Sunday, May 15, 2011

Goose Break Wrap Up

So, just a couple more days and Goose Break will be over and it's back to school. I have to admit that for the most part I was incredibly lazy throughout the entire two weeks. We went for a few walks, but for the most part I owe the passing of time to my new friends Netflix and Kindle (thanks for the kindle Mom!). It has been like a ghost town up until about yesterday; people are starting to return from their various hunting destinations. You look up and there's yet another helicopter bringing people back from wherever.

One of the teachers that lives near us is very interested in Native culture and had made her own simple yet very interesting version of a dream catcher that she had hanging up in her house, so I thought I'd give it a try what with all the free time I've got at the moment. All of the sticks, rocks and feathers (the feathers are goose feathers, which I found in a spot where it looks like a few geese were plucked) are gathered from around the lake.

Of course these are not really what dream catchers are supposed to look like, I was just playing around, so they're more just loosely related to and somewhat looking like dream catchers. I would really like to do some with the students; They're pretty simple to make and the materials are cheap! It's just too bad the kids can't go out and gather the materials on their own. Not that they would want to do that anyhow...

It's been relatively warm these last couple of weeks, but there's still ice out there. In fact, just this past Tuesday we were walking around by the lake and people were still snowmobiling out there. Dangerous stuff! We went for a long walk along the coast one day and saw a few little flocks of geese flying overhead, but they were headed straight for a goose blind in the distance, so now a few of them are probably in someone's freezer.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Tour of Town!

So, over the long weekend we went for a nice walk around the town. First off, the Cop Shop. All of the cruisers are big blinged out SUV's, which I find pretty entertaining. Although from what I hear the police are generally not all that reliable. Although Sunday morning I was at the grocery store and a man collapsed on the road and the police came very quickly (The police station was less than a block from where the man fell, but still!).

This is just an example of some Cree writing. It's so very confusing; everyone speaks it, but very few of the people can actually read and write Cree. There are so many symbols and some of them are just turned on a different angle and mean something else.... confusing!

Axep, the local grocery store. The only grocery store. Most people living here drive the 45 minutes to Chibougamau to do their grocery shopping and also just to get out of town! It has all the necessities though, and when you consider the gas money spent is about the same price as Chibougamau.

The towns "airport" for the moment. This plane can be heard flying in and out of town a few times a day as Goose Break approaches. Many people have left town already to pursue Geese. Not sure when they decide to switch their skis to flotation devices. The ice is still safe to walk on, but there are lots of puddles on top of the snow and ice that look pretty sketchy to me!

Whenever we go out to the lake random dogs will come up to us wanting food and attention. This friendly guy is a little freaky looking though.

Goose decoys! On the section of the lake that turns into a river that never freezes (not sure how it works, but the water is VERY deep) there are a few goose decoys set up next to blinds for when the actual LIVE geese arrive.

It was a beautiful day for a walk, I must say. The water is dark, but looks nice and clean and I'm looking forward to going swimming! It just needs to stop snowing first, which is what's happening outside right now. This coming weekend is when Goose Break officially begins, and I'm sure very few people will be showing up for work. Not sure what we'll be doing; probably just relaxing and exploring. It would be interesting to go on a goose hunt somewhere, but we shall see.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Northern Update!

I've been very lazy in the last little while! Forgive my negligence; I wish I had a decent excuse, but I've got nothing!

Things are starting to warm up (although it's been snowing in the last couple of days), but there's still plenty of snow left. The roads are slowly melting to reveal pavement (lots of potholes!) and gravel and all of the snow is becoming dirty looking, as it does in the spring time. The lake is still walkable though, so on this past Sunday afternoon after going to the teepee we went for a walk on one of the MANY islands around the town, but got a few nice views of the town. This first picture's just some more teepee goodness. Someone brought some bacon to cook over the fire; pure genius!

If you look past the town and into the distance (in the above photo), that is the section of the lake that we would walk on to go to Murray's Lodge, so we're on the opposite side of town.

This one's just from a slightly different angle, but you can see better the section of the lake that apparently never quite freezes over. Must be some sort of spring that keeps the water circulating? Geologist I most certainly am not! We were walking around in the burned out section of the trees again and trying to figure out how long ago the fire was. There are some short trees and brush growing, but it seems to be a really rocky area, so it's hard to say how long it's been.

School's going as well as can be expected. The last few days I've been feeling like the students and I have reached some sort of understanding, but already I know from experience that the moment I start to feel comfortable I'll get a couple new students and have to start all over again!! Today we watched "The Outsiders" (classic Patrick Swayze!) to celebrate getting through the book together in class, which was-- to put it nicely-- a battle. I think I heard every complaint and lie under the sun while slogging through this book. My students are never willing to do homework because they're "too busy" but then five minutes later they'll tell me how terribly boring Reception Centre is, and how they have nothing to do. Hmmmmm...

At this point I also need to figure out what I'll be doing with myself... stay here and teach if they offer it? Try and find a job somewhere back in Ontario? I'll think about it another time... It hurts my head!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The House!

Mother, as requested, a couple pictures of the house. I only took pictures of our main living areas, but it's a nice place. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen/living etc. Incidently a very nice alarm system that we have no idea how to work or what the code to disarm it could possibly be! One morning I was cooking bacon and stupidly trying to do the dishes at the same time so I of course set the fire alarm off! Then next was our house alarm. About ten minutes later a couple of municipal/fire vehicles showed up to make sure everything was okay.

My laptop near the couch for entertainment purposes! We watch all movies on that little thing!

