Views #1453 | Low-Intermediate 4

Life Happens Up North

Abidemi talks about living in the northern part of Canada.
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Todd: So Abidemi, you were a teacher in Canada, correct?

Abidemi: That's true Todd.

Todd: Now, where did you teach?

Abidemi: I taught in Northern Canada in a province called Nunavut.

Todd: Nunavut.

Abidemi: Nunavut.

Todd: Nunavut. Wow is it like a native Americans type ..?

Abidemi: Yeah, and except we call them Inuits.

Todd: Inuits?

Abidemi: Aboriginals and First Nations.

Todd: So what was it like?

Abidemi: I really liked it. It was great. Very different from other parts of Canada. Very cold obviously because it's in the far north, and the communities are very isolated. Very few people live there. In the particular community were I lived, there were about a thousand people, maybe less living there. So everything has to be shipped in, or flown in by ship that comes in the summer when the oceans melt, and then in the winter, they usually fly them in, so food was quite expensive, housing expensive. Yeah, it was a different experience for me.

Todd: Wow, what's life like that far north?

Abidemi: Life happens, and it's interesting how similar it is to what we have down south in Southern Canada, the other parts of Canada. Like they have TVs and similar housing, but you do have to be careful when using water because the infrastructure is a little different. The ground is frozen, so they don't have indoor plumbing. They have plumbing but they don't have running water. The water has to be brought to each house almost every day and sewage also has to be taken away, so you have to be careful how you use water. That's one part. Also, you don't get access to all the things that you want to buy. Sometimes you go to the supermarket, and maybe all the bread is gone, or the milk has not been flown in yet, so you have to be patient with that as well, and you don't get the same variety of products as you would get in larger places, so yeah, and as winter ... As you get more and more into the winter months, it gets darker earlier, so maybe around four o'clock in the afternoon it's already dark outside, and by the time you go to work in the mornings too, when you're going around seven, eight o'clock, it's dark outside, so you're like ... it's dark a lot.

Todd: Wow, what was it like being in an environment where you had so little sunlight?

Abidemi: It was hard, but I kind of feel like, I'm used to it. I took vitamin D tablets to help with that. So, yeah, but because I was working for the most part, I didn't feel like it was too hard, and then during the holidays, I would come back down south to my family, so I wasn't there too much during downtimes. I did spend part of Christmas vacation there, and that was nice. They had a lot of activities outside for community members: ice sculpturing, winter games on the ice, Inuit games, different things like that. So it was fun. It was really an experience that was culturally enlightening. If I could say that for me. I really enjoyed it. I really, really enjoyed it, though there were challenges as well. The isolation and the fact that if you wanted to go to other places that weren't in the community, you had to fly out, so it's very expensive to go there.

Todd: Oh, what an experience. Sounds cool.

Abidemi: Yes, I loved it and I would like to do it again someday.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!

shipped in

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So everything has to be shipped in.

Shipped in means delivered by ship. Notice the following:

  1. Foreign cars must be shipped in.
  2. The food was shipped in last week.

flown in

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Everything has to be flown in.

Flown in means delivered by plane. Notice the following:

  1. Our mail is flown in from overseas.
  2. Most people are flown in to the island.

Life happens

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Life happens.

This phrase just means that people experience life no matter what the situation, good or bad. Notice the following:

  1. I was upset to get fired, but life happens.
  2. Sometimes things go bad. Life happens.

plumbing

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They don't have indoor plumbing.

Plumbing concerns the transportation of water in buildings and cites. Notice the following:

  1. Plumbing helped societies grow.
  2. Our plumbing is not working. Call the plumber.

down south

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I would come back down south

The terms down south, up north and out west or out east means in the south, in the north, and in the west or in the east. Notice the following:

  1. I want to move down south where it is warmer.
  2. He lives out west somewhere.

enlightening

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It was culturally enlightening.

Enlightening means educational. Notice the following:

  1. The movie was very enlightening.
  2. Life overseas is very enlightening for people.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
plumbing • down • life happens
flown in • shipped in • enlightening
  1. All new houses have indoor .
  2. If things go bad, remember that .
  3. The supplies were to the airport.
  4. The move was . I learned a lot.
  5. We wants to move south.
  6. Oil is via a large oil tanker.