"Glad to be back?" One of the first questions that people ask (before "Did you see a polar bear?" and "Did you ever grow your sea legs?") is the hardest to answer. Yes, I am happy to be back in a place with greenery, excited for sun-dresses, ready for bike riding and psyched to see all my students but there's definitely a cultural integration process that goes along with reentry into life post-Healy. Some of the things that have taken some getting used to are the following...1. There's no "Red Goat" garbage disposal in the school cafeteria for me to accidentally throw metal objects into.
2. My clothes come out much cleaner with Tide than the detergent that doubles as deck cleaner. (At least they smell cleaner).
3. My pager doesn't go off at three am. Oh right, I have no pager.
4. I can't use "I'm in the middle of the Bering Sea" as an excuse for delayed email responses.
5. If I don't go grocery shopping and cook, then good, hot meals don't magically appear at mealtimes. ? It's true.
6. There are no scientists in my classroom to answer all my questions about the world.
7. I don't have to use two hands on the stairs but I can't slide down the rails either.
8. Commuting via subway takes much longer than the trip from my room to the lab.
9. There are no walruses.
10. There are definitely no fun, watertight doors or restricted elevators!
My first class back on my third day home had 50 students in it. Mission: Dissecting shrimp a la the Healy krill team! The kids even cut off some eyes! We certainly hit the ground running.
Summer is almost here though so I will have time to regroup, get used to falling asleep without the rocking of the boat and soak in everything that I learned, saw and did in my 40 days of ice, science and plankton. Stay tuned...