Saturday, January 19, 2008

Noah in

So, the Inuktitut language may be in serious trouble, but my baby is so cute. This is a slideshow of photos from Kangirsujuaq, and listen to the grade 3 students from my school sing a song in Inuttitut, and Noah is in it. You can also read an unrelated story about the loss of the Inuit language in Nunavut (the territory in which I do not live). It appears that the Montreal Gazette wants to misinform the public once again, by treating the two places as one.



Monday, January 07, 2008


I love vacations, but over the past few years, like everyone else, I’ve become tired of the consumerist holiday I’ve dubbed “the buying season”. This year, my anxiety surrounding Christmas was exponentially intensified by the fact that it was Noah’s first. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, I began to dread that we would have to race around Montreal to see everyone, fly to Alberta, drive thousands of kilometers around the province to see the High Prairie diaspora, and fly back to Montreal only to have a bazillion things to do before returning to the North. Adding to my anxiety was the realization that people like to buy things for babies. I began to have visions of mountains of clothes with animals that smile at you. My visions began to intensify. Toys. Truckloads of toys marketed to parents and the people who want to shower new babies with, well… crap. I had begun to feel that the best gift people could give me was nothing.

I was wrong. My family decided to make their gifts (is it possible that they have picked up on my sentiments?). They made some very nice and useful stuff. The grand prize has to go to my father. He made a rocking horse for Noah. The only problem with this almost perfect gift is that we had to transport it.

I know the guys that work for the airlines are rough with our luggage. I packed the horse, sturdily made out of 5/8” plywood into the big box that my father had built. I surrounded it with our Canada Goose parkas, and put other gifts in the spaces just so there wouldn’t be any way that pressure or rough handling could damage the horse. I was pretty confident, so much so that when the woman at the Air Canada ticket counter in Edmonton asked me if I wanted to put “FRAGILE” stickers on it, I declined. The box was well packed, and if it needed a fragile sticker, I thought, then so did the car seat, and my clothing as well.

We were sitting in row 30, just above the luggage compartment. When we landed, I was able to watch the guys begin to unload our bags. The first thing to descend the conveyor belt was an enormous box with a wooden horse inside. I remarked, “Sophie, look, it’s our box.” The guy at the end of the conveyor then grabbed the box, and pitched it in the air. It seemed to me to be excessively high, and I felt like I could hear the loud “THUMP” that I’m sure it made when it crashed onto the luggage cart. He grabbed the next bag, threw it equally as high in the air and it landed directly on top of the box.

Like I said, I know they are rough with the luggage. However, this seemed excessive, so I remarked to the other passengers waiting to deplane that the guys were being rough with our bags. Everyone had a look, and they agreed. Just then, the guy pitching bags looked up at me and made eye contact. I’m sure my mouth was open. He gave me an expression of embarrassment and recognition, and began to unload the luggage much more reasonably.

We went home. I was still confident that the horse was okay. It wasn’t.

The next day, we went to Sophie’s mother’s house for a January 1st party. Among the guests were Sophie’s uncle and two cousins. Her uncle has four sons. The two in attendance I had never met before. Another I had met this summer, but he had other engagements (he was in Hawaii with three girls!!!). The last couldn’t make it because he was working that night, pitching luggage for Air Canada, as he had been the night before.

On the 3rd, we went to Sophie’s uncle’s house for supper. I couldn’t wait to ask her cousin if he was indeed the man who had broken Noah’s horse. Alas, he was once again working for Air Canada tossing bags. We looked at a few photos to see if I could recognize whether it was he who had met my gaze on New Year’s Eve. I couldn’t tell. I guess it will have to wait for the summer.