Monday, February 4, 2013

first impressions of Ikaluktutiak

We're slowly settling into Cambridge Bay. It's absolutely beautiful here. Some things I didn’t expect I’d have to get used to, living in Cambridge Bay (plus photos from around town):

  • My glasses always, always, always fogging up and freezing whenever I step outside.  I spend an alarming amount of time staggering around half blind because my glasses are covered in ice.  Seriously, how do I make it so this doesn’t happen?
  • The roar of snowmobiles.  Snowmobiles are an obvious preferred choice of transportation in an Arctic town, but their loud engines  are still totally unexpected, as though in the middle of this serene Arctic quiet….all of a sudden a vortex has opened up and released two Formula One cars drag racing down the street. 
our house
  • The roar of snowmobiles outside my window.  Before moving up North, we’d been living in a quiet neighbourhood where nobody passed through our street unless they lived on it.  Here, because there are only a dozen or so streets in town, and everywhere is sort of downtown, people pass right outside my window, and I remember that I should close the curtains before changing my clothes.
  • Watching the CBC TV show Arctic Air and feeling like Yellowknife is *such* a big city. I mean, it’s got bars and big stores, that crazy restaurant with the moose that has the bra over its head and even a strip club. Hectic.

  • Driving without peripheral vision.  I don’t drive much, but when I do, checking my blind spot is a special challenge because the damn coyote fur-lined hood of my Canada Goose jacket (I’ve named the coyote Wilma, by the way) takes up so much room at the back of my head that I have to frantically paw at it to clear my view.  Not to mention the fact that the jacket takes up so much room in the driver’s seat. Is this what it feels like to be, like, a hundred pounds larger?

  • Doing everything in snow pants. I mean, I suppose I could wear long johns and then jeans over them, but I much prefer to wear jeggings and then snow pants, because snow pants are fun, and the swish-swish sound I make when I walk as my thighs rub together sound like music I haven’t made since I was a kid.  So I swish-swish when I do everything.  I swish-swish when I grocery shop. I swish-swish when I check my mail. I swish-swish when I go to the library.  I swish-swish when I go to the gym – although the snow pants do finally come off when I work out.

  •  Constant hot and cold flashes, often simultaneously.  It’s really cold outside. It’s pretty warm inside. Going in or out means adjusting to drastic temperature changes.  Sometimes, when you’re walking outside, some parts of you are very warm (like the parts of you covered by Wilma) and some parts of you are really cold (like the skin touching my frozen glasses), and it’s a weird sensation, sweating and shivering at the same time. Is this a preview of what menopause feels like?