Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One Year

Today marks our one year anniversary of moving to Nunavut. Actually, it marks our one year anniversary of leaving to move to Nunavut, but we didn't actually make it to the territory until August 1 due to a plane delay. I thought it would be fun to do a his/her post on to mark the monumental occasion, so we're both going to share some of our reflections of the past year with you today. Thanks for sticking it out with us as we figured our way out in our new surroundings and following us on our adventure! We hope you continue on our journey with us as we keep chillin' in Nunavut!


Beautiful Baker Lake
Some days it’s hard to believe it’s been a year already; other days, that it’s only been a year since we arrived. Looking back on the last 365 days, I realize we've experienced more than we expected to, but still have some essential items on our to-do list before we end this chapter in our lives. Personally, this trip has challenged and changed us in ways we hadn't expected. Here’s a look back at some of our most memorable moments:
  • Learning some of the local language (Inuktituk). Key phrases like Ma'na (thank-you), “Ublaahatkut” (good morning) and Umiaryuap Publimaaqpaga tattaurniq ammayaq (My hovercraft is full of eels) have made integration a little easier. Okay, that last one isn't so helpful, but it does generate a big laugh when you pronounce it correctly.
  • Sampling some country foods. While we haven’t tried muskox or ptarmingan, we did get our first taste of Arctic Char (delicious) and nikpu, or caribou jerky. Still on the list is those listed above, caribou stew, seal and muktuk (whale fat).
  • Learning to live with a Yorkie. Very different from what we're used to, but ridiculously cute, and full of energy. He is a welcome member of the household, and we can't quite remember what life was like before he joined our family. He's been the best part about moving here.
  • Our first blizzard was intense, and made us realize how powerful Mother Nature can be. Similarly, our first real glimpse of the Northern Lights was awe-inspiring.
  • Our trip home in February underscored how much we missed our families and friends, but also, how much we had grown accustomed to living a much simpler lifestyle.

All in all, it’s been a good first year, and we're looking forward to seeing how we fare in the next one. 



Our first view of Baker Lake - August 1, 2012
Has it really been a year since we left Ontario? I remember that last 24 hours so vividly, it feels like it just happened. We stayed up all night, frantically packing our luggage that we were bringing with us - trying to stuff the last few things into bags that were already bursting. There were tears at the airport (so, so many tears), which were quickly replaced by the stress and weight of what we were actually doing. Our plane was delayed after waiting hours and hours at the airport and we had an unexpected night in Winnipeg as a result. It turned out to be the best thing since it gave us a chance to rest and relax before embarking on the final leg to Nunavut. I remember looking out the window of the airplane as we flew further and further north and silently praying, "please, let this be the right choice."

I'm sure you know from following the blog over the past year that it hasn't always been easy. There are times when the homesickness still strikes, but those days are less and less as time goes on. It's not the same as the south, but there are certain charms and beauties here that are so awe-inspiring and so wonderful that we are thankful every day for the opportunity to be here.

We have grown as individuals, as a couple, and even as a family with the addition of our amazing little Pepper. This past year has taught us how strong we are, how much we can endure, and has afforded us memories and opportunities that we have never dreamed possible. It's been a wonderful experience over the past 365 days and we are looking forward to the next 365.

From that silent prayer on the plane not that long ago, I can safely and unequivocally say - yes, this was not only the right choice, but the perfect choice.



  1. Yahoo for your anniversary... :) here's to another 365 filled with many more memories and fun adventures...

    :) Sarah

    1. Sorry I didn't see this until now, Sarah - it somehow got lost and I completely missed this!!

      We are looking forward to the new adventures that await us, for sure! It's amazing how fast time flies up here...2013 will be over before we know it!

  2. I am glad that I came across your post and look forward to reading more...

    We are currently discussing the idea of moving to Nunavut with two young children for a year or two. We have friends currently there and another couple with 1.5 children heading there in a few short months.

