8 months is apparently long enough to get pretty much totally used to living with 5 people in a dome on the side of a volcano. It no longer seemed weird. Being out seems weird. The whole experience is hard to explain. Seeing other people, interacting with other people, eating normal food, shopping, driving are all a bit strange. It was easy to become really focused inward and on the rest of the crew and now interacting with more than a few people a day seems strange. I hadn’t talked to a stranger for 8 months and only emailed new people occasionally. I’ve watched my crew mates leave one by one; waking up and not having everyone there doesn’t feel quite right. The world seems so big. I haven’t had the desire to look at the news, watch tv or browse the Internet.
I find myself missing life in the dome. It was lacking so many of the mundane aspects of real life. Shopping, standing in line and talking to customer service were all nonexistent. Not to mention things I haven’t had to do yet like commuting and paying bills. Instead there was the complexity of making almost all food from scratch and 40 weekly surveys and scientific tasks. I miss daily workouts with my workout buddies. I miss 3D printing and talking to people about their research. Shopping seems like a chore and spending money is weird. I haven’t had anything yet that really made me say “wow I’ve missed this so much”. That isn’t at all to say I haven’t been enjoying time outside the dome. I’ve gone for a couple runs which have been excellent. Swimming and the beach are nice too but that wasn’t really my thing before either. Food wise the best things I’ve had were a glass of milk, extra sharp cheddar cheese, carrots, bell pepper, and that first IPA. Went to the store a couple days ago and found myself buying chips and salsa, salami, cheese and crackers, and sparkling water. Stopped at McDonald’s and got fries and a chocolate shake.
I’m sure slowly I’ll get used to life on the outside world again but it is taking a little more time than I’d expected.