from greenpoint to greenland: Kalaallit Nunaat

For those interested in the day-to-day details…

Before embarking on this journey to explore the earth and all off the grid living arrangements I could find. Ha! I am sure that I am actually only scratching the surface anyways. One of my main desires was to connect with people and places that does live off the grid or live in more local authentic ways. Lets use the word of the month, sustainable living. Now, my Greenland leg of things was because I got this opportunity to come and work as a workawayer, but an added bonus is that this is kind of as off the grid as it gets here. Let me explain.

So every other evening I get to put out my bucket of my bucket WC system for the collection the next morning at 8am. This is a 20litre bucket that gets put into a portable WC shell. Inside the bucket you use a special black bag to catch-all the calls from nature. Then the black bag gets removed and collected by the local municipality. They first had an organic system in here that you tie the biodegradable bag every time you used it and at the end have a poo funeral by digging a hole in the gravel and burying the whole thing. Apparently this was not as cut and dry as it sounds and there was a constant leaking of the system or the bag. Sounds smelly to me either way. But I like the latter system way better.

Seeing that the rhythm of the day/night is kind of missing, by around 12am every night I realize that it is time to fall into my lovely bed. Eye protection on, blinds down. Sleep. Outside it is still light enough that I can sit and read a book. The sun is still dancing on the horizon than for an hour or two before it starts lifting off again to announce the break of dawn. Although this is not really true. Because THERE IS NO NIGHT. So there can be no break of dawn. And this is only South Greenland. Just saying.

Daily routine is rather the same-same. Breakfast, work, lunch, work, dinner. Or on my off days something like, breakfast, read, stroll, lunch, explore, dinner. Because there is so many waterfalls and streams that comes from the mountains behind my house. It is so easy to grab my 10litre scoop and go and collect some drinking water. At first this was the weirdest concept. So I walk 50m from my front door. Scoop up the water from the stream and viola. Drink it. But I recently discovered a beautiful waterfall about 10min walk from my house. It just feels amazing to get water from there. I am 100% sure the water taste much nicer from the waterfall. Water snob that I am. Ha!

Connecting to the local Inuit is a little less easier. My Greenlandic vocabulary currently stands on about 5 words. This is if my cheat sheet does count. But if you use only one word in Greenlandic to any local you get like super embraced. It is an insane difficult language for me. There is nothing that connects any word to anything I am familiar with. But this makes it kind of interesting of course. Like the other day was National day in Greenland. So the phrase to use to say congratulations on the day is pilluarit. Written, this looks easy. But as it is of course, double L’s and P’s has different sounds. Which makes this word super easy to forget. And for two people you say pilluaritsi. In response they then say qujanaq illillu. (kooi-yah-nak ish-shish-ishloo). Which means thank you and also for you.

Pilluarit also connects to any celebration. Even birthdays. The word they use for you are 36 years old. This word for year is winter. In other words you have survived 36 winters. And with babies, they also celebrate half years. To celebrate the baby surviving another six months. Oh yes and another interesting thing, the day before your bday they say you smell. This is funny. Still need to find out the reason for this.

So about once a week in the summer the big freight ship from Copenhagen brings fresh fruit and veggies along the coast. This happened day before yesterday. So yesterday the two supermarkets here were absolutely packed with lovely fresh produce. Whoop whoop. They even brought some pink lady apples. My favourite.

On the food front. I had another piece of whale again the other day. Man oh man. I could have, and want to describe this experience by using a very strong curse word. But lets keep things clean. It was super awful!! Okay so I have tried this in Norway and GL. Confirmed. Whale is not for me. The musk ox on the other hand is amazing. Lamb… hmmm not convinced that I enjoyed the taste. So the only thing left to experience still is seal. But I am nervous about my findings.

One of my greatest desires while in Greenland would be to have a traditional Inuit greeting. Rubbing of the noses. Pity this is super old school for them and I’ll have to find a tradition lover to execute this desire. My host recon that I should just go to the bar and announce this and soon there will be a line of tradition lovers. Who knows, maybe I’ll follow his advise.

So the other day I took a boat ride with my hosts to the next big village called Qaqortoq. We arrived just as the final year scholars were about to dance around the town square fountain. By forming a human train they arrived in their traditional polar and seal skin outfits. Very colourful and very happy to be finished with high school they danced around the fountain with family and friends surrounding them with smiles and tears of joy. This village has about 3500 people in the city and a few hundred colourful houses with a handful of supermarkets, a hardware store, a school, football field, tourist information office, police station, hospital, harbour and a few other things. Okay this is not a massive fountain either. But this is a massive tradition. Grateful I could witness the traditional dances and outfits.

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