Monday, October 18, 2010

I guess I am not a very good blogger!

So we have been here for almost a month and I have written one post, ha! I guess that’s not very good. 

We have seen quite a few new things since we have been here, though I admit it is not as different as I thought it would be.  I am definitely missing my family, and my friends but I am getting through! I should be starting a new job shortly so it will be nice to get out of the house. I have also looked into joining a Mom and Tot swim group so I can hopefully meet some other Moms.

With a new job coming up I was able to go online and do a bit of shopping for “business casual” clothes, this is kind of like a initiation to living in Iqaluit (ordering online), ha-ha. It’s amazing the things that you take advantage of when you live down south. I think that is a big part of feeling isolated up here, the realization that you can’t just go out and get anything you want! You have to either order it online or wait until you are able to fly out to Ottawa etc. Plus it takes about 3 weeks to get anything sent here, by the time you get it you’ve almost forgotten that you ordered it in the first place! lol. The other thing is that you can’t just order from anywhere because if a store does not offer free shipping without any fine print, then you will spend a ton on shipping. I was able to order from and (new!) with free shipping so that was good. 

Ryan and I will be looking for our own place in January or so and I am freaking out about how we are going to get all the things we need for a house here without spending a fortune!  We will be checking out local yard sales for sure! They are apparently common in the spring and fall, but we may have more difficulty in the winter.  We will figure it out though!  You can get things here for the home, they are just expensive and there is not much in terms of selection…

We went for brunch a couple of Sundays ago at the Frobisher, that was really nice. A huge buffet with everything from Eggs Benedict to Arctic Char, definitely a good feed! Kaitlyn enjoyed it to, she was able to try char and Caribou!

We are enjoying being able to see friends on MSN and Skype with video, that really really helps! Well have to go for now, Kaitlyn is a busy bee!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The First Week

Wow its been a long while since I last wrote.  I have been keeping myself busy, trying to make sure things are done around the house, etc.  Kaitlyn’s schedule is all out of whack too, so I’m never sure when she will be sleeping.  We have been in Iqaluit now for 1 week and 2 days.  Ryan has been working for 1 week today and is enjoying keeping busy and being paid for all the time he is there instead of back in ON where he would get paid for 2 out of 8 hours…

We miss home and it feels strange that we are not going to be going home in a couple days, lol!  I have this constant feeling of rushing around, just because I feel like we don’t have time to just sit around!  Hopefully things will feel a little bit more adjusted and comfortable in a couple of weeks. We are enjoying it up here though, its different for sure, but it doesn’t feel all that different when we are at home with our family, its just the same as anywhere.  There is actually a lot more to the town then we thought there would be!  I find it really confusing to get around because there aren’t really any major intersections or anything, roads kind of go all over the place and some places you have to drive through parking lots etc. to get to. I’m sure we will get the hang of it soon enough though.  I have mostly been at the house so it will probably take me a little longer to get the hang of it then Ryan.  I have been out a couple times to Matt and Katie’s so that was nice.  Saturday we drove around and saw Apex, and the National park just outside of town, which was beautiful!!! Apex was interesting, there is a beach there where they used to bring freight in via the Hudson’s Bay Company, there are some really neat buildings there with old old signs on them that say the Hudson’s Bay Company 1670 on them. (these pictures I just found on google)

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Anyways, they were really neat, complete with an old steel boat washed up on shore. 

I went for some testing for the Stats Canada job I have been hoping for on Friday, so I am hoping I hear good news about that soon.  We have done some grocery shopping and have endured some major sticker shock, lol! Even when you know what to expect it is crazy to see the prices first hand.  Well I have to go for now Kaitlyn is up, I will try to write again soon!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

T-minus 0.5 days Till Departure!

I am currently enjoying lounging in a very comfy bed at the Holiday Inn Express, I thought I would take this time to reflect back on some of the reasons we have decided to go north, before we are frozen and wondering why the hell we did this!!! lol! This way I can look back and remember.

