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2018 Arctic Expedition: Day 14

Today, we woke up to beautiful sunshine through the fog as if the weather was honouring our last full day at sea.  The common reaction is sadness that the expedition is coming to an end.   Lots of students are homesick but do not want to leave permanently, some explaining that they “just want to check in with [their] family and then come back on the ship!”

To wrap up our journey, we traveled along the Western coast of Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) and entered Kangerlussuaq Fjord this evening.  We will arrive in Kangerlussuaq tomorrow morning.   

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

To start things off this morning, staff members Marty Kuluguqtuq (Chair of the Nirjuitiqarvik Area Co-Management Committee) and Lisa Pirie-Dominix (Section Head of Protected Areas and Habitat for the Canadian Wildlife Service) gave a presentation on the ECCC Protected Areas in Nunavut and the importance of environmental co-management. 

 

Geoff then gave a brief history of Students on Ice.  After detailing his own journey building the Foundation and his relationship to the Arctic, he highlighted 3 central messages:

  • If you build something that is good at its core, they will come. 
  • There are a lot of challenges facing the planet, which means that there has never been a better time to get involved and find projects to help.  
  • We’re all here on spaceship Earth – Do you want to be a passenger along for the ride or to be a crew member who makes a difference?    

After Geoff’s words of wisdom, Becky Okatsiak and Rachel Boere from the SOI Alumni Program Team gave a more detailed presentation on options for Alumni post-expedition.   Social Connectors, Mentorship, and financial support (conference grants, polar catalyst, micro-grants) were discussed. 

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

The afternoon began with the fog lifting, the waves gently rolling and the sun shining.   We could suddenly see beautiful land! The atmosphere on the ship was also beautiful, with contacts exchanged, future plans put in place, small projects on ship finished and friendships solidified. 

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

Isuma workshops were held so that everyone had a chance to finish their projects and show their art before dinner. 

Final Pod time was held where we wrote letters to ourselves.  They were collected and the SOI team will send them to us in a year’s time.   Then it was PACKING time.   Not only our personal belongings in our room but packing up all the education and science supplies that were brought onto the ship. 

Ty put up a “Gratitude” poster for the crew and all day long students and staff stopped to make comments for making giving us such an amazing experience.    The food, the rooms, the cheerfulness of the crew and much more was truly appreciated. 

We went to the Hub where it had been decorated for a Dance Party.   15 minutes of dancing only because it took too long for some to pack.  Priorities!!!!  And then our dinner was supposed to be the last one on the ship but since we had to return to Greenland we got to stay one more day on the ship.   Yay!!!!   

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

The highlight of the night was Tiivi doing a tribute to Geoff.   Tiivi was touching, funny and sincere but hilarious.   He presented Geoff with a small cake that he asked the baking crew to bake in celebration of Geoff’s 20 years of expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica.   

Workshops later included: 

  • Post Secondary Panel
  • Carrying your stories
  • Resume Writing
  • Micro-grant Proposal writing
  • Community Foundations of Canada – create a CF of the North
  • Goal setting
  • Friendly  Polar Bear Den

The day ended with a talent show, and what talent we have witnessed over the past two weeks!  Tonight we had powerful poetry, Arctic games, piano pieces, square dancing, Irish dancing, solo dancing, Latin dancing, acrobatic dancing, ballets in French, solo singing, comedy acts, a Malaysian musical sound effect performance, and Twin Flames sang a song they wrote with the students!  The best was the surprise band at the end and when Twin Flames rocked the boat with the song, “Friends’.   What a fabulous night.

 

Student & Staff Blogs:

 

Alondra Aguilar
Bronx, New York, USA

Hola papi, hola mami! Feliz cumpleanos pa, no estes trabajando mucho, porque mereces descansar. Hemos cambiado nuestro plan entero, y en lugar de estar todavia en Canada, estamos por Greenland, donde vamos a tomar un vuelo para ir para Canada, y llegar temprano en la manana el martes. En Canada, tendremos una celebracion para el fin del viaje, y de ahi nos iremos todos a nuestros propios destinaciones. El barco en donde estamos viviendo ahora es maravilloso, es un lugar muy lindo, y la gente tambien son todos muy buenos con los demas. Hay un lugar en el barco en donde congregamos todos, y ahi hay gente de por todo el mundo. Tengo amigos nuevos de por todos lugares, y una vive en Staten Island- los estoy dando el “heads up” para que despues me den permiso ir a algun lado con ella. Se que no he escrito todo los dias, pero lo que no digo ahorita les dire cuando llege a casa. Los dias en este barco han sido lleno de aventura y la belleza natural nunca termina de sorprenderme. Tengo muchas fotos, y prometo que les dire todo cuando regrese. Los quiero mucho!!

