Today, our friend Bill from New Zealand shares his story and perspective on moving to the great white north.
When I was offered the opportunity in 2009 to come north to Baker Lake for a three month contract, I leaped at it. As a New Zealander, I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to experience the Canadian Arctic. I had been living in and around Edmonton since 1990 and had travelled and worked in many parts of the three western provinces, so coming to Baker Lake, even for a few months, was a new adventure.
I arrived in Baker Lake late in the evening of 26th October after the seemingly inevitable 7 hour weather-related delay in Rankin Inlet to be met by swirling snow and minus 35 temperatures. The following day, I was spell-bound by the brilliant sunshine and glistening white that covered everything. The warm welcome I received from my new work mates made the extreme cold outside seem inconsequential.
The job I had undertaken was very challenging and the environment in the workplace was very different from anything I had ever experienced, due largely to the remoteness of Baker Lake and the vast distances between it and the other communities that constitute Nunavut. As my contract term neared its’ end, I was delighted to be offered a permanent position and accepted immediately.
The adage that those of us from the "south" either come to love the north or come to hate it is very true. I loved it as soon as I got here and love it still. The Canadian Arctic can be a harsh and unforgiving environment and the weather in winter can be brutal but there is a magnificence about the stark beauty of the landscape that is without equal anywhere. I have been fortunate to travel to other communities within the territory, even visiting the Arctic Circle in Repulse Bay on a glorious July weekend to celebrate Nunavut Day there. As I learn more about the culture and customs of the Nunavummiut, my respect for these amazingly resilient, friendly people deepens.
I am a long, long way from my homeland in New Zealand but wouldn’t swap this amazing experience for anything. I look forward to continuing enjoyment of the North and all it offers for some time to come.
Are you interested in guest posting on our blog? We welcome you to post a comment below and express your interest - we'd be happy to "host" your stories on our blog as well! -L&J