Being Here, Going Home

It’s been a whirlwind weekend, starting on Friday when a friend and I held a barn dance in the gym–not the best location for ambiance perhaps, but we thought since it was a work night it was best to have it on in the elevated station so station-dwelling folk would be more likely to attend. We did a grand march/snake dance through the galley, the science labs, the meteorology office and the lounges to try to recruit more dancers at the beginning (Ed the Fuelie Fiddler played Angeline the Baker and Yamina for us as we went, trailing behind and riling up spectators). We danced Od Lo Ahavti Dai, Savila Sa Bela Losa, Dudlebska Polka, Machar, Miserlou, Margaret’s Waltz, Pata Pata and a new dance I want to teach everyone, called Slap Leather (think cowboy boots), mostly to live music. We polka’d, waltzed and two stepped until the altitude caught our breath and it was time to go, and we mopped up the spilt beer and washed the accumulated gym dirt off our bare feet around 11 at night.

The following photos are from SysAdmin Carla Appel, whose blog is at

It was a sweet and powerful highlight of my season so far, and it made me feel happy to be here but so, so homesick at the same time.

Last night was the carp shop party, held in the carpentry jamesway, and we danced and stood around the wood-burning grill, trying to avoid the wicked wind, warming our hands and beverages and singeing our hair. In Antarctica, you need a beer koozy to keep your beer from freezing and to protect your hands. There were yard games like bocce ball and washers, and a cute little photo booth that the carpenters built, attached to the side of the jamesway. As we walked home, only a short distance, I think I might have gotten a bit of frostnip from the wind, which was dumb. Lesson learned: always wear a hat.

Unrelated, earlier this week we attended our redeployment meetings. Daniel and I are both set to leave South Pole on February 9th. We haven’t decided what we’re going to do, but the options for travel are more limited that they have been in past years. We can have a free layover in Honolulu or LA, or pay $100 each plus a visa for a layover in Sydney. There is no option for travel credit (putting the cost of your ticket towards a different ticket) which is what we did last year when we flew to Cape Town, which is too bad. We have discussed taking a side trip to visit Thailand again, or maybe some travel in Australia, but then we’ll go home. In the spring, we’re hoping to get back to Scandinavia, Iceland, Finland, Denmark and Norway if possible. And then, if we still have any money, we’ll travel in the US until it’s time for Family Camp in June and work in July.

We’ll see what happens after that, but we still don’t have a solid idea of what hiring will be like for next year. We’re getting little bits of information here and there, and we know that there are a lot of subcontractors to Lockheed so we will be applying with different companies. We do want to come back if it’s possible. What was just a one year lark of an idea seems to be becoming a little career… I like the change twice a year, as much as I miss home. I don’t expect we’ll do this forever, but it’s working for us now.

2 thoughts on “Being Here, Going Home

  1. Love the pictures of the dance. Looks like you had a fair sized crowd of willing folks. So proud. Also happy that we might get to see you two earlier than usual between trips. I can tell you are spelling Doudlebska out of your head though–nice try. P.S. What’s the story on the pic with Dan and the rest–band pic?

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