Unnuap Qeqqa: midnight
Slowly, but meaningfully, I have been opening myself up to new experiences and accepting the kindness of strangers. To be honest, it was hard when I first arrived here to feel a connection with the small and tight-knit community. My inability to speak Greenlandic and Danish felt like I was running into walls, just as I was about to connect with someone. It was tiring, frustrating and lonely. Though from the start, I was grateful to be in the presence of my host family who shared their daily lives and the lives of locals.
“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Recently, something has changed. The disconnect has been replaced by a feeling of lightness and openness. I realized that when I first arrived I felt restless – wanting to realize these dreams of living in the Arctic (that were romanticized and not inclusive of the realities of living in such a place). I think I badly wanted to feel the freedom that I thought living in such a place would give me, that when I was not met initially with this freeing feeling, I was disappointed with myself. It was this idea that many people have, where they think that once they get to a certain stage in life/place, everything will be good, everything will be better.
After watching the near-setting sun and ice on many nights alone, I quietly learned to let that go. I was letting go of this feeling that I needed to reach certain expectations of how I should feel, rather accepting what I did feel. I realized, in the reflective moments, that I have to embrace everything that came with living here – the highs and lows, the challenges and discoveries, the beauty and grace.
I also realized recently that friends make the world of a difference, and so for the small handful of friends I’ve been able to make so far, I am overwhelming thankful. I have been shown small, big, unexpected acts of kindness in many forms.
I chose the word midnight, because at and after midnight is when the sun warms the night sky with colours that reflect off the ice. It was mostly these moments past 12 when I felt most at peace with my thoughts.
“The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn’t that make life a story?” ― Yann Martel