Beginning of the Inuvik Adventure

Hello! I have had quite the adventure.

So to start things off, I am effectively homeless! Super fun right?

Sunday I was home, my house was chilly and I wasn’t getting hot water. I was annoyed that I went through fuel so fast, but, c’est la vie. I called for a refill for Monday. I covered my windows up with insulation looking things I found and blankets, turned on my space heater for a bit, put on my big long parka and went to bed. In the morning it was super cold, but I was like, the fuel is coming all will be fine. I put on my snow pants, which were CRUNCHY and my other parka and went to school.

When I came back there was a receipt for my fuel and the fuel company called to let me know that my tank was over half full and they couldn’t put in the $700 I’d asked for. So my fuel was fine…

There was a red light on the boiler that wouldn’t go off, but I emailed my landlord’s local proxy about it. I go to the kitchen and the water in the bowls in the sink is frozen. The tap doesn’t work. I go to the downstairs bathroom that I’ve had problems with and the sink is full of dark water that is frozen. (I do not use this bathroom ever). I go upstairs, that toilet isn’t frozen, I still have running (cold) water. So I figure, it will heat up. I call my landlord’s proxy and then my landlord. They don’t know what to do but will call a local plumber. “He might come by at 9pm” It’s 5. It’s -51 outside (and now inside). I don’t know if I can do it, but I bundle up under the covers. When I poke my head out, it freezes. My upstairs toilet is now frozen. My tub is covered in ice and my toilet paper is rock solid.

A teacher had offered me her couch if my house is frozen and I message her that I’m ready to take her up on it. I pack a gobag of clothes and valuables. She’s luckily on her way already to check on me. When showing her and her boyfriend the house, she sees that the downstairs bathroom has now somehow flooded and there is half an inch of ice on the floor. When we stepped through it, our footprints became ice on the floor. We go into the kitchen and I hear a sound. A pipe has burst and is spraying all over my kitchen, turning instantly to ice. Her boyfriend inspects the furnace and boiler and has me adjust the thermostat (which was reading 20 all month) It’s not working, he says the furnace or boiler is broken. I didn’t cause it in any way. (Which my landlord kind of insinuated when he said he heard I kept the house cold)

I go to their place, they feed me chili and I go to a warm couch. I call to inform my local landlord proxy that I can’t be in that house, she says the plumber doesn’t know where the house I’m in is, but he’ll be by around 10 if I just stand outside with the key. I’m there for 10 minutes, on the verge of tears from being so cold. A local leader pulls over because I look like a drunkard and he’s worried about me.

10:45 my friend sees someone standing on her porch, not knocking, just standing. She opens the door and a woman says “I’m here for the key to fix the boiler” She just gives her my key and I get to sleep.

The next day, I go to school. I was supposed to bake cookies for the kids to celebrate how they earned 200 good behaviour points on class dojo this month. I was unable and I posted on facebook. Another teacher then posted a picture of the batch of cookies she had promptly made my class. This is what community feels like.

Good day at school, the kids got to watch Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. (It has all their heroes, Frankenstein, Wolfman and Dracula) as part of their reward. But we’re supposed to go to Inuvik on Wednesday for our P.D. There’s an extreme cold warning in effect and a blizzard warning. We aren’t sure we’ll make it out and the truck I was supposed to ride in has broke.

I go with the teacher I stayed with that night. I go to my house and grab my hairbrush, deodorant, swimsuit, suitcase and a few other valuable type things I see, check the mail for my phone and we go.

When we get to Inuvik, we check into our expensive hotel rooms and go for a drink and bite to eat at the hotel lounge. It’s a good time, I have a nice hot shower, bought some blue shampoo finally so my hair doesn’t look like a yellow mess. The next morning we find out that Tuk has no power. The ice road is closed. If we hadn’t left Tuesday after school, we would not have made it.

We have a wonderful day exploring Inuvik. I bought a keychain that looks like the license plate. I wanted to buy like 100 other things. I got an amazing beautifully illustrated children’s book. And some stuff at the drugstore and grocery store that aren’t interesting. We eat at the Café Gallery and the food is amazing. The potato bacon corn soup is divine, the honey vanilla chai latte and the pork steamed bun… I was just so happy to eat food I didn’t have to make. We looked in gift shops, we left all our luggage at the hotel, which made the cost more worth it (The wifi at the Mackenzie Hotel is NOT recommended)

I get almost my 10K steps. We go to the hardware store and the sports store and it’s great.

We get to our next destination, the Arctic Chalet, where we will head out on our dogsled and snowmobile excursion tomorrow morning. The little cabins are adorable and comfy and warm. I’m rooming with Jana which is great. We spend the night all crammed into one room, drinking and chatting and playing games and listening to music and it’s great.

Then Jana says she sees Northern lights, we peek and just see a green rainbow and are like whatever. But a couple people go out to take pictures. They come back and say it’s gotten amazing. We all go out and it’s… I was just sounding like a really excited Aziz Ansari. It was amazing, they were dancing and moving, we saw green red orange yellow and purple. We got some pictures and then a few of us lay down in the snow and watched the show. It was magical and an amazing end to the evening.

Tomorrow we go out dogsledding/snowmobiling in the afternoon and I will update then.

The wifi here is… I loaded an email and it kicked me off, so I will not be publishing live.

So my house (now known as #HellHouse on Facebook) will be unliveable for the foreseeable future as I couch surf and stash my belongings and baking supplies around town. Because my contract is only until June, I can’t start any leases obviously, but alternatives including house sitting are being explored and many couches have been offered. I will start the fun of breaking the lease and cancelling my utilities and becoming a hobo. I will have to work on my bindle skills. BTW walking through home hardware is dreadfully ironic when it’s sinking in that you’re effectively homeless.

BUT that will all be dealt with in Tuktoyaktuk. I’m in Inuvik and in Inuvik I can’t fix anything, I just have to deal.

Hopefully my cellphone arrives in Tuk…

I am lucky to have a great sense of humor, wonderful friends and colleagues and a body that is currently working the best it has in a long time. I am grateful that I was raised to not treasure things so that I was able to pack a go bag so quickly when evacuating my house. And I am so fortunate that it all happened now when I have planned accommodations outside of town and lots to take my mind off of it. I am also so happy that I have a job that I love and look forwards to and that my class enjoys coming to school and are coming more and more. I love all those little weirdos and they’re getting so smart.

So yes, my housing situation is currently the opposite of ideal. But it’s somehow not as bad as some of the living situations in Edmonton. That could be a book. Crazy places Hannah has lived and the situations thereof.

BUT, the rest is pretty ideal. I live in an amazing community full of incredible people where I work at a job that I love and is fulfilling. My body works, I have a loving family and a bank account that isn’t currently drained.

I’m just going to finish this post with a quote by the iconic Carrie Fisher that describes my life in a nutshell, “If my life wasn’t funny, it would simply be true.”


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