On Taking a Break

Long time no post. Started off as just missing a week but then just kept not feeling like taking the time to get a post up so I decided to just take a break from posting for a while and get another one up when I felt up to it. Thanks to the people who checked in on me since I hadn’t been posting, I really do appreciate it. Winter down here is kind of rough so I’ve been focusing on taking care of my mental health lately. After a couple of responses I made on a Reddit thread blew up, I decided it was time I probably got another post going.

Lots has happened since the last time I posted. A few people on station secretively set up an interactive murder mystery theater event that was a lot of fun. We’ve also had karaoke a couple of times, a 4th of July barbecue, and last month was the annual Polelympics featuring many events such as ping pong, cribbage, Mario Kart, and the classic sled pull where three people pull a sled with a fourth person from the geographic pole to the ceremonial pole (this one was a tad bit tiring as the poles are about 2000 feet apart. These events have been a nice break from the normal weekly events. This past weekend we had a screening of The Princess Bride which was fun, I had never seen it so now I have some context for all of the memes.

Back in June we had our Midwinter dinner. For anyone who doesn’t know, Midwinter is the big holiday celebrated by all stations on continent. It marks the midway point in our time without sun, all of the stations take photos of their crews and send them out like Christmas cards, and we had the fanciest meal of the year (10 courses in total!) I was on the planning committee for our Midwinter celebration, we had a Roaring 20s/Gatsby themed party where we split the galley into two sections separated by a curtain and turned one side into a “speakeasy” and the other side into an elegant dining room complete with a chandelier (I have pictures of all of this I will get posted). All the decorations were art deco and we even had all new window covers for the galley. Our invitations were customized with individual medallions that were engraved with each person’s name and attached to the outside of the envelopes that were then sealed with wax (thanks to everyone on station who donated the wax from their Maker’s Mark bottles). I even designed and printed some tealight holders for the LED tealights we had on the table. It was a very fun time with an amazingly delicious meal (even more so than the normal meals we get which is saying something because our galley crew is amazing). After dinner we followed that up with a toga party in the laundry room because why not?

In July we celebrated Christmas in July. We pulled out all of the Christmas decorations and decorated the galley. Lisa (one of our chefs) made us her Italian family’s Christmas Dinner which was delicious. On Sunday we had coffee bar with an open mic, one of the performances was by a band that has formed on station called UFO where they performed some Christmas carols including a rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas customized for Brian (or baker) and all of the delicious treats he makes us. After coffee bar we finished the celebration with Secret Santa. It was a lot of fun seeing what everyone made for the people they drew (not a whole lot of shopping that you can do down here so the gifts were homemade). Some of the things people made included a wire bonsai tree and planter, a South Pole Telescope plushie, a South Pole Telescope flower (made out of soda cans), a very fluffy and warm headband, and a very beautifully painted window cover depicting a portion of the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand. I drew Josiah for my person (some of you may know him from his TikTok videos) so I decided to make him a “movie poster” given all of the videos he makes and because the walls in his room are so boring and had zero decorations. I had a lot of fun making a purposefully cheesy and terribly photoshopped poster, including putting Jonny Sins face on a picture of Josiah. He got quite a kick out of it and I’m glad he enjoyed it. My friend Alyssa drew my name and she went around station collecting various teas to make special blends for me. They include a lavender black, citrus mint green, chamomile lavender, and rooibos cinnamon apple. She blended all of them with specific purposes in mind such as feeling anxious but still needing some energy (lavender black) and put them all in a hand painted tin with notes inside for what each one is for. I loved the gift so much that I was close to tearing up, I couldn’t believe the thoughtfulness, time, and effort that she’d put into it and I’m very lucky to have her as a friend. For anyone wondering, all of the teas are delicious and I love them all but my favorite is the lavender black followed by the citrus mint green.

As we get into August we are beginning to approach the end of total darkness. Every month during the full moon the sensitive aurora camera gets turned off, this month when the camera goes off it will stay off because it’ll start to be too bright for it. Soon we will start seeing a bit of brightness on the horizon, though we are still a month or so away from seeing the actual sun. I’m also getting to the point where I need to start figuring out what I want to do in New Zealand before I head the rest of the way home.

I think that’s about all I’ve got for this post, I appreciate all my friends and family who’ve supported me while I’ve been down here. I’ve got some amazing friends both back home and some I’ve made down here who have definitely been a great help during the tougher days. Also thanks to all the people who showed interest in my responses on the Reddit thread yesterday, you all kinda kick started me on wanting to get a post up. As always, thanks for reading (especially this one since it’s pretty long) and feel free to ask any questions.

— Matt “wait what month is it again?” Butcher

One thought on “On Taking a Break

  1. Matt,
    Make sure you see Milford Sound and Queenstown on the South Island we really enjoyed them.
    Great to hear how you’re doing again. Hang in there you’re almost done!
    Take care,
    Bob Clark


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