Training is over.
The group has become a team.
We know little of each other's behaviour, responsiveness, frendliness, communicativeness, the languages we speak, their family's opinion of our commitment, How we respond when challenged with something unfamiliar, something potentially threatening. I know something of where I fit in the team when we need to combine to solve a problem
I'm much more confident about going out there now. I feel I can securely rely on them for my safety, and I have no doubts about my ability to meet my commitments to them.
I've taken big steps outside my own cultural norms, and proved to the guys that I can take ownership of my responibilities.
And now we return to home life, but I think we'll see it through different eyes, as if the knowledge that soon I'll be leaving for a whole year, and into such an extreme situation will polarise somehow everything I see.
We will each make our way to concordia over then next two months.
When we each arrive there, we join a population of 70-80 people from all over Europe and activity that runs 24 hours a day on construction and science both indoors and outdoors.
We'll slip into the crowd in ones and twos, find our predecessor and work alongside them. And, just as we come in, the summer crew will begin to ship out and the numbers will thin and thin until the last traverse leaves on the 30th of January and the last plane departs a week later taking the last of the summer crew away, leaving us 14 behind for the winter.
And we will be a team again.