Nicole got the call yesterday afternoon. They wanted to know if she was still interested in the job: A permanent position in Tulita, in the Northwest Territories. She said yes. We're scheduled to leave on May 19th.
Tulita is a small community located where the Mackenzie and Great Bear Rivers meet. The population is about 500. You can only get there by boat, plane, or ice road. Nicole flew up a few weeks ago for the interview. Even flying there isn't easy. She went from Halifax to Edmonton on the first day. Then From Edmonton to Norman Wells via Yellowknife. Finally, on the next day she flew south from Norman Wells in a six seater plane to Tulita.
The job interview went well. There was only one other candidate for the job. After the interview, someone drove them both back to Norman Wells on the ice road. The drive only takes about an hour an a half, but that's if you drive like a maniac.
We both sort of expected the other guy to get the job. He spoke the language. He was already from the North. But we agreed that if she got the offer we would take it.
Agreeing in principle and signing a contract are two very different things. When she did get the call, I felt a bit sick to my stomach for the first few minutes. I mean, this place is isolated. Part of that appeals to me. But if we go, we'll be staying for a while. At least a year, probably two. I e-mailed mom to let her know. She was very supportive, or at least, she put on a brave face when she called back. Mom is always an optimist. Dad found it a bit harder to hide his disappointment. It doesn't help that my parents and grandparents will be in B.C. for the two weeks before we leave. They'll basically have one day with us before we go.
Dad called when I was on the phone with my grandparents. The message was pretty bleak.
"Yeah. It's just dad calling. I'll try calling back later."
His voice was hoarse. Even Nicole thought he sounded bad.
Our family is close. Nicole and I go home to visit the folks almost every weekend. This will mean no summer BBQ's. No weekend visits. This will be our first Christmas away from home.
Nicole's mom was even more vocal about us not going, although her dad was supportive.
"Oh Nicole, I didn't think you'd actually get the job. You can't go up there. Why don't you stay in Halifax for the summer? Wait for something better to come along."
But when I can get the leaving part out of my mind, I'm excited. I woke up at five this morning, and it all came rushing back to me.