24 February, 1998

Hello from Connersville, Indiana! I've had a very busy few days (since the last time that I wrote to you). On Friday, February 20, we were able to spend some time around McMurdo Station. In the morning, we walked to Scott Base (a New Zealand research station) which is about 1 1/2 miles from McMurdo Station. After returning to McMurdo for some lunch and a little souvenir shopping, we walked to a hut that was built by Captain Robert Falcon Scott during his Discovery Expedition. It was really neat -- I've included some pictures with this last journal entry! At 3:00 p.m. we had "bag drag." What that means is that you have to bring all of your luggage into town. Each piece is weighed, and then you are allowed to leave (taking your one carry-on duffel) until your assigned time to fly out. We were told to return at 4:00 a.m.! After getting a ride back to the ship (to return our duffel bags), I went back to McMurdo Station to eat and look around. Chief Mate Lee gave me the tour of town, which included the greenhouse (where things like tomatoes and cucumbers are grown) and the church. During the summer months (October - February), about 1200 people live in McMurdo. During the winter, however, the number is closer to 100. After we flew out, there were only about 2-3 more planes of people to leave . . . so McMurdo Station was fairly empty while we were there. The last planes were scheduled to leave the continent the next day.

The trip home was long (as you can imagine). We flew a C-130 cargo plane from McMurdo Station to Christchurch, New Zealand. That took about 9 hours. We were able to stay in Christchurch for 24 hours -- enough time for some good meals and a nice shower! Once we boarded the plane in Christchurch, it took almost 24 hours exactly until I landed in Indianapolis. Of course, 18 of those hours were taken up as the time changed . . . so I left Chrischurch at about 5:00 p.m. on Sunday and arrived in Indianapolis at about 11:00 p.m. on Sunday. We had short stops (1-2 hours) in Auckland, New Zealand, Los Angeles, and Denver. My husband, Marvin, picked me up at the airport, and I finally arrived in Connersville about 1:00 a.m. Monday. Right now, I'm trying to adjust to the time changes and getting ready to return to my classroom later next week.

Before finishing this last journal entry, I wanted to take a few minutes to let you know a little more about me. I was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1961. During my sophomore year in high school, we moved to Freeport, Illinois, where I graduated in 1979. It was in high school that I first started to enjoy science. I have wanted to teach for as long as I can remember, but I chose to teach science as a result of my science classes at Freeport High School. I went to Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana, because the program for teachers at BSU came highly recommended. I graduated with my B.S. in Science Education in 1983, and I graduated with my M.A. in 1985 with a double major in Biology and Environmental Science. I began teaching at Connersville High School in 1985, and I've taught there ever since. While at CHS, I met my husband Marvin, who teaches Chemistry and Physics. We were married in June of 1987. After teaching for a few years, I was asked to develop a course in Earth/Space Science. I took additional college classes to add Earth/Space Science to my license. Later, I ended up taking several summer workshops in the some of the individual Earth/Space Science disciplines -- specifically in Meteorology, Astronomy, and Oceanography. It was after these workshops that I began teaching Astronomy and Oceanography at Connersville High School as one semester electives. Currently, I teach Astronomy, Oceanography, Earth/Space Science, and Environmental Science. I absolutely LOVE teaching, and I'm looking forward to returning to my classroom next week.

This has been a wonderful adventure. Thanks to all of you for making my trip to Antarctica so fun and so educational. I loved emailing with all of you . . . and from the sounds of it, you seemed to enjoy my pictures and journal entries as well. This has been such an awesome experience! If you ever have any questions about Antarctica or my trip . . . don't hesitate to write. You can email me anytime at the following address: kgiestin@fayette.k12.in.us

These have been the two months of a lifetime! Thanks for sharing them with me! :)

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