Monday, July 18, 2016
2016 Arctic Day 3 - Ottawa
This entry might be a short one - I'm typing it on my phone as I sit in Ottawa Airport waiting patiently in between student arrival flights. It's been a great pre-expedition program so far, with a really dynamic group of early arrivals.
Yesterday was a whirlwind of walking and sightseeing and airport runs and eating. First stop was a farmers market at the newly redone Landsdowne Park in Ottawa. It was really difficult to walk the aisles with amazing and delicious varieties of food and not be able to buy much because we were out and about for the rest of the day. But I did manage to find some yummy homemade, all-fresh Popsicles to quench my thirst on a hot day. I'll be honest, I had three different kinds.
After lunch, we headed to the Mint for a tour of their facilities. It was interesting to compare what they do to our beautiful facility in Winnipeg. After the tour, the group went to do some shopping. Luckily I had an airport pick up, so I got miss out on that. Not considering that a loss.
Picked up a number of students and staff coming in from Iqaluit. One of the staff was Annie, a now-retired teacher from Iqaluit and one of the sweetest ladies I've ever met. She'll be mostly teaching students some traditional sewing and needlework. One of the students also brought some "country food" with her. Not sure exactly the contents, but likely some char, seal, muqtuq (whale skin and blubber) - and sadly none of it for us.
With our group now numbering 16 students, we headed to dinner and then to Parliament Hill to watch their light show called Northern Lights. It was a beautiful program, better than the previous one, in my opinion. Even got me a little misty-eyed at the end after acknowledging those we lost in war, and then the crowd spontaneously stood and sang along to O Canada.
Then it was bed for everyone but me, as I had one last airport pick up at midnight. Got them in safely and headed to a much-welcomes slumber, only to woken an hour later by two Northern students who couldn't sleep because of how warm their rooms were. Being a larger guy and not liking the hot conditions either, I could certainly relate. I gave them a few tips on how to cool down their room and beds, took them to get some VERY cold water to cool down their inner temps and tucked them in as best as possible. Just another normal day for an SOI chaperone.
Today is airport arrivals for me. I'm stationed here from 9am to 6pm greeting new staff and students and sending them on with our van drivers. Makes for a long day, but I specifically request it each year. Even though I only get to see the students for a short period of time today, I'm the first smiling face they see coming off the escalator from their planes, and I'm glad to play a small part in starting their experience off on a safe and welcoming one.
Flight from Toronto coming in! Let's go greet some students!