100 Days of Awesome – Day 20

1. Awesome was my third consecutive day of morning yoga.

2. Awesome was whipping up a batch of vegetarian chili to cook in my slow cooker while I was at work in the morning – 2 cups of water, 1/2 cube of vegetable stock, 1 small can of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of Cajun spice, garlic, salt, pepper, minced onion, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 4 chopped carrots, 1 chopped leek, 1 diced green pepper and 2 grated zucchinis made up this delicious repast.

3. Awesome was sharing this meal with 3 colleagues.

4. Awesome was a hug.

5. Awesome was receiving a cupcake for my birthday. Our school’s student council have been busy baking cupcakes for all the students, teachers and staff whose birthdays were in August, September and October, and gave them out yesterday afternoon.

Cupcake
6. Awesome was getting some answers yesterday from the doctor regarding my “winter blahs”.

It’s reassuring to know that it is something that can be treated with a little extra TLC (most of which – vitamin supplements, exercise, proper nutrition – I’m doing; some of which – light therapy, more socializing – I’m going to try). In fact, I even feel a bit better just knowing what’s causing me to feel the way I’ve felt over the past little while.

7. Awesome was spending half of my day yesterday with my Math and Science pedagogical counsellor. Not only was I reassured that I’m on the right track in teaching these subjects, she gave me an extremely helpful bank of ideas – strategies and activities – that I can apply to my teaching of these subjects from hereon out.

8. Awesome was having a visitor last night.

Typically, my week day evenings consist of cooking and eating dinner, working out, showering and reading, watching a movie or just generally hanging out at home, solo. As I’ve said before, this has especially been so the past few weeks on account of my “winter blahs”.

Knowing, however, that this is counterproductive to my healing, I’ve been striving to be less isolated. Thus, it was awesome to have one of the police officers over for a bit to just hang out and chat. I went to bed feeling significantly more connected to humanity than I have in awhile.

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100 Days of Awesome – Day 19

1. Awesome was morning yoga – 5 sun salutations, some virabhadrasanas and some back bends – despite my sluggish state when the alarm went off.

2. Awesome was hopping into the shower with a brand-new bar of Chinese Star Anise soap that I’d bought from Carbonstok last time I was in Halifax. One drop of water, and the amazing revitalizing aroma of black licorice fills my shower  and an instant surge of energy seeps into my pores.

3. Awesome was yesterday’s Art lesson.

I teach a grade 4/5/6 class in which all but 2 of my students are boys. Thus, I find Art a bit of a challenge when it comes to engaging them all in an activity. Fortunately, I’ve reached a point with them where I can get them creating more complex pieces of work than just a pastel drawing of a given theme (patience and instruction-following are still a work-in-progress for them); I’ve reached a point with them where I don’t have to worry so much about things getting destroyed in a heat-of-the-moment temper tantrum (before, if one so much as sneezed in another’s direction, desks would literally fly).

Yesterday, we completed stage one of clay monsters. I’m teaching a unit on shaping, using brown mud modelling clay we’re probably all familiar with from elementary school. Our last activity was a simple pottery piece, which we shaped, dried and painted. This activity entails a bit more in that I taught them how to add on pieces (such as eyes, teeth and ears), and I encouraged them to use objects such as markers, pencils and whatnot from around the classroom to engrave designs in their monster.

Monsters 4
Monsters

100 Days of Awesome – Day 18

1. Awesome was waking up naturally 10 minutes before my alarm clock went off and, rather than rolling over and going back to sleep, getting out of bed for a 15-minute yoga session. I did 5 sun salutations and just a few standing poses and back bends to get my body moving and ease myself into the morning yoga thing (I hope to make it a habit). I jumped into the shower far more energized than I have in a long time.

2. Awesome was taking a few moments on my way to school to stand on the bay to both watch the sun finish rising over it, and to listen to the gigantic masses of ice shift underneath each other. It was very peaceful.

Sun 3
The Leaf Bay with Atsatuujaq in the background.

3. Awesome was going to the Co Op after school to find that cargo had been delivered (last week’s 4-day blizzard meant 4 days with no plane, which further meant slim pickings on the produce shelf). I bought celery, leeks, carrots peppers and tomatoes for this week’s culinary experimentation.

4. Awesome was just wrapping up my evening’s yoga session and receiving a telephone call from one of the police officers inviting me to go for a walk. Winter blahs have had me shut up in my house in solitude much more than usual (and much more than is healthy) as of late – especially during the work week. So, it was a refreshing change of pace to not only get out, but to have a little human interaction beyond the current ordinary. We walked the 20-minute windy loop around the village (we estimated the temperature to be somewhere between -30 and -40), and then came back to my house for tea.

100 Days of Awesome – Day 17

1. Awesome was weighing in another 0.6 pounds lighter. It may seem small, but that’s more than half of a pound of butter; that’s 60% of a pound. As long as I’m moving in the right direction, I’m happy.

2. Awesome was the brief, but sunny walk yesterday afternoon after 4 days cooped up inside due to inhospitable weather.

3. Awesome was curling up on my big cozy chair beside my living room window, and reading in the sun for the better part of yesterday morning. It may have been -40 degrees Celsius outside, but that didn’t stop me from benefiting from the sun’s delicious rays.

