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14 December, 2002

December 14, 2002

Travel to New Zealand

The adventure begins!

The hardest part was saying good-bye. It's hard to find the right words to last for two months of separation from your family, so we just hugged in the driveway and didn't say much. Terry, Cody and Hunter--I miss you guys already!

After the good-byes, the next hardest part was facing twenty-four hours on a plane! I have to be honest, I was dreading the confinement and the exhaustion I was sure I would feel. The good news was that it turned out to be much easier than I had expected. I was happily surprised to be given a "Laz-Y-Boy" recliner type seat in Business Class from O'Hare to the West coast, but then picture me in the middle seat from LA to Auckland! Now add to the picture, me wearing a sleeping mask, wrapped in a blanket and sleeping sitting straight up for about 12 hours! Not a pretty picture at 5:00 in the morning, believe me, but in all honesty I felt pretty rested. The flight attendants made us comfortable with plenty of food, drinks, and movies, and I actually got several hours of sleep!

In LA, Peter Spatz, from the US Geological Survey, (on the Stream Team) recognized me from my web picture and called out to me. Then there were two.

Ryan Fogt, a meteorologist, saw my pink USAP (US Antarctic Program) luggage tag and introduced himself. He will be stationed in McMurdo. Then there were three.

Jen Baeseman, environmental microbiologist, (also on the Stream Team), joined us, and then there were four.

After arriving in Christchurch, the four of us have been doing walking tours and visiting the Botanical Gardens to get our fill of color and trees and plant smells before heading to the Ice on the 18th. New Zealand is a very new and clean country. It wasn't settled until the mid 1840's, so it is even newer than America! The people are open, friendly and just downright fun.

I've had some trouble getting journals out, but am working on the bugs. Stay tuned!

Question of the Day: I take vitamins everyday, and I keep them in a calendar pack. When I crossed the International Dateline, I went from Saturday to Monday. What do I do with Sunday's vitamins??

1. Pete, Jen, Ryan and Louise arrive in Christchurch. It's summer--sunny and warm!

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