One word I would use to describe this place is strange. Living at the bottom of the world is weird. Bizarre. Incredible. I’ve woken up several times with a bizarre feeling and a total sense of confusion as to where I am and what I’m doing. Take this as a preliminary warning that I may not be sane when I return in the next five months. One of the strangest dichotomies here is the isolation yet the constant contact with people. I don’t think I’ve been alone for more than ten minutes here yet there is this nagging feeling that you are trapped here and can’t pick up and leave. I live with four other women. I work in the kitchen for 11 hours a day. As kitchen staff, we see the ENTIRE community at least twice a day – all 930 or so people. Using the internet I am surrounded by people. In the bathroom someone is always coming or going. Places I’ve been hanging out: Coffee shop, Gallagher’s, gym. Without fail there is always someone else around. By far, this has been the hardest thing to adjust to. I have never experienced a situation where you live, work, play with the same people day in and day out.  After speaking with others, I realize I am not alone. Some who arrived after I did, have seriously contemplated going home after their first week.  I have yet to let those thoughts penetrate my mind but do wonder after a few months of this how I am going to feel and behave.  If you want some time alone, you have to get creative and seek out “secret spots”.  Within the last week, I am beginning to discover Mcmurdo’s quirky sense of humor in some of the signs that hang in the Galley, markings on trash barrels outside and comical signs that are posted in restrooms.

Random stuff:

– Check out the following blog from one of the chef’s here.   I make a guest appearance on his October 23 post.

– Condition 2 weather two days ago. Running across the street to do laundry was a treat. The wind was blowing so hard I made the mistake of opening my mouth to yell and the cold air hit the back of my throat and felt like it was going to suffocate me.

– Found a “quiet” spot which was equipped with a small heater, ipod hook-up, and “moon roof”. I laid under a sleeping bag and listened to the wind howl outside.  Appreciating the small things here is where it’s at.

– I may or may not have a small case of wind burn or frost nip on my cheek. It burns.

– Going to the gym and then the sauna is also where it’s at.

– The last sunset was last weekend. I celebrated by dancing till almost two in the morning.