Canada
Johnston Reef

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  • Day400

    Signs you're field rotten

    October 15, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ -7 °C

    3 months. 11.5 weeks since I left my home in Igloolik to do field work. That is a long time to not have any privacy and share cabins with 4-5 of your very best stranger-friends. Now, don't let me misinform you dear reader. I spent many days in communities in hotels. You see, however, this is the Arctic and hotel rooms are a rare and precious thing. This means that although I had a hotel room, this room was shared with someone else. That's right, for the low low price of $250-$300 per night, you get a twin bed in a room shared with someone else. I chose to share with my colleagues rather than pure strangers.

    I have decided to share a few insights that I've had since returning to the capital city of Iqaluit. Then, over the next weeks, I plan to share singular stories and instances of life/work in the field. Thus, they won't be in real time, but rather a revelation of stored stories.

    Signs You're Field Rotten (aka: not fit for society)
    1. Taking daily or every-other-day showers seems inordinately excessive.

    2. It is perfectly reasonable and acceptable to wear the same clothes for at least a week. Pants could go longer.

    3. You don't notice holes or dirt on your clothes unless the holes are are allowing cold air in, in which case, the are either repaired with tape or burned.

    4. You return to society and try to leave the hotel room in search of the bucket bathroom. (I did this the first night back in Iqaluit).

    5. "Dirty" becomes very subjective. Unless there is visible, accumulated dirt, it is not dirty.

    6. You don't worry about skin care because the daily micro-dermabrasions and saltwater scrubs from the helicopter's rotor wash keeps your exposed skin nice and fresh.

    7. You have trouble sleeping in a proper sized bed or room because both are too big to feel secure.

    8. You have separation anxiety upon returning to society because there are not 4-5 strangers within arm's reach at all times.

    9. You notice clouds or fog and immediately think, "Oh no, not good ceilings for flying."

    10. You forget to bring your wallet places because where you've been, money is not a thing.

    11. You brush your teeth and wash your hands in the instantly warm, ever-running water because it's fun and easy.

    12. You see Tuck Tape as viable, reasonable fix for everything---ripped wallet, torn pants, etc.

    13. Footwear needs only be "boots" and varying degrees of "warmer boots".

    14. Sights, noise, movement, and activities of people jar you. Restaurants are overwhelmingly loud. You order take out to get away from the bustle.

    15. You find toilet paper in random pockets of all your outerwear---prepared for bathroom breaks anywhere.

    These are the things that have popped into my head though I am sure there will be more. Nevertheless, I survived and hopefully will be home soon!!
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Johnston Reef