I’m Ba-ack! And Full of New Animal Knowledge as Well as Headaches From Too Much Coffee Trying to Learn It All

Morning walk to work

Morning walk to work

Wow, many new developments since I last wrote. A giraffe gets killed and cut up in front of an audience at a zoo; another rhino sub-species goes extinct. Time is always marching on, often dragging me behind like a raggedly blanket.

You may have been wondering where I’ve been. Or maybe you haven’t. Maybe you haven’t missed me at all. That’s okay. We all have busy lives.

For those of you who actually DO want to know what I’ve been doing, this next section is for you. The rest of you can skip ahead a few paragraphs. Or you can go back to your regularly scheduled programming and skip the rest entirely.

I started a degree programme for veterinary technology. I figured if I’m working with animals, I should really know a lot more about them, from behavior to diseases to anatomy. I am also learning about how to administer anaesthesia and other drugs, which is the part I don’t really love (not that it isn’t interesting; just isn’t my thing). However, like any degree, there are classes where you blissfully race ahead in the reading (if only you could make more hours in the day) and classes where the reading is like a Sunday stroll through hell.  Or maybe I’m the only one who gets blissful about a class. Regardless, Veterinary Anesthesia and Surgical Assisting is my Sunday stroll through hell. However, Small Animal Diseases and Veterinary Medical Terminology are my happy places. Not sure what that says about me.

At this point, what I’m going to do with this degree is not really important to me. It is more for me to have the knowledge so that I can explore a few different options. One of my dreams is to run a rehabilitation center, so obviously this type of work would be extremely useful. And if I ever wanted to work in the field again, this would certainly give me a boost. Or maybe I’ll hit the zoo circuit. As is always the case with me, you never know where I’ll end up.

I’m also doing the degree for my own love of learning. I am a nerd. I admit it. According to Gallup’s Strengths Finder test, Learner is actually my top strength. If you can call that a strength. Two of my other strengths are Activator and Command. Activator apparently means I’m a catalyst for change and like getting things started (though I don’t necessarily care about finishing them) and Command is sort of self-explanatory. Command is the rarest one of the 34, in fact, especially in women. And Activator sits at #29. Which I guess means I’m a rare lil bird who commands people to action and likes to spend her days sucking up knowledge? It’s no wonder my resume reads like the route of a pinball.

In the meantime, I have been working full-time as a writer and editor, with four massive projects on my lap and a few lingering shyly in the wings, trying to take the stage whenever the big ones decide to clear out. Ten or more hours a day on that, plus four to five hours of study per night. And I try to squeeze in some sort of hike whenever I can, since my butt is starting to fuse to the furniture. On weekends I spend my time working at an animal shelter. Ask me about my social life. You can probably sum it up in one word – none. Though I do keep wine on hand for emergencies.

On top of this, my external drive (the one with all of my photos) got corrupted, so I spent a few weeks trying to salvage whatever I could. Luckily it appears many files made it through unscathed.  There were 130,000+, so you can imagine it took a while…Why didn’t I have back-ups? Easy. That WAS my back-up. I had them on my laptop as well, but I had to wipe the entire OS when my machine was having issues, so that external was the only copy I had.

I’ve also been running back and forth to the Department of Home Affairs, sorting out my visa (which did indeed get sorted out, finally – South Africa is stuck with me for at least three more years).  Home Affairs is not a quick process. In fact, it requires every ounce of patience a person can muster. There is no rhyme or reason to the system there (if there even IS a system), and you have to stand in line to stand in line to stand in line to get a piece of paper, because they won’t allow you to download forms from the inter webs. It’s a joy. But it’s done, at least for the next few years!!!

At any rate, I’m not exactly back on track, but I’m going to do my bestest to write as often as possible. Well, write as often as possible with something at least mildly interesting to say. I could write more often, but the space would be filled with a lot of dramatic pauses as I scour my brain for anything noteworthy.

That’s really it from my side today. I’m attaching some photos of the friends I made on a recent trip to Zanzibar (I admit it, I just like writing that word). It seems I make friends wherever I go these days. But none of them speak human. I’d say it makes the conversation a bit stilted and one-sided, but they have plenty to say. It just takes a little more effort for us to understand each other.

One thing I learned – fish love fresh coconut. And they have no problem trying to take off the tips of your fingers to get to it.

Oh, wait, two things – in Tanzania, they pronounce it Tan-Zah-Nee-Ah, with the emphasis on the Zah. Not Tan-Zuh-Nee-Uh, emphasis on Nee. Learn new things every day, you do.


All rights reserved. ©2014 Jennifer Vitanzo

Categories: Africa, Animal, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “I’m Ba-ack! And Full of New Animal Knowledge as Well as Headaches From Too Much Coffee Trying to Learn It All

  1. So did you ever go to Freddy Mercury’s birthplace?

    Where exactly in S.A. are ya? In case I wanna surprise you one of these days. . . ;o)

  2. Haha, well, then – you already have the knowledge you need. 🙂

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