Christmas in Iqaluit – past the halfway mark

Sleep is a battle here, just as it is in Ottawa, with her fussing herself to sleep way too late and him fussing himself awake way too early. It’s made worse, of course, from being so very much off routine – there’s no school bus to get ready for, no extra door between us and a crying baby, no regular anything, really. Everyone (except Bonhomme) sleeps in later though, thank goodness – the dark mornings certainly contributing. Hooray, and hooray, for tablets.
Outside my window, as I cuddle with Hibou in hopes of a nap, beyond the tiny strip of town lies Frobisher Bay. An arctic tip of Atlantic Ocean, licking along Baffin Island. They tell me that Iqaluit is not very far north, as such things go – certainly for Nunavut, Iqaluit is considered southern. It reminds me of a fishing village more than anything; what I imagine Newfoundland might be like (without forests). A frozen fishing village. Apparently folks go icefishing, using auger extensions to drill down deep enough to get through the ice.
In the black and white of winter, the mountain ridge of worn-down Canadian Shield across the bay doesn’t look very different from Gatineau, as seen from the top of Blair Road in Beaconhill North in Ottawa. Except for the utter lack of lights. The complete, and total, lack of lights. The city stretches out a kilometer, perhaps two, in haphazard blips of lightbulbs, and then the human intrusion is no more.
Saturday afternoon at the library, I’m swarmed by half a dozen unknown children as I make paper airplanes and read stories with Bonhomme and my nieces. They peer over my shoulder, cuddle my knees, and peek ahead at the next page’s pictures. No shyness here. We come home with an orange to eat, since some kind stranger’s little brother is allergic – and I couldn’t think how to say no.
The in-laws argue politics in the living room between commercials, and then turn to dissecting home reno shows on the TV while Hibou plans her escape to the kitchen between the couch cushions.
Saturday night poker, and I manage to not be the first one out – just. Losing’s a good way to learn, apparently. To be honest, the lost sleep means more to me than the lost cash, with two small early risers awaiting me in the morning.
A dozen black enormous ravens feast by the roadside on a leftover seal carcass the next-door neighbours brought back from a hunt. They scatter, begrudgingly, as we cross the street, watching us from the rooftops to make sure we don’t make off with the goods. I’ve never seen so many bird tracks imprinted in the snow.
Today, the big outing will be some family hot chocolate, since it’s a balmy -16C, warm enough for walking to the coffee shop.
This is Christmas in Iqaluit.


2 comments so far

  1. Lynn on

    Am loving these stories – it sounds so beautiful and so very, very cold. Hope you had a wonderful new year’s! Post some pics if you can.

  2. Moosilaneous on

    Glad to hear more of your adventures.This trip is making such a cool set of memories for Bonhomme!

    I’m not surprised at all that you get mobbed by kids anywhere you go – you are a kid magnet, we all benefit when you’re around.

    Meanwhile, back down south, it was only -29 with windchill this AM. Despite knowing it was balmy compared to up there, I was very grateful to be chauffered in to work.

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