I have never been so closely involved in something that has made worldwide news, so I have never had the experience of hearing about where I am from an outsider. It is amusing to watch the news reports (on YouTube) and hear words like “total darkness”, “a terribly cold -70 degrees f”, “harder to get to than the international space station”(which is apparently true, but sounds absolutely crazy to me), “very extreme conditions”, etc. Sure, we are in a very harsh place, but to me, being here does not seem nearly as extreme as many reports are describing it. Sometimes when I need a reminder of where I am I will step out on the deck in shorts and a T-shirt. As soon as I walk out that door I immediately remember where I am and then run right back inside before my legs go numb. It is a very good reminder. It feels very safe here, and unlike many reports say, we have a Doctor and a PA who are both great people that are completely capable of taking care of us with the equipment and treatment they have available.
I have enjoyed hearing and sharing the news because it makes me feel the craziness of this entire experience, but it also makes me proud that I have adapted so well to something so extreme. I never thought I would get used to -70F. This experience will definitely shape the rest of my life, and besides the unfortunate circumstances, being part of the first ever midwinter medevac has been a very thrilling event. The plane is now in Punta Arenas, Chile. From there we are kind of left in the dark (no pun intended) as far as what happens to the patients next. Hopefully it works out well for both of them. We are all tremendously relieved that it went so smoothly and we can now go back to our normal routine. It is weird to go from 48 to 46 people on station. I will not even start about how tan the flight crew was… It was fun seeing new faces for a few hours. Most of their short stay here was spent sleeping and preparing for the 10 hour flight back to Rothera (the British base). I can say for sure that Max and I returning to McMurdo, New Zealand, Hawaii and then to Oregon will be a complete culture shock. I dream of lying in the warm sand, looking at the water with no idea of what will happen next. Max and I are thinking of applying to work at Palmer station, another American station on the coast of Antarctica. They have a ton of wildlife and it is much warmer. Plus, we could travel in South America afterwards. But for now I will continue to enjoy this amazing experience and make blog posts about life at the South Pole 🙂