I think “part of me” has unintentionally become my favorite phrase. I seem to say it a lot lately whenever friends ask me how I’m doing, how I feel about the season winding down, how I feel about leaving soon.
“Well, part of me feels sad about leaving my friends here, but I’m also looking forward to getting out and starting a new adventure, seeing friends back home, having a salad, training for some bike trips, seeing Australia…”
“Part of me really wants to leave, but part of me really wants to stay because I’ve gotten so used to living here and generally like the people here…..”
“Part of me knows that I can probably come back next season now that my foot is in the door, but I also know next season may not feel as magical as this one, since the novelty will have worn off….”
Point made. The first two months here, I was enthusiastic and dialed into the community. I went to every party, every rec trip, and any other fun event that I could. And by some miracle, even being on night shift for 2/5 of the season, I was able to attend the Halloween party, the helo hangar party, the waste barn party, the VMF christmas party, half of Icestock, the Softball tournament, and Carpstock. If my work schedule is different next season, I may have to miss some of those. But even if I had a 7-5 town schedule, I will never be able to exactly replicate some of the incredible moments and experiences this season. And I’m trying to accept that that’s okay. That’s life.
Riding in a helicopter for the first time to see the Black Island and RAID field camps. Visiting a fuel cache at Cape Reynolds. Helping with an ice dive and driving a pisten bully. Seeing penguins, seals, and minke whales. Writing for The Antarctic Sun. Dancing with Luke for two solid hours at the helo hangar party. Hosting a Christmas music show with McMurdo, South Pole, and field camps on HF radio. Playing at Icestock and making my awkward stage dive that my friends are still praising me for.
Since mid-January, I’ve felt more disconnected. Something in my mind and my heart unplugged itself and now I’m just going through the days on autopilot, watching the season wind down and feeling numb to experiences that were exciting and novel three months ago. And while I don’t think that’s entirely a bad thing, part of me (hahaha see!?) wants to get that excitement back, and mourns the loss of newness and wonder that I felt at the beginning of the season. I don’t know how to get that back. Perhaps that feeling just comes with living in the same place long enough.