As I write this, I am scheduled to leave McMurdo in three days.
I don’t know when that will feel real. Maybe when I go through the hug line and say goodbye to friends who have become my world these last six months. Maybe when I get on the Delta and it slowly rumbles towards Phoenix airfield. Maybe when I get on the C-17. Maybe when I get off the C-17 and the humidity of New Zealand in late winter hits me.
I am flabbier and pastier than I have ever been in my life, and so, so ready to spend ten days walking, walking walking around the city and along the beach, eating salads, fresh fruit, and lamb kebabs. If I have time to go to the city of Dunedin and the town of Moeraki, on the southeast coast, I will hopefully see seals, more penguins, and the famous giant spherical boulders on Moeraki beach.
I am also desperate to see my family, and catch up with friends back in Madison. But I feel weird saying that I’m coming “home”.
Maybe Madison will feel like home again after a few days back, and my ten months in McMurdo will feel like a distant dream. That happened when I came back after seven months in Europe.
But this time, I don’t really want Madison to become my home. It will always be a home base, at least as long as my immediate family is there, but I don’t want to let myself settle down this time. When I got back from Europe, I got a job that I initially thought I would do for six months. Six months turned into three years, and while it was a good experience overall and I learned a LOT, I think I stuck with that job longer than I should have.
So I don’t know what I’ll do now. I’ll be back on Ross Island in late October, and then will hopefully go to southeast Asia for a few weeks early next year, then come home back to Madson for a month or two, and then live in Buenos Aires for a few months.
I’m getting my seven continents next year.
In other news, the sun rose for the first time in four months. My friends and I braved -50 wind chills to see it. Totally worth it.