I have a thing for coffee. Anyone who spends any time in my house knows that... not only did I do the barista thing for a while, there's a cupboard pretty much entirely devoted to caffeine in my kitchen. That's right, I used the word, 'was.'
Today was my final day as a barista and boy do I have some seriously mixed feelings on the subject. I loved being able to wake up, go do something I love to do and talk to some pretty awesome people all day. That being said, everything has its pros and cons and it was time for me to move on from this particular spot.
What will I miss most? It's hard to say... but I'm looking forward to a new challenge. What's life without an adventure or two?
Hello world, guess what! As of, I dunno, 35 minutes ago I have a plug for the laptop that came in the mail last week. Huzzah! I can type my name properly for the first time since September. Seriously, you have no idea how annoying it is to try and type when the v through m on your keyboard simply do not work.
That being said, SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED! Actually, now that I think about it... not really. But here are the highlights.
Well, I went home for Christmas... and brought the ice storm home with me. There are lots of photos but they're currently on R's laptop and I shall wait until he gets home to remove/edit/post them. The trip here was somewhat eventful, our flight was late getting into Edmonton, and if the flight to Toronto had been on time we probably wouldn't have made it. Thankfully it was delayed... although they neglected to let people know that so we had a mad dash through the airport.
The last few days have provided a few awesome new experiences :)
First up- Ice fog. Looks like normal fog... kinda burns to breathe. I took the photo on the left at around 1:30pm while I was walking home from work, that's about an hour and a half from sunset. I'm less than a minute's walk from the trees in the background but the fog was so thick they were hard to see. Kiiiiind of awesome. It was so cold out that my phone froze while taking this photo, otherwise you'd have a few more photos of ptarmigan to check out, as well as a photo of a random fuzzy brown bird that I couldn't identify.
A few posts back I mentioned waiting for coloured snow pants... and on the coldest day I've experienced so far, I finally bought some! They're very bright green. Fluorescent even... for a very good reason. Every morning I leave the house between 5:05 and 5:15... so it's dark. Very dark. Usually I'm the only person out and my parka is black. I have a reflective arm band but I didn't think that was enough, so now I have snow pants that are so bright they're impossible to miss. Oh, and they're really warm + waterproof too!
A couple people asked what you wear to keep warm when temperatures like -26°C are considered balmy... and I have a list for you!
In the mornings I put on (In this order):
- headphones (cold walks seem shorter with good tunes)
- a gator (basically a fleece tube that covers your face/neck. My favourite one is purple)
- a scarf (covers the bits that the gator doesn't reach)
- snow pants (These... yay! prior to today I was using sweatpants over jeans... cold)
- gloves (the stretchy thin figure skating style ones)
- a parka (I wear this one)
- reflective arm band (like the ones cyclers use)
- heavy mittens (mine are double layered polar fleece... sometimes I wear down filled ones)
- warm boots (warmer than -35°C I wear these, colder than that I wear these)
- ear warmers
- a warm hat
- a bag that's relatively well insulated so that your fruit + yogurt don't freeze on your way to work... It's large enough to store all this gear once I get there.
Of course, all this outerwear means that I can wear a polo shirt + jeans to work!
You see it EVERYWHERE. People in yellowknife LOVE the ptarmigan and until you see some it's hard to understand why. They're birds... little birds. They look like little puff balls from the top- you can't see the black tail feathers at all. Their feet are RIDICULOUS! It's kind of awesome.
Yesterday I was walking home and nearly tripped over one of these little dudes in the snow... did I mention that they're pretty much impossible to spot unless you're really paying attention? And today there were three just chillin' in a tree about a meter from the path that I take to our building's side door. I tried to get a photo of them hopping through the snow but didn't have much luck... I'll have to keep trying :)
How exactly is one supposed to DEAL with that?! I've seen a lot of crazy things happen to houses. We have a door handle that's permanently covered in ice. In one house, the moisture caused actual pockets of water between the concrete walls and the paint... kinda like balloons. In another house, a blanket was dragged through some fresh varnish which took weeks of work to fix. In yet another house a steam pipe broke and destroyed all kinds of things in the basement. Over the years I've watched my mother deal with all kinds of ridiculous $#!T that makes you go... only in ____. Never have I seen ice and frost on the bedroom ceiling.
