I spoke too soon. I thought my previous post would be my last but much has happened in the last week to warrant another entry.
I had originally planned to fly to Arctic Bay on Saturday, January 26, but that had to be pushed to Monday, January 28. I now had more time to pack but very little time to unpack upon arrival because the semester begins on Monday. I would have to be ready to go the very next day. I just hope all my teaching resources will arrive the same day I do.
Usually, relocating to another community is a challenge. When I moved to Iqaluit from Ottawa, all I brought with me were two suitcases. My move to Arctic Bay will not be that simple because I have accumulated quite an amount of 'stuff' in the last year. Clothing, kitchenware, houseware, books, teaching resources, appliances, furniture - it's all there. And it needs to come with me to my new home. Moving all that stuff to a remote community costs quite a fortune. Thankfully, I have the assistance of the territorial government.
Teachers are very well treated in the North. When relocating, the Government of Nunavut pays for your plane ticket(s), moving your belongings (clothes, furniture, and household goods), arranges an overnight stay at a hotel (if it's required), and reimburses you for any meal expenses. Make sure you keep all of your receipts. If you need accommodation in the community, you can apply for staff housing. As well, you receive a Northern Allowance on top of your salary due to the high cost of living.
Also on the 'to-do list' is cancelling local services such as phone, internet, electricity, heat, and mail. All those services will be cut on the day I fly out. I'm glad I chose to forgo a tv; one less appliance to worry about.
I was glad that I administered all my exams last week because Iqaluit experienced some really rough weather in the middle of this week. From early Tuesday to early Thursday, Iqaluit was enveloped in a blizzard with heavy winds gusting upwards of 60km/h! When there's no wind, the cold is bearable. But when the winds carry it, the cold can be distressing. Flights were cancelled and a day and a half of school was lost. Those who ventured outside had to walk around as if they were dressed like astronauts. I wondered whether Arctic Bay experienced anything similar?
Friday, the 25th was the last day of my contract and it felt somewhat surreal. I had made it to the end. I didn't have any classes because of exams but students periodically came into the music room to jam on the guitars and piano. Before leaving, they wished me good luck in Arctic Bay and for me to say hi to a few friends for them. When the school bell rang at 3pm, teachers were called down to the staff room for a quick meeting.
Terry, the principal, congratulated everyone for a successful first term and to announce my departure. As a token of appreciation for all my hard work, he presented me with a book of photographs, titled Iqaluit, by amateur photographer Nick Newberry. Keeping my thank you speech short, I thanked everyone for their support, assistance, advice, and hoped to see them again in the future. Afterwards, we celebrated the end of Term 1 with chocolate and carrot cakes.
Over the last two weeks, I removed all my teaching resources from the music room. By the time the 25th came, the only thing left was my piano binder. Before locking up the music room for the last time, I paused and looked around, reminiscing all the new memories I had acquired over the last year. I was going to miss this place. I returned my set of keys to Terry and we had a quick chat in his office about my time at Inuksuk High School. On my way out, I said goodbye to all the teachers who were staying after school to prepare for the next term. Once outside, I took one last look at the high school before heading down the hill towards my apartment. I held my head up all the way.
My Arctic Bay blog is coming up next. When it's set up and ready, I'll post a link at the end of this entry. Until then, enjoy reading my previous 44 entries on living and teaching in Iqaluit.
Ulluqatsiaritsi! (Have a good day!)
Update: Sorry to keep you all waiting but I have now settled in Arctic Bay and have started to blog my latest adventure. Check out The Pocket.