Toto - I don't think we're in Antarctica anymore
I woke up around 0730 and felt my stomach rumble. I walked to my kitchen and quickly realized that Mike, Ralph and Andy were not in my kitchen cooking bacon and eggs for me while I slept. Reality check #1. There is no food in the fridge, so I dressed to go to the supermarket. I put on pants and a long-sleeved shirt and walked out the door. I started sweating before I reached the garage. It was 75F and I was dressed for a day working in the RVIB Palmer. Reality check #2. I got to my car and tried to turn the key, but was met with silence. The battery was dead. I can't call the engineering department to fix the situation. Reality check #3. "Normal" life is trying to throw me as many punches as possible. I say - bring it - I wouldn't give up one second of my time on the RVIB Palmer for whatever punches life wants to throw.
It is hard to believe that just 10 days ago, I was surrounded by Antarctic mountains and lots of ice. Today, I am surrounded by the beautiful colors of fall in New England. The sights are different, the sounds are different and the smells are different.
The view from the 01 deck on October 6, 2016. The RVIB Palmer spent about 6 days moving slowly through the pack ice in Bismark Strait.
The fall colors are everywhere in New England. These colors are a drastic change from the white scenery in Antarctica
There's No Place Like Home
If you asked me to return to Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and/or the RVIB Palmer today, I would drop whatever I was doing and run to the airport. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate being back home in Massachusetts. My experience as a PolarTREC teacher was a life-changing event in so many ways. As mentioned, this journey is not over. Life doesn't go back to "normal" after such an experience. Antarctica will forever be a part of my life, my teaching and my heart. I look forward to sharing this experience with folks through presentations, conferences and my upcoming lesson plans development. Stay tuned to see what else is in store on this PolarTREC adventure!!!
Cara Pekarcik poses with some snow and ice covered mountains in the background. These mountains are located on Anvers Island, Antarctica.