Hey Dian, Kim, and everyone else reading this (Aly, Emmaly, Yari, ect.). Just to let you know that Im okay and I’ll let you in oneverything once I get cell service (so, by the 7th). Toodles dudes!

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

Ambika Aggarwal
Irvine, California, USA

Hi mom, dad, and Rahul,

I miss you so much and I am exited to go home and tell you all about this once in a life time adventure. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little homesick. I miss my bed!  First things first, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM. I’m a little late hahah but I hope you had an awesome day. It feels like yesterday when I was going up the escalator waving at you and nervous because I was gonna miss my connecter flight. Boy, it feels like a decade ago. I’ve met so many people and had so many experiences that have changed me so much and I am going back more inspired than ever. One of my favorite days on this trip was on the third or fourth day on the ship. It was a day in which we were trying to get into Illulasat and it didn’t work because their was layers of ice preventing us from getting the zodiacs into the harbor. Making a decision to move on, we tried for another community Qeqertarsuaq. This day, we played a soccer game against a greenlandic team. It was one of the most beautiful pitches ever! On one side their were towering mountains, on another side their were humongous icebergs, and on the last side their were those colorful houses you see all over the internet. We lost 3-6 that day but oh well. Later, Twin Flames played a concert and the whole team got up and danced. Me and Zara befriended a group of little girls that day. It was one of those moments that will remain engrained in my mind forever. Anyways, now we’re on our way back to the airport. We have to cross back over the Davis Strait because the whole Resolute is blocked by ice. The first day was terrible! I got so seasick. But anyways, I have to experience everything right.

Love,

Ambika

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

Amelia Pilot
London, Middlesex, United Kingdom

Hi. This trip has been so amazing and exiting I haven’t had time to blog. Im going to keep this short as there are many workshops I want to attend before we leave tomorrow.  I will see you soon and tell you all about the fantastic trip and experience. Bye! Amelia Pilot

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

Arianne Tremblay
Baie-Comeau, Quebec, Canada

Bon. Je pourrais dire quelque chose dans le genre:

“Oh mon dieu, j’ai bien trop de choses à raconter, je sors grandi de cette expérience!“

Mais pour vrai… non.

c’est très difficile de sortir grandi de cette expérience tandis que toute la splandeur du paysage et de la nature qui nous entoure nous fais sentir si impuissant.

j’ai pas vraiment d’autres phrases de ce genre, donc juste pour vous, je peux vous partager quelques highligths, anecdotes et bons moments:

1. La première fois que j’ai vue un ours polaire. Sans exagération, il devait avoir au moins 150 personnes sur le deck du navire équipées de caméras tout simplement pour voir un ours vivre sa vie normalement!

2. Le fait que nous avons du traverser le Davis Strait (entre le Groenland et le Canada) deux fois, même si la deuxième fois le 3 quart d’entre nous ont souffert du mal de mer!

3. avoir fait du paddleboard et du kayak traditionnel!

4. m’être baigné en maillot de bain dans la terre de Baffin! (Shoutout à l’équipe Intermédiaire du club de Nage synchronisée les Hippocampes de Baie-Comeau: Je vous garantie que l’eau de la piscine le Mardi à 6h du matin est pas si froide que ça!)

5. le fait de se faire réveiller tous les matins par quelqu’un criant GOOD MORNING STUDENTS ON ICE!

6. le 4 Août 2018, nous étions officiellement la première édition de THE AMAZING RACE – ARCTIQUE! Nous étions dispersé en différent Pods team ( nos équipes de 12 étudiants pour toute l’expédition ) et nous avions des défis partout sur le bateau. Mon équipe, Nanuq (qui veut dire Ours Polaire), s’était déguisé avec des robes de chambres et de l’aquarelle noir sur notre nez!

7. Touchez un Iceberg pour la première fois, ainsi que le goûter!

8. la fois que l’équipe de la caméra était dans le même zodiac que nous, donc nous avons eu une excursion plus longue que les autres!

9. Nous avons fait du square dancing. Au début je ne voulais pas danser car j’étais trop gênée, mais finalement, merci Tao de m’avoir obligé à sortir de ma zone de confort, j’ai passé un moment mémorable!