4. Awesome was another culinary experiment – Indian chickpea curry. In a base of 2 cups of water, 1 small can of tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of coriander, 1 teaspoon of ginger powder, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic cloves, minced onion and salt to taste, I cooked 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of chickpeas, chopped carrots and onions on high in the slow cooker for 4 hours.

Curry

5. Awesome was feeling sweat drip up my face in adho mukha svanasana (downward dog). It felt invigorating.

6. Awesome was the positive spin that my level-headed person put on things when I wasn’t so easily able to see it.

100 Days of Awesome – Day 16

1. Awesome was the delicious experiment I conjured up in my slow cooker – Cajun arctic char soup. In a base of 3 cups of water, 1/2 of a cube of vegetable stock, 1 tablespoon of Cajun spice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 small can of tomato paste and 1 large can of diced tomatoes, I slow-cooked chopped carrots, leeks, onions and arctic char for 6 hours on high. It was my first time using Cajun spice.

Cajun Char Soup

2. Awesome was getting free bananas at the Co Op (when they’re too brown to be sold, they’re often given away to people, like myself, who like to to freeze them or bake banana bread).

3. Awesome was getting out of the house yesterday, despite fervent winds and the -40 degree temperature, for the cumulative 10-minute walk to and from the Co Op.

It wasn’t easy – walking against yesterday’s wind was like playing a standing version of Umimaq with nature’s icy breath (Umimaq is an Inuit game where opponents get on all fours, like muskoxen, and try and push each other across a line drawn on the floor). I’d spent nearly the entire walk either with my face buried under my two scarves and the fur of my parka hood drawn as tightly as possible, or walking backwards to escape the wind that literally took my breath away. It was also short, but it was long enough to savour more sunlight than I’d had the opportunity to savour in almost a week.

4. Awesome was yoga, as always.

100 Days of Awesome – Day 15

1. Awesome was getting, yesterday, the computer that I requested for my classroom in August.

2. Awesome was a surprise arctic char delivery.

I was cooking my lunch (shrimp, steamed vegetables and bannock), thinking about how delicious arctic char would be instead. Literally 2 seconds later, there was a knock on my door. I opened it to find my friend and her daughter. With a big smile, she said “We brought you fish!” and handed me an entire arctic char.

Awesome because char is so delicious, and awesome because to give me an entire char is a very generous act on my friend’s part, this made my day!

Tasiujaq 55

Arctic char – mamartuq!

3. Awesome was finally washing 3 days worth of dishes (a pile up resulting from a combination of a broken water truck, a broken sewage truck, a 3-day long blizzard, professional busy-ness and personal lethargy).

4. Awesome was finishing my workout and going, by habit, to the kitchen to have my post-workout snack and then do the dishes to find that I’d already done them.

5. Awesome was yesterday’s reassurance.

100 Days of Awesome – Day 14

1. Awesome was a surprise pedagogical day. Due to extreme weather conditions, the school was closed yesterday for students, but was open for teachers. We did have a rather lengthy staff meeting, but I had the rest of the day – time I wouldn’t have had otherwise – to plan, prepare and organize.

blizzard
The view from my living room window. The Co Op is in the middle, and the youth centre is on the right.

2. Awesome was seeing, at the end of the day, the top of my desk again.

3. Awesome was the sewage truck getting fixed.

In Nunavik, houses are equipped with tiny water and sewage tanks. Because of the permafrost, underground pipes are impossible – thus we rely on the service of utility trucks and their hardworking drivers to have the tanks’ contents delivered or taken away.

Usually, this is done daily, so problems rarely arise. However, because we’ve had extremely cold and windy weather over the past few weeks (-40 to -50 degrees Celsius on average), the trucks have been breaking down a lot, requiring parts to be flown in from the south, and people to repair them.

On Friday, the water truck broke. For the entire weekend, everyone in Tasiujaq was either out of water, or had to be extremely careful with their water so as not to run out. On Monday, the water truck was repaired, just in time for the sewage truck to break.

Now, to have a broken water truck is one thing. When the water truck is broken, I get by on bottles of water I have stored in my refrigerator, and I forego showers for a day or two. To have a broken sewage truck is another thing entirely. When the sewage truck is broken, showering, washing dishes, brushing your teeth and doing anything that entails waste needs to be done in buckets, and the waste dumped outside – because once the sewage tank is full, the water tank shuts down, as well. This is very time consuming and frustrating, so it’s nice to have the luxury of a regularly emptied sewage tank.

truck
The water truck (nunaluujuuq) – photograph from here.

4. Awesome was dragging myself out of my winter slump for 3 twelve-minute sets of plyometric exercises, and 30 minutes of fast-paced power yoga.

5. Awesome was watching my first hockey game of the season – Montréal against Washington – with friends.

6. Awesome was just walking in the door after the game, ready to wind down and thinking about sleep, and receiving a surprise telephone call from my boyfriend. It made my day, and meant more than words can describe.