I just came back from a research trip to Antarctica for a project I will be developing in the coming months. 

The last half a year has been very, very busy. While being substitute professor at the KHK - where I run the New Media department and a course on resolution studies, I have also done quite some jumping around between the continents. 

This trip to Antarctica was very special - but it has also taken me a fair share of time to write anything about it.  And I am still unsure what to write now, some weeks later, about the whole experience. Of course the chance to go to Antarctica is unbelievable. And I am extremely grateful for the Chilean army to take us on their ship the Aquiles AP-41. But it was also one of the biggest challenges I have had in my whole life. 

To spend three weeks of time - military time - so not normal time - on a military ship, with the military, being the only non Spanish speaking, female ... it was some layers deep of living and learning! What can I say, I crashed into my own limits a few times.  I dont know how to put it to words now - and I am not sure I will be able to put words to the experience any time soon. That said... i did upload most of the photos I took during the trip now to flickr

Some of the paraphernalia from the trip include patches. Patch culture is very, very alive in the military. They use them not just as designation but also as exchange / gift / memorabilia. I came home with 9 different patches. 

A message from Instagram, from where I just arrived back in the continent: 

Here I am, logging Into an open network in a Mexican restaurant in Kassel - I just finished class after arriving on the continent at 12pm today.

It was just 3 weeks since I left from here. But all that happened was not in this register of time - it was somewhere else: where the moon is upside down, the Sun never sets, and the days are endlessly starting over again only because of military time. Breakfast at 8:30, lunch at 12. Coffee at 16:30 and dinner at 20:00. The bar opens at 21:30, possibly with karaoke or bingo. And maybe - if we are lucky - we are getting out to visit an Antartic base.

During the days i am a guest of the Chilean military (Let me be clear, I was never and will never be pro military or war but here I am a guest, invited, and I will respect and take part in their mission of “La Paz y la Ciencia” in Antarctica). During the nights I try to evaluate where, who, what, how I am, in this beast called Aquiles. A ship that never stops roaring.

I cannot. It’s all just in between. In between relations, languages, norms, expectations - I am confused, lonely, the only non Spanish speaking, a woman on a ship full of testosterone, trying to make meaning of nature - oh it’s sooo beautiful, so many beasts, animals, humans, impressive visions and terrifying insights.... Then 3 weeks have passed. I crossed the drake, the place where two oceans meet and scream. I saw the biggest iceberg. I cried, I climbed a mountain. I took four planes back to my own continent but stepped out for a falafel that got me into a surreal 30 min of questioning by Israeli boarder patrol during my long layover. 
There, 15 hrs later, I am sitting in Kassel, in a Mexican restaurant after a 5hrs long class on spam. 
So much learned so many uncertainties gained. 
All my socks are extremely smelly. 
Tomorrow another full day of teaching.

I am comfortably numb.

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