Today marks six months since I arrived, excited and confused, at pole.
For a long time, I was having trouble believing how fast time has been passing, but somewhere around midwinter that changed. Now this place feels like home, and it seems I've always lived here.
Memories of the flight in, from the days at McMurdo and in New Zealand, even the hectic pace of summer life, all feel like they belong to someone else. I've fully adapted to the cycle of life without warmth, light, or freshies, and have come to think of it as normal (though the 2-minute showers still seem a bit harsh).
These days, I more or less expect an auroral light show every time I step outside, and have become a bit blasé about all but brightest and most active. It seems reasonable and ordinary to wear three layers of pants and hats, two pairs of mittens, five pound boots, and an enormous puffy parka whenever I want to leave the station.
I've begun to dread the return of summer people, stomping around station, acting like they own the place, and generally messing it up. With such a small crew, winterovers tend to develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for the place. Having all those strangers in our home just doesn't feel right.
All that said, I'm starting to feel a tug whenever I think of the outside world. I'm not ready to leave yet - far from it - but another couple of months and I'll be getting close. It's probably four months before I actually get off the ice, and that's starting to sound like kind of a long time.
It's been an amazing half-year, and I can only imagine the adventures I'm in for over the rest of my stay.