J52: The Great White North

Journal52 2015, Week 3.

Prompt: Conversation Starters.

The idea this week was to do a spread based on a conversation you had or over heard recently. This prompt came to my inbox the day after my husband went to a meeting for the Kativik School Board. We talked about what he had learned at the meeting and that conversation was still fresh in my head.

The Kativik region is Northern Quebec from the top of James’ Bay and up. It’s not the most popular region of Quebec to live in and the school board there is always looking for experienced teachers. Why are we applying for a teaching job there? The teaching market is saturated here and moving north would be smarter economically than moving anywhere else. The Northern Allowance you get for moving up North to work would allow us to save a lot, plus they offer subsidized housing, they cover moving expenses and three trips home a year. If need be, he could move there for a year while I stay here to finish school. It’s not ideal, but the Allowance would make having two households manageable.

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It would definitely be a lifestyle change. A small town means getting used to the everyone knows everyone thing. The Inuit culture would be more prominent up there. Things would also be more laid back. There is very little crime. Kids are out by themselves a lot. Sometimes it’s broad daylight at 2am there, in which case, all the kids are going to be out at the park. If you can’t find your kid, not to worry, it is likely he is in one of the other 10 house on the street.

One thing Hubby said they emphasized at the meeting was the landscape. There are no trees. They tell everyone who applies this, but when they get off the plane in Kativik, they are still astonished by how flat and barren the land is. No trees. No hills. Just tundra.

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Everything has to be delivered. Shopping is done from catalogs or the internet. My first thought was no more grocery shopping, awesome! You order groceries online and they are delivered to your door. The shipping is covered by the government apparently. There are small stores in the villages, but a bag of chips usually costs about $7. No thanks. Even water has to be delivered. That scared me a little at first. It is delivered daily on week days, so not a big deal…unless there is a snow storm! So, if there is a snow storm on a Friday, no showers or laundry for days because you aren’t getting another supply of water until Monday! EEK!

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The weather is another thing to think about. It will be cold and there will be even more snow than here in Montreal. They told Hubby the rule is if you can’t see your neighbour’s house across the street in a snow storm, don’t leave your house. There seem to be a couple reasons not to leave your house. They said it was common enough to get a call in the early morning just as you were getting up for work, telling you to stay inside because there was a polar bear sighted near the town or a pack of wolves roaming the village. Wow, that is different.

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So anyway, my J52 spread this week is dedicated to our conversation about living in the “Great White North”. I started with white gesso, did my lettering in blue craft acrylic paint and pasted some map bits on top with modge podge. I didn’t think about the lettering too much. I just kind of slapped it on there. I wish I had taken a bit more care now. I used a Crafter’s Workshop Stencil by Jamie Echt to do the handwriting you see in blue. I then went over everything in white gesso mixed with blue acrylic paint to mute the blue paint and colour in the maps. I was aiming for a cold blizzardy look. It’s not quite what I was imagining, but you get the idea. I used the same stencil with white acrylic over my blue tinted gesso, doodled some snowflakes with gel pens and wrote bit of the conversation with a silver Sharpie paint pen.

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