EEEEE!! Pretty Sky!!

Now, I loved my time in Singapore, and being able to tell exactly when it was 7am, 4pm and 7pm because the country gets pretty much exactly 12hours of sunlight everyday, all year long and it rained like clockwork everyday at 4pm. However, one thing that continues to blow my mind on a constant basis in the Northwest Territories is the amount of… SKY that there is here.

Seriously, its just so big and blue!!

Seriously, its just so big and blue!!

I used to think phrases like “land of the midnight sun” were exaggerations, but the literally never fully sets up here. You get a few hours of dusk-iness around 2am, but never any full darkness.

In addition to the insane sky, my place is literally a few steps away from the Slave River – connecting Lake Athabasca and Great Slave Lake, its home to the best white water rapids in North America, and the boardwalk that runs along side it in Fort Smith makes for a great jogging route. Seriously, I don’t even realize I’m being physically active, my jaw just drops staring at it.

Rivers AND skies together are just too much awesome for me to handle!

Rivers AND skies together are just too much awesome for me to handle!

To say the least, I had way too much fun taking these photos after 8pm – if only to spite the fact that I tried taking photos at Marina Bay in Singapore around this time, and I had to choose between setting the shutter speed way to low for my then tripodless arms or having it look like the lens cap was still on the camera!


I took the sign as a challenge (the edge wasn’t even THAT bad)!

Also, vehicles (and trailers) have awesome polar bear-shaped license plates!

Also, vehicles (and trailers) have awesome polar bear-shaped license plates!

My shadow is soo tall!! :D

My shadow is soo tall!! :D

In summary: I’ve been overdosing on vitamin D because of all the sun here!



From Southeast Asia to Northwest Canada

While my adventure in Singapore may have come to a close (for now), my lifelong journey is far from over. Since I’m returning not returning to Ryerson University until the fall (I have two more courses before I finish my Hospitality and Tourism Management degree – a really heavy workload, I know), my next challenge was figuring out what to do with my life for an entire summer.

At first, I considered moving back to Toronto – it was a place that I knew had jobs waiting to hire me, friends waiting to be reunited and cool events happening on a regular basis. I’d lived off and on in the city for 2 years, so it would have been an easy transition (or as easy as one could be, coming from halfway across the globe). At first, the familiarity seemed like a good idea, with all the moving around I’ve done lately, going back to something familiar kind of seemed like a new experience in itself (in a strange, backwards kind of way).

Mostly, I was more concerned with making the most of the time I had left in Asia than with what I was planning on doing when I returned. However, I eventually realized that while school was going to require me to live in the city in the fall, I still had the freedom to go wherever I wanted over the summer. For some reason, it took a while for me to make this connection, but when it happened, it opened up a world of exciting possibilities (well, not an entire world, I was a bit late for applying for work visas in other countries, but I still had all of Canada – which, as far as one country is concerned, covers a good portion of the world)!

After researching jobs and destinations, I eventually decided that Fort Smith, Northwest Territories would be my final destination and I would spend the summer working in a museum. When I first started telling people in Singapore about my decision, everyone seemed to be taking the news rather calmly… too calmly! It wasn’t until someone said, “oh, that’s nice, have fun in Australia” that I realized they thought I was referring to Darwin and Australia’s northern territory, a not-so-exotic destination from Singapore.

Where (A) is Singapore, (B) is not-Canadian Northern Territory and (C) is yes-Canada Northwest Territories

Where (A) is Singapore, (B) is not-Canada Northern Territory and (C) is yes-Canada Northwest Territories

Eventually, after setting everyone straight, I was met with the same blank and confused stares I would continue to face when I moved in: “Why middle-of-nowhere-Northern-Canada!?” Fortunately, I have a whole series of responses for this question, which I fire through until I turn my questioner’s blank face into an “aaaaah, that makes sense, I guess” expression:

1)    I’ve done the whole hotels-and-restaurants thing in hospitality and really want to try out the museum thing. Now, these types of jobs (that actually pay money) are actually possible to attain in the Northwest Territories, unlike in Toronto.

2)    I felt like an unofficial Canadian ambassador in Singapore and in this role, I realized I still have so much more of my country and my national culture to experience – including everything north of Jasper National Park, which is most of the country.

3)    My mom lived in one of the nearby cities, Hay River, while she was in university and absolutely loved it, so I figured it was worth a shot.

4)    The Slave River, which runs right along Fort Smith, is the site of the best white-water kayaking in North America.

5)    I just wanted to be able to say I moved from Southeast Asia to Northwest Canada because it sounded more dramatic than moving from big-city Singapore to big-city Toronto.

To be fair, I have to admit that I did take a week and a half off in between the two places. However, all of the non-jetlagged and therefore passed out asleep time I had was spent getting ready for move with things like reassuring my friends and family that I was still alive and not insane for moving to the Northwest Territories and opening a bank account at the only bank in town (the Bank of Montreal, ironically enough). I made the stubborn mistake of not thinking this was something I needed to do a couple of summers ago and suffered through months of ridiculous transfer fees, but this time, I had learned my lesson!

Before I knew it, I was flying out of the (unsurprisingly) grey Hamilton airport and on my way to Edmonton, where I was catching a connecting flight right into Fort Smith.

Hamilton is grey, the Earth is round, what else is new?

Hamilton is grey, the Earth is round, what else is new (besides the fact I just got Instagram, which I considered quite exciting)?

Now, I knew Northwestern Air was a small airline, but nothing had prepared me for the complete and utter anarchy of receiving a plane ticket that let me claim any seat I wanted. After spending months being disallowed from changing my seat from one in the middle of a full squishy row to the one by the window in the adjacent empty row and having to wait until the seatbelt sign is turned off after take off to sneak over, I was glad to not have to hide the fact that I wanted full reign over seat selection.


An airline that understands my desire for free-reign over its seating, I APPROVE!

An airline that understands my desire for free-reign over its seating, I APPROVE!

After getting a prized window seat (all of the seats were window seats, but still) and a complimentary lunchable (aw yeah), I was officially on my way to (the northern part of) the Great White North!