Although it was still Friday when I woke up, I’ve started thinking of it as already Saturday since really all I do is get up, change, maybe hit the gym for a bit, grab food and then get to work and by the time we put up the first meal, it’s the next day so it’s kind of easier to think of it that way. But I may switch to sleeping immediately post work and then doing stuff in the early afternoon because when I try and stay awake for four or five hours after work, I’m just absolutely dragging. So we’ll see how that shakes out. Again, I’m perplexed by this feeling that I’ve been here for ages already when it hasn’t even been a week! And tonight is only my third day of work!
Anyway, so work on Friday night/Saturday morning seemed to go more smoothly than the other two days. Matt seemed less anxious – maybe it was because Saturday would be his first day off in ages! Until I arrived, it had only been himself and Alex working and while he could do all the work on his own, Alex didn’t have the experience so he had been working for about a month straight because there was no one else to work with her on his nights off. Yikes. Of course, him having a night off meant I had to step up and take the lead and I’d only been there for three days! I was going to be relying on Alex a lot as she knew the nitty gritty details of the routine that didn’t come naturally to me quite yet.
We put up lunch – a rather amazing meal of meatball stroganoff, egg noodles, and a resurrection of the remaining mac and cheese which, let’s face it, was delicious if not actually healthy…For the vegetarians, we did falafel which weren’t nearly as good as mine but alas, what do you expect from a bagged mix? Oh and there was also the McMurdo version of “crab cakes”. Because doing individual crab cakes for 1000 would take way too long with the staff we have, they just bake them off as casseroles. Still delicious though. Then after our meal break, we started working on dinner and at about 03:30, shock of shocks, Matt suggested we take a stretch break. Technically, they’re required during 10 hour shifts but there’s been so much downtime in the last few days we’ve not really bothered with them. So we all got coffee and sat down and started talking and joking around. It actually felt like we were bonding as a team, which was kind of nice. The dining attendants joined us – they’re the dishwashers/stewards/food runners/janitors all rolled into one and most of them somehow maintain a great sense of humor about it. One of the DAs, Michelle, has arranged for us to have a little “Happy Hour” next Friday morning at Hut 10, which as near as I can tell is basically a little building people can book for private parties with booze and food. I know the idea of a party with booze at 8am sounds a little weird but since we’re just off work, it might as well be 8pm to us. As we talked, I realized that other than the beer I had my first night here, I haven’t had any alcohol just because I haven’t had TIME. The bars aren’t open when I get off work and drinking right before work sounds like a very stupid idea, so…
We went back to work and cranked out dinner – meat lasagna, eggplant lasagna, salad, and a sauté of cabbage and fennel – and breakfast as well. Alex and I mopped out the walkins and then it was quitting time so I went out and got some breakfast (which was technically dinner).
I sat down with the DAs who were on their second meal break (their shifts are slightly different than ours), and it was only as I was looking around at the early morning diners that two things finally hit home: first of all, it feels like there are WAY more women than I was expecting, which was kind of nice, although the official tally still says it’s about 78% male to 22% female. Second of all, there is astoundingly little diversity in the community. I can honestly count on both hands the number of people I have seen of African, Asian, or Hispanic descent, and I see a good slice of the population in the galley dining room. I’m not sure why this is the case, but I might start quietly asking if others have noticed it too.
After breakfast I went home and although I was so very very sleepy, I was determined to stay awake until at least 10am. Then I looked at my calendar and realized that at 10:30, the biweekly Outdoor Safety Lecture (OSL) was starting at Crary Lab. Because it’s required for the really cool outdoor activities, I was determined to go as soon as possible but the timing wasn’t great with my sleep schedule. I could have tried to catch it on Tuesday at 19:00 but that’s so close to when I start work that I thought I might as well drag myself to this one and then go to sleep immediately after.
The OSL didn’t provide any earth-shattering information – I did learn not to go inspect any crossed black flags along hiking routes as that’s where the crevasses and thin ice/broken ice are (depending on what terrain I’m on). I also learned that I can walk out to the Ice Runway any old time I want, which is kind of cool. Scott Base (the Kiwi station) is only a 2 mile hike away also – they have Yank Night on Thursdays when we’re allowed to patronize their bar but alas, I think I’ll be working most Thursdays.
After the lecture, I went straight back home and to bed for the “night”.