So… our decision came not too long ago at the end of July, it was probably our last choice but became our very first choice very quickly.  At that time we were actually extremely close to going to the U.S. Air Force recruiters and Ryan signing papers to join the military. We had planned on going on Ryan’s day off the following week.  We have known that we were going to be making a big decision in our lives for awhile now, for about 6-8 months we have been talking about what that choice would be.  We didn’t know what we would end up doing, but we examined each choice carefully. Our first choice was Ryan joining the Canadian Army as a vehicle technician, we thought this through very carefully and looked at the pros and cons, we liked the option of the Canadian forces because the salary is about double that of the American forces.  The only problem with this choice was that we had to wait until Ryan became a Canadian citizen (currently he is a permanent resident) at first we thought that would not be too bad because Ryan is able to apply this month for his citizenship, but then we found out it could take 12 months to get his citizenship. We decided that would not work (for money reasons) and began looking into the American military once again, despite the lower income.  We looked at the different branches and finally decided on the Air Force, we were really happy with this decision and thought it would give our little family some great opportunities, we knew it would be unbearably hard at times but decided that the pros out weighed the cons in the long run.  We started preparing for this huge life change, expecting that Ryan would start boot camp in October.

One day I all of a sudden remembered that our friend’s Kirstin and Jamie had offered for us to come live with them in Iqaluit several years ago.  At that time we had declined, although we had seriously considered it, because I was in school and we did not feel we were in a good place in our lives, one of the main reasons being a new puppy we had just adopted. 

So I thought about it, figuring it was a real shot in the dark.  Especially since we had DECIDED for sure that Ryan would be joining the Air Force, and we were both, especially Ryan stoked about that. But when I saw Ryan I mentioned it, my thought process was that we would go for the year while Ryan obtained citizenship and then return for him to join the Canadian forces. Ryan immediately thought it was a good idea and we decided that paying off a lot of debt before joining either forces was probably the best choice.  But we of coarse still needed to talk to Kirstin and Jamie, who were conveniently arriving a few days later.  We anxiously waited to see them to talk to them about this idea we had.  As soon as we mentioned it to them they said yes, that they would be happy for us to come!  It was extremely hot that day so we decided to head over to DQ for some ice cream and air conditioning and on the way Ryan and I decided that yes this was the best decision for us and that we needed to just go for it, and figure it out as we went. So within a matter of an hour, maybe, lol, we completely changed our future! To a lot of people this is absolutely crazy and doesn’t make sense, so I just want to explain a little about Iqaluit, as we see it.

Iqaluit is not a vacation destination, it is not somewhere that people generally would really want to go in terms of nice weather or beauty.  At least in the typical way, there are still very pretty areas that we have seen pictures of.  Its not a big party destination or anything either, in fact it is a “dry city” (ie. no Liquor store or Beer store).  You can have a drink in a restaurant or bar though.  But what Iqaluit does have is opportunity.  Opportunity to work, quickly, and making good wages, extremely good in some cases.  As well as opportunity to succeed, grow, and advance in your career.  We literally know people who have went there without a job and had a job before leaving the airport! 

It is also an experience that not many people can say they have had, which is pretty cool in its own.  We feel it is going to give us the opportunity to really step out on our own as a family without being held in by a contract like the military.  We figured if we can’t do this then there is no way in hell we will get through 3 years of the military.  Yes it is going to be extremely hard to be away from our family!!! But at least we will be together, and we will have unlimited contact with our family via video calls, FB and telephone.

We feel we will be able to create stability for Kaitlyn in a way that we may not be able to down south. We are hoping that after just a year or two up north we will be able to not only pay off our debt but also save for a down payment on a house here. Something that would be easily 5 yrs + if we were to stay where we are. 

Another thing is the chance to see a different way of life, and experience a different culture.  We are actually excited for the lack of stores and people, from what we hear the people that are up there are very nice people, it takes a certain type of person to stay there and we believe that we will fit in well.  We are not the type of people who like to go out and party or anything, but staying in and playing poker or something sounds great to us!

Last that I will talk about is the fact that you only live once!  This is the last chance we will get to do this with Kaitlyn at an age where she won’t be in school, etc. so we figure Why not? I would rather make mistakes and experience life then stay in the same place for my whole life! We can always come back! Anyways, I have to get going to bed soon, so that is all for now!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

6 Days Till Departure – Wow!

Today was just one of those days that everything seemed to take forever, all sorts of errands to run but felt like we didn’t accomplish much… Donations and consignment stores, trying to get rid of items that are valuable enough to not throw out but no one we know wants… this is harder then you would think!  We would just keep things, but as Ryan says at this point, if it doesn’t make us money, it will cost us money (in storage). Returns and exchanges at sears etc… we did have a $50 gift certificate to spend on Kaitlyn which was fun, we were able to get a few essentials for her, a new hooded towel, bibs (with no Velcro, so she can’t pull it off) and one with sleeves :) a balaclava and a face gaiter (to keep her little head and face nice and toasty!) and some slippers :) Thanks Aunt Pat :)

We are slowly whittling away at the pile of stuff still at the house and it is now a very small but overwhelming pile, haha… Tomorrow we plan on getting the T.V. and bed, and taking the BBQ back (due to a propane leak), finish packing the storage unit and alas the move will be complete! At least in terms of being out of our house, we still have paperwork to sort through and our baggage to finish packing. 

