This week has been a doozy, so I am breaking it up into two posts. In no particular order, here are some of the highlights we've enjoyed in the last seven days.
Any time we receive something in the mail, our eyes light up and big grins appear on our faces. Being so distant from family and friends is difficult to adjust to, and while phone calls and emails and Facebook help, it's the thoughtfulness of someone taking the time to sit down a write a letter or put something small but locally inaccessible into a box and mailing it that really makes us appreciate our family and friends. To wit, for those of you reading this (and by extension, those that should but aren't), here is your assigned homework:
Write us a letter, and mail it to us. Or, send us a package with something(s) that we miss from home. Photos of yourselves, gum, cookies, and those Mio water enhancers are perfect. Swiffer floor and duster pads are always in high demand because of the dust here.
Now, if any of my friends were to send me a package of Swiffer pads while I was in Burlington, I would probably not react the way I would here, which would be "SWEET! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!!" As did Africa, moving to Baker Lake makes you appreciate things you never thought twice about when living in Ontario.
Handwritten letters are also very much in demand. My cousin and her family are trying to send handmade cards and letters as often as she can, and we love the fact that they've made the effort to do this. She could just send us an email, but letters are old-school, and I miss writing them. If any one reading this wants to give me their mailing address, I will send you a personalized, handwritten blog post. :-) You can then auction it for big bucks when I become uber-famous, or hopefully cherish it the way Lily and I do.
Lily had her first appointment at the Health Centre this week, which was surprisingly modern-looking. While there, she was offered free condoms, and the packaging was too funny to refuse. The first one displays a picture of a fish (not surprising, since fishing is very common here) with the phrase, "Reeling one in, but not ready to spawn?" Cute. This one was also cola-flavoured. I have to be honest, I've never really understood the attraction to flavoured condoms. Lubricated and ribbed makes sense, but who really wants to taste cola-flavoured latex? I must be in the minority though, because it's a big business. Anyway, the next one's catchphrase was "Pitching a tent?", and it housed a delicious-sounding vanilla-flavoured sheath. Um. Third was the most sensible, with the phrase "the best gifts are wrapped" on the front, and this one was ribbed AND studded, a veritable cornucopia of pleasurable delights. Lastly was my favourite, which showed pictures of fireworks and read "Celebrating graduation with a bang?" (hee, hee) "Don't let the fireworks go to your head." It's not often that condom advertising makes me chuckle, not that I scour drug marts looking for examples, but these were cute and also offered good advice on the inside of the packaging for promoting safe sex. Oh, and that last one? Mint-flavoured. If you've just eaten dinner and don't have any mints handy, is it socially acceptable to pop a condom in your mouth? I wonder. Here's what I was taking about:
The graduation-themed condom was timely, in that the high school held its graduation ceremony late last week. It's a BIG deal here - cars blowing horns, cheering, and most offices are empty, so it's kind of like when the Leafs win a home game, the obvious difference being that that happens more than once a year, usually. This year, Baker Lake welcomed fifteen high school graduates, a remarkable improvement over last year's one. You can begin to appreciate why it's a big deal, because with grade 9 classes averaging 25 students, the pool for potential graduates isn't any smaller than Ontario, say. I imagine the struggle with learning English plays a role, but it's hard to understand why the success rate is so much lower than the South. Part of it can be explained by the lack of truancy officers - here, you don't really get in trouble for skipping school, so it's not uncommon the way it is elsewhere. That's the appearance, anyway - we'll do some investigation and see if we can provide you with a fuller explanation in a later post.
Finally, I am taking a more active approach to finding a job up here. A couple of irons in the fire, but nothing is certain. If you know anyone that needs copy editing, blog or magazine articles, English tutoring, or anything that can be done remotely, please think of me, and ask friends and coworkers as well. The happier we are, the better the blog will be, and I know you want us to entertain with you funny and informative posts. Truly, I can only clean the house so many times before I go stir-crazy, and for anyone who has seen the 5-Year Engagement, I do not want to end up like Jason Seagal's character, bearded and wearing homemade sweaters.
I will be posting videos of Baker Lake in September (we hit our bandwidth cap in mid-August, so dial-up speeds prevent us from uploading videos, checking Gmail, or doing anything online that is even remotely useful. Uploading this blog post will probably take the better part of half an hour.
Despite this, we are in good spirits, and we are settling into our new life and routines. When our furniture finally arrives in mid-September, and our paintings hit the walls, we will be much closer to calling this place "home". Look for more excoriating commentary and side-splitting wit later this week. Look carefully, because it's not always obvious :-p.