After more than two years in Cambridge Bay working at the Kitikmeot Law Centre, I recently moved to Iqaluit and joined Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik Legal Services. Although I had made some wonderful friends in Cambridge Bay and had grown to love the Kitikmeot communities where I worked, I really missed my family and friends in Ontario. Getting home when homesickness strikes isn’t easy from Cambridge Bay. For a trip from Cambridge Bay to Ontario to make sense, you really need to take a minimum of three weeks because of the expense and travel time. Even with a seat sale, a return ticket costs more than $2600. It takes two days each way to get to and from Ontario because there is an overnight in either Edmonton or Yellowknife. The prudent Cam Bay traveller might also want to budget for at least one extra day each way to account for bad weather and for planes “going mechanical.”
In contrast, Iqaluit to Ottawa is a (fairly) reliable 3-hour flight, and a return ticket costs about 35 percent less than one from Cambridge Bay. It’s still expensive, but within a range that with the much shorter travel time, it gives me the theoretical option to take a long weekend here and there, even when my work schedule is really full. Realistically, work is very busy and I probably won’t be heading home much more often than before. But there’s just something very comforting about knowing that I could squeeze in a quick visit home if I really needed to or if something came up.
My job in Iqaluit is pretty much the same as in Cambridge Bay. I’m still a legal aid defence lawyer, but now I work at a clinic that serves the Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin) region instead of the Kitikmeot. I’m really looking forward to seeing and experiencing many new communities. Last week, we had a circuit court in Sanikiluaq and I’ll write about that soon. Next week, I’m off to Pond Inlet. In early February, I get to go to Pangnirtung. I’m feeling pretty lucky; those were three of the places that I most wanted to be sent to. Life is good.