Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Early Morning Excursion

So I was lucky enough to meet some really nice people during the basketball tournament, some of whom I am becoming good friends with...  And what better way to spend time with friends than to go on excursions!  My (newfound) friend Ipellie told me he used to go walk around and hunt ptarmigan but that the hadn't done it in a while, so we planned to meet up early (8:30 am) and head out onto the land.  Although I had been out walking around these parts before, I was glad that I would have Ipellie as a "guide" because even though he moved here from Pond Inlet only a few years ago, he knows the area really well and had tonnes of knowledge to share with me during our walk.  The excursion took nearly 2 hours and one major highlight was stumbling upon an actual IGLOO!  Not much of a point speaking about it though since, as usual, I took pictures!

Very windy morning where the sky nearly completely blended in with the land.

Inuksuk... Saw lots of those along the way.  For those who don't know, Inuksuit are used to help people find their way on the land.

Total tourist shot.

My friend Ipellie.

It is really hard to see depth in these pictures, but try to imagine that from where Ipellie is standing to that rock is about a 2 minute walk, which means the rock was actually really big, despite what it may look like here.

At one point Ipellie pointed out that he thought he could see a tent.  I, of course, saw nothing but snow and rocks but he was sure that this very very verrrry far beige-ish dot was a tent... So we ventured out for a while to eventually come upon what was in fact a tent!  

No idea who this tent belongs to and I was glad that no one was sleeping in it when we came by and started snooping around.

I was especially glad that no one was sleeping in it when I stuck my camera in and blindly took a picture of the inside.  This reminds me of the tent-fort from the Royal Tenenbaums.

Some busted wood near the tent.

While finding a tent in the middle of nowhere was cool, nothing beats stumbling upon an actual igloo!  Here you see the entrance from inside.  It wasn't very easy to get in (especially since I wasn't wearing snow pants.. just a bunch of layers with jeans) but I thankfully managed somehow!

View from inside the igloo.  Once again, glad that no one was sleeping inside as we crawled in.

Ipellie sitting in the igloo.  I was really excited about getting a picture of the igloo itself or of myself sitting in it but at this point my camera was really REALLY starting to hate me for putting it through crazy weather conditions and kept shutting off.  Oh well, hopefully I will have a chance to go back on a warmer and less windy day before it melts!  Oh we also found an igloo that was in the process of being built, which was really cool to see--but by that time my camera was essentially dead.

Does it get any more arctic than this?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Springing it Up

The ground may still be covered in snow, there may still be -20 wind smacking you in the face at 40 km/hour, and you may still need to wear your boots, but nevertheless Spring is here!  Even if only in spirit!  Despite all of this, the temperature is noticeably getting warmer, and there were even a few really muddy days today from it getting so warm (aka -11).  Regardless, the theme at the daycare this month has been Spring so I've decided to put up pictures of my favourite crafts and some cute facepaints I did.  Enjoy!

Hilarious bunnies.


Dog-princess.  As you can see princesses are a running theme when it comes to facepaint... I try to get them to diversify a bit, so they often end up picking a half-something, half-princess--that's right, indoctrinating the valuable lesson of compromise from an early age!

Un poisson.

Une girafe.




'Sup butterflies!  We made some sweet butterfly wings, the kids painted them and then I meticulously and painstainkingly "laminated" all of them (on both sides) using clear packing tape.

Just a couple of butterflies hangin' out.  The cutest part was that once the wings were all taped up, strung and ready to go, the kids wore them and played around in them all afternoon.

Just a butterfly reading a story to another butterfly.  This is especially cute because the girl you see reading the story is always really keen on imitating grown-ups (and I can only assume she is imitating me here because I had read them that book earlier that week aaw).

Bird on a branch!  (You can't see it here, but the bird moves around on the branch thanks to my favourite arts-and-crafts prop: the popsicle stick!)

Bird with very orderly nest and leaves.

Cool bird.

