Ohana means Family.

‘Twas the Night Before Halloween and all through the station…. Well, actually not much is happening at the moment, to be honest. Our party will be on Saturday, the 2nd, since most of Town has Sundays off. We’re all pretty excited for the first real party of the season though, especially now that the rest of our “family” has finally arrived!

Once the drawdown was reversed, people were called back to Christchurch surprisingly quickly – once again making me question the financial efficiency of the USAP’s travel program. At any rate, a lot of the galley staff that had been terminated had made the rather shrewd decision to hang around New Zealand on their own time until the debt ceiling deadline to see if things would get restarted. This meant they were well-positioned to get back to Chch quickly and get on the next scheduled flight. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans, and it was a few days before they were actually able to fly but on the 25th of October, Max, Rebekah, Jeremy, etc finally made it to the Ice. Furthermore, they brought with them an extra special treat for me: Scott, my Air National Guard friend from last year! Sadly, he came without his sidekick, Andre, but that meant maybe he and I would finally get to go head-to-head at the dart board.

At any rate, it was a joyful Friday night in the galley, with lots of hugs and jumping around as people trickled in from their orientation and dropping off their bags to get food and be reunited. The icing on the cake was that the first karaoke night of Summer was scheduled for that evening at Gallagher’s – not only did Scott keep his promise to meet me for a drink, but Max’s rendition of “Walking on Broken Glass” completed a perfect evening. Jeremy told me the next day that he wished he’d been able to cut loose and get drunk like I had been and I laughed and confessed I’d only had one drink – all that energy and excitement was simply me, unadulterated by alcohol and blowing off steam and being well and truly happy.

In and around all that, the dinner shift – currently composed of Lisa (sous chef, was the chef at LDB last year), Ben (who will be going to Pole with me for winter), Julie (who hated me last year but seems to enjoy my company this year), Zak, and myself – has been having quite a bit of fun with our menus lately. The move to the PM shift for me was a bit new and unexpected – I had been under the impression I’d be living in Vegetarian Land again, and helping Sarah out with salads, etc but they’ve done away with having one person in charge of all the vegetarian options this year and I got folded into the dinner shift which means I work 1000-2000 and am cooking for the full complement of the station, which is on the rise now that things have been “turned back on”. It’s a bit daunting but the first meal I took the lead on was the Chicken Burgundy…which I interpreted as essentially Coq au Vin. For 600. Yikes. And oh, yeah, the wine we have to cook with is all the heavily salted Sysco stuff – they salt their low end cooking wine so that people will be less inclined to secretly drink it. Ew. So it was a bit of a challenge but I was super pleased with the finished result, even if there were no Freshies yet.

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We’ve also been having fun trying to entertain our community with our action stations – where we actively cook a dish on the large flat-top in the service area, in front of everyone. First there was the Buffalo Chicken Wraps:

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Then there was the McMurdo Crab Shack:

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And then the Greek Pasta Toss:

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Yeah, the kitchen down here is definitely not like any other I’ve ever worked in but I certainly do love the humor!

And yes, the title of this post is a quote from Lilo and Stitch – which was the inspiration for Joe’s and my couple’s costume this year. He had sent down a Stitch costume, and I had put together a passable Lilo costume. Unfortunately, while I’ve been slowly receiving all the packages I’d sent to myself, he still hasn’t gotten any package mail so it might not happen! Sadness! But we still have a few days before the party and a few more flights to come in so fingers crossed it shows up in time or I’m just going to be a random wahine for Halloween.

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