Sunday, June 08, 2008

Home again

Wow, this is the first time that I've been home for longer than to eat and sleep since... well since I got home! I usually go a bit nuts seeing everyone I missed while on fieldwork, and every time I end up exhausted, but I feel great because I missed everyone and seeing friends again is really really awesome! It's hard to go away and realise that life continued without me, but whenever I get back, besides the catching up, feeling like people actually missed me is really really special (yes, I need frequent ego-boosts. So sue me!)

So after Chinatown (w00t!) yesterday I dashed off to a farewell with some zoo folks. It turned out that it wasn't the farewell I thought it was, but the person leaving was really really cool and I will miss her even though I barely knew the girl. That's what I love about the zoo, people come and go all the time, but for some reason you get to know them quickly, maybe because they're all really passionate about what they do or something. We went off to dinner in Melville and then off to a place called Ratz, where they all did the craziest dancing I've seen in a long time and I laughed until my face and sides hurt and I nearly fell asleep in a candle.

This morning I woke up just in time to go hurtling off to the zoo to go and help in quarantine. When I arrived I saw a friend in the parking lot with the two monkeys. Here I must add something - quite often animals take a dislike to a person. It's nothing personal, they just do, and if (like for instance with Josh the baby chimp) they dislike you, you move on and it's ok. But if an animal likes you, there is no better feeling in the world! I guess it's because they don't fake liking or disliking you (unless there is food involved, in which case most animals tend to get mildly sidetracked). Anyway my friend came rushing to say hi, and Thandi sprinted over and gave me a gigantic hug! A little while later (I went from being 5 minutes late for quarantine to being more like half an hour late...) Ollie climbed onto me and refused to go back to her! I felt super-special!

From there I went to quarantine where I got to see some of the new volunteers in action. For people who had no history of working with reptiles they were really good! Very very slow, but gentle and thorough. I cleaned out frog and gecko tanks, and fed other geckos. It was fun not doing it alone, usually on a sunday I do most of the gecko room alone, which takes from 9am to about 2 or 3pm and I enjoy it, but it was nice to know that there were other people helping, and it did go a bit faster than usual in that we were out of there by 11:45 even though I did a whole bunch of stuff in the other rooms. A snake escaped which was very exciting, and 2 lizards escaped while I was cleaning their tank, which was pretty routine, although I did feel very accomplished when I caught them and put them back and the others were all impressed. a silly thing to be proud of considering I was the most experienced person there, although there was also a learner-keeper and a trainee vet at that stage.

I was also impressed that the volunteers have been there every day even though they are on holiday. They said that it's getting a bit much, and that they would really like to sleep in for once, but I was really really stunned by the fact that they aren't planning on taking time off until some new volunteers start next week. For volunteers to show that kind of dedication is really exceptional! It was a really nice morning, I've missed all the Madagascans and I got to clean all the tanks of my favourite lizards, which was really special, as well as the usual feeling of amazing satisfaction that only people who do husbandry will ever understand. The feeling that you get knowing that the animals are clean and fed and that the whole room is done...

From there I took the new volunteer and her boy-scout sidekick off to meet Thandi, who I looked after for an hour and a half. She ate a lot and then settled down to sleep, after greeting me in such an enthusiastic hug that my airways were cut off and I started seeing spots. I really missed Thandi! When I tried to give her back to the zoo staff she refused to go, which as painful as it is to see her distressed, also made me feel really special!

From there I rushed off to the chimps and said hi to Luke and his sister and then dashed off home to have lunch with my parents and my brother and sister-in-law before going back to the zoo to have coffee with one of the other zoo-staff members who had been off cleaning stables all day. Once that was over I went to see Jo and Lara at work to pick up keys for my shift tomorrow, and spoke to Lara for the first time in ages. I love the way that we often don't see each other for weeks at a time, but still pick up exactly where we left off! And then I dashed off to church and then home. Which is where I am now.

So that was my day and a half! Not the most exciting post I'm afraid, but it has been a really awesome day! I missed everyone when I was off in the gammadoelas and it was really nice to know that my place here hasn't been forgotten or filled while I was away!


ADDhole said...

Not the most exciting post . . .? Are you Kidding??? I am completely envious of the whole experience from the way you described it. I always get that kind of feeling just from taking care of a pet but to take care of a menagerie of incredible animals has to be amazing.