Thursday Tidbits

Posted on December 9, 2021 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

 

Atsunai

 

“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.”

Leaving on a Jet Plane – John Denver

It’s checkout time.

Last May when the plane lifted off the runway in Kangiqsujuaq, I looked down at the village thinking that I would never see the village again. My two- year adventure in the north had come to an end and I looked forward to the next chapter of my life… a quiet, peaceful retirement.

I guess I don’t do “quiet and peaceful” so well.

I had a fantastic summer back in Nova Scotia culminating with the celebration of my 70th birthday. The highlight was joining my children for an evening of live music at a local pub where they were the headliners. A few days after this, I marked this important passage by walking 77 kilometers around “the Cape”.

I don’t think I’m necessarily a restless individual, but I am either blessed or cursed with my mother’s energy and curiosity. There is no debate here. Having good energy is the blessing of all blessings. As the summer wore on, I could feel boredom creeping in. With travel restrictions very much a reality, I knew that flitting off to Spain to tackle a different Camino was not in the cards. I had stayed in contact with my principal. Besides being work colleagues, we had become good friends, going on many hikes together.

Covid has affected the economy in many ways including the workforce. The north was not immune to these new realities, and it became apparent that there would be staffing issues at the school. I knew that I didn’t want to return to the north as a full-time classroom teacher so we made a deal that would see me split my time between administrative duties and some substitute teaching. I offered to come for four months. My contract would allow me to stay for the whole year, if I so chose. Early in September, I returned and once again as the plane descended, I chuckled to myself. My hiatus from the north had lasted a grand total of three months.

Over our lifetimes, we accumulate a skill set. We use different skills at different times. Rarely do they all coalesce at the same time. This was the case this fall. The pace of work was relentless, and I ended up using every tool in the toolbox. I even did a bit of janitorial work from time to time when something had to be cleaned up in a hurry. Back in the early 70s in Victoria, I worked at a few jobs at the same time. One of them was cleaning a daycare in Vic West. I’m pretty handy with a mop and a pail!

I’m not bragging. It is quite possible that I never worked at full capacity at my previous jobs. I guess if we all held up a mirror, there were times in our life where we didn’t put out 100% effort every single working day. But this job was different. Every minute of the day was full. It is a strange feeling when you are firing on all cylinders physically and mentally. I tip my hat to health care workers. Nurses and CCA’s are among the hardest working people I have ever met.

I enjoyed working at the school this fall but fatigue set in, both physical and mental. Most of us know “when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em”. It is a gut feeling. My ample gut (!) told me a few weeks ago that it was time to call it a day.

I’ll be heading back to Nova Scotia at the end of next week carrying many fond memories from my time in the north.

What’s next?

I have had the pleasure (?) of doing four, full two- week quarantines over the past two years during which time, I started writing my book about my northern adventure. I will spend the remainder of the winter back home completing this project. I might also take on a small part time job just to keep me out of mischief. Hopefully some time in 2022, we will be able to travel beyond our borders again.

I am looking forward to spending more time hanging out with my granddaughters.

There are a lot of people in Kangiqsujuaq that I owe a debt of gratitude. I’ll save this for my final post from the north next week.

“Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane,

Don’t know when I’ll be back again.”

Have a great weekend.

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