I watched the sun set for the last time for a few months on Sunday, the 8th of April. My flight back to Alert left early Monday morning at 0400 and we gathered at the AMU at 0200. I watched the minutes pass one at a time and took in my last few breaths of civilization. I don't really think I was ready to go back yet.
I spent my leave enjoying many laughs with friends and family and a trip into the Dominican sunshine. It was really nice to just feel free again. You don't realize how much you miss being able to call people for longer than a half an hour, to drive further than the confines of a station, to be able to be outside without freezing your butt off and to be able to be with family and those you care about. I wasn't ready to go back to the frozen world I gladly left in March, but yet here I was, heading back.
I sat, safely tucked into the C17 plane waiting for the roar of the engines to lift us up and away. I unfortunately had my iPod on shuffle and naturally it stopped on a sad song that tugged at my heart strings. The tears welled into my eyes and as I blinked they fell onto my scarf. I really didn't want to leave this time, I really really really didn't. Once we were airborne, I put on my snow suit and curled into a ball on the floor and slept most of the flight. It was a great way to pass the time as I was absolutely exhausted.
Now that I'm back in Alert, I am doing okay. I still feel the ache of missing home and those I love and I still can't listen to sad songs but I'm doing okay and getting back into the routine again. Often I wander in my thoughts to how much fun I had over the past few weeks and when I close my eyes I take myself to a different place. Although Alert is a beautiful and such an amazing experience the toll of being far from home is definitely a hard price to pay.
I look forward to exploring again, learning more about this unique place, spending time with friends that I have made here and as I watch the sun circle in the sky, I know it's going to be okay. :)