So, a phone call or two later to our landlord and THAT seems to be being dealt with. Yeesh. Apparently it happened to a few of the units in this building last year... gotta remember this is only it's second winter.
The countdown to Christmas has officially started, only 12 days until we're in Ontario! Days are continuing to get shorter (something like 5 hours and 20 minutes of sunlight today!) and much, Much colder. Having my eyelashes freeze together is now the norm... I'm waiting until a local store has new stock come in so that I can pick up a pair of non-black snow pants for my walk to work. I wear a black parka, black or cream boots, black mittens.... I need colour, clearly.
It's been a while since my last post and while not a lot has happened... it feels like there's been a lot more going on. A lot of you know that I've struggled with depression in the past... well it seems as though the excessive amounts of darkness aren't helping with that nasty little friend. About a week ago now, R was at his wit's end and pretty much forced me to reach out for help. Am I ever glad he did. More frequent phone calls home, what feels like a million vitamins later and some friendly questions for the people I deal with on a daily basis are helping, as will the sun lamp that mum's having shipped here. As always, baking and cooking really do seem to help so I've been making a point to play in the kitchen at least twice a week.
Darkness is now the norm here. I'm lucky enough to have a job that allows me to walk home during the brief period of daylight, but most aren't nearly so fortunate. R walks to and from work in the dark- he sees the sunshine on his lunch hours and on the weekends. You wouldn't think it'd be such a huge deal but to put this in perspective... After I did a quick jaunt to work this morning I was walking home and watching the sunrise. At 9:35am. Sunset was a mere 5 hours and 43 minutes later, yeah, at 3:18pm. Tomorrow, our day will be roughly 4 minutes shorter than it was today.
A lot's gone on in the last week, some I'd deliberately kept off the internet... just in case, yunno?
R got back from his business trip to Inuvik and Norman Wells on Saturday evening with many tales of the carryings on that occurred while he was north of the arctic circle... And yes there were many. If y'all wanna hear about most of them you'll have to ask him, but I will say that he was too far north to see the aurora. How crazy is that?! Too far north. HA.
The night he got back the sky was FINALLY clear, so we drove out past Giant Mine, sat at the side of the road and watched as there were giant gobs of paint dropped down through the sky. Obviously that's not what actually happens... but that's what it looks like. I tried to get a few good shots and failed miserably. That's kinda what happens when it's -22, you're standing outside in the dark without gloves or a tripod. Mittens are somewhat useless for the itty bitty buttons that you need to fiddle with for that all important extended exposure... lots of blur. Lots. Still, the colours against the sky were incredible.
One month and one day ago we arrived here in YK... and today R's off on his very first trip way North. Last night as he was packing his bag I snapped the photo that's to the right... yeah, rockin' the parka and plaid flannel pj pants.
Lots of things have been seen and done since we arrived, but I was particularly amused by the following list;
Interesting Animals Spotted Since September 27:
I was all excited yesterday... I spotted one of the gorgeous snow white foxes about 50 ft from our balcony. I was on the ball, had the camera ready, got some great shots... and theeeeen I accidentally deleted them all when I was showing R how to use my camera for aurora photography. I was a tiny bit miffed.
I know, I know, world's most boring title. I was kind of at a loss and that's what I came up with.
First off, we're doing pretty well. We're officially heading home for Christmas (thanks Mom + Dad!) this year so that's marked on the calendar. If anyone's around between December 21 and 28th.... email/facebook me so I can make sure I get to seeee you before I disappear again... Lol. I swear, this is like living in Dar again (okay, it's a lot colder but you know what I mean).
As of tomorrow (the 4th) we've officially lived in YK for a month... wow. Time really does seem to fly sometimes. We've pretty much finished dealing with all the paper work, drivers licences (yeah, that's right, it's plural! I got one too), health insurance, all that other stuff.... all taken care of! I'm starting to feel like this is home which usually takes some time, but I really do think I like it here.