At age seven, when the only thing on my bucket-list was a red plastic beach pail, the Encyclopedia Britannica introduced me to a boy whose life was literally the polar opposite of mine. I was captivated from the moment I saw Moseesee displayed on a narrow metal rack sandwiched between a row of Cheerios and stacked Bumble Bee tuna cans at the Acme. Once I’d liberated him with a book of S&H Green Stamps, I skipped home to vows of visiting him in his Arctic home one day. Moseesee took this promise seriously and dogged my dreams for five decades until I did.
Ittoqqortoormiit, a remote village in east Kalaallit Nunaat, might not be Moseesee’s home on Baffin Island, but I’m sure he’d consider it close enough. What’s another 1200 miles between childhood friends when the roller-coaster of emotions in anticipation of such an experience are the same? Like the fidget-fest that floods my body when I press my nose up against the window and see the east coast of Greenland – very different from the west, which I’ve visited twice before in summer. My excitement intensifies the nearer we get to Mittarfik Nerlerit Inaat, our final transfer point…
Once we’re on the ground, impatience pumps through my veins while we wait for our turn on the helicopter that ferries people, mail, and supplies to “the place with the big houses” once a week, weather permitting.
The tiny waiting room is close to popping its wooden walls off its foundation as a family -aunties, uncles, cousins – meets by chance in this pencil dot of an airport. They’re celebrating a young woman’s return home from Nuuk with her three-day-old nuunnu while, at the same time, a young father is waiting for his flight to the capital city to be present for the birth of his third child. Ittoqqortoormiit is so far off the grid that mothers are flown to Nuuk to give birth.
Before long, or not, the clock on the wall makes it clear that keeping track of time as we normally do won’t matter much for the next week. Although it’s ticking, the hands haven’t moved from the twelve and two since we arrived. At some point, our names are called.
Warmed by laughter, coos of love, and the song of tiny smootches on itty bitty boy cheeks, we head out into the crisp, cold afternoon, and the promise of wonderful things to come.
fought taken my place next to our pilot and he’s pointed out the emergency transponder buttons plus the location of his rifle in the event he is incapacitated and a polar bear attacks
we are up
and on our way
And the closer we come to Ittoqqortoormiit
the more blessed I know I am for having people in my life who have helped fulfill the promise a little girl made to herself and a boy in a book. Qujanaq Oona, for organizing and holding space for this amazing adventure within and without, and THANK YOU Mr. Man, for helping make this, and so many more of my dreams come true.
All-righty then. Here’s another amuse-bouche to hold you over until next week
when I share our adventures in town with you…
Until then – BE WELL!