My year of living ‘On Island’
I assuming you know that I decided that living in a world class ski resort wasn’t enough, and I had some itchy feet on the ends of my legs. Last summer I was looking for a new adventure. I’d been rejected by the Australian Commonwealth Games – for a job not as an athlete– so took a shufty*at the Northern Health jobs website. I’d been in Haida Gwaii for a kayaking trip in July and thought it was a pretty amazing place. When I spoke to the guy in HR he reported that the job there had been filled in April…boo. However, 2 weeks later he called back to say that there was a “full time temporary fixed term position” available, a what? Oh , you mean a maternity cover post. So fast forward a few months of working in London, spending quality time with the fam, seeing friends in the UK, I made it to the edge of the world. Hello Haida Gwaii http://www.haidanation.ca/?page_id=24
I’ve always liked a dictionary, I need it for my terrible spelling but I prefer looking through and finding out where words come from. I had a number of conversations recently with friends and family about word provenance and started following Robert MacFarlane on Instagram – beautiful words and pictures to describe wild places and things.
Also Haida Gwaii has it’s own native tongues and as I’m here for the year I really should try and learn some.
This is a photo of Emma looking through the massive dictionary whilst we were at Sgang Gwaay http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/157 in the summer.
Hence the Wordhord part of the blog name. The Old English wordhord is (rather obviously) defined as ‘a word-hoard, a store of words’.https://oldenglishwordhord.com/about/
The ‘On Island’ bit is because that’s how people refer to their place in the world (literally or metaphorically) I am currently on island but if I want to shop at Canadian Tire (yes that’s how they spell tyre here) I’d have to go ‘ off island’.
*Word of the day
SHUFTY Shufti is Arabic. In that language it means “have you seen?”. It’s a bit of military slang, picked up by British servicemen formerly based in the Middle East. Here’s me thinking it was a Scottish word. Arabic non the less