10.  Les moments ou le K-zone (l’espace de création) était ouvert. C’est sans contredit l’endroit le plus paisible de tout ce navire!

11. Un matin, j’étais outrée par le fait que mon soi-disant sirop d’érable sur mon pain doré était trop épais et sucré… jusqu’à ce qu’une personne me fasse remarquer que j’avais mis du miel à la place!

12. J’ai pris part à une discussion sur la place des femmes dans le monde de la science qui sérieusement me marquera pour longtemps.

13. Être resté réveillé jusqu’à Minuit (j’ai eu la permission maman, ta fille n’est pas rebelle!) pour prendre une photo de la transition entre le ciel orangé et le jour.

14. M’être fait des amis de partout dans le monde!

15. Devoir sortir dehors sur le plus haut deck pour avoir un peu de réseau pour dire aux gens que je suis vivante. sans blague, j’ai apprécié être déconnecté de notre réalité virtuelle!

16. Avoir eu la chance de vivre cette expérience, tout simplement.

Arianne Tremblay!

(c) Natta Summerky/SOI Foundation

Aurora Eide
Sandane, Norway

Today is officially our last sea day onboard the Ocean Endeavour. Tomorrow we pack our bags, get on a flight in Kangerlussuaq and return back to Ottawa where it all began. It is a bittersweet feeling, as most endings are. I would have liked to stay on the ship for a lot longer in order to get to talk to everyone and learn so much more. But at the same time I am now both physcially and mentally so tired from these intense weeks, and I am sure that if I allow it my body would just sleep for three days straight. But with only a couple of days left I am forcing my body to stay as energized as possible! Yesterday, however, that proved somewhat of a challenge. I guess it was too much to hope that the Davis Strait would be calm twice. We experienced a big sea yesterday with some serious waves. The entire ship rocked in a sickening motion, and almost everyone onboard felt it. I certainly felt it. Although I did not throw up (luckily) I was seasick all yesterday, just living in a constant state of nausea and dizziness, feeling super queasy and light headed and ready to throw up at any time. I can’t say it was fun, but it is part of the expedition journey so I tried to keep up a positive attitude! I engaged in all activies but also made sure to get some time to just sit and rest with a cup of tea. But it was a full packed day at sea with lots of activities. I think the highlight of my day was when, during our evening briefing, I was called up because I had won randomly won their contest of who would be the one to write blog post number 100. Incredibly random, but really fun! I got a Canada Goose t shirt 🙂 See, sometimes getting up at 6 A.M. everyday to write blogs is worth it!  Also, I hope everyone who has been reading has found it nice to read some updates from my northern journey. This might be the last post, unless I find time to write one tomorrow as well.

Either way, I want to just state, right now, that this has been the greatest (short) trip of my life. And thus, it has also made it the best summer of my life. I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity and for everyone who made it possible. First of all I am SO grateful for my sponsors who made it financially possible, and I am so grateful for you mom and dad for allowing me to go on this journey. And then of course I am forever grateful to Students On Ice for existing and for every single person, both on the ship and back in Ottawa, who has made this expedition what it is! I came with an open heart and eager willingness to learn. I leave with a head filled with knowledge, a heart filled with hope and a suitcase filled with memories. These last two weeks have been life changing.  I look upon planet earth with new eyes. I let my soul grow and take root in the ocean, and what a growth it has been. I know they say to take only photographs and leave only footprints, but I have left a piece of me here in the Arctic. A piece of my heart remains here in the ocean, in the ice, and I take a piece of the Arctic with me as I leave. The sound of the rolling waves, the icebergs glittering torquoise in the sun, the morning mist revealing our horizon. The Arctic is a part of me now, and it will follow me and guide me on my own expedition, my own journey into the future.

 

Hannah Boomer
St. Catherine’s, Ontario, Canada

As the expedition comes to a close I have had some time to reflect on the experiences I have had, and the people I have met. I am sure this experience will be something that I will continue to process and learn from for many years to come. Throughout this journey I have seen many beautiful places and had many amazing experiences, but the most important experience to me, has been the people I have met and the experiences they bring. Everyone has so much to share, and there is a wealth of knowledge to learn from.

Although I am young, I graduated high school before truth and reconciliation, and education on Inuit, Metis, and First Nations were added to the curriculum. Throughout this journey we have had many meaningful conversations about the importance of reconciliaction, taking action for a better future. It has been an eye opening experience to hear about how colonization has affected the Inuit, Metis, and First Nations members on board the ship, and their communities, and the struggle to find the balance between two worlds.

