Saturday, February 11, 2006


The world is warm and gorgeous yet again. At times like these, I can’t help but relish in existential theory; I used to turn my nose up at existentialism, thinking that my stance was anti-elitist and therefore somehow more superior. Plus, I had thought of the theory as depressive and debilitating. Now, however, in this bright sunlight under the “true blue dream of sky,” I think of just simply being in the moment at hand. It’s me sitting on this rumpled bed, typing my thoughts onto this page. Language doesn’t even seem to matter – it’s imperfect at best. So, it’s true that I can never fully express my thoughts to my satisfaction, and that another person can never truly comprehend what I’m thinking and feeling, but so what? I am content right here, right now. I demand no understanding from the world, and the world demands nothing of me.

This past Wednesday, I was at the community feast hosted at the high school to celebrate finally having the school foyer and gym done, to have the students fully back in the building and resuming a sense of normalcy. The turnout was fantastic. It’s a great start in trying to improve the school’s relationship with the community. All the staff were wearing their “Survivor SHSS” shirts, and I was, for once, glad to be part of a group, and to feel a sense of belonging.

Yes, it has been absolutely the dream week: The weather has been amazing. Work has gone great. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of the lack of challenges this past week, I have been feeling as though I need to escape Inuvik. I was looking at my students this week, and thinking, am I foolish to think that maybe if I show them that they can write an expository essay, that they will eventually see that they can do so much more? I used to think that what would eventually drive me away from here would be the transitory nature of the town. It has been hard to have a new circle of friends every year that I am here. Now, though, I think that what will drive me away is an ingrained despair that I see in people here. I feel my lack of cultural understanding as a barrier between me and my students all the time. All I can do is bring in as many northern resources as possible into my classroom. The girls can read about their cultures and the histories of their peoples; they can be proud, but that’s not enough. There isn’t enough for them to cling onto. Inuvik has never been an insular society, and it has to move forward. I want my girls to dream of becoming anything they want, to know that they have that potential, and to actually see that it’s possible. Lately, I’ve felt that my being here has not been helping. I am one of the score of teachers from down south, who say that they know what’s best for the students, when who are we but another version of the colonizer? How can I pass on knowledge that can’t be taught – that knowledge of a collective moving forward toward something better?

Watched Pieces of April last night. It’s one of my favourite movies, and gets better with each viewing. To me, it’s about salvaging relationships, creating goodness, rebuilding from the rubble. I can completely identify. Perhaps that’s the way I need to look at things here – I need to create moments to purge myself of all the built up bitterness and resentment. Maybe I’ll start with where this entry began: simply being, and demanding nothing of the world right here, right now. Take in all of that infinite sky and play my favourite music.

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