Well it is absolutely amazing the reaction we get when we tell people that we want to move to Nunavut. There are two distinct reactions, the first one is absolute support, this generally comes from those who are educated about living in the north or those who appreciate the adventure it would be. The second, unfortunately, is almost outrage that I would even consider this an option and immediately attempt to convince me that it would be a mistake to make the move... my favorite is "It's cold there, you know?"
I have to say that before I began my research into Nunavut... well, I'm embarrassed to say I couldn't even have told you how to spell it. As I researched, I began to see my own personal ignorance on the largest territory in Canada. It is no surprise that many of my friends are tainted by assumptions and lack of knowledge of the area, I was. The Internet, although usually a great source of information, was scattered on specifics about this. I could find lots of demographic information but nothing initially about what it is really like to live there. Until I found Clare Kines on Facebook.
Clare Kines opened a facebook group dedicated to his hometown Arctic Bay, Nunavut. I took a stab in the dark and sent him a message. Clare was extremely helpful answering my "ignorant southerner" questions even though I'm sure I must have been really wearing my ignorance on my sleeve. Looking back at my preconceived notions about Nunavut at that time, I can only imagine what he thought of me. I'm not even sure what my preconceived notions really were but I know that my mental image of Nunavut has changed drastically. From Clare, I discovered a whole network of northern bloggers who have really filled in the gaps.
When Nunavut became an option, my first "deal-breaker" was Internet. I could not move anywhere that did not have Internet. Not only do they have Internet, its not scratchy ol'dialup, its satellite-based broadband service. Many parts of Nova Scotia still does not have high speed Internet... strike down one prejudice.
My next "deal breaker" is the ability to take my cats. Then I came across Jen of Nunavut's blog. The first person I had found that had posted a picture of her cat, Norman. Now that I was getting comfortable reaching out to strangers, I immediately sent her an email. Other than the challenge of getting cat supplies, Jen completely set my mind to rest on matter... strike down two prejudices.
Housing was my next concern... when they say "fully furnished" my mind takes me to an old tweed couch circa 1975.... let's just call that a bad previous experience. More blogs, more pictures... FINALLY found one of the inside of someones apartment. Sure looked like the Fantastic apartment I lived in when I lived in Wolfville.... strike down three prejudices..
The more I researched, the more I disprove my own assumptions. I know that there will be challenges. I know I have to learn to plan ahead. I know that the winter is longer than the summer. I know that I will be a minority. I know that I will not speak the main language. I know that supplies and groceries are expensive. I know that the temperature will be lower than I am used it. I know that the sun will go down one day and not come back up for a month. I know that the sun will come up one day and not go down again for a month (if not more). I know that I will be isolated. I can not only live with that... I embrace it!
I embrace the opportunity to interact within a culture that is so tied to the land. I want to be a part of community. I look forward to learning life skills like learning to really plan ahead. The more I read, the more I want to go.... for now, it's the waiting that is driving me crazy... waiting to leave for Nunavut.... but I guess waiting a good starter lesson for times to come.