Dose of Awesome # 277

The community of Kuujjuaq came together yesterday to welcome the competitors in this year’s Ivakkak dogsled race at the finish line. The race began in Quaqtaq, and went through Kangirsuk, Aupaluk, Tasiujaq, before finishing here.

1. Awesome was an early school closure that allowed everybody to head to Stewart Lake to welcome the Ivakkak teams. Team 10 was the first to arrive in Kuujjuaq, but team 7 won the race.

Waiting for the first team to arrive.

Team 10, from Puvirnituq.

2. Awesome was a mid-week afternoon of snowshoeing, thanks to the early school closure. Since I’d gone in early to get some work done in my classroom before school began, I decided to take advantage of some amazing weather and get a few more hours of snowshoeing in. I went for a beautiful 3 hour loop through Nuuvuk Bay and by the marina. What I love about that loop is that every time, it can be so different, as the land is so vast.

Snow drifts and tree shadows inspired me.

3. Awesome was progress made with a challenging student – thanks to an awesome and dedicated team of people and their support. Sometimes things take time, and sometimes lots of it, but this, I hope, goes to show that if you don’t give up, great things can happen.

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Dose of Awesome # 276

My favourite time of the year has arrived in Nunavik. It’s spring, but it still feels like winter. It’s -30 degrees, we have tonnes of snow, and there’s more coming. I love it because after enduring an average of approximately -45 for seemingly forever, -30 feels mild. I love it because it stays light out longer – long enough that I feel a notable boost in energy each day, but not so long that it causes you to miss the northern lights. I love it because I know it’s only a matter of weeks before the snow melts – and it will melt fast. Then I’ll be able to go hiking, and biking. But in the meantime, I appreciate the snow and cold all the more because I know it will soon be gone.

I love it because it’s the perfect time for snowshoeing.

1. Awesome was 2.5 hours of snowshoeing yesterday, by myself. It’s been a long time – since my third year in Tasiujaq, in fact – since I’ve been out on the land by myself. I forgot how peaceful it is. I forgot how liberating it is to just drop everything and go (my plan for the morning involved doing laundry and reading, until the sun started beaming through my living room window), without having to wait for, or answer to anybody.

Yes, company is nice. But, every once in awhile, so is this…

Yesterday, I went through Nuuvuk Bay and then toward the marina – making a huge loop up and down the hills and back the way I came. Further awesome was finding my own tracks again as I neared the start of my loops – a definite boost to my confidence in my own navigational skills.

2. Awesome was another 3 hours of snowshoeing today. Only this time it was with friends. Today’s route took us through Nuuvuk Bay toward the marina, and on a loop back down to the Koksoak River, which we followed back to where we started.

3. Awesome was time to catch up with friends this weekend, through phone conversations and dinners. It’s crazy how busy life can be – time can really slip by if you let it!

Dose of Awesome # 275

March Break is coming to an end. Tomorrow is a pedagogical day, and Tuesday, it’s back to school. I am back at home in Kuujjuaq, where the temperature hovers around -30 degrees Celsius, the sun is shining, and the snow is no less plentiful and white than it was when I left ten days ago. It’s the kind of perfection that I appreciate all the more after a week full of rain, slush and mud in New Brunswick.

1. Awesome was the feeling of walking into a spotlessly clean home, and unpacking after ten days of living out of a backpack in various places. Though I’m certainly grateful for all the hospitality I’ve been offered during my vacation, this is a pretty awesome feeling.

Also awesome was finally being able to play my violin, which I’d decided to leave behind because I didn’t have a definite plan of accommodation for my trip to New Brunswick.

2. Awesome was a trip to my home town which included everything and almost everything I’d hoped for. Filled with many delicious meals and cups of coffee with friends from elementary school, high school, and university, it was truly a walk down memory lane.

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My friend Amanda and I at dinner.

3. Awesome was also being blessed with the opportunity to visit my old university town (a place I hadn’t been to in ten years), browse through the Moncton Farmer’s Market, do a bit of shopping, have a massage, go on a little hike, see a movie, and go out for karaoke.

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Posing with my first Tim Horton’s coffee of the vacation, and the giant lobster in Shediac, New Brunswick, on the way to have lunch in Sackville.

Mel’s Tea Room, from the booth in which I spent many afternoons and evenings writing philosophy essays and reading. 

The train bridge on the Tantramar marsh at the end of Bridge Street – location of many a muddy adventure, my first winter camping experience, and lots of hours reading and writing at the edge of e broken bridge.