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Friday The 13th…

Friday the 13th…

If ever there was an ominous day to travel my choice would be it. I also left at the butt crack of dawn, flying out at 5.35am. Luckily it seems as if I got all the good luck from the 13th vs the bad. Everything was on time, I got aisle seats, soso food, great seat mates who took melatonin and then drank 2 complimentary bottles of wine each… good times.

View of Mt. Hood as we flew into Portland, Oregon

I have always said as much as I love travel, it’s the actual traveling part that I dislike, but at least I get to catch up on the latest movies, especially since I can’t sleep on planes. This trip I got to see Sherlock Holmes 2, Hugo and Machine Gun Preacher. The last one was phenomenal, disturbing and inspiring at the same time. Based on a true story about a criminal turned preacher turned guardian to thousands of kids in war torn Sudan. I highly recommend it! I have seen it 3 times now and even though I cry every time at the horror man can inflict on each other the triumph of the human spirit amazes me.

Roman Landing

Managed to get a bit of sleep and despite the gentleman walking up and down the aisle after apparently drenching himself in cheap cologne, it was a good flight. My seat mates and I exchanged information and hoped to meet up for dinner and wine at some point.

Deboarding was a breeze, didn’t even have to fill out a immigration card, first time for everything. Got my stamp and then headed to the gate. Really wish countries would get more inventive with stamps, I mean, my Italian one is barely visible, I know they are official and everything but come on, lets have a little fun!

Old Friend!

Nicola was the new vet that arrived at Amazoonico wildlife refuge 2 weeks before I left. I wish I could have had more time to work with him. So I was thrilled to find out he was living in Rome and was willing to meet me at the airport! Always a bonus having someone meet you, I am perfectly capable of figuring it out, but having someone take that load off makes landing all that more pleasant.

I am renowned for having a terrible memory when it comes to faces, and I was concerned I would not recognize him after a year, but I needn’t have worried. There he was with his girlfriend (also a vet) and their cute 6month old lab puppy.

They adopted the pup after a complication in surgery caused her to go blind and what a sweet heart she was, also completely adapted to life in the dark. She has no fear and just bounds forward, learning as she goes.

We did a brief city tour and saw some of the sites, even though it was a bit of a misty grey morning, it was still stunningly beautiful. If anything the weather added to the history and ambience of old Rome.

View of Rome from Parco Gianicolense

We walked down little alleys and side streets all glistening in the fine rain. The cobble streets and window boxes were simply breathtaking. I love cities a lot of history.

Alleys and Side Streets

When in Rome, Eat like a Roman

For breakfast Nicola gave me the option of either an American style or Italian style breakfast. I figured I may as well try my first cappuccino, so Italian it was.

Yummy!!

On the way back to the car, the little pup found a friend and they frolicked all over nearly knocking over a few people. No one could have guessed at her lack of sight.

Seeing is Believing

Heading to my friend Kate’s apt, my couch surfing host from Australia who kindly offered to put up with me… put me up again :), one of the most amazing historical buildings came into sight. The Coliseum!

Just Coming into View

It’s Bigger in Person

We could only drive by it this time, but planned to come and visit it the next day. I asked Nicola if he was awed every day he drove past it? His response “No! It is just part of the city!” (Please add in your own Italian accent to truly appreciate the sentence). I guess it’s kind of like growing up with monkeys in my garden in South Africa, they were just part of the scenery.

Before getting to Kate’s, Nicola helped me buy a SIM card and then we went and found their apartment.

Nap Followed by Food

It was fantastic seeing Kate again and meeting her boyfriend, Svet, but it was sad saying cheers to Nicola. He worked nights at a local vet and we weren’t sure we would have a chance to catch up again. Oh well have to make another trip to Rome.

I was absolutely worn out and exhausted, got to learn how to sleep on planes! So passed out for a couple of hours. Then Kate and Svet took me out for beer and pizza, I had a potato and rosemary one that was amazing!!

Something I loved from the first time I saw it, was the little parks where the locals came and hung out. There were also water fountains everywhere and the water was crisp and clean.

Our final item for the evening was to go to a famous Tiramisu shop. I LOVE tiramisu and couldn’t wait to try a true Italian one.

Pure Deliciousness in a Personal Sized Box

We decided to join the locals and went and ate our little piece of heaven, we got one each, in the park. A great ending to a great, yet exhausting day.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in RTW, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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Return to Real Life

17th December 2011

Return to Real Life

After catching up with friends the following day in Seattle I flew out on Saturday morning back to Eugene, Oregon and my folks. It was fantastic seeing them and being back, but with every piece of clothing I unpacked I wished I could be repacking. The urge to keep moving is always strongest for me when I return. However, my bed was a blessing even if it did come with 2 cats vying for the most uncomfortable position they could put me in.

Fortunately I would not have to do the dreaded job search, a low point for any world traveler. A mobile vet I had worked with before leaving needed a new assistant and I would start Monday… no recovery time for the wicked I guess. It was good to start work and be occupied, it was also a bonus that being a mobile clinic meant it was almost like I was still traveling. However, that only lasts for so long and pretty soon I knew I would be leaving again by the end of 2012. Returning in the middle of Oregon winter doesn’t help the cause to stay at home either.

Return of the Vet Nurse

Boyfriend, Schmoyfriend

I had not heard from Buddha for a week and after another week on Christmas day I finally said “ENOUGH!!!”. I was sick and tired of being played and strung along with the excuse of bad connections. I had been wearing an Irish Claddagh ring for 10yrs, always on the single side and had turned it to being in a relationship when we had skyped back in Germany. I took it off and packed it away so over always having that define me. I decided to focus on getting my vet nurse certificate and focus on a year here in Eugene before looking for something permanent and well paid abroad.

