Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Land

Hi everyone, so a lot has happened in the last 2 weeks that we should have wrote 2 blogs about but it’s all in one giant big one. First off I’m going to educate you all on some Inuktitut which is the language spoken by the elders of the town. Inuktitut is not a language that can be easily translated because it’s not based on words its based on feelings and I honestly don’t know how to spell them correctly so I’m going to type them the way I say them ok.. here goes.

Huvan- what’s up!

Daimah- that’s all

Mutna- thank you

Goenook – means eskimo kiss which is rubbing your nose with someone

Huna- what/pardon

Ookalook – telephone

Gookgook- candy

Mine Trip

Last week Mike went out to the Agnico Eagle Gold Mine (called Meadowbank Camp) for a tour of the kitchen facilities and such. The Meadowbank Camp is located about 110 kilometres northwest-ish of Baker Lake, which doesn’t seem like such a far drive, but when you consider that the roads are all gravel and not very smooth, it ends up being around a three hour drive each way.

Mike and James, who works with Mike in the Camps department, hitched a ride out to the camp with Peter’s Expediting, who are the company who delivers all of the groceries to the camp, for what they thought would be a quick trip.

They left the store at 12:30, and didn’t make it back home until 9:30 that night. So much for having a short trip.

The scenery was unbelievable! It seemed as though that every ten kilometers the scenery changed. There were a bunch of random little lakes and ponds all over the place, which they were told by their driver Solomon that when the snow and ice melts, it all goes to the low points, which is how all of the water bodies are formed on the land.

After finally making it to the camp in a “record breaking” 3.5 hours, they helped to unload the truck and then got the tour from Keith Mackey, who is the Kitchen Manager at the camp. After seeing some of the rooms and the kitchen facilities, which pictures will be posted of sometime this week as James has them on his camera, they were able to eat a meal prepared with the food that they sell.

Now, for those of you that thought that the people who work at the mines are “roughing” it, you couldn’t be any more wrong! On the night that they were there, the dinner menu consisted of:

- Spaghetti with meat sauce

- Ham

- Mashed Potatoes

- Homemade mac and cheese

- Mixed vegetables

- Full salad bar

- A Cheese bar (at least four kinds of cheese)

- Eight different kinds of deserts

- Eight different kinds of juice on tap

And according to Keith, this was a mediocre night for the people at the camp. Once a week they have a steak night, which they could only imagine what that is like.

Below there will be some pictures posted of the scenery of the land between town and the camp. Camp pictures will be posted later this week.

The Honda trip!

Last Thursday Mike and I took a walk down by the water to see the new barge that arrived. This barge was full of construction equipment. These large barges all come in around the end of July and continue to come in until the end of September. That’s the ONLY time they come because if they come in after that they get stuck here for the winter, like the one that has been in previous blog pictures. Anyway, they call this sealift and our company uses it to get mass amounts of product up here. We will be receiving sealift 3 times before the end of the summer and once we get it I will explain in more detail how it works and what it looks like because right now I have no idea other than large barges come in and we pull 12 hour days unloading the stuff.

So anyway the Honda part of the blog… after walking down to the water to check the barge out we quickly retreated because OH MY GOD bugs! Yes we have bug jackets but wow! We have some pictures at the bottom of Mike being swarmed. So once we got back to the four-plex Jim came back on his Honda and we talked about wanting to go out on the Honda so he offered up his. Now we are supposed to have helmets to go out but Jim told us to take the back road out and we would be ok. So… we jumped on the Honda and took a little trip to the land.

I didn’t get to go out to see the camp so this was my first experience of scenery outside of town and wow it’s just gorgeous and so peaceful. On our little drive we were driving up hill so once we got to a certain point we actually got a great view of the sun setting as well as Baker Lake from a distance. On our drive we came across a small grave yard.

Now up here, since the ground is all tundra and rock, you can’t bury people in the ground so they bury them above ground and cover the simple plywood casket with big chunks of rock. We also came across the dump, which is just a fenced in area with smoke and chunks of metal because they have to burn the garbage as soon as they get it or people will actually try and go through it. The way the garbage is done up here is very simple, you have big metal cans placed outside your house and whenever you have garbage you put it in the can and they usually pick it up in the same day.. It’s pretty simple, except that the only down side it that there is no recycling. Anyway it was a great experience and I’ve posted pictures at the bottom of the scenery.

Well that’s all we have for this post but if anyone has any random questions let me know and I’d be glad to answer them.

Ciaoz Grace!

PS: Last Tuesday we saw the moon for the first time since we’ve moved up here!

me and mike on the honda!
the sun beautiful

that is a small family graveyard.
thats the green monster barge thats in a bunch of pictures from previous posts, they had to move it to the middle of the lake so new barges come in, so it's stuck there until a big enough tug boat can come in and push it home.

