Latitude: 74.38 S Longitude: 154 33 Temperature: -3.9C Wind Chill: -3.9C

This has been an interesting couple of days. The time change has put us a day ahead of Christmas back home in the US. So our families are enjoying Christmas Day as I write this, while we try to get back to the issues at hand. Turns out we have a traveling day with our next work station possibly tomorrow. We are leaving the Amundsen Sea and moving toward the polynya in the Ross Sea. We did however enjoy a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner and celebration! Christmas Eve began with a small group of us singing Christmas carols on the bridge. It was a progressive caroling event as we wound our way down the six floors to the lounge area, picking up friends along the way.

Caroling on the Bridge Ok, who's off key??? (Left to Right: Lollie, Mark, Rebecca, Walker, Rob, Henrik, Nicole)

Meanwhile, downstairs in the port mess Marie and her crew had put together a scrumptious buffet with more food than I can list. It was a traditional Swedish meal that began with cold delicacies such as eel, several varieties of pickled herring , salmon ,and caviar; and ended with a hot selection of hams, beef, and ribs, potatoes and veggies. The dining area was set up beautifully with special décor!

Seafood Buffet This was only the first third of the entire buffet! Can you see the Eel head?*

An Elegant Port Mess Special touches for a special night!

**Christmas Eve Dining Expedition Leader Ingegerd Hagman, Dr. Krister Ekblad, and Axel Meiton enjoy the meal.

An interesting part of dinner was that anytime someone felt like singing a Christmas carol, they would begin a song and everyone joined in - in Swedish or English! After each song, a toast was made. So, between eating , singing, and toasting, it took about two hours to get through the meal J We finally moved into the lounge area where we exchanged gifts. The Swedish Polar Secretariat and Capt. Mattias surprised everyone with a gift. We also had a separate "white elephant" exchange. Many of us had carried gifts from family and friends with us which were opened as well. It was a great way to connect with our loved ones! (Thanks to my sister Rita and my Redd School friends for their gifts- I loved them!)

Christmas Eve Party Grad Students Eleni, Kevin, Hannah, Frederike, and Michèle ham it up for the camera.

It was a lovely evening, rich in cultural exchange. And yes, it was a White Christmas! But that's a story for my next journal.

Redd School Christmas Tree Everyone onboard received an ornament from this tree made by Redd Middle School students.*

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