Monday, April 8, 2013

Guest Post: Sarah on the Road

We thought it would be nice to have posts from people who live in other communities in Nunavut, so today we introduce you to our friend Sarah, who currently lives in Pangnirtung - a community to the east of Baker Lake. I "met" Sarah while trolling for current Nunavut blogs, and was blown away by her positive energy and amazing photos on her blog, Sarah on the Road

So without further ado...

Pangnirtung, Nunavut is located just south of the Arctic Circle off of the Cumberland Sound.  (Pangnirtung is often referred to as Pang.) The population of Pang is around 1,400 people.   It is like Baker Lake, only accessible via sea in the summer months or by air.  I first came to live in Pang in March 2009 for a ten month contract. During those ten months I fell in love with this community!  I moved away for about a year and half but then returned July 2011. 

As hard it is to live away from family and friends…Pang truly has become my home!  There are rough moments about life and living anywhere…but one of the things I’ve always tried to do is focus on the positives, enjoying each moment as they happen! Sometimes life can be pretty crappy.  Like the days that there are no planes for 3-4 days because of wind…and you have a wedding you want to go to in the south and you aren’t sure you will get there in time. Or the cost of groceries or the cost of internet services!  Yes, these things are high…but look at where I’m living!   I find it doesn’t help the situation if you continue to focus on the things that make you unhappy.  I’d rather focus on the positives and things I truly do enjoy about living just-south-of-the-Arctic-Circle. 

One thing I do love to do is spend time with my new friends in Pang.  Some of my friends are like me, ex-pats in a new world…but others were born here.  Learning new words in Inuktitut, sewing with friends, and even hearing stories about life on the land are all things I truly enjoy! Before I write you too long of an essay I’m going to share a few of my photos.  I’ll try to explain these photos with a few words.  I hope you too will come to see how easy it was to lose my heart to this Hamlet of Pangnirtung!
Hudson's Bay Company that formed part of the Old Blubber Station

Fly to Pang any day of the week from Ottawa, connecting via Iqaluit.
The runway divides the hamlet so having planes overhead is a daily occurrence!

One of the things I have loved to do during my times here is hike around the hills!  I’ve managed to climb Mt. Duval (pictured in the photo above with the plane!). 
Arctic cotton blowing in the wind.
View of Pang from one of the hills behind the school.

Standing on top of Mt. Duval wrapped in the first afghan I knit.
I'm looking into Auyuittuq National Park (June 2012)

Picking berries (September 2011)
Whaling boat with Mt. Duval in the background

In November of 2011 Mary Battye, an elder, made me my beautiful kamiks.  Kamiks are sealskin boots, with duffle socks and slippers.  They are the most comfortable boot I’ve ever worn.  They are very light… not heavy like Sorel boots (I do have a pair of those too—but usually end up wearing these when it’s really cold!)

In Pang, we are just below the Arctic Circle so don’t have 100% 24-hour darkness in the winter, and 24-hour sunlight in the summer.  But with the twilight, it does seem like there is those extremes in the summer and winter.  Because of the mountains surrounding Pang from mid-November to mid- February we don’t physically SEE the sun. (It doesn’t rise above the mountains…) there is twilight…but you can’t see the sun on your face!

One of my favourite things about the dark-season is the Northern Lights that come out to dance over our heads! This year I finally managed to take some awesome photos of the lights. 

At the end of the road and above Mt. Duval in front of my house!  (2012)

Thankful lights - taken after Thanksgiving with friends (2012)

There are so many other things I’d love to share about my home, but a post can only be so long!  Feel free to click on over to my blog, if you’d like to see more photos and stories of my life. 

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

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