I’m sure folks in the arctic have their own version of Midwinter, but as far as I’m concerned, austral Midwinter is the one truly Antarctic holiday.
Midwinter broke the monotony I’ve been feeling for the last few months.
It reminded me how lucky I am to be here.
It reminded me that I am one of just a few thousand humans in all of human history who have lived in Antarctica in winter.
It made me feel a kinship with folks from Argentina, Chile, France, the U.K, Norway, Russia, South Korea, India, Japan, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand who are wintering at their countries’ research stations and also celebrating Midwinter.
It made me feel grateful for the friends and co-workers who make living and working here tolerable, if not downright hilarious and wonderful.
It made me joyous because I got to attend Midwinter dinner at Scott Base as well as McMurdo. And there were faint but visible auroras over the ice shelf as we were driving over.
It made me grateful that I have a consistent core of friends this season and am experiencing the Antarctic community life that I kind of missed out on last summer (since I’m no longer a newbie with a weird work schedule).
It made me really freakin’ glad I decided to spend a winter here. Even though it wasn’t my original plan. Even though the decision terrified me at first. Even though I felt underprepared. Even though it’ll probably be at least a year or two before I have the energy to do another winter.
But you never know. As our National Science Foundation Station Manager said at Midwinter dinner, “In Antarctica, never say never!”