Finally got home to see our baby girl this evening, man are we lucky to have her!!! She was so happy to see us, there is nothing else like your child’s love for you, she is becoming so creative and smart! Already teaching herself little games, and laughing at her own humour! hehe, so cute! She is also becoming better at climbing! Kirstin if you are reading, haha, this means she can reach top shelves ;o)  She spent another fun filled and obviously exhausting day with Nana and Grandad because she fell asleep at 7:30!

We are really hoping to finish everything tomorrow before going out to a BBQ at a friends place tomorrow night, the storage unit gets picked up Thurs morning, so we don’t have much choice! Thats all for now, I should get some rest!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

T-minus 8 Days Till Departure-The First Leg of the Journey

Holy cow that number seems to have dropped quick!!!! Ahhhh!!!!!

Wow, what a long day!!! A good day, but a long one!!! It started at 3:30 am and went by quickly, by 4 am we were on the road to Ottawa to take Katie (my brother Matt’s girlfriend) to the airport for her journey up north.  (If I haven’t mentioned it, Matt decided to follow us up north but got there 2 weeks ago, haha, kinda hard to tell who’s following who now!)  So we all piled into a friend’s quad cab 1/2 ton truck (thanks Dan!) and hit the road with approx 200 lbs of luggage and Ryan’s 420 lb tool box in the back. Luckily Kaitlyn and I were able to get a little sleep in the back, and Katie, unable to sleep anyway, was able to keep Ryan awake in the driver’s seat.  We accompanied Katie to baggage, which was a good experience for us because we are able to see the procedure for oversize baggage prior to our flight next week. It is funny seeing everyone with their bins and huge baggage getting in lines for airlines called things like Bearskin Airlines!  I kinda wish that one flew to Iqaluit, that would be cool! haha, We only get to go on plain ol’ Air Canada, bah! Just Kidding! We get personal TV’s on the back of each seat! Okay definately getting tired now, my dorky humour is coming out….

Anyways, after saying our goodbyes to Katie we headed off to drop Ryan’s toolbox off at First Air Cargo, thank goodness that was a bill picked up by his employer! Phewww! At 192 kg and over $5 a kg….yah! As we drove off glad to have a big part of our move on its way, Ryan realized he forgot to put his new wrenches in the box, so we had to drive back, haha! We knew things were going too smoothly! That was okay though because we were able to take the picture we forgot to take of the cargo building!

We had a nice drive home, switched cars and were able to get a few things done at the house, have I mentioned we have tons to do there still, ahh!!! We took Kaitlyn to the local park for the last time :( it was so nice to have Ryan with us for a change!!!

  Then we went for a nice BBQ/playdate with some friends, where we received an awesome going away present for Kaitlyn (Stonz booties!!!!). We finally got home at 8:15 pm, so we are very tired!!! Tomorrow we will be heading off to the house, and hope to have EVERYTHING done by Tues evening, plan on having our storage unit picked up on Wednesday so we can spend time with family and friends the last few days here….we will see how it goes!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

T-minus 12 Days Till Departure… last full day in Kingston house

As I am blogging Kaitlyn is her her crib going to sleep (fingers crossed) with a bottle. I am hoping that she will fall asleep so I can shower, eat lunch and maybe get a few more things packed. During her morning nap I was able to do some more research on other blogs about what to bring up north, its always hard because there are conflicting ideas about this with the bloggers and the people we know there. As well as get a lot more kitchen items packed away for storage. I find doing my checking online (facebook, email, blog) while she is supposed to be falling asleep best so if she doesn’t fall asleep I’m not knee deep in 'unsafe’ items in her play area…. I explain this to all of you wondering when I have time to write this blog, haha.

It has been extremely difficult packing with a 1 year old in tow! I basically have 2 (at very most) 1.5 hr blocks of time to do my daily activities (such as showering, laundry, dishes) and packing/organizing each day. Then when Ryan gets home its bedtime routine, dinner for us is usually around 9:30, lol, and then maybe some relaxing…or more packing. I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed, there is not much left to do really, but it just seems like its all these little things that I can’t seem to conquer. It doesn’t help that Ryan’s last pay check sucked and we have even less to buy all the things that we need then we thought we would. My head is spinning all the time trying to figure out what to do next and how to accomplish it…. oh boy, I can’t wait for this stage to be over!!! haha! It will all come in to place, I know it will, somehow Ryan and I always figure it out in the end.

