Antarctica

Had a (n)ice time

These past couple months have flown by; I feel like I just got here. But at the same time I also feel like I’ve been here forever.
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Like everyone told me they would, once the holidays passed, the days just seemed to fly by.
I switched to day shift the weekend of Christmas which was nice because it meant I had four days off. Here that can actually be a lot because it’s not like I can go anywhere… “I’ll be back Monday, just going to hop over to the Dry Valleys for a few days!” (I guess this would only make sense to people who have been down here…the Dry Valleys are a coveted spot to visit).
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Christmas and New Year’s were fun weekends. We had a town holiday party, then there was a race UP Observation Hill the next day which was not an easy feat to run in a onesie. That same day were the Christmas meals, where I stuffed my face full of delicious food, and then afterwards were more parties. I slept that night in a fort in my friends’ room. Yes, 5 adults slept in a fort on Christmas Eve. And read bedtime stories.
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Me with the roomies at the holiday party

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New Year’s was one of my favorite weekends… I bartended day bar on New Year’s Eve morning, which was a fun shift to work. Then Ice Stock was in the afternoon. It’s like Woodstock, except that it’s not at all. The only similarity was the fact that there was live music. An outdoor stage was built to accommodate the bands and then mill vans were staged around the area which housed food and drink tents. There was a chili cook off with 5 or more different kinds of tasty chili. People dressed up in costumes and the music lasted well into the night. The most fun part of course was midnight and we rung in the new year in complete daylight with an awesome electric band playing. The bands throughout the day were all made up of people from the community who like to play music together and it baffles me how creative and talented people are here. Makes me feel like I need to pick up an instrument again.
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Photo credit Justin Lawrence
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Photo credit Justin Lawrence
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Since then it’s just been a whirlwind of parties and activities almost every weekend. There was a softball tournament, a (half) marathon which I skied, an art show with live performances, I went on a snowmobile trip up towards Mt. Erebus (the volcano), I went snowboarding at the Kiwi ski hill, I went on a trip to the site of a plane crash, a “skirt” party at the Kiwi base where all the males wore dresses and many of the women (myself included) dressed as men, I went on a morale trip in a plane over to the actual continent (we’re on an island) and flew over pods of orcas and giant icebergs, there have been four big ships here in the past few weeks delivering food/fuel/science/etc which has been hectic in itself, there’s been amazing wildlife viewing with the ice opening up and we can see orcas and minke whales and I’ve been training with the search and rescue team doing some pretty cool things.
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So, like I said it’s been pretty hectic. On top of all that, I’ve been doing French club weekly and other weekly activities such as volleyball, yoga and trivia. Potentially the best thing that has happened is we have started getting our fresh vegetable shipments back so I had salad TWO DAYS IN A ROW. And then it ran out and we’re waiting on our next one. Okay, it wasn’t the best thing that happened because all those other things were freaking awesome, but having fresh food that hasn’t been deep frozen for months (or even years) is pretty awesome. I can’t tell you how sick I am of pasta and boiled vegetables. But hey food is food, and this food is free.
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And already it’s about time to leave. We had a couple big flights last week with 100+ people leaving on each one. Next week is when the rest of base starts to go. We reached 950 or so maximum capacity this summer and over the next two weeks all but 150 of those people are leaving (the rest are staying for the winter). So it’s going to be another busy week and a half and I’m going to have to say goodbye to this place that I’ve grown to love and people that I’m not ready to say bye to yet.
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Mactown from the air looks so small
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At the same time, I am ready to go. It’s been almost four months since I’ve seen trees, seen stars, seen my cat and seen my family. I can’t wait to eat unlimited freshies and have options of what to eat. I can’t wait to not wear a jacket everytime I go outside. It’ll be nice to have fast internet again so I don’t spend 47 minutes loading a 2 minute trailer, only to click play and have it still buffer for another 10 minutes (sadly, not an exaggeration).
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My plans after leaving the ice are to spend a few days in New Zealand before heading off to Cambodia for a month. I’m going to be traveling with a friend from the ice and we may meet up with other ice friends in the islands at the end of the trip. Then I’ll fly home in April and have some down time before I head out for the summer to hike the 5-week Colorado trail!
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Photo credit an unknown but lucky SOB to have seen an emperor so close
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One thought on “Had a (n)ice time

  1. Ah! The end of your time sounds awesome! I was hoping for pictures of the skirt party and the orcas and whales — so jealous! Enjoy Cambodia! Angkor Wat comes highly recommended.

    Like

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