    Have you experienced young families with children there? Daycares/schools/community suitable for children used to living and growing up in a small town just east of Toronto?

    I have done some travelling in my early 20s and definitely have the bug and interest but myhusband is another story... and well, back then I was a free bird. Now I have to consider the culture shock for my young ones and how it will impact them. I know this opportunity would be a life changer, a family foundation builder and a life experience but will it be too much?

    No wonder workers get paid so much there-the cost of living is astronomically more expensive. Is it bad to look at Nunavut as an answer to get out of debt? Do you actually make a significantly hire amount considering how much you would have to put out? We would both work and it is the hope that within one to two years we would have enough to come home and live more comfortably and at the same time have this incredible experience under our belts. I have learned about the different positions and the different pay scales/benefits that vary from job to job-obviously housing subsidy or $ toward housing is a good place to start?

    I guess I have alot of questions for you and may find them as I navigate around your blog some more. I would love to hear from you... Thank you so much!

    1. Hello and thank you for visiting our blog! We're glad you found it our tiny corner of the internet while searching about moving to Nunavut and we are happy to help in any way we can!

      I will see if I can answer your questions as best as possible:

      1. Some of our closest friends we've made here have moved here with their young children, and they seem to have adjusted very well. Our community has 1 daycare and there is generally a long waiting list on it, depending on the age of your child(ren) - there are only x number of spots per age group per year, etc. The school system here is different than the Ontario system, but if they are very young, I wouldn't worry too much about it; they will learn Inuktitut and can come home from school and teach you! :) The community (speaking about ours in particular, since that's really all I know) is fine for young children; I wouldn't worry about that.

      2. I think culture shock can hit people at any age - whether they are children or adults. Children seem to be very adaptable in general, and the ones I know who have moved here have had a much easier transition time than the grown ups I know. It all depends on your family of course, and the approach you decide to take with them. It's much easier to have them get used to things if you approach it with positive attitudes as an adventure, etc. instead of focusing on all the differences/things you're missing out on. It's the philosophy we've decided to take and the optimistic viewpoint makes everything a lot easier. We've certainly grown as a family and as individuals - I would hope that for your family as well! :)

      3. Money is such a touchy subject when it comes to moving to the north, I find. A lot of people think that if you come here to work, you automatically get paid sooooo much more than if you stayed in the south. There also seems to be a misconception that it's easy to find high-paying jobs here since most businesses are "desperate" to find workers. Both are not necessarily the case, so I would strongly suggest that if you do come with expectations of both of you working full-time, you either secure the positions before you move, or be prepared to have 1 of you work for a lower salary than you'd expect, if you can find the work. There is work to be had, true - but it may not be glamorous or pay amazing. Just an honest view from what I've seen.

      I can honestly say that the people I've met who come to Nunavut just for the money - don't last that long. There are a lot of other obstacles to deal with here that you don't have to deal with in Ontario, and that can wear on a person. Money is only a motivator for so long, and if you don't have other motivations, then you're going to be miserable pretty fast. Is it a bad idea to come with the intention of getting out of debt? No, not necessarily. It's a type of forced savings here since you can't spend it going out to restaurants, movies, etc. so you will save money - but as you mentioned, the cost of living here is significantly higher.

      Finding a job that offers housing would be my biggest suggestion. There is a housing shortage in Nunavut and a job that offers housing will make it a lot easier. Having a subsidy but having to find your own housing would be a HUGE hassle, that I would suggest avoiding if at all possible (and most of the time it is).

      I hope that helps?? That was a really long answer, I'm sorry! :) I/we are happy to help and answer any questions you may have - as best we can of course! Feel free to email us at nunavutchillers at gmail dot com if you'd like to take this off the blog. :)

  3. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I would love to stay in touch and converse via email and appreciate your honest opinion SO much!

    I have been anxiously anticipating your response and thank you again. Please look for an email from me: ashleyrezac @ hot mail dot com.

    I look forward to learning more from the "seasoned" professionals! :)

    Stay cool, Ashley.