We received a comment on the blog over the weekend that we would like to address since it's really been bothering us. We decided that instead of responding in the comments section, it was important to address it in its own post.
"Hello thanks for all your stories. I've read your entire blog today as I am strongly considering embarking on my own journey to Nunavut. I see there is allot of valuable information for one who is seeking a greater understanding of the logistics and process of moving. I've read sooo very much about your own luxuries of fine foods and wine, but only a few sentences about the lack of affordable nutritious food for the locals. Do you think this portrays insensitivity? Perhaps self-interested blogs like this one add to the negative stigma that people who go up temporarily, take incredible amounts of government money, live in cozy homes large enough to house 3families, limit their relations to other outsiders, dont get involved with the community, and dont care to be integrated into the beautiful culture? Isnt there more to be said about the experience of being closer to nature, and developing a greater sense of community spirit through humbleness and sharing and less to be said about extravagant food hoarding? These anecdotal tales are yes heart warming for some, but consider how offensive it may be to the locals. I feel it is difficult to gain trust and respect of the people, if all that is being presented is selfish ambition. I want to go North to contribute to the greater good of the communities with an understanding of the cultural differences and a sensitivity for the Serious issues that are at hand, such as STARVATION. If you cannot afford asparagus, think of those with empty bellies please. Consider the veiwpoints of your neighbours that are born and raised in the community you know call home."
Firstly, we are glad that you stumbled upon our little blog in the vastness of the internet while you were researching a possible move to Nunavut. Though we do offer tips and anecdotes in our posts, this is by no means a comprehensive guide to living in the territory. We only write what we've experienced and of things we are willing to share. We do not claim to know everything about living here, nor do we wish to do so. We write to share our personal experiences as we come across them, so we can offer a mere glimpse into how we feel moving from the south to the north.
You say we don't speak of the food issues that the people of the north face, but that's exactly what we do in our post, Feeding the North. Yes, we often speak of the food we eat and the stocking up we do, but isn't that in itself a reference to how expensive it is to live here? We say that we stock up on food from the south - because the food here is pricey. What you call "extravagant food hoarding" is us being resourceful in finding alternative methods to spend the *same* amount of money and getting 3-5 times the quantity of food to last us months at a time vs. a week or two. Your idea of us being insensitive because we stock up is a correlation that we don't understand - we aren't buying the food and throwing it out to rub salt in wounds, these are things we use and consume on a daily basis in the privacy of our own home. In every case to date, we find our suppliers and distributors based on recommendations from the locals who use the services themselves.
In your comment you also make a lot of presumptions about us and the people within our community. You cannot claim to know what everyone thinks, nor are you privy to what we do ourselves. A blog is a snapshot of what we choose to share of our experiences and not the full story. We do not talk of the significant amount of food that we have donated to food drives, the gifts we gave to friends (who are locals) during the holidays, how active we are on various groups and committees that speak out against the high prices of food in the north, or the many other things we choose to do with our time and resources within our community, but do not assume that it does not happen and call us "selfish" and "self-interested." It is dangerous to make assumptions of people you do not know based on a very narrow view into our lives.
We applaud you for wanting to "go North to contribute to the greater good of the communities with an understanding of the cultural differences and a sensitivity for the Serious issues that are at hand, such as STARVATION." We too, are here with an understanding of the cultural differences and are sensitive to the serious issues - we just choose not to talk about it in every post we write. We choose not to talk about our past experiences such as Jeff volunteering in Africa for a year where he experienced firsthand "Serious issues" that were truly horrific, nor working for World Vision and volunteering our time to 30 hour famines to raise money for matters like "STARVATION." So yes, we are quite aware and quite active in bringing awareness to these issues, but we have chosen to not use this forum to discuss these matters. It does not mean we are not aware of what happens in the world and in our own communities. For instance, there are over 33,000 homeless people in Canada and another 6,000,000 in the United States of America. If we were to apply your logic and your definition of offensiveness, anyone in North America who talks about their house or where they live is being insensitive. Do you know every person that lives in your community? There are probably people who have many problems in your very own backyard that you don't even know. Would it make you insensitive to go to work if one of your neighbours lost their jobs? Would it offend someone on your street if you had a nice meal for dinner and they didn't? These are the assumptions you are implying with your comment, so if it doesn't make sense to you, perhaps it doesn't make sense for us.
This blog is by no means a political soapbox or an official how-to on living in the north. It is simply us documenting certain aspects of our time here and sharing a fraction of our life. You are welcome to continue reading, and we hope you do. Not every post will be about what we're having for dinner, nor will they always be a lesson to be taught/learned either. Whatever direction our experiences lead us, be it towards the kitchen to bake cookies, or out on the land to peek at some caribou, we will continue to write about how we choose to be living in the north.
- L & J