It’s Christmas Day and I am feeling better than I have in a long time, both physically and emotionally. About 10 days ago I was diagnosed with strep throat after coming down with the worst sore throat I’ve ver had. I was confined to my room for 24 plus hours and while the opportunity to have nothing to do sounds good, when all one is left with is a 6×9 room, it’s more like being in jail than I’d like to imagine. Being sick and stuck in my room for so long did nothing to help my teetering emotional state and I spent the beginning of last week in a deep, deep funk, again.
Writing an article for the Antarctic Sun about getting engaged while on the ice woke me up to what was going on and how to get myself out of the hole I’d been slipping into. Basically, I think I was close to the edge of true depression and taking myself into the abyss by sequestering myself in a rut-filled life of work and going home to read and watch movies. But my writing dispelled the flase comfort I was finding in doing that and trying to ignore where I am and I realized that I needed to force myself back into the life going on around me. I had to stop only pining for what I find so impressive back home, and allow myself to be impressed by this place again. It was surprisingly easy to bring myself back from the brink.
I volunteered in the galley twice this week to help prep vegetables and decorate cookies for Christmas dinner which were my first forays back into life here. Then came this weekend which I had been partially dreading and looking forward to. Two days off is definitely a treat at this point, but it can also be a trap of sorts, with little to occupy my brain, I find on days off that I long more for home than on work days. But working my way out of my funk started paying off fast, as I’ve said, and by Saturday evening, I was ready to party and play with my friends.
Everyone else had had a rough week too, rougher than mine because it was full of inaccurate accusations and stupid bullshit, and so we found ourselves in a priavtely created lounge for a pre-func drink, or three. When the cause of their week’s stress walked in, we all walked out and headed for Summer Camp Lounge, scene of our infamous and wonderful Toga Party and still home to the stripper pole. The plan was to unwind by watching The Big Lebowski and drinking white russians (The Dude’s drink). But alcohol was already flowing freely and the movie never happened. Instead, Emerys and I borrowed a snow mobile and took it out to ARO where he works and which happens to be in the clean air sector. There, we went upwind of everything on station (the point of ARO) and gathered some of the cleanest snow on Earth to mix in our drinks. You have not experienced a great drink until you’ve chilled it with snow unpolluted my man’s emissions. It’s a different kind of cold.
Sunday, Christmas Eve, dawned bright and cold, which was nothing different for here, but nice nonetheless. After a lazy afternoon watching The Big Lebowski (no white russians though) the crew of us that had gotten mohawks the week before ambled off home to get dressed and ready for dinner. The results were spectacular. This being Christmas and all, and since we had volunteered to serve wine to the second dinner seating, we knew we had to do something special. We scoured the Skua sites and the arts and crafts room and most of us came up with some amazing costumes. Coupled with Sarah’s boa donations, we were a hit that, from all acounts, added an extra-special touch to an already special and excellent dinner.
(For the record, dinner was Beef Wellington (veggie wellington for me), roasted veggies (freshies), Crab Legs, Asparagus, Salad and three kinds of dessert (Chocolate Cake that came close to rivalling my mother’s, Pumpkin Pie and Cheesecake smothered in fresh raspberry sauce)).
The evening was quiet and relaxed, for my friends and me, though there was a raging party in the bar that I checked in on and was able to get much gossip info out of thanks to my sober state.
But it’s yesterday, Christmas Day, which was the crowning glory. Tradition here dictates that Christmas Day is the Race Around the World at 10 AM and about 100 of us got ourselves around the 2-mile course somehow. I ran, clocking in at 23:05, and it was easily the hardest two miles I ever ran. Breathing hard, frosted face, deep snow…. It’s as much as an accomplishment as any 10K back home…. But I did it. Afterwards, I sat in the galley, chatting with friends, organizing pictures and felt wonderfully unrushed. It’s a feeling I haven’t had in months and one I relish. From there, a few of us went off to nap in front of two movies before dinner. I capped the night off by winning the week’s edition of pub trivia, thanks in a large part to roger’s voluminous knowledge of history. Beers for everyone!
I hope wherever you are reading this, the day brings you as much joy as it brought me.