Life in Antarctica is coming to an end. Terrifying thoughts of re-entering the “real world” fill my head. As I look at the calendar and countdown to my redeployment date I find myself daydreaming, frequently,  of the night sky, green grass, trees, chirping birds and furry animals. I think about the food I might eat (that isn’t past it’s expiration date), drinking a hot latte with delicious espresso and foamy milk. Real milk. My sense of smell is ready to be awakened with scents other than body odor, fuel, and the awful stench that clings to your hair after working in the kitchen for 11 hours a day.

Last night I had a dream: I was walking down the hall of my dorm to go to the bathroom when I encountered three small children, and several dogs. I stared at the children as if they were aliens and without hesitation approached one of the dogs, which was quite large, to pet it and feel the fur against my finger tips. Then I proceeded to go outside to watch a group of penguins swim in a melt pool and dance along the waters edge.

It was a simple dream yet so vivid. It’s easy to acclimate to your environment and pretty quickly one might forget the little things that the world has to offer outside of this isolated snow globe I am currently inhabiting. Such as children, pets, flowers, trees, skies that grow dark when the sun dips under the horizon.  Until recently (when the ice shelf began to melt) there was not any open water to be seen. The icebreaker has arrived and not only is water visible, but you can hear it lapping against the shore.

I can not wait to sit on a beach, sand between my toes, and watch as the sun dips below the horizon, leaving trails of color, before the sky turns black and begins twinkling with stars.