West Coast vs. Arctic

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I’m continually having to reconcile what I thought to be “true” or “right” with what I see on a day to day basis in this new environment. This is a journey of continual adaptation.

bcarctic

West Coast…. 

The ocean, mountains, forest trails, bioavailability, and cultural diversity all contribute to a rich and busy life. The streets are all named and the numbers make sense. Most people complain about not having enough, though they have more than most in the world. A place of animal activism, endless petitions for third world crises, yoga posers, lean runners, mountain climbers, casual hikers, beach goers, world travellers. Rain, veganism, organic, recycling, composting, thrifting, mindful, pseudo-cultured (ie. keeping up appearances on social media) … all buzzwords that come to mind when I think of the home I left. Here I am one of 123,000 people. There’s so much beauty, many people I miss and convenience that I definitely took for granted until this point. There are a lot of people I know in BC doing things that inspire and excite me… It’s a booming place that will keep you in motion.

Arctic…

A frozen bay sitting below an ever changing sky. It begins as a soft glow in the morning when the clouds block the sunrise but still a pale yellow mingles with the grey. Before long it becomes layers of fiery orange, blue, and grey. Before sunset pinks and purples streak along the horizon. There aren’t any trees here, and the tallest building in town is the 6 story. There are two grocery stores, a few restaurants, a few schools. Local artists walk through restaurants selling their work. The air hurts my face sometimes and don’t think about going outside without a coat on. I can sit down beside anyone at the bar and not feel out of place. It’s something I never experienced in BC. Whether this is an indication of personal growth, or of the difference in sense of community(here) vs. competition(west coast) in public settings, I’m unsure. But I like it. Here I am one of less than 7,000 people. People can tell I’m new in town, that I’m not from around here, but aren’t bothered. I’ve never met so many people willing to open up a space in their life for me so quickly. I get to practice my french here, and pay way too much for orange juice and basically all groceries. I know all the faces when I go to the store or take the kids to hockey practice, and I’ve only been here 4 months.

morning sun

I can’t paint either place as being better than the other. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Both hold a different charm for me.

I will definitely continue to reflect on what this place has brought and what it can teach me before I leave next summer.

Perhaps it’s the new start that has been the most refreshing. I feel like I have always been a very neutral person. Not remarkable enough for people to either love or hate. The new space and connections formed here have changed my mind about that. Iqaluit and the people I’ve met and the things I’ve done thus far have led to greater self-knowledge and renewed joie de vivre.

Peace. More to come soon.

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2 thoughts on “West Coast vs. Arctic

  1. Absolutely. I know I won’t know the full impact of how I’ve changed here, until I’m plunked back into the middle of that setting on the West Coast and see myself in full contrast to the people who never left.

    The cold is not my favourite, and I’m still learning to respect it. I’m still in the process of buying mitts (handmade by a local out of seal skin) that fit me… but apart from that, it’s fine inside. I do miss running trails. I’m stuck on the treadmill now while I train for a race when I get back next summer.

    Thanks for continuing to read and comment on my journey 🙂

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