29 November, 2003
No, I havenít lost track of time and Antarctica has not been moved to a new time zone.
While McMurdo time is 18 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard time-making us a full day ahead of the United States, Thanksgiving is one of the few dates in which the holiday is celebrated first in the United States. This is because Thanksgiving in Antarctica is always celebrated on Saturday instead of Thursday. The majority of the McMurdo staff is on a six-day workweek; working Monday through Saturday with Sundays off. Waiting to celebrate the holiday on Saturday gives them a long (2 day) weekend. Since people in Antarctica are not able to catch a quick flight home for the holidays, the food service department and other McMurdo staff members go all out for the holidays. While the dress code around town is very informal, it is expected that everyone pack at least one dressy outfit for holiday dinners.
Our team had dinner reservations for the 4:30 seating. Normally you do not have to eat at a certain time, but since a lot of the night shift workers also had the day off, we had to sign up for one of three possible dining times. The food service staff created an excellent spread with all the traditional thanksgiving fixings: turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, a beautiful salad bar, an assortment of breads, and a variety of scrumptious desserts. While it seemed a little odd not celebrating the holiday with my own family, I enjoyed a wonderful day with my new McMurdo friends and family.
I know how lucky I am to have been selected for this program and I am truly thankful for this amazing experience, the wonderful people who I have met along the way, and my support system back home that helped me get here.
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