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I did that!

I had never known minus fifty degree temperatures that froze my freshly mascaraed eyes together or winds that rocked the house and me to sleep at night. I had never before been woken by the sound or smell of a waste truck pumping out household sewage or been all lathered up in the shower only for the water to run out. To be advised not, in fact, to drink the water or brush your teeth with it unless it has been boiled first. To pay $14 for a bottle of Perrier because I miss its effervescence or $2 for a single over-ripe banana, the last one in the store, is unavoidable.

I had never before seen the Northern Lights nor come closer to frost bite from standing too long out in the cold, with my mouth gaping at their impossible beauty. I had never before walked on the frozen ocean or walked across a frozen lake, like a ninja, willing myself to be as light as a snowflake – just in case! I had never seen a ‘sun-dog’ or a vertical rainbow or sunsets that drained the sky of colour with a symphony of pinks and oranges so spectacular that I wanted to celebrate every one of them or sunrises that mocked me with a promise of sunshine without warmth.

Remember this is all in hindsight and my friends will tell you that such a romantic view of my experience here has never been evident. Ill-fitted sub-zero temperature outer wear and a walking pneumonia aside I am more able, now, to look back at my first venture North as – well, something I did!


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