About Me

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Inukjuak, Quebec, Canada
Always up for a new adventure. I love Musicals, photography, my family, road trips, and beads. So far I have been fortunate enough to teach in Japan, South Korea, Kenya, and the Canadian Arctic. Currently in my 5th year in the frozen North and up for any new adventure.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Why do I live where the air hurts my face?

It has been a running joke that I have been seeing posted around Facebook and tossed back and forth between my sisters and I.  One of my sisters lives in Arizona and when she starts talking about how much she missed a real winter we remind her that going outside in the winter can often make your face hurt.  Now granted I am living a fair bit North compared to my sisters but walking home from the post office today, arms full, and nose freezing in the -45C temperature I was reminded that I do indeed live where the air hurts my face.  I could have of course pulled my scarf further up over my face but then I would have had the glasses icing up and the resulting blindness for the rest of my walk home.  Eternal dilemma during a winter walk without my contacts.  Made it home in one piece, glasses fogging, and nose just about ready to fall off from the burning cold.  Ahhhh winter :)  But there are wonderful compensations to living where the air hurts your face.  The pure icy white of the frozen bay and river, the undisturbed snow drifts after a storm, the dancing northern lights, the clear winter skies, and the excuse to drink hot chocolate and tea with friends pretty much anytime from October clear into May.  Bundle up, stay warm, and enjoy the winter.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back to Reality aka the End of Christmas Vacation

They say that students are the ones that mourn the end of their Christmas/winter vacation and having spoken to a number of my students over the break I do know this to be true.  However I might argue that their teachers may feel the loss of vacation even more keenly that their students particularly if part of your vacation was spent travelling trying to get home.  I did not travel this holiday season but the majority of my colleagues did; taking anywhere from 6hrs to 48hrs to get home.  That is precious vacation time spent in a plane, car, or train that is doubled when you factor in the return trip.  Weather and mechanical issues can also impact the length of time in transit as a number of my colleagues experienced coming back north today, spending more than 24hrs either in an airport or on a plane due to delays.

Even without travel involved, Christmas vacation always seems to pass too quickly.  There is always something that I meant to get done but couldn't find the time or was distracted by other events, tasks, and responsibilities.  While I would say my vacation was productively spent getting organized both professionally and personally (ie: shredding, scanning, and filing) I certainly didn't do everything I wanted.  Time seemed to slip away and now it is Sunday night before school starts and I still have work to do.  Never fails, best intentions and all that...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Terry Fox Run 2014 or the end of my hair

This year I was part of the Terry Fox committee at school and to help the students meet our fundraising goal this year I made a little wager.  The deal: if the students could raise $2000 for cancer research by the end of September I would let them shave my head.  They rose to the challenge :)  After movie nights, classroom coin collections, and the final donations collected during the Terry Fox Run, the students beat their goal.  So on October 3rd, there were 12 teachers ready to get a cream pie in the face as well a pie for the principal, and a line up of students ready to aim and fire.  And after the pies were thrown and pictures were taken it was time to put my safety and hair into the hands of my students.  Despite their excitement and pride at having reached their goal, they were a little nervous about actually cutting off their teacher's hair and shaving her head.  But after their nerves settled they got to work and snip, snip my hair was cut off (to be donated to Locks of Love), and next up came the clippers.  In the end there were only two of my students that were brave enough to actually shave my head and they did a very good job.  Long hair to peach fuzz in a matter of minutes for an excellent cause.

A New Year in the North

-34C with the windchill and light blowing snow.  Will there be fireworks in the Arctic? Absolutely!  After spending a quiet Christmas holiday in Inukjuak getting organized and looking after a few huskies, cats, fish, and plants for my fellow teachers I was looking forward to the fireworks tonight.  When I went to let the dogs out for their final pee of the night I was not sure about the way the weather was looking.  The blowing snow seemed to be picking up and the wind seemed stronger; not a good thing when you are planning to set off fireworks.  Luckily, this is the Arctic, no trees and lots of snow.  After getting confirmation from a friend that the fireworks were going to go off as planned I prepped for the weather.  Two layers of long johns: check, fleece neck warmer and touque: check, -40 boots, parka, and paluks: check.  Grabbed the tripod, an extra battery, and tucked the camera into the parka to keep it warm until the show got started; I was ready to go.  I headed down to the river to get a good spot that was out of the wind with a good view of the spot they were setting off the fireworks from.  Skidoos, hondas, and trucks were headed down the river road as parka bundled people waddling through the snow to the river bank to see the show.  Got my tripod set up just in time and settled down into the snow to watch the snow.  This is my third New Year's Eve in Inukjuak and the fireworks never disappoint.  There is some thing wonderful about being bundled up in the freezing cold and watching fireworks explode against an empty background of snow, ice and rock.  Halfway through I put the camera away and just sat back to enjoy the show as people shouted Happy New Year and honked their horns.  Walking back home, nose tingling with the cold, I loved the fact that people were calling out Happy New Year as they roared past on their skidoos and hondas.  It gives you a feeling that it will be a Happy New Year.