To dare to share what I see…

Exactly 8 years ago, on the 15th of december 2004, I came to Ittoqqortoormiit for the first time in my life. Staying here for 5 months while attending a Circumpolar Study Program online, I wanted to get to learn about everyday life and hunting in a remote, northern community. I wished to get some insight into eastgreenlandic culture and hoped to get a chance to go dog-sleding and hunting. And so I did … and as you all know I fell in love with the place, came back once more during my studies and finally moved to Ittoqqortoormiit permanently in december 2006.

Since I first came here I felt a desire to share my experiences with friends and family, and did so quite frequently in letters and e-mails. Often I was encouraged to do so more frequently and share some of it with a bigger audience.

We all enjoy sharing som of our experiences with others, and so I did, but at the same time I felt reluctance about sharing them in public, because I was a foreigner in Greenland. I grew up in a very different environment and culture, and through my studies I became aware of how I experienced and described places and people through my own ”glasses”. I realized how little I actually knew about eastgreenlandic culture, language and way of life, – and decided that I needed to learn a lot more before I would start writing.

Today – 8 years later – I still have a lot to learn, and I still see things through the glasses of my own upbringing and worldview. And  I have realized that I`ll always carry those glasses with me (although they are changing throughout the years), even if I stay here forever. Maybe the important thing is to be aware of them. To be aware of, and point out to you, that the way I see and describe experiences in nature and culture of course is influenced by who I am and what I believe. And that there is room for disagreement. So, don´t hesistate to give both positive and negative feedback on anything you read or see on this blog!

I do – of course – also feel much more “at home” and part of the community today, compared to when I spent my first winter in Ittoqqortoormiit. I just got married to Ingkasi (Johan) who was born here and has lived most of his life in Ittoqqortoortoormiit, and we want to stay in Eastgreenland. That certainly also gives me some more confidence to “dare to share”.

Throughout the years I got to know people from different parts of the world who care about Ittoqqortoormiit and love to hear about what´s going on both in the community and out on the ”hunting grounds” around the Scoresbysund Fjord.

That has encouraged me to create this blog about living and hunting in Ittoqqortoormiit. Since it today is 8 years ago that I first landed at the heliport in Ittoqqortoormiit, and because coming here certainly had a huge impact on my life, I decided to get startet today.

There will be pictures of the area, some updates about weather, ice and snow conditiones and about what is going on in the community, stories and pictures from hunting trips, our dogs, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, kayaking and much more …. and you might find posts in different languages, not just in english (remember – there´s always Google Translate 🙂 ).

As I did so many times during my first stay in town, I went for a short ski trip today, followed by some of our dogs … the weather was clear and the air crispy. It was already too dark to take good pictures, but they still show the beautiful coloured sky we enjoy at this time of the year…..

Bye bye 🙂

19 thoughts on “To dare to share what I see…

  1. Liebe Ruth
    als ich mit spanischen Lehrerinnen und Lehrern 2007 in Itta…. waren, brachte ich einen Schädel eines Walrosses und eines Eisbären nach Hause. Heute habe ich (als längst pensionierter Geographie-und Biologielehrer) eine 4.Primarschulklasse über die Arktis unterrichtet und ihnen die Objekte gezeigt und in Bildern die Schiffsreise von Island bis zu eurem Dorf. Gesegnete Weihnachten euch beiden und Sejer
    Hans Peter in Liestal bei Basel

  2. Hi,

    I live in Canada and have two Greenland Dogs. I got them from Inuit hunters in the Canadian high arctic; their dogs were brought from Greenland, cause the pure Canadian Inuit Dogs are in short supply.

    I am very interested in everything Greenland, especially in traditional dogsledding. My dream is to live on Greenland. I am very much looking forward to your posts.

    P.S. I’ve built my own Inuit style dogsled but in Greenland style (in Canada they do not have handles), cause I needed to have handles 😉

  3. Thank you for sharing your life in Greenland. I was lucky enough to visit Greenland and Ittoqqortoormiit in 2010 as part of a GAP tour group and both made an immense impression on me. I will always treasure those memories. I have a huge respect for people who live in the far North.

  4. Hi Ruth,
    Can I hear your back story, please? I am so fascinated by your blog =) My name is Tanny and I just moved to Nuuk beginning of this year. I am sure it is very different from East Greenland. I have heard alot about it.

    Also, can I ask which university you went to – and if the Circumpolar study program a part of the University of the Arctic?

    cheers,
    Tanny

    • Hi Tanny,
      thanks for your comment!

      I studiet Outdoor Education and Guiding at Telemark University College (www.hitm.no), and Circumpolar Studies at what today is called the University of Nordland (www.uin.no) and at UNBC in Canada. Yes, the Circumpolar Study Program is offered by the University of the Arctic.

      To my personal story – I lived in Norway before moving to Greenland, and while studying Outdoor Education I began to work in Westgreenland as a Tour Guide during summertime. As so many others, I fell in love with the Arctic, came back several times, and finally moved to East Greenland in 2006. I`ve been to Nuuk, and enjoyed that as well, but yes, it`s very different from Ittoqqortoormiit. We live very close to nature, the climate is different, and we are very isolated from other communities in Greenland. Culture and Language are different from West Greenland as well.
      Cheers,
      Ruth

      • I’m sure it is very different! Sounds so close to nature. A different place in the world. I hope I can visit other places beyond Nuuk one day. It’s just so expensive so need to plan. How do the residents of Ittoqqortoormiit view the political developments of Greenland? Do they feel removed, being so isolated?

      • Well, there have been quite a few political decisions made to the disatvantage of our community during the past years. To mention one, we lost our flight connection to Reykjavik and our flight connection to Kulusuk this year. Since the government of Greenland decided that we rather should be close to Kangerlussuaq and Nuuk then to the rest of the world. That has really isolated us from other countries, made it A LOT more expensive for both locals and tourists to travel in and out of the community, and isolated us more than we were used to. We protested agains that decision back then, letting politicians and the press know why, but that didn´t make any difference. – Well, I hope you get an opportunity to travel to Eastgreenland at some point! It`s worth it 🙂 I have to cheq out your blog it looks great!!

      • I would like to hear so much more! I can imagine that you can feel at the end of the earth sometimes and that the locals think that Nuuk is this faraway place dictating the terms…

        I can see why a flight route is so important, since you are already so isolated. I hope that I will be able to find a way there regardless!

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