Well, here I am sitting in Christchurch again. I thought about calling this post "The First Shall Be Last" when I realized that I arrived in New Zealand on the first day of 2007 and then again today, the last day of 2007. But this surreal deja vu feeling I've been having all day won out.
Every step along the way of this trip so far has been similar but subtly different than last year. I feel like I'm in a dream or somehow reliving the past. I'm staying in the same bed and breakfast with the same friendly owners (and the same dog sleeping on the porch). My room is one door down from my room last year. I'm walking around Christchurch seeing the same shops and restaurants, knowing my way without needing a map. I spent the morning at the clothing distribution center again getting all the same cold weather gear from all the same Kiwi workers. It's almost like the last year hasn't passed. Of course, I'll be lucky if I still have this deja vu feeling when I'm staring at hundreds of penguins again in McMurdo, but I'm not holding my breath.
After reading some of my old blog posts from the end of my trip last year, I'm remembering just how miserable I was and just how much I wasn't expecting to be coming back down here. That's part of the reason this all feels so weird. But slowly, the excitement is creeping back in. I think when I get hit with that first blast of Antarctic air it'll be back (at least for awhile, before every last ounce of energy gets sucked out of me completely at Pole and I'm left with nothing but a vacant stare...)
We're scheduled to leave Christchurch for McMurdo on January 2nd. Tonight, though, is New Year's Eve. Some of you may remember my tortured post last year on New Year's and the international dateline, but there's no need to worry about anything like that this year. Ryan and I will be out on the town having a good time (if we can stay awake, that is...) Happy New Year's everyone!!