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Reisverslag Spring has sprung :O
23 mei 2015
Spring has sprung :O
(SPRING is Dutch for JUMP - SPRING is Swedish for RUN - Spring is English for a SEASON - and SPRING is Canadian for ANY TEMPERATURE above 0)
Dear everybody, I spied that I have not written you a blog since before Jeany and Mikael came to visit, and actually, since then, quite a lot has happened. For example, the snow has totally gone and it is actually above 10 degrees lately. So let’s start with a wee weather update.
Wee weather update.
It has been hot and cold, like in that Katy Perry song. In March it was obviously cold, and in April it was quite cold, too. The weather at the end of April was perfect for the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and I have seen the best ones mid-April with Jeany, just from my high rise balcony! And one evening we sat on the deck of one of the teachers, enjoying a late night drink in the cold, when suddenly the Northern Lights appeared. When we switched off the lights in the garden we were treated to a fabulous show. After Jeany left I haven’t really seen any cool lights, I think partly because it got warmer but also because it got light out. The ice of the river and lake started breaking up on King’s Day. I was celebrating this at my house, forcing English, Polish, and Canadian victims to sing the Wilhelmus. And then, when we looked out the window, the ice had broken up! The snow was gone quickly after that, although there is still ice on the lake, floating around and making sure the wind we get is chilly when the wind comes from the north. It is warm enough now (it has already been above 20 degrees a few times) for the mosquitos to start multiplying and I am the unhappy owner of 6 mosquito bites atm, who seem to dig my exotic blood. I’ve bought lots of mosquito spray but they seem to have sneaked into my house and dine on me at night. Suck suck suck. They love the twilight, and since twilight last about all night, they love roaming around all night. It has gotten to a point where the sun does not really go down any more, I can always see it in the distance, meaning the north, direction Inuvik. So it is a little hard to sleep because it is so light right now, but I think I can handle it with a blanket over my window.. only a few more weeks before I go home really. OMG.
Before I talk about my going home plans, I have to give you an update, come on. But so much has happened that I have no other choice but to give you an unsatisfactory shortarse summary so if after reading this you have any questions about the events below just ask me in person for the detailed and entertaining story any time.
When Mikael was here it was also Pond Hockey time. It was on Great Slave Lake and it was -30 below, at least on the Friday night… I remember the cold wind quite well as we were volunteering in the tent that evening and making sure drunk Hay Riverites got into taxi cabs safely. During the daytime on Fri and Sat I played some hockey whilst being covered in glitter dinosaurs. It was an experience. Especially because it was on natural ice. Pretty cool, both figuratively and literally speaking. It was also the last hockey I ever played btw, because the town workers are still on strike (so the swimming pool is also still closed, boo). That strike has lasted for almost five months now and should be in the Guinness book of records soon… perhaps they are striking for that purpose…. anyway. We also did lots of sightseeing in Yellowknife and saw the snow castle and the ice sculptures that they have every year at the winter festival, we ate froze maple syrup on sticks, and also at night witnessed many a Christmas tree getting burned on the ice of the lake whilst some guy was yelling: MORE TREES!!! MORE TREES!!
With miss Jeany D. I snowshoed for the last time, it was a few degrees above and a bit slushy and also scary because we imagined wolves around every corner. I think in the end it did help us get back to the cabin faster. We also fed cute little birds seeds out of our hands on the snowshoe trail and that was a very endearing experience. We did lots of Karaoke but did not sing Wonderwall (we did sing: staceys moooom wooo-o-o), and we saw lots of northern lights except not in Yellowknife where we kind of expected them. Yellowknife/time at the Bergmans’ was yet again awesome. Lots of fun, good food and lots of driving around the NT capital. It was Easter and I had turkey for the third time. Spoilt I know. We hid easter eggs and goodies in the snow for the kids...! Imagine that, you Dutch people, imagine that.
After Jeany left I felt a bit lonely in the beginning because in total I’d had company for over a month! But the longer days and also the couple of friends I’ve made here made it very easy for me actually to not miss home too much. Since the snow is gone, I can bike around again. Also there is plenty to do at the school still for me to keep busy!
