Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to the Bush

So I survived the drive from Pretoria to Bloemhof and made it back to the field site. It feels good to be back. I miss the good times with my hostel friends but I love the quiet, and the stars, and the jackals that my field site offers.

I thought I would be terrified the entire drive back--but I was not. I also predicted I would be scared to be alone in the middle of nowhere---but I am not. Isn't it funny? I obviously do not have a realistic perspective on what I can handle. I think I will continue underestimating myself however, so I can continue to be pleasantly surprised.

Spring is in the air at the reserve. All the scorched areas are turning from black to bright green and budding even though there has been no recent rain. Baby squirrels are popping up everywhere! Wild flowers are blooming in every colour imaginable and birds are starting to molt into breeding colors. It is a wonderful time of year in South Africa-- no long bitter cold but not yet too hot either. The snake experts should be here next wait to continue the mobbing trials. I can't wait!

Friday, September 9, 2011

talk to me now

I have this song that has been wedged into my brain for quite sometime and I think the lyrics sum up how I feel about Pretoria:

In this city
self preservation is a full time occupation
I am determined to survive on these shores
you know I don't divert my eyes anymore
in a man's world I am
a woman by birth and
after 19(or 26) times around
I have found
they will stop at nothing
once they know what you are worth
talk to me now

I am planning on leaving Pretoria for the field again. It is bittersweet. I love field work and my nerves will finally get a break but I have met so many wonderful people and I am going to miss getting to talk with everyone at the hostel. Wish me luck on the drive down to the reserve. I am hoping I don't get lost!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In Pretoria again doing lab work!

I feel guilty for not posting. Things are moving pretty quickly here and it is hard to have time to think let alone relfect and then write. My supervisor and the honour's student I came here with have left. My husband came in at the begining of August and stayed for three weeks as well. It was amazing getting to share a bit of this experience with him. I think extrordanary experiences are better when shared.

Now I am here in South Africa alone. I am still enjoying myself but it would be nice to have someone to turn and comment to when you see a funny sign or a beautiful bird.
I am feverishly working out the lab portion of my project. It is going well but it seeems like every piece requires fretting, researching, and thinking over. Lab work leaves me feeling drained and insecure. There are so many things I do not understand well. I knew this already but doing lab work for me is an especially humbling experience. I have the uptmost respect for fulltime labratory researchers.

It is a Saturday now and I have come in to make some gels and pour them in my dishes. I had a wonderful walk into the University from the hostel with another guest. He wanted to see the University. We stopped in at a Spring festival and I ate a delisious falafel wrap and bought a braclet made out of saftey pins for 3 rand. I found some old field guides for snakes, and fish and mammals to share with my biologicaly inclined friends when I get back.

Today has been the best day so far since Chris has left and I think it was because I had someone to share it with. Thank you Antony.