Wednesday, April 09, 2008

not being needed when you don't have time to be needed anyway

So I worked at the zoo as much as possible, rushing through the day to finish early so that I could go there, or going before university in the morning. It was fantastic, watching teh death rates drop and seeing the animals in better enclosures. There's something really really satisfying about husbandry! Then I went away on a fieldtrip for a week.

It was a really nice trip, partly becasue the people were great, and partly because we were ridiculously overstaffed, so I didn't have to stress about anything. It was weird going abck to the place where I do my fieldwork with a bunch of other people. I slept on a different bed to usual, and found myself automatically walking to the wrong bed, or getting confused when something was in the wrong place in the kitchen. I took a lot of walks back to my old spots, but it's really overgrown (grass over 2m tall, we measured!) so it was hard to get anywhere.

So anyway I got back and rushed off to the zoo the following day. The main quarantine staff were away so I was there a lot until they got back. Then my dad booked me a ticket to visit him in Jersey in 2 weeks time (England Jersey, not New Jersey), so suddenly I had a week less to organise everything... Plus there were some raised eyebrows at university about the amount of time I was spending at the zoo (even though it never cut into my studies at all), so I had to cut down on zoo time quite substantially.

So basically I'm there on weekends and for an hour or two during the day. But now ehne I call to see if they need me, most of the time they've already finished for the day. the staff, plus one volunteer (who used to need supervision becasue she was really inexperienced but now is pretty much ok on her own) are coping without me. It's so horrible!

I love that the animals are ok, and that is my primary worry. And I'm relieved that I don't have to divide up my pretty limited free time so much anymore. But it also sucks. There was something really special in being the only volunteer down there. And that I was one of the more experienced people helping with the animals, that I was trusted to be there on my own or to be in charge on a Sunday. And not being needed anymore hurts a lot more than I'd realised. And I know that I'm going away and that there won't be any unresolved issues with my leaving is fantastic.

But helping in quarantine with those incredible animals has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I've learned so much about everything, about the zoo, about the animals, about me. I don't regret all the time, or the boiling hot rooms or wearing dodgy overalls and gumboots. If I had an option I would do it all again in a heartbeat. So I guess I should stop feeling rejected and just enjoy what I got out of the experience. I hope that somewhere along the line I made a difference to those lizards. Even if one survives that wouldn't have otherwise it will be more than worth it!

It was worth it!