We’ve had the 30 hour famine and that was absolutely awesome. It started with a presentation by the loacally famous miss Mathilde and then the students had a scavenger hunt through town, followed by lots of other activities. The kids and I did not eat for 30 hours and spent a night at the school. We did crocheting, painting, sports, watching movies, playing werewolves games, etc. So people hardly had time to worry about food. It was mainly the lack of sleep that got me a little groggy. Together we raised almost 2,000 dollars for world vision. Beauty, ‘eh?
Last week I held a presentation at the local library about the Netherlands and Groningen. I got to show two handfuls of interested locals photos of my picturesque hometown and pictures of Arjen Robben and martinitoren and bikes and hagelslag and Maxima and the pride of the north etc. I think the talk lasted almost an hour and a half but apparently it was entertaining, so… smileyface.
I just came back from beaver camp, which is a camp held annually for our high school students; 100km south from here. This morning (Friday the 22nd) I got to drive there myself because one of the teachers lent me her vehicle. (Before you say, oh those Canadians are so generous, the lady is actually German, although I do believe she’s very Canadian on the inside, a true fan of the north). When I arrived at camp most students were still sleeping. We had a late breakfast together and then the students got to skin the beavers that the rcmp officer running the camp had shot the previous day. They had 5 beavers and 1 duck and it was quite interesting to see how well some of the students already knew how to skin an animal. It really is part of the northern culture, and although I am squeamish about it myself and no not wish to defend the practise, the animals that were killed were male beavers that had been fighting. This is the season where the male beavers fight over the females, and the males who do not get a female fight each other and get injured and often die. Some of the animals that got skinned had nasty wounds and so they could not be eaten either except for maybe the tail. They roasted the beaver tails above the fire. I wanted to try what that tastes like but they were saving them for later and I did not want to come across as greedy, especially since I hadn’t helped in killing or skinning the animals, so I guess I’ll have to come back some day. For morbid pictures of innocent-looking students ripping the skin off of beavers, I refer thee to my facebook page.
A third DJSS paper came out and I want to have one last school paper before the end of the year. The student council and I will also organise a fun day before the end of the school year, with water fights and games outside or something. Early June there will be a track and field competition between schools in Hay River, and lots of kids from all over the NT are coming here, including some of my Yellowknife relatives. I’d love to see them win a meda, although I’ll probably also be helping somewhere on the field those days, I have no idea, sometimes they let you know what’s expected just hours in advance. Furthermore, the night of the arts is still coming as it got postponed, to the 8th of June methinks… so my improv group has yet to perform, I’m quite excited about it and I hope that they will continue with improv at the school next year. The two other volunteers at DJSS are staying next year because boyfriends, and one of them wants to continue with my school paper, which I am very happy about! Holy smokes, just five more school weeks and then… Omg I cannot believe how time has flown.
FUTURE PLANS: HOME??
I want to say more about what I’ve done at the school but I don’t think this blogpost should become the length of a thesis so I will now proceed with telling you what I plan to do travelling-home-wise, and then write another blog in June. Even though I have no idea where I’ll work and live next year, I have booked my flights. I’ll first go up to Yellowknife at the end of June, to celebrate Canada day with my awesome Bergman family. Then I will fly to Vancouver and take a bus to Victoria to spend some days with the incredible miss Lottie, who has been an amazing inspiration and friend to me. She’s the one who taught me crocheting, for example. She lives in Victoria, so I can stay at her house for a few days, maybe then take a day or two to see Vancouver, and then sleep my way on the direct flight to Amsterdam, y’all. Gosh I really hope I don’t end up working there I miss my Groningen. Nothing beats the north… nothing beats the north of Canada (jk I bet Vancouver island does), nothing beats the north of the UK (Scotland!! I mean it.) and absolutely nothing at all beats the north of the Netherlands (Groningen!!). Till next time. (:
23 mei 2015 19:32 | Door: Peter
Nice to read your blog, because I was growing some strange sentiments about butchering beavers up there, after having seen your pics on fb. Fortunately, as I understand now, this human intervention has to regulate the beaver population or keep the beaver hooligans from slaughtering each other.
We look forward to see you back home, hear your stories and share a nice meal and drinks. Bye!
25 mei 2015 12:56 | Door: oma van Heereveld
Hi Mathilde, wat een interessant verhaal. Ik geniet er altijd van om te lezen wat je allemaal doet en beleeft. Wij kijken allemaal uit naar je thuiskomst, maar hopen dat je nog een heel mooie tijd zult hebben daar in Canada. Veel groeten voor de Bergman familie van mij. Liefs van je oma.