South bound and downApril 15, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C
After 6 months in the Arctic, I took a little trip southward and then back northward. Basically, I thought that traversing the eastern seaboard of North America would be fun. I thought too, that I should attempt 5 flights in one day. Seems reasonable. I'll have everyone know, for the record, that I would have made it too had Air Canada not scheduled our flight to land in Toronto when US immigration was closing. I'm not sure why they would do that, but it allowed me to spend a very short night in Toronto instead of South Florida. Good news was that I was back on a plane at 6am headed south and was there in time for brunch! Yea planes!! They are amazing.
Some highlights and thoughts from the trip include:
1. So many sounds and sights. Sensory overload. And that was just stepping off the jet bridge into the Ottawa airport terminal. My friend cautioned me before leaving to "try not to be a weirdo" since I hadn't been around lots of people or foods or crowds for 6 months. I really tried to adhere to her advice, but I must admit, my head was swiveling about quite a bit as all the noises, lights, and movement captured my attention. *think 3 year old at the fair's midway.
2. The food and food smells! I broke the "weirdo" creedo when I couldn't resist pawing a cup of fruit with blueberries and cantaloupe in it. The fruit had no bruises and wasn't rotting. And this was at the little side stores that suck at the airport--not even a nice place! I was mesmerized.
3. I realized that the Arctic is quiet. No bells, sirens, horns, few planes or cars...just really quiet. There is no traffic noise. No construction noise. Add snow and what little sound there is is dampened even more! I didn't realize how quiet it was until I was navigating through the Ottawa airport. TVs going, people talking, airport carts beeping, blaring announcements.
4. Life is simple in the Arctic, but hard. Let me expand. My friend and I went to the grocery store. I wanted to get items that are unavailable in Igloolik or sometimes Canada, and she was doing some Easter shopping. We made our way to the "Easter display" of the store. This "display" was not a display at all. It was a giant aisle, the width of 2 aisles and spanned the entire store from the front to the back. This Easter aisle was bigger than the entire store that sells all groceries, home goods, and even ATVs, in Igloolik. For Easter. She was putting together Easter baskets for her young family members. She wanted to include a chocolate bunny. The difficulty became in deciding WHICH chocolate bunny. You see, there wasn't 1 or 2 choices of bunnies. There were seemingly endless choices. Do we want a Lindt bunny? Russell Stover? Hershey? Cadbury? Do we want milk chocolate? Dark chocolate? Blueberry filled chocolate? Strawberry filled chocolate? Do we want a 3 in bunny? A 5 inch bunny? A giant bunny? Do we want it solid chocolate or hollow? That was for the bunny. Then, we had to decide what kind of Easter eggs to put in the basket. I quit. The time and effort it takes to do all that....wow. So, while I complain that we have nothing here, it does make things incredibly easy and quick. I am not having to make any decisions on which store to go to, I don't have to price compare, I don't have to think about whether I could order this on the internet, I don't have to deliberate over 16 types of spaghetti sauces. It is freeing in a lot of ways.
5. I went to a conference in Tennessee and a colleague of mine from here in Nunavut went as well. It was hilarious to be in Tennessee, walking without jackets, in slip-on shoes, next to blooming tulips and getting to watch him get called "honey", "sweetie", and "sugar" by all the female servers and locals. At the poster session, where participants have their research laid out on a 3 x 4 ft or so poster so others can read and discuss it, the conference organizers arranged for a local moonshine distillery to come and set up. They gave us all a free moonshine cocktail. And, they had fried green tomatoes and chicken wings for snacks. My colleague enjoyed it and we laughed about the fact that 6 months ago, when he picked me up at the Igloolik airport, he definitely did not think we'd be drinking moonshine and eating fried green tomatoes together in Tennessee!! We also made sure to send a selfie with the sun and flowers in it to my boss (his former boss), back in Igloolik. We are cruel you see.
It was very good to see my family in Florida and family and friends in Tennessee while also getting to see friends/colleagues from my work world that I hadn't seen in years. Next stop, a new city! Montreal!Read more