So since the couch is getting picked up tonight we have decided that we will go out to my parents for the next 12 days. That way we can pack up all the little things we have been needing to use here. Plus it will give us some more time to spend with them. Kaitlyn might also be going to their house tonight to give Ryan and I some time to tie up loose ends here.

We need to pack up our suitcases (again) and finish putting the few personal items we are taking with us (pictures, Kaitlyns things, etc.) in the designated bin. We still need to finish filling the bin we have exclusively for diapers and wipes (oh yeah a rubbermaid bin FULL of diapers and wipes is much needed!!!) a package of diapers in Iqaluit costs $79.99 approximately! And of coarse doesn’t ship diapers of all things, to nunavut. Another bin contains toiletries such as shampoo, body wash, toothpaste etc. in it. Thank goodness we don’t have many clothes because we have 2 suitcases between the 3 of us, and I think Kaitlyn has the most! Our carry-ons will contain our camera’s (video, picture) and laptop, and winter clothing like hats and gloves, plus whatever else we can fit.

Thank goodness Kaitlyn’s mattress and new crib from Ikea (converts to a toddler bed) has already been shipped north, courtesy of Kirstin and Jamie (thanks ;o) ), so either when we get there or a few days later she will have her very own crib to sleep in. Her crib would have been much to heavy and it only converts to a double bed, so it will be perfect for her when we come back.

Kaitlyn has decided not to sleep so off I go, Oh to be in Iqaluit will feel so nice, this is definately got to be the hardest part!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shopping ain’t quite what it used to be….

Had a busy day yesterday, sorted clothes etc…, sold the washer and dryer, did a bit of shopping for Kaitlyn at Old Navy, got her 2 pairs of pants and a top, everything was 30% off! Then we went up to Chris and Lori’s for dinner, had some yummy grub then decided to stay the night since Ryan didn’t have to work until noon today. Watched “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” with Meghan, which was not bad. So all in all a good day!

This morning we got up and headed to TSC to check out this carhardt/tough duck clothing Ryan is supposed to get, but they couldn’t understand why we wanted Winter weight specifically Arctic weight right now…lol, so of coarse they didn’t have it. This seems to be an ongoing problem with moving up north is that we are not able to get the clothing we will need because it is not in season (fyi, it is not that we need it NOW there anyways, but we need to take it with us to avoid shipping charges later). Even the Columbia outlet I went to today to try to get a new winter hat doesn’t have most winter things in yet…. I did manage to get my self a few new things today (which was weird, lol) I bought some jeans (skinny for wearing with boots!) even though I hate skinny jeans, a sweatshirt, and a nice button up shirt… that will have to do me until I get up north, then I will order some stuff online. It was not easy though! I never realised how hard shopping with a baby is! I haven’t went shopping where I wanted to browse since having Kaitlyn. I only got to go to one store in the mall, I had to rush around picking things out while she was fussing, so I only really grabbed things that were easily visible, certainly no picking through things. Then we got into the change room, I tried one outfit on then realized I had low blood sugar….so I had to put my clothes back on, ask the lady to leave the items in the room and rush out to the food court, only to find I didn’t have my wallet! So then I had to go to the car, which I thought was okay because I had a juice in the car, well I was wrong, I used it already…soooo I found my wallet ran back in to the mall and got my juice, while standing in line someone called Kaitlyn a boy!!! (she was wearing blue though, lol) Finally got back to the store and in to the change room, except by this time Kaitlyn was getting really fussy, so I took her out of the cart and let her walk around in the changing room. Being 1, she of coarse had to grab everything in sight and throw it on the floor while I was trying to change, so that was fun, lol. Then I had to open the door because they don’t have mirrors in the change room, which I might add is very annoying! What if I was trying on a bathing suit? So Kaitlyn of coarse takes off running, almost out into the store before veering off to grab some pricing instruments off a This happened about 4 more times while I tried things on. I ended up opting to not try a few things on because I was sweating by the time I was done! So off to the cash I went thinking I had plenty of money with me, but I fell just short due to my purchase of juice, HA! After all of that I had to put a shirt back, urgh! After a few more little inconveniences with the bill I decided to head up to AE to try a few items on so I will know my sizing when I purchase online. I picked up one pair of pants and Kaitlyn started throwing a fit, sooo I put them back and headed home, she fell asleep in the car, she was tired after all that shopping, lol! So all in all I have realized that my long days of browsing and shopping are gone….Good thing you shop online when you move north!