A steep trek uphill past a collection of colorful apartment buildings brings you to a small, nondescript red building. Little signage tells you what happens behind the white door that leads you into Kalaallisuuliornermik Ilinniarfik, the only school for traditional sewing in the Inuit world.
While Hans has been working in Greenland for five years, Alice and I are new here. Even more, this is my first time working in any Arctic context. As such, the learning curve is steep. Over the course of two weeks, I have been surrounded by incredible science and research, of which I am only in my infancy of understanding. Between the events of Greenland Science Week and talking to Greenlanders involved in many areas of science history, and culture, I am discovering there is so much to learn.
While in Greenland, we've had the chance to meet a number of Greenlanders working in different jobs. You've already met an artist, but I have more people to introduce to you.
This weekend Sisimiut hosted a UNESCO World Heritage Festival. For two days, researchers doing work related to the new Aapasait-Nipisat UNESCO World Heritage site shared their work in Taseralik, the city’s cultural center. Here is a quick recap of some weekend highlights.
Last night, the Northern Lights graced us with their presence as our boat flew through the icy fjord connecting Sarfannguit with Sisimiut, Greenland. We stood on the back of the boat, idling just so its passengers could get a good glimpse of the lights. I managed to capture this natural beauty on my iphone. Alice, digital guru extraordinaire, did not. I rubbed it in the rest of the night. Tonight, the Northern Lights reappeared and while I retreated to my hotel room, Alice snuck back outside and sought her revenge.
Yesterday was a rather special day. We had the opportunity to see a part of Greenland that not many visitors have been to yet. Sarfannguit is a town accessible only by boat ride through a choppy fjord cutting inland from Sisimiut. As a part of Greenland Science Week, we joined a small group of other professionals to share projects about Greenlandic heritage with the citizens of Sarfannguit.
I awoke this morning and the view out my window was magnificent. Powdery snow had fallen everywhere. As the rain clouds cleared and the snow came, a quiet calm morning followed by a surreal sunset in the afternoon made for a perfect day. Now this is what I expected of November in the Arctic Circle.
Some of my students expressed curiosity in the everyday lives of Greenlanders. So when I can, I would like to introduce you to some of them. First, meet Barse Lyberth Svendsen, Artist ('Kusanartuliortoq') here in Sisimiut, Greenland.
It rained yesterday and its raining again today. Greenlanders keep telling me this is abnormal. Usually by now, Sisimiut and many other Greenlandic cities would see only snow for precipitation. But instead, a cold rain has descended. It's covering the small amount of snow sitting on the ground and turning it to ice. Still, like Nuuk, even drizzle cannot mask the colorful beauty of this place.
Last night I arrived to Sisimiut, a city inside the Arctic Circle. After a clear day in Nuuk that provided a better glimpse of the beautiful capital, a small Air Greenland plane took Hans, Alice, and I (Team post) north.
I am an anthropology professor, writer, researcher and global traveler. This fall, I will be recording a research trip to Greenland as a virtual field trip for my students (and anyone else interested). Join us as we travel to the Arctic and learn about life in the far north.