Living in Kuujjuaq

Tomorrow marks 4 months of living and working in the northern metropolis (not a joke) of Kuujjuaq, Quebec. I had certainly hoped to blog more about my experiences and stories of my life living in Nunavik, but I was too busy living it to capture it.

I had planned for some time to capture some of the sites around town to give folks a better idea of what Kuujjuaq is like. It truly is our metropolis, our big town to the smaller villages. People are always coming and going, hopping on the next Air Inuit flight to their final destination. But people are also living and working and playing here. It may be the bigger town with lots of movement and changes, but it is also home to many. Right now, outside my living room window, two girls are sledding on a snow bank with their dog nearby, keeping a close eye on them. Across the street, people are packing up their snow mobile for a day on the land. On my morning walk with Tennyson, I passed by a number of construction workers taking advantage of the warmer weather (-28) to do some siding on another new build, while someone cross-country skied in the field beside them.

Living in Kuujjuaq has been, in many ways, like coming home. A very cold home, I’ll admit, but the community and lifestyle of this northern town has fit me like a glove. I like being outdoors and enjoying  the feast for my eyes that is the North. The big hills, the rocks of many colours, the apparently abundant bird life (I only ever see ravens…I’m working on my birding skills though)…this is a place for people who appreciate learning from the environment around them, that love watching kids play in the snow despite the wind chill and who are naturally curious and interested in learning about the people who have lived, loved and thrived on this land for lifetimes.

I want this post to be a little more pragmatic in sharing the every day important sites for those who live here, but I also do want to say that while I have been spending a lot of time learning about patience and growth in myself as a professional and in a role of responsibility, and while I have experienced a lot of frustrations while being here, I have also laughed…laughed till I can’t breathe, holding my sides, and with mirth abounding. I have made friendships I will carry forever, and I will continue to invest and care deeply about the people around me. The part of life here I have appreciated the most is how much laughter and joy my Inuit colleagues infuse into their everyday life, and actively encourage me to do the same. One friend in particular, who calls the frustrations ‘fluff you should (flapping hands) push away’ has helped me stay grounded. We all need this, someone to keep us from whining too much, a reminder to stop and appreciate the moss on the ground and the birds in the sky, and the kids playing on the snow bank outside your window.

We have so much here in Kuujjuaq, we are spoiled. Let me share with you just some of the places of interest here, photos I took with my Coordinator Eva one day in December, so you can paint a picture of life here with a little more paint:

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