It’s my third day in Kuujjuaq, and I’m finally settled in – complete with telephone and internet!
1. Awesome is northern hospitality, and is something for which I am particularly extremely grateful after a rocky arrival in Kuujjuaq.
I arrived on Saturday at about noon. As was promised, someone was there to give me a ride to my house and to give me my car and house keys.
My plan was to drop off my luggage at home, hop into my car and drive to Newviqvie to stock up on food and cleaning supplies before embarking on an afternoon-long cleaning and unpacking frenzy. Since my house in Tasiujaq was spotlessly clean both when I moved into it and moved out of it, I assumed my house here would be the same. Thus, I assumed that it wouldn’t take me more than a few hours to get the essentials finished.
Boy was I wrong.
I walked into my house to find the living room full of my boxes, and an inch-thick layer of dust covering the floor and walls. Under that was God knows how many years of grimy finger prints, food stains and other unidentifiable splotches that had me literally scrubbing my house top-to-bottom for hours. But before I could do that, I needed to go shopping.
A bit overwhelmed, I hopped into my car eager to just start – even if I didn’t know where to do so. I turned the key. Nothing. Baffled, frustrated, and admittedly in a bit of a panic, I set out knocking on doors all around until someone answered (which took awhile, as I’m surrounded by houses that are still empty on account of summer vacation). Finally, a woman answered, and came to try for herself. Nothing. At a loss, she offered me her telephone. I called a friend who came to try to boost it, but that didn’t work either.
Fed up with my car, I got a ride down to the hotel where I would gradually make my way back home as I ran some errands and asked around for people who knew about cars. I had no luck finding potential “mechanics”, but I seem to set in motion a “domino effect” of Northern hospitality. To start, I was able to get all my errands finished with the help of a friend, who offered to come with me and help me carry my bags.
When I got home, I stood in my living room contemplating how to even begin tackling the cleaning and unpacking before me. I’d decided to just fill up a bucket with Mister Clean and water and start scrubbing – starting in the bathroom and working my way out.
Not even 5 minutes later, I heard a honk. I looked outside to find an older couple I’d met at the airport earlier that day, parked in front of my house, about to open their hood. I went outside to greet them. Turns out they’d heard about my car and were coming to the rescue!
It worked on the first try.
Elated beyond words, I hopped into my car and followed them down to the Northern to gas up, and after many big thank you’s, we parted ways.
From there, I went to the hotel to spread the news of my working car, and was invited to dinner, and then lunch, and then dinner the following evening. I was offered cleaning supplies and assistance cleaning my house, and even a place to sleep the first night, as my house was in no shape to sleep in.
Thanks to Northern hospitality, and some very awesome people, my first few days in Kuujjuaq have been strangely, but positively unforgettable. Nakurmiik!
2. Awesome was, after a cumulative maybe 14 hours of cleaning and unpacking, finishing and finding myself in a home that I’m really coming to like – especially after going to the post office and finding that 3 huge packages (containing picture frames, dishes, a clock and other such home decorative items that I’d ordered off of Amazon) had arrived.
3. Awesome was seeing old friends, and making new ones.
I was sitting on my couch, basking in the glory that is a cozy, clean home, when I heard movement, and voices. Yesterday, a plane full of new teachers arrived, including my new neighbours. Interested to see who they are, I opened my door and peeked out. I was greeted by 3 new women who will be teaching secondary classes in the same school as I.
After a few minutes of chatting, I got invited to dinner, where I had the opportunity to see people I haven’t seen since last year, as well as meet even more new teachers.
4. Awesome is the enthusiasm and excitement as we all get ready to start life in Kuujjuaq.