The day after Christmas I got the first of many texts and calls. He sweetly told me how sorry he was but that he had been in India doing a required course for the ship, that he missed me and wished to skype me every day. I fell for it but was skeptical for a long time.

The truth was that the Australian girl he had lived with the past month had left that day. She had told him to stop stringing me along and so for 2 weeks he did. But now that he had no one else to sweet talk he turned his attentions back to me. In truth I can’t be completely bitter towards him, as the attentions and feelings of being loved were some of the happiest memories I have had and would also lead to a trip to Italy and a cruise where he asked me to marry him. But that is a story for a later entry…

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in RTW, Travel

 

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AmaZoonico: Days 36-42 – Week 3 in the Jungle

The management wish to apologize for any delays you might have experienced with updates. Due to technical difficulties involving internet access in the jungle we are a little behind.

April 10th to 16th 2011

Week 3 in the Jungle

The joys of things that bite in the night
In the morning I woke up at the hostel covered in small red bites. Having previously managed a hostel my first thoughts were bed bugs. But the owner assured me they had no such issue and it was most likely the beastly sand flies and mosquitoes who got me. in the end I believed him as the bites did appear more sand fly like in nature. I went back to sort out some things and suddenly his mother appeared (she is the most darling old lady ever and always calls me “mi amor”). She indicated for me to put my feet up on the side table and then proceeded to smear a green liquid that smelled like menthol all over my legs, feet and arms. Needless to say, that afternoon I went on the hunt for some of this amazing stuff.
I permanently carry a small tin of mentol chino with me when I do tours and this was like a liquid form of it. Mentol chino is about the only thing, other than copious amounts of cortizone cream, that helps the itchiness… speaking of which where the heck is my tin, ahhhh I hate sand flies!!!!

My very own room
When I got back to AmaZoonico I found out that none of the others wanted the newly available single room that was recently vacated. So I immediately started moving. It has 2 lovely windows, a shelf and a bed side “table”. Fantastic! However it is above the kitchen (which can get very noisy) and its wain wall by the bed is the one facing the popular lounge, which means talking to all hours of the night and cigarette smoke. But hey, its my own room!

A tale of a tail
When a group of woolly monkeys were due to be released we realised that one of them had an injured tail. After close inspection (involving 4 people holding him down and one looking at it) we realised it was most likely broken but as there was still blood flow we decided to bandage it and see how it healed. We believe he was sitting with his tail outside his cage when another wild monkey came up and broke it right below the part they use to grip things with (prehensile). After an initial check I headed off to do a tour and Michael (the manager) headed off to Tena for his weekend off.

Shortly after my tour ended I was called to help with Francisco again, it turns out he had started chewing on the injured section and was now causing severe damage. We bandaged it up again and called the vet in Quito we work with. His suggestion was to amputate the section before infection set in. We then called Michael to tell him his weekend off had come to an end. He returned the next day and preparations were made. We still had no vet, the vet from Quito was unable to come and so it was up to Michael to do the deed. Upto this point the only amputations he had made were on necropsies (autopsy on an animal), so this was going to prove interesting.

With limited equipment I became the monitoring machine with my stethoscope and watch. I made up a monitoring sheet to keep things in order and then we were on our way. It was really difficult cutting through tendons and moving the skin and hair away from the bone and then came the decision of where to cut. If we cut too high it would mean a redo and the wound wouldn’t heal well. If we cut too low we would remove part of his healthy tail. Luckily Michael’s guess seemed well aimed and the cut was clean. As we were starting to close up, Francisco decided to start waking up which lead to mild panic as we tried to turn up the anesthetic and hold him down at the same time. In the end the surgery appeared to be a success, Francisco woke up without problems and appeared to be leaving his tail alone. Michael was so impressed by how well it went he bought us all a soda.

Volunteer Dynamics
It is inevitable to find the occasional issue when you take a large bunch of people of different ages and cultures and push them together. At present the majority of volunteers were female and under 22 from Europe. Its never a good idea when there are too many girls barely out of highschool in a group together and they proved this when they called me into a room and sat me down and proceeded to tell me that I wasn’t working hard enough. This was a bit of a shock as I was barely on my 2nd week and still didn’t know everything, they named a few instances from that (all of which turned out to be when I was in surgery). When our head volunteer arrived she looked fairly concerned at this apparent gang up. So it turns out that I am back in highschool, and still not popular. It really took its toll on me and I seriously started considering leaving. Working with a bunch of youngsters who refuse to speak anything but spanish (great for immersion but you need someone to give you the occasional translation) and who treat you like someone who isn’t worth being there was not my idea of fun. But after chatting with Sarah I decided to stick it out and just focused on myself instead of trying to be part of the group. In the end I am very thankful to her advice, as groups change and so do the dynamics.

Tours in foreign languages
Today during fruit delivery we had a Belgium group arrive for a tour. Lukas, from Holland, could have done the tour but he is much more useful with the fruit carrying than I am. So I got to do my first tour in Afrikaans (a form of Dutch spoken in South Africa). It was a lot of fun and the most amusing part is that every time I said something they all got this look on their faces and said “oh how cute”. I switched to English after the 5th time they said this. It was all rather amusing and great practice for my Spanish.

Happy Valentines
I spent my valentines in Tena with my usual pizza and fanta. Turns out I have 2 days in a row off. the down side is that it is only 1 day after my last day off and means I will most likely have to work 7 days straight, but on the upside I really need a couple days to myself and away from the highschool atmosphere.

Stay tuned to see if I survive repeating highschool and how dynamics start changing

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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