Facilitating a discussion and action plan on ensuring quality education for all, promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, I learned a lot about the variation of quality of education within Canada. From some schools being well funded with smart boards in every classroom; to schools in the Gulf Islands, of British Columbia having classes four days a week to save money on water-taxi costs; to high school students in Northern Ontario having to leave their communities at 14 years old to attend boarding school in another city, hours away, due to a lack of schools in their own community.  To schools in Nunavut having to host classes in the community center due to lack of space in the school, and not enough funding to build a new school.

Indigenous education in Canada is widely underfunded. Education is the key to understanding and creating change. I dream that one day everyone in Canda will have a safe and acessible school to go to, and a teacher that supports and believes in them. When I head to teachers college in the fall, I hope to educate myself on the inequities of education across Canada, and ways that we can make education better across Canada. There are many young and inspiring leaders on  board the ship, and I am hopefull that change will be created in the future 🙂

– Hannah Boomer

Julianne Jager
Stittsville, Ontario, Canada

Je peux sincèrement dire que cette expédition a été la plus  belle et la plus fantastique expériencede ma vie! Il n’y a pas de mots pour décrire ma première vue d’un iceberg,  la sensation de famille,  la fiertée de la culture Inuit ou la beauté d’un soleil qui ne se couche jamais. Tout de même, je ne vais jamais cesser d’essayer de vous montrer, représenter et expliquer ce que j’ai ressenti et appris dans l’Arctique.

Cette apres-midi, nous avons discuté au sujet de comment partager notre experience avec nos familles, nos amis, avec tous ceux qui nous entoures, incluant les médias. Plusieurs points importants à partager, sont ressortis de notre conversation : la vie dans le Nord, les liens entres personnes, nos meilleures moments, la flexibilité et les souvenirs que nous partageons.

Pour mon dernier bloque, j’aimerais dire que je suis très excité à atteindre la prochaine étape. Je veux utiliser les ressources que j’ai récemment découvertes pour agir contre le changement climatique dans mon école, ma communauté, mon pays et le monde!

Julianne

Katarina Kuhnert
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

They say the Arctic is a remote place

But how can it be distant

when the people are so

close

Welcome us with open arms

when we pull up to their shores

lost

disappointed

invited into a celebration

concert

soccer

dancing

Breathing the same deep breath

Throats

singing

Guts full

of laughter and

eventually

mattaq

“Sharing makes our culture stronger”

Shake hands

Good game

Hug goodbye

Cousins

If soccer is an international language

we wrote a love song on the field

One last song

One last touch

“This is why I don’t travel

because I’ll never know if I can

come back”

“Can’t you just stay”

“Can’t we just stay”

Leave me here

hiding in sorrel big as the day is long

mourning the relationships

we never knew

we needed

Lifelong memory

Ancestral belonging

Destined to meet again

in this life

or

another

Kiss the ground

Kunik the kids

Lick the iceberg

Thank the sun for bearing witness

They say the Arctic is a remote place

Written by Katarina Kuhnert

Featuring the students and staff of SOI

Inspired by our visit to Qeqertarsuaq

 

Louis-Philippe St-Arnaud
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Détroit de Davis, Près du Groenland

18h14

Bon! Je vous écris vite, parce qu’il y a un party de danse qui se passe en ce moment!

Il y a eu un changement de plan. Demain, on s’en va sur le “Greenland Ice Cap”! Avec un de ces autobus avec des gros pneus (je crois)! Je suis tellement excité!!!! C’est la dernière journée de l’expédition, mais ce sera une journée mémorable. Après ça, on va prendre l’avion à 2 heures du matin le 7 août. Hourra pour le karma!

Aujourd’hui, je me suis écrit une lettre à moi même, que j’ouvrirai dans un an. L’idée, c’est de prédire ce qu’on veut avoir accompli dans un an. J’ai plusieurs objectifs en terme de projets, mais mon objectif principal, c’est d’être un leader dans ma communauté. J’espère l’avoir atteint d’ici un an.

Cette expédition a été absolument mémorable. Je continuerai d’y réfléchir pendant toute ma vie. Je suis tellement reconnaissant d’avoir eu l’occasion d’y participer.

Merci encore, le CECCE. C’est mon dernier blogue, la station va être démontée ce soir. La prochaine fois que je vais vous parler, ça va être en chair et en os! Ce soir, à l’horaire, un souper “chic style expédition”, un spectacle de talents.

