My last day in Seattle…and the start of a new adventure!

It is officially my last day in Seattle until 2011. My flight for South Africa leaves tomorrow at 12:42 PM and I will arrive at Lajuma some time Monday night after about 40 hours of travel: Seattle to Denver to Frankfurt to Johannesburg to Louis Trichardt (or Makhado) and finally off to the mountains! I haven’t packed yet and still have a few things left to do on my checklist…but I’ll deal with that later 🙂

A little background….Since graduating in August of 2009, I’ve pretty much done nothing with my life: I kept my job as a counselor at an elementary school and volunteered at a primate lab (where I was a 499 student during college)…played a little Underdog Dodgeball and Kickball…got really into rock climbing and hiking…thought a lot about graduate school…but nothing really productive.

My love for non-human primates began back in 2007 after being introduced to infant and juvenile monkeys in a research lab (as Mama Bos would say, “little mama’s!”). I was assigned four infant/juvenile pig-tails–LOVE! A few years later, I decided primatology would be neat and combined with my love of traveling, a new life goal was born: I want to study at least one primate on each continent. The lab director heard about this and lent me A Primate’s Memoir by Robert Sapolsky (FAVORITE scientist). This inspired me to start looking for field research positions which eventually lead me to a field assistant position at Lajuma.

Where is Lajuma?

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&q=-23.038083,+29.440683&vps=1&jsv=274a&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.235538,107.138672&ie=UTF8&geocode=FX13oP4dqzrBAQ&split=0

GPS coordinates: -23.038083, 29.440683

Comfortably situated in the Soutpansberg Mountain Range in the northern part of South Africa and right below Zimbabwe. Added bonus? It’s malaria free! AND it’ll be summer down there so have fun Seattlelites with your gray skies, rain and cold.

I’ll miss you all though.

So, we will be going into Louis Trichardt about once a week to restock supplies, check emails, update blogs, and send out mail…with an internet addiction this should be interesting. But there is nothing like being surrounded by mountains, flowers and blue, blue skies–as re-realized this summer. And I am super excited to climb some mountains and follow some monkeys around!

And so the first chapter in my post-student life will officially begin September 11th, 2010 with Africa where I will observe Samango monkeys. One continent (going) down! Six to go…

PS. Thank you Lady D for letting me sleep on your couch this past week and retain my sanity.

PSS. Dear Seattle, not sure when I will be returning to you…but it will be sometime between January and April 26th (my return flight ticket).

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