It's Nunavut Day, and the territory is celebrating its tenth birthday. Because I am horribly uninformed, this entire business was a surprise to me.
We started this morning with a massive pancake breakfast and a short speech from the premier... and by bumping into a bunch of other federal employees who don't technically have today off, although it's a stat holiday for territorial staff. We all jointly consider ourselves to be engaged in an important federal/territorial relations task. Alternately: flex time, baby. I got "I (heart) Nunavut" buttons in English and Inuktitut.
Then the gents from the office decided that we should probably go fishing this afternoon, purely as an engaging-with-the-land-and-its-rich-traditions exercise, and not at all because it was 16 C and beautifully sunny and fishing is really fun.
Fishing is really fun! And hard. We set up at a part of the river where the current slows a bit and apparently fish feed as the tide is going out. I blame the total lack of fish actually caught on the fact that the tide was coming in. For anyone who's never done it before (pfft, amateurs) river fishing is not like the stereotypical picture of lake fishing that you have in your head. It's way more active, and involves way more time spent trying to dislodge your hook from rocks in the middle of the river. Sometimes they just don't come unstuck. I lost one of each of my bosses' lures, which I'm told isn't bad for a first attempt. I suspect the person who said this was kindly lying.
But I really enjoyed it - actually I could see myself doing this recreationally. I guess I shouldn't make up my mind about that until I've actually handled a fish, which is probably pretty gross. Also I really have no desire to 'gut' anything, no matter how delicious it is... which tells me that I need to find a fishing buddy who's willing to do the gutting.
Then I found out there was a Nunavut Day square dance planned for tonight. Hoooo-ey! I was oddly excited about this - and about observing the town's rowdiest hooligans in action - but alas, it was not meant to be. It was held at the Legion, which bizarrely enough is the party hotspot around here, and you have to be a member or with a member to sign in. Apparently this is not a problem in general since everyone and their mother in Iqaluit belongs - joining only for the drinking rights, naturally. I, tragically, couldn't rustle up a member to take me and had to sit this dance out.
But! I did have a huge and wonderful chat with the family I'm living with which answered a lot of my questions about what the fuck is wrong with social services up here. That's a different, and immeasurably long, post. All this to say, I spent the evening learning some very valuable information about Nunavut, and now at the end of the day, my I-learned-a-new-skill buzz has been mellowed and fortified by an I-understand-some-importnat-things-a-little-better glow.
I'm starting to understand why people fall in love with this place.