The 1st barge of the season
mike being swarmed.. if the picture was bigger you would actually be able to see more...
the big jacket keeps them off your skin but they swarm the top of your head like crazy so you have to wear a hat.

mike on his way out to the camp.
the camp... more pictures to come!!
caribou that he was able to get a picture of, he also so an arctic rabbit and a fox.
one of the small lakes made by melted snow.

another picture of the camp.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mike and Grace are Engaged!!

Helloooooooooooo everyone!

I know its been a while but I’ve finally got a free moment to write. So as many of you know, Mike and I are engaged!!!!! Woooooo!!!! And now I’m sure you’re wondering how Mike proposed? Well he did it on July 6th, which holds no significance other than it was his first day off without me because his days off got switched around. Anyway, on Saturday I had been joking with the guys that I work with that since Mike had the day off tomorrow that he was going to cook me a big dinner. So Sunday morning I got up, went to work (had a short day because my Sunday shift is only 6 hours long) and when I came home I opened the door to a table lit with candles, dinner in the oven, nice music and a pretty looking Mike.

In my mind I thought he was just making me a nice dinner because I had said he would on Saturday. So we sit down for dinner and have a nice long talk about random things, finally I decided that I’ve been in my work clothes too long and need to change, and since Mike is dressed all nice I ask him if he doesn’t mind if I change, thinking he will be totally fine with it and probably join me since he’s not one for anything but comfy pants and jeans. However, instead of getting the answer I thought I would get, he tells me I have to wait a minute and takes off into the bedroom. Not really thinking about it at all, I wait and he comes back like 30 seconds later and says I can go now, so I walk into the room and see a Peoples box sitting on the bed. I ask what I did to deserve this and he said you’ll see, in my head I’m thinking it’s an anniversary gift or him just feeling thoughtful. I opened the box and inside it was a velvet jewelry box, which at that moment I thought was earrings, so when I started to open it and he went down on one knee. I totally freaked out when I saw the ring and said “Are you serious” and finally after I said nothing he looked at me and said, “are you gonna answer me?” I laughed and said, “oh yeah! YES!”

I’m pretty sure I’ve never been so surprised in my life, which is what made it so amazing. I think it was such a shock to me because we had talked about it before moving up here but I didn’t think he was even thinking about it anymore, let alone had a way to get a ring. Apparently he’s had the ring since a week before we left! Crazy! Anyway, that’s how it happened and yes he asked my dad for permission. We are going to wait a couple years because we want to get at least our 2 years with the company done. Some of the people at our store know and by some I mean all the girls because they noticed the ring and none of the guys because well they are guys and oblivious to that kind of thing. I have added pictures of the ring at the bottom and in closing I must say we will have to have a party to celebrate when Mike and I come home next summer!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canada Day in Nunavut

Hello Everyone!

I hope all you proud Canadians enjoyed Canada day because I know I sure did.

For our first Canada Day in the north, Mike and I started our day by watching the festivities on Parliament Hill on the CBC. Once we had our fill of that, we ventured out for our first big exploration walk of Baker Lake, and we also wanted to check out what the happenings were in town.

So as we began our exploration we passed by the town's community center and arena to see all the kids in town gathered to take part in Canada Day events, such as bicycle decorating. As we continued our walk, we came across several proud Canadians dressed in red and white and carrying Canadian flags on their Hondas. Once we hit the end of town and headed out to the airport we were able to take some pictures of the tundra, the lake and a small animal called a "tusk tusk", which looks like a prairie dog with a deflated squirrel tale that wiggles out of control (this is also known as the "groundhog of the north"). As we headed back into town, we passed the local indoor pool, which was just filled up that day, so we decided to get a picture of all the kids waiting patiently outside for the first swim of the season.

Once we returned back to four plex, which we have gotten an outside picture of for everyone to see, we enjoyed a cold beer on the deck and enjoyed the hot sun (yes it was 20 and beautiful that day). While sitting on the porch we talked to our neighbour, Jim, who reminded us that our management team was having a BBQ and a game of horse shoes, so we decided we would have to wander over and take part. Unfortunately we didn't take our camera to horse shoes, which thank God is a good thing because out of the five teams, Mike and I came dead last! LOL! But I must admit, it was my first time playing. Anyway, we enjoyed drinking and the horse shoe tournament, which was way too fun to watch, and also enjoyed lots of yummy BBQ.

I think out of all the BBQs I've been to though, this one had the most amazing view because we sat on top of a hill over looking the lake as the ice began to melt on the lake with a perfectly painted sky above. I find it so weird coming from down south where I'm used to looking across a bare lake seeing nothing, but knowing that Buffalo is there, and then being in Baker Lake where I look across the Lake see nothing and know there really isn't anything there except maybe a caribou.. LOL! Anyway, that's all I have to say in regards to our day, below are pictures of the town.

flowers growing on the tundra

Kids gatherd for events

The kids waiting to get into the pool


the 4 plex formally known as home (we are the bottom right window)
Thats our store!
Welcome to Baker!

A view of the town from the land
Look at all those rocks!

The clear beach water!
The barge that was stuck in the lake when it started to freeze in September