Saturday, April 30, 2005

ANZACs and more...

Hey All,

well this week started off on a sombre note, with the Aussies and Kiwis on station planning a day to commemorate the ANZACs. We were in mourning, mainly as our counterparts in our own countries were getting a day off, and we weren't, but we battled through. Kiwis Vicky and Kate were very creative and made some quite realistic looking poppies out of blued-steel screws and crepe-paper, which all nine of us wore for the day. We gathered at dinner, which included pavlova and ANZAC bikkies, and had a few beers, and then watched "Gallipoli" in the galley. It was a while since I've seen it, but it breaks my heart each time. Afterwards, one of the American chicks came up to me and said "after watching that, I guess we shouldn't have been wishing you guys a 'happy' ANZAC day, huh?"It was nice to see quite a few US folk there, all of whom were very interested in learning about our war history. We are all quite close, the six Kiwis and three Aussies on base, kind of funny how at home we fight like cats and dogs, but as soon as we end up together in foreign places we are best mates...

This week was a bit of a blur for me, as on Tuesday I came down with a rip-snorter of a migraine, which knocked me sideways for nearly three days. The Doc eventually gave me some stuff that kind of worked, although it did make my entire face numb, which was a weird sensation. All better now but, which is a relief! We are back to blustery conditions, and with it, warmer weather - in fact, today it is 30 DEGREES warmer than this time last week (imagine having a 40C day a week after it was 10C to understand how weird this is). The difference is palpable, it feels practically 'balmy' outside today in -38C, where last week it was -67C...crazy.

People are already beginning to get a bit strung out here, a few minor personality clashes and altercations over things as small as what music gets played in workspaces...and it's only the end of April. It is a very interesting study in human group behaviour down here, as close as you'll ever get to putting a control study group on the moon, I think. Small things amplify into huge issues, people snap and grouse over things they'd likely find ludicrous back in the 'real world' as the oppressiveness of the cold, dark world outside the walls permeates everyone's consciousness.

I had resolved this year to be very 'zen' about things and people, and though I have no doubt I'll reach the limits of this at times, I feel more and more comfortable with each passing day here, as others seem to feel less so. A great motto I am trying to stick by, when someone winds me up or does something that annoys me is to quickly ask myself before I react "Hey, will I care about this in November?" As the answer is invariably No, it makes it easier to let it all slide by. I am sure I'll slip in this pact at some point but it is worth trying to maintain as long as I can!

Next weekend is a 'long' weekend for most of Station - which just means they get Saturday as well as Sunday off, so our band "Al Dente" is performing for the first time. We are practicing quite a bit, and getting it all together, so it should be a lot of fun. Will let you all know how it goes. Hope everyone back homewards is trucking along well, please drop me a line or three and say hi if you have the time!

big smiles

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