Wow. Its been months since my trip to Africa, months since I last wrote an entry and its amazing how little and yet at the some time how much has changed since I lost wrote. The blog is being resurrected because I'll be headed off an another exciting adventure within the month - I'm spending the summer in Northeastern Minnesota as an intern at the International Wolf Center. I considered starting an entirely new blog, but ended up deciding that in the end my travels to Africa and summer in the midwest are ultimately both part of the same adventure.
After my time in East Africa, I felt connected to the world and others in a way I haven't ever before. Some of that feeling remains, but its been surprising to me how easy it is to get caught up in the petty stresses of day to day life when the vastness of the savannah, the depth of the ocean, the darkness of a wild forest or the openheartedness of the people of East Africa aren't there to remind me how small and insignificant I and my problems really are.
This past semester has been....well, adjectives don't even come to mind easily to describe it. I can honestly say I've had some of the most exciting and most disappointing moments of my life these past couple of months - and I thought Africa had its ups and downs! I've spent a lot of time curled up with my labrador and wanting never ever to have to get out from underneath the blankets. But I've spent just as much time finding out how lucky I am to have so many wonderful friends in my life (many from the East Africa program) who love and care about me and who manage to look past my insecurities, flaws and quirks and are always there for me in both ridiculously fun and ridiculously not so fun times. This school year has been so different for me , because I do have such close friends on campus.
I've done so many new things this semester (some successfully, some not at all): ridden horses less (and thus had to find new ways to define myself as a person that don't involve horses and the barn); turned 21; been a beer pong champion at Rachel and Meryl's house; found that studying can be a highly social activity that can involve the cooking and consuming of vast amounts of delicious food; tried to ride a mechanical bull; dated; worn a dress to class; been pathetic and girly; introduced some of my college friends to my family; hiked 30 miles in one day and spent the occasional morning in the gym with the girls instead of running alone.
If I can survive the last two days of class (and pass chemistry!), I have so much to look forward to: my summer in Ely at the International Wolf Center; a few weeks before I leave to spend some quality time riding the pony and running with the dog; a senior thesis project on squirrel behavior next year; taking only classes I really want to take next year; exchanging music with several friends before the summer starts and starting to train for a marathon (tentatively, I'd like to run the Portland Marathon next fall - if I start telling people I'm going to do it, then I'll be less inclined to back out).
So, that is all for now, