tori lives in Toronto and loves it there, so I wasn't sure what she'd think of little Iqaluit. She's always open-minded, though, and so she did end up enjoying it here. She told me she knew she'd never want to move here, but she did have fun experiencing a different lifestyle.

I wanted to take her out and do something cultural but unfortunately it fell through. I had contacted North Winds to take us dogsledding and I was annoyed by the fact they never called me back. I had to basically hound them to get an answer. We were supposed to go sometime between December 12 and 16 and they were going to call when they knew which date. December 15 rolled around and I had to call several times to get a hold of someone and I finally got an answer that night. Apparently their car had been in the shop for awhile and so they couldn't take us. I was polite, but pretty disappointed with their lack of customer service. It would have been nice to know that way ahead of time so I could have booked with someone else instead of finding out at the very last minute and only because I called multiple times. I'm only writing this on the blog so others can avoid North Winds and their lack of customer handling.

Tori and I did manage to go out and do some things and I really enjoyed having her here. Tori, come back anytime!

Anyway, back to 2009. I find if I have a certain goal, it helps if I mention it a lot so I feel more committed to it. Here are my 9, count 'em, 9 New Year's resolutions:

1. Exercise and eat healthier...the usual resolution! I'd like to lose some weight before I go to the Dominican Republic this spring.

2. Get my credit card bill down and keep it down. I went as far as reducing my credit limit on my main card. I'm sorry, but I don't need $25 000. Nice try, CIBC, raising my credit limit without asking me first. I reduced it down to a limit even lower than my original limit and I've cancelled all but one other card.

3. Actually save money this year. Since this is a public blog I won't disclose how much I'd like to have, but it's much more than what I have now.

4. Start going to bed on weeknights by 11pm. I've been awful for going to work on very little sleep and I curse myself all day for it. I spend almost every weekday wishing I went to bed earlier so I'm going to start doing it.

5. Start work a half-hour earlier than I normally do. Getting out of work at 4 is amazing.

6. Take my vitamin pills every day. I've been taking vitamin D and I've noticed a big change in my moods, it's great.

7. Re-join Atii Fitness Centre so I can go to aerobics classes.

8. No more shopping sprees. I may even go so far as to impose a budget on myself, but I'll see how it goes without one.

9. Bake something to bring to work once a month. I've only done this once but it was a nice boost on my kitchen self-esteem, which I lack in badly. Everyone enjoys seeing people enjoy their food creations.

That's it...we'll see how it all goes!

Also, I have a question for anyone who is qualified to answer this:
My Suzuki doesn't like to start if it's colder than -30. I have a battery blanket and I keep it plugged in of course. I also have the proper oil and I had the vehicle winter serviced in November. Is there something else I can do? No snarky answers like, "Move south!" please and thank you.

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