Monday, September 13, 2010

The First Month

Greetings! It's been almost a month since I arrived and I seem to be adjusting well. The six-day workweek is still exhausting but I'm enjoying my work, strangely enough. There's a nice bit of satisfaction that comes from looking at a clean restroom or work area and knowing that I made it look that way. Sometimes I listen to music or podcasts while I work to help pass the time, but janitorial work can be meditative and sometimes I just enjoy the quiet (or the sound of the vacuum).

It's still very cold down here and that takes a toll on my body. Even though the buildings are warm, the constant alternation of going outside in the cold and coming back inside in the warmth wears me out. Overall, my muscles are not nearly as flexible and limber as they usually are. I've been told that that's due to the cold. Every morning at work, we have a fifteen-minute stretch break to help prevent muscle injuries, and all employees are encouraged to take mini-stretch-breaks throughout the day. Even still, my muscles feel tight.

The sunsets are beautiful! Right now they last from about 5pm to about 10pm, although they go later into the night with each passing day. Also, as the sunset dims, it moves sideways along the horizon toward the west. Right after the sun has set, the twilight is in the northwest; by the time it's almost gone, it's moved towards the southwest. Since there are mountains west of us, it's as if the sun were shining a flashlight from one end of the sky to the other, backlighting the mountains. The colors are incredibly rich and it makes the mountains look as if they were cardboard cutouts against a vivid painting. There have been a slew of nacreous clouds recently as well, much more beautiful than the first ones that I first saw.

If your interested in learning more about the United States Antarctic Program, you can check out the program's website at For a webcam view of the station, go to Look at the top center left and you'll see a winding road coming down a hill. Just below that, you'll see a building with two white lights (I think those lights are on all day) on the right end. That building is my dorm, named Hotel California. (What a name, eh?) I live on the first floor, far left end. The blue building in the center is Building 155, the main hub where the galley and several station offices are located. There are also a number of dorm rooms there. This is a live webcam so feel free to check it out throughout the day. We're six hours behind Mountain Daylight Time here and seven hours behind Central Daylight Time. Right now, you can still see the station at night, but soon it will be daylight 24-7. And I suppose if it's completely white, that means we're having a snowstorm or windstorm. ;)

More photos soon to come! I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the last days of northern summer.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Joseph, Catching up on your blogs. Just wanted to say that I could relate to your ocmment about the meditative nature of janitorial work. I used to clean people's houses as a teenager, and then also Howard Johnson's hotel rooms. While it wasn't glamorous work, I did like that I could just get into a "zone" while doing it & shut down the thought engines. Maybe I need to clean my own house soon, as the thought train is running full steam these days! Janine