Hours of sunlight: 0
Hours of half-light in the sky: 4
...to welcome a stranger.
As I end my second full day in Inuvik, I am struck by the kindness and generosity of those I meet. I had commented previously that I thought I would be sleeping on my floor with a sleeping bag and a coat for a pillow. Silly me - I should have known that my new colleagues wouldn't let that happen! I have had more offers of help, rides, dinners, groceries and other assistance than I know what to do with.
Last night was my first night in my new home... someone dropped off a mattress and boxspring and carried it up the stairs, and someone else lent me sheets, blankets and pillows. I used an empty box for a night-stand and had a cozy night in my bedroom!
My new neighbours provided me with a set of plates and silverware, and (most importantly) a roll of toilet-paper! Today I went to the store and picked up TP, paper towels and cleaning supplies, so my exciting Friday night will be spent dusting and cleaning and scrubbing and vacuuming (with my neighbours' vacuum cleaner of course!)
My shipment from Ottawa should also be arriving today by truck, hopefully to be delivered tomorrow. When I called the moving company, they informed me that it should have arrived yesterday, but it was stuck in Eagle Plains in the Yukon, because the Dempster Highway was closed due to a blizzard. They opened the road briefly for the convoy of trucks, but mine didn't make it through. My poor stuff must be frozen solid!
In another burst of kindness, a group of five colleagues and their spouses and partners are coming over tomorrow morning for what I'm calling a "screwdriver party". I think some of them mistakenly think that I'll be providing drinks... what I actually asked them to do was to round up their Phillips, Robertson's and flat screwdrivers and help me unpack and put my furniture together!
A word about the darkness and cold
The cold... yes, it is cold of course, but I haven't felt chilled since I've been here. It's a strange, dangerous cold because it's so dry and you don't feel it right away. As long as you dress properly and cover your ears, you can walk outside comfortably. This morning I walked from home to work (10-15 minutes) without feeling chilled at all. I felt much colder in Ottawa because it gets right to your bones and the wind makes it so much worse. Here, the cold is refreshing and there is rarely a wind. It's impossible to describe how it feels, but I will say that I'm relieved that the cold is not something that I need to "deal with". It just is.
Below are some pictures of the main Inuvik street at 5:30 pm, just as I'm about to walk home. Bye for now -- ready for the weekend!