This kid loves lashes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Toonik Tyme 2 (Sports Edition)

Despite all of the amazing cultural activities going on these past few days for the Toonik Tyme festival, I ended up spending a lot of my time watching the basketball tournament.  I play basketball pretty much every Sunday out here at the Old Res (see past post for pictures) and I was bummed to find out that this tournament was for MEN only.  So annoying.  Regardless, I went and supported my friends who were playing.  It was lots of fun and the level was really high.  It was also super interesting to see a bunch of teams from different communities throughout Nunavut (Pond Inlet,  Baker Lake, Rankin Inlet, etc.).  The team I was going for (i.e. the people I've played basketball with on Sundays) were the "Flyers" whom you can see in the first and second pictures--they're the ones wearing grey.  They almost made it to the finals but ended up losing to "Iqaluit", whom you can see in the second picture wearing their super nice uniforms.  Although Iqaluit went undefeated for the entire tournament, they lost in the finals to Rankin!!  I was actually so happy for the Rankin guys!!!  Especially Ryan (top left in the third picture) who used to play basketball at Old Res before moving back to his community, and who had a broken hand for the last three games and still managed to play really well.

Inuksuk High School gym is way nicer than the one at Old Res and I found out that people come out to play basketball on Mondays and Thursdays so I will definitely be going there too from now on!!

Iqaluit vs. Flyers

The champions: Rankin!

Tonight I also went and checked out the Teen Inuit Games, which took place at the Youth Center (which turned out to be literally 30 feet away from my work).  It was really awesome getting to see the different Inuit games and such young kids participating and keeping this part of their culture alive.  The vibe for these games was really "how to make something out of nothing" in the sense that most of these games required very little (to none) to be executed.  My favourites were the games that involved kicking, as you will see in the pictures. 

Double-leg kick to try to hit a little target made of seal skin.

Here the person had to put down an object on the floor as far away from them as possible without touching the floor at any point--definitely requires some abs of steel.

Essentially a two-person tug-o-war.

One-leg high kick!

I hope these pictures do justice to how high the target was!!!

Over 7 feet high!

Johnny Issaluk raising the target up to 7'6".

So much air!!

My friend Ipellie, the winner of this game, preparing himself for 7'8''.

Try number 1... Almost there....


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Toonik Tyme!

The day I had been looking forward to since coming to Iqaluit finally arrived!!  Every year there is a huge festival that takes place for about a week in April.  There is so much going on during the festival that it's hard to catch everything.... Igloo building contest, seal skinning contest (yah I know), tea and bannock contest, dog sled races, etc etc.  AND the GIANT CRAFT FAIR!!  I was told this fair is a huge event and that so many people go that there is a massive line-up outside throughout the duration of the fair.  I thought this fair sounded like a lot of fun but I really wanted to take part in it so I decided to bake a bunch of pretzels and sell them.  I also decided to share my table with my friend Dan (one of my two best friends out here--the other being his fiancée Melissa) and he made miniature bagels and pins.  So I don't know how I thought I would ever pull off making 300 pretzels (my original plan) but I did end up making more than my sanity could handle (but definitely not 300).  I knew I wanted to make some salty and some sweet and when the time came to make the sweet ones (aka around 2am last night) I had a eureka moment: I stopped making the ever-so time-consuming pretzels and just started twisting the dough into these sticks that I then boiled, baked and then covered in cinnamon and sugar.  Turns out my laziness paid off because people went CRAZY for them!!  I started calling them "Narwhal Tusks" because they pretty much all had the shape of, well, a narwhal tusk--and the theme was very à propos.  I was stoked that they were a huge hit!!  Aaaaand I got to make some money!  Woot!  All of the pretzels sold too!  The craft fair was so much fun!!!!  I am definitely going to be making more of these tusks for future fairs!  Other notable aspects of this pretzel frenzy:  I stayed up until 5am making these pretzels!!!  Probably ended up making about 140 in total.  I also made the BIGGEST mess in the world (and cleaned it up at 5am... Very brutal having to clean dough remnants when all you want to do is sleep).

The work area.

Trying to grab any bit of space possible (these are the narwhal tusks-pre sugar and cinnamon).  All of those dishes were used to make the SIX batches of dough.

I baked the pretzels in a mix of water and baking soda before baking them.. Not only is this messy but the water turns brown for some reason (can a scientist explain this to me please?  Paul O I'm looking your way).

Dan at our table!  WOOO!

Proud mama.  Note the THREE kinds of mustards!  Honey Dijon, Habanero & Honey Spicy mustard and standard Yellow mustard.


Aerial view.  Oh and note the one massive pretzel aka the "it's-4am-and-there-is-no-way-im-making-15-more-pretzels" pretzel... Sold it for $15 buckaroos!  Woot!

Narwhal Tusks.  PATENT PENDING.

Busy fair.


SO busy.

Ole Fare.

Dough friends.  Matching plaid shirts were not intentional.