some journalists have described the South Pole as 'hell on earth.' Others refer to my time here as 'an ordeal.' They would be surprised to know how beautiful Antarctica has seemed to me, with its waves of ice in a hundred shades of blue and white, its black winter sky, its ecstatic wheel of stars. They would never understand how the lights of the Dome welcomed me from a distance, or how often I danced and sang and laughed here with my friends. And how I was not afraid.