I managed to get an on-call day in the middle of my many shifts this week! Which by it's very nature could end at any minute, but here's hoping for a nice relaxing day! Earlier this month I got frustrated with the amount of cold air that's blown into my house through two different vents. There's the fan in the bathroom and the fan above the stove. Both spend more time letting the cold wind into the house than fanning bad air out. So I decided it was time to cover them. I grabbed a thin bit of cardboard, cut it to size, and slipped it in behind the grate of the kitchen fan, and threw a piece of plastic over the bathroom fan. I didn't fully cover either fan, there's still a small amount of air that manages to seep through. But it's made quite the difference in warmth in my apartment, and that was the primary goal... And then this morning, a very windy morning, I opened the cupboard above the stove. The same cupboard that has the duct for the kitchen fan running through it... and discovered a have a new fridge!!! Honestly, it was at least as cold as the fridge... oh well, won't damage anything I keep there. It was just a bit of an unpleasant surprise.
But I suppose it's about time to cover some of the interesting events from April, before the month manages to completely pass me by! On April 1st, it was the tenth anniversary of Nunavut being declared a territory. So they had a small party. It actually sounds like there were many small parties across town and across the territory to celebrate the ten years. The one I was told about ahead of time was hosted at the AWG (arctic winter games) arena. Unfortunately, due to some crossed wires, my ride didn't show up until almost 7pm, which meant I missed the first hour of whatever was happening, including a little display by the cadets, a speech from the premier and other dull... uh, I mean informative, pieces of the evening. One of the first things I noticed when I stepped into the arena was the meat on the floor.
Well obviously it wasn't directly placed on the floor! There were tarps set out, and each tarp had a different kind of raw meat. Yes, that wasn't a typo. Raw meat is very traditional up here, and so long as it is appropriately frozen or dried etc between being butchered and being eaten, it remains quite safe and nutritious. Actually, it's probably got the same kind of nutritional bonuses when you don't cook it as raw vegetables do... you keep a lot more of the important vitamins and minerals in the meat that way! Now, were was I? Ah, yes, the raw meat on tarps. There were three quite large tarps laid out, and from what I could tell, seeing as they were already well picked over and not much of the meat was left when I got there, the seperate tarps were for different types of meat. On one tarp, the most obvious thing was half a femur, so I'm pretty sure that one was caribou meat. On another tarp, I made out a bunch of muktuk, which I've tried before and therefore find easy to identify. And on another tarp there were portions of fins left behind, so I'm pretty sure they had the raw char on that one. It's very possible they had a lot more kinds of meat than that, but those are the minimum, and seem to be the most popular choices up here. I didn't end up sitting beside any of the tarps. The lady I came with was leading me in a different direction.
We ended up in a lineup for the cooked food. And boy was that good! Not realizing I was going to get free food here, I had a bowl of vegetable soup before coming, so I decided I could skip the veggies and focus on the meat and bread! hahaha, because you know that's my favorite part anyways! The foods they were dishing up were bannock (which looks very much like a flat donut, and probably is more greasy than one), and cooked caribou, and caribou stew (along with some boiled veggies and cold salads). Oh, and I grabbed a bun too, because... well, I like buns. Here's what my plate looked like:
After sitting around for a bit chatting with people while trying to balance a full plate on my knees, they started the rest of the evening's entertainment. They had a number of different games planned, and I tried getting some pictures, but to be honest, I think the videos I took are much better than the pictures. But the videos are awfully long, so you'll just have to take my word for it, cause I'm not spending the whole day downloading them and using up all my bandwidth. One of the games had adults and kids pair up, and dance around to some music. When the music stopped, the announcer called out a number (between 2 and ten) and the kids and adults had to get into groups of that many of each as fast as they could. (ie: 2 = 2 adult and 2 kids in a circle) Whoever didn't make it into a group was out, until they were down to about 2 pairs, and then they handed out small prizes to the winners.
At one point they asked all the kids who were ten years old to come and get a tshirt, as they were born the same year as the territory. Those same kids were asked to join up with an adult, form a circle, and they each took turns doing a little dance in the center of the circle. I'm not quite sure how to describe the kind of dance they were doing, I suppose it's something of a jig. Nothing too complicated, but fun to watch!
I can't remember exactly how many activities they did that evening, and I definitely left before the end, but the last one I watched was one that reminds me of "mennonite madness" except on a large scale. It this game anyone could play, they all stood in a circle and there were 3 or 4 dice being passed around and around the circle. Each person rolled the die when it got to them and if they rolled a "6" they got to run into the center of the circle and collect wristbands. They had to pick them up one at a time and placed them on their wrist. They were made from cut up socks, so picking up just one and getting it on fast wasn't so easy, but managable. If a new person rolled a 6, they ran to the center and the person collecting had to return to their spot and wait to roll another 6. The person with the most bands around their wrist when all the bands were gone from the center won the game.
It was a fun evening, even just for the fact that I got to do a lot of people watching, and I tried caribou for my first time (and quite liked it). I hear it melts in your mouth when it's raw, but I haven't had that pleasure yet.