Today marked the official launch of the Students on Ice Arctic 2017 Expedition and it was quite an exciting day all around!
The day started with the wrap up of the 2017 Northern Pre-Program at Nunavut Sivuniksavut. With final workshops encouraging the students to dive deep into their sense of home, they worked together to create banners to visually represent their homes – the north, that will be taken aboard the ship and shared with the rest of the expedition team. Students and staff also participated in a talent show, which featured juggling, some accordion music and a special performance by SOI expedition staff member and throat-singer, Nelson Tagoona.
To officially close the Northern Pre-Program the students reflected together on their favourite moments of the program and their hopes for the rest of expedition. Highlights included Inuit games in the park, the language and learning workshops and meeting new friends.
“First of all, I wanted to say it’s been so nice meeting you all. I think I’m more excited to go on the ship knowing you’ll all be there with me” – Jasmine
The early afternoon was busy with arrivals as the rest of the student and staff team from across Canada and around the world arrived in Ottawa. After some icebreakers and Inuit games at Ottawa U, the group headed to the Canadian Museum of Nature for the first afternoon with the whole team! Following tours of various galleries at the museum and exploration of the new Canada Goose Arctic Gallery, students had the first expedition briefing from expedition lead Geoff Green and heard stories and tips and tricks from a panel of alumni.
During dinner the team shared in words of welcome, safe travels and warm wishes from guest speakers Museum of Nature President, Meg Beckel, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine Mckenna, and Inuit Circumpolar Council President, Nancy Karetak-Lindell. And of course, it wouldn’t be an SOI event without music! Heartfelt performances by long-time SOI friend Ian Tamblyn as well as Nelson Tagoona closed out the night, leaving feelings of anticipation and excitement for the days to come!
Today’s flight was much shorter than what I had expected. I met a few other SOI participants on the plane coming from Newark to YOW. I’ve been in Canada for about two hours now and I already can tell the people here are much nicer than those that you would see in New York, or in almost every American city, where everybody only cares about themselves and their own interests. I hope to get to know everybody and where they come from, and hopefully today will be exciting!
I was in the airport waiting on my departure. To be honest, I was not sure what I was getting myself into. As I got inside the airport, I saw three students waiting on the same gate as me. they looked like they are also students for the SOI, but I did not approach them because I did not want to look dumb especially if they did not know what I was talking about. As we board on the plane, we all sat next to each other. Its funny how we did not know that we were all students for SOI until we landed. Then we got to know each other. That experience seize my fear for this program. Now, I am excited and cannot wait to spend these two weeks with them.
I meant to start this earlier, before I left the house but I was just going through this surreal feels trip. Realizing that I’m on the way to the Arctic, prevented me from concentrating on anything else. I think I left the house around 22:30 and sat on the TTC with a huge trolley in front of me. What I didn’t expect that nearly everyone else in the car was also carrying baggage (not figuratively, they literally had bags). It had a slight calming effect on me when I realised people travel all the time and I’m just continuing an age long tradition of humankind.
The bus trip was nothing out of the ordinary, except for the fact that I slept for nearly the whole trip. I landed, and began the process of meeting amazing people. I’ve met students and staff from around the world who are honestly very, very interesting and I can’t wait to know them better. So far, I cycled ~17km along the Rideau Canal and gazed at beautiful water scenery. The day is still ahead of me, so I’m going to go ahead and do that. Paka.
This morning I boarded the airplane at O’Hare to Ottawa. It is my first time in Canada, the people here are really nice and the money smells like syrup. I haven’t been here for long yet but I am enjoying my time. Everyone is from Everywhere. It’s crazy. It’s very diverse. I expect this trip to be a life changing moment for me. I can’t wait to explore more.
There are more updates coming daily to this page and more! Be sure to stay tuned!