Bon, je vais danser! On se voit le 7 août (ou plus tard si vous n’êtes pas présents au Musée de la Nature pour nous acceuillir)!

Merci, merci, merci,

-Louis-Philippe

 

Michael Pewatualuk
Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada

I am going to write about my experience of my visit to my hometown of Pond Inlet. I have not been back home since December of 2017. It felt so nice to be back home for a brief moment! This town is emanating with Inuit culture. I saw my best friends again, some of which who were not there back in December, and we caught up as if I never left the town. I saw my parents and siblings again and it made me realize how much time can pass by leaving town for college. I realize that I have to leave town all over again for years to come. That fact left me emotional because I can only be with my family and friends for the summer and winter months.

I miss the whole community and the vibe of it as well. Everyone mostly spoke to me in Inuktitut even though they know that I am not fluent in the language but that is good because it is best to learn the language by ear.

I pretty much spent my whole visit walking with my best friends and that made me happy again. It is certainly hard to go to school and leave all of your friends and family behind but I think everything I did happened for a good reason. I went to an amazing college (Nunavut Sivuniksavut) and I embarked on an amazing expedition and made incredible journeys along the way. The feelings are quite conflicting.

When I was about to leave Pond Inlet, all my family and friends greeted me with wistful goodbyes, because obviously they want me to stay. I wanted to stay home too.

 

Sarah MacNeil
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Short and sweet –

a haiku from my first journalling worshop:

It’s funny how the

Smallest window can have the

Biggest view of all

and one from my last:

A ship lost at sea

My spirit sprawled on top deck

I think it’ll work

Nakurmiik, et à très bientôt.

-Sarah MacNeil

 

Tao Hernandez Arellano
Mexico City, Mexico

I want you to know that I can’t explain how happy I am at this moment. I can’t believe that one of my biggest dreams become true. The Arctic is a nice and lovely place where I wish to be my whole life because I found kindness, love, friendship and more with all SOI members aboard the Ocean Endevour. I hope that someone has the same opportunity as me to travel along with many people from all countries and share experiences, knowledge, happiness and, of course, love. I really  enjoy helping the masters explaining to the kids how nature works and my knowledge that my school taught me in Mexico (U.N.A.M. F.E.S. Iztacala). I want to thank you, “Ninopa”, for giving me the chance and health to be here in Greenland and Canada, my mother Sara Arellano Palafox for all the support through my short life and all members of the SOI (students, teachers, crew members, staff and everyone) because you make me feel at home and at least but not last, my teachers and friends in Mexico, Luis Fernando Del Moral Flores, Eduardo Lopez Segovia and Phd Atahualpa.

For all the people in this ship I would said: “Mi casa es su casa”. Whenever you want to visit Mexico, I’ll be there for you at any hour or day. You are very welcome to my homeland.

Keegan, James, Shota, Vincent, Derreck, Alex, Hans and my pod Nanuq, thank you all for being with with me and considering me part of your family. I will never forget you.

For all my Mexican friends and family: Mexico lindo y querido.. si muero lejos de ti.. que digan.. que estoy dormido.. y que me traigan aqui.. Mexico lindo y querido.

 

Tashi Lhamo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The day before yesterday, I paddle boarded for the first time in my life. The whole experience felt even more spectacular by the fact that I was in the Arctic waters in Sam Ford Fjord while  surrounded by snowcapped mountains and beautiful terrains in view.

As I initially readied myself for the excursion, I was filled with excitement and dread about the cold waters with no prior experience in paddle boarding. All my fears clung to me like a dear friend as I slowly entered the water, feeling the wind on my face.Whilst trying desperately to stand up on the board, I looked forward and watched the rest of the students on the kayaks and paddle board move ahead with much trepidation.

Then the first fall came. It felt so sudden and I panicked trying to get back on the board. It felt like an eternity. But when I got back up, the vast expanse of the sky and the snow capped mountain ranges engulfed my vision, calming me and comforting me. At that moment, a slow tearful smile crept my face with the realization that I was in the Arctic and that I felt humbled and gratitude for everything from the cold waters and the scenery before me to the whole Students on Ice (SOI) trip.

In many ways, this SOI trip has been dream-like; from the incredible places we’ve visited to the people I’ve met on this trip who come from different ages, backgrounds, and professions with different world views. Truly, it is the greatest classroom ever! Every moment on this excursion has been stimulating and inspirational from the different forms of learning on  Climate Change, Ocean Literacy and  Sustainable Development Goals to the hearing the Inuit and Cree members of SOI courageously share their experiences about the painful reality of Canada’s colonial past, the residential schools and efforts surrounding Truth and Reconciliation.

I am a Tibetan Canadian myself and it was hard not to think about my own background and the plight of Tibetans around the world who share a painful history of being refugees. We share similar situations of climate change induced accelerated glacier melting and exploitative mining activities taking place in Tibet  at the expense of its people and land under China’s occupation. Just as the Indigenous people in Canada have shown their resilience and courage, with the growing work of Indigenous activists and SOI youths expressing a changing perception of our relationship with the land and its people, I  feel hopeful for the future.

Mitigating climate change and its impact on the Arctic wildlife and communities along with development of comprehensive adaptation strategies requires meaningful partnerships with the Indigenous people of Canada. We can no longer treat indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge as irreconcilable dichotomies and must uphold ethical practices and environmental justice in our development projects as we collectively endeavour to fight climate change.

As for the paddle boarding, I think falling from the board itself is my favourite part of the sport. And just as in life, falling and failing is not necessarily a bad thing as long as we get back right up.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to SOI for this incredible trip. Shout out to Katie Boomgaardt, Program Coordinator for International Development Studies (IDS)  at University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) for working tirelessly and the whole of IDS faculty and Queen Elizabeth Scholarship (QES) for making this trip possible.

Vanessa Tucci
Elmvale, Ontario, Canada

Hello family! I’m sorry I have not been blogging everyday; I have been so busy and so tired, (I could’t sleep last night because the boat was rocking and I have so many thoughts going through my head)! Nevertheless I am getting along very well, despite having a few bad days with my mental health, and a little seasickness.

I recently did a LGBTQ+ workshop, and many of my friends came out as gay/bi/trans to the group! I knew it was so hard for them, and not all of them are out outside of our group, but I’m glad I got to support them. Speaking of workshops, I was asked to facilitate/lead a group discussion about equality, and I enjoyed acting like a teacher (maybe I should be a professor after all, like you said)!

Futhermore, I also did things I haven’t done in a long time; the first being visual art. I did some linework, and created a beautiful landscape stamp, using the pictures I took of the Greenland Mountains. The second thing I did was write a poem. I am going to recite it tonight to all the students here! It is about being trans, and I hope you like it:

LADY (05/08/2018), By: V Tucci

Lady,

Do you know how much I adore you all the time,

Even when I’m lost across a soul plain,

Lady,

The landmark of my heart rests within the pools you call your eyes,

They call me to your side,

Lady,

Finding rest, I am blessed,

At the centre of this hurricane…

Lady,

Am I a man?

Or am I a “crazy woman” like the skeptics are saying?

Lady,

If I’m not a man,

How can they judge a woman like she’s not a human being?

Lady,

Feeling stressed and openly oppressed, (this is what I’m seeing),

They spout their venom and thousands of lungs breathe it deeply, (within),

Lady,

As my soul is swaying from man to woman,

My skin is stinging from the droplets of their reign of poison,

Lady,

Let me bathe in your gaze,

Heal me with your hands,

Lady,

Why did their poisonous ways have to scar you too?

You’re so pure, so rare, the fractures of your hands are my guide…

Lady,

Maybe one day none of us will ever have to hide,

Middle, Man, or Woman, the closet isn’t fine,

Lady,

Whether I’m a middle, man, or woman, (gender-fluid),

I know these thoughts, eternal and immutable, twofold, to be true;

Lady,

You are a woman;

I love you <3

Zara Salman
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

As the expedition comes to a close, I’m starting to feel the guilt of not writing as many blog posts as I should have. Plus, writing it all down is a good way to reflect on the experience, and I’ve stopped journaling. So, here I am in the blogging station, while everyone else is on deck soaking up that Arctic sun.

The past two weeks have been everything I hoped for and more. It’s insane to think of how much we have accomplished in the time we have had together. I’ve seen glaciers, iceburgs, a polar bear (singular, unfortunately), Indigenous communities, and so much more. I’ve felt happy, sad, exhilerated, tired, appreciative, and just a little bit queesy. This trip has taught me so much, and now it’s time to figure out what I’m going to do with everything I have learned. I have so many dreams for when I get home, but no concrete goals. I realized the difference between a goal and a dream in a workshop today. I also realized that it’s been a very long time since I’ve had a goal. What I do know is that I want to share what I’ve learned with everyone back home. So, that’s my next step, and what I’m taking from my SOI expedition: ambition to do the next thing.

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