And here's our house from the outside! Pretty simple; in fact, there are many houses in the area that look EXACTLY like this one! It's sort of like little townhouse complexes in the middle of nowhere. King of strange when you think about it, but it works. We also have a back yard that I have yet to check out because there's a lot of snow out there. You see that big pile in our front yard there? That's nothing, in fact, last week people we hauling huge piles of snow out of yards and filling big trucks to take it all away. So that pile is substantially smaller than it was. Not sure how it all works, but the snow-plow-men clean out every driveway in town. How sweet is that??

All of the roads in town are covered with a 6" layer of ice that is starting to melt now as the weather gets a little warmer. It's made walking home from work a bit of a mess, but other than that I'm looking forward to seeing everything in the summer. March is already almost over! Crazy!

Random Walking Around

This morning the alarm clock went off at 8am so that we could have plenty of time to get stuff together before going to Murray's Lodge, but it just wasn't happening. The last few days I've been feeling sick; a few of my students have had colds and kindly passed on the fun. So instead we slept in and went for a shorter walk on one of the trails near our house. Another beautiful sunny day, and nice and warm! Only about -8, so almost summer-like!

This is sort of a freaky picture, but I like it because the shadows look like they're blurred and moving. I also enjoy shooting directly at the sun (which is bad because it can cause damage to the camera's lens apparently...) but I get lots of interesting reflections and colours with them.

This is another favourite; he looks like he's about to fall over! In other news, things are still going interestingly as ever! Endless drama between students and trying to make them learn in between. I have a new student who has been EXTRA difficult and I was feeling very uncharitable towards her until her worker told me what had been going on in her life and I had to realize that the things she says to me are usually due to her frustrations with other things beyond the classroom. So I'm trying to get better at not taking things personally because these kids are acting out for all sorts of reasons beyond my comprehension.

My students are always telling me how boring I am because I don't have a t.v. They're always asking me if I've heard of this singer or that commercial and I always have to say no! It has made me realize how out of touch with popular culture I am (and have been for years now!). Haven't had cable since before University (well, except in Korea, but all for one channel were in Korean...), and I can't say that I miss it. I still see the stuff I want to see, I just find myself hating 95% of what is on t.v. nowadays.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teepee (Tipi? Tepee?) Goodness

This past weekend was all about the socializing. Friday and Saturday evening we went to a neighbours (also teachers here in town) house for drinks and whatnot. On Friday evening I saw a teacher that I'd glimpsed at a few of the meetings and thought to myself "I KNOW that girl" but couldn't place it until I saw her up close. She also just happened to be in my orientation group when I moved to Korea! What are the odds of something like that? Bizarre!

Anyhow, on Sunday morning we were invited along for a trip to "the teepee". A couple of the teachers have built their own teepee in the middle of nowhere and go there every Sunday for hiking and bannock cooking purposes! Very awesome! The teepee is on Reserve land, so they went to the Band Council and asked for the space and they said yes; this struck me as a very excellent idea, and awesome of the band council to let people use the space. It's literally in the middle of nowhere and right on the bigger portion of the lake which I haven't seen yet. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

The bannock was awesome; a few of the teachers had made different kinds, so we went for the cinnamon raison variety of course! I can't explain it, but everything tastes better outside, cooked on a fire.

We also made a stop at what appeared to be a gravel pit (a short hike from the teepee) and a few people slid down the big hill to the bottom of the pit. Very entertaining stuff, but I declined because I was just wearing my jeans and didn't want to freeze in cold wet pants.

Another beautiful day! It was also relatively warm; maybe around -10 or -15??

Students were driving me crazy today; they're getting comfortable with me and therefore acting like little demons and trying to get away with whatever they can. Sleep will make things better.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Clumsy Cathy As Usual

This post is a little late entirely due to my laziness, but definitely warrants a bloggin' I should think. Sunday afternoon, after Saturday's walk to Murrays Lodge, we decided we hadn't had enough I guess and went for a long walk in the woods that are in view when we walk outside the house. We're also situated on the hill above the lake, so you can see it from our house even though it's about a 10 minute walk to the water. Anyhow, we followed a random snowmobile track which led to a long and winding path through the woods. It was a beautiful, clear sunny day so this made for good photo taking opportunities as well!

We found a random fire pit along the trail that we stopped to check out. It's kind of funny to see a fire built on what is basically water! As the fire burns it's also melting the snow, so it all ended up a couple feet below where it started. I wonder how hard it is to keep a fire like that going?

Funny Story: As we were walking along we heard the sound of an approaching snowmobile. He was further ahead because I'd stopped to take some photos. I stepped off the main snowmobile track to make way for the incoming ski-doer and sunk in to just below my knees. This was no problem. As the snowmobiler passed I stepped back again into the "fresh" snow by accident and was immediately in over my waist and unable to get up! I started laughing and yelling "Heeeeellllppp! I'm stuck! It's cold!!" His camera was up and it took him a while to react or say anything (and come to my aid!!!) so I realized he'd been filming the whole thing! Hahahaha... the footage is priceless. Another classic Cathy moment, but on film this time so I can be reminded of my gracefulness! Lesson learned: do not step off the trails because the snow can be very deep!

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Lodge Again

The second walk to Murray's Lodge and back was much more pleasant this time around. When we walked over the lake there were lots of snowmoblie trails which meant the snow had been packed down nicely. This made things considerably more pleasant; or first walk took about 2.5 hours, while this time it was well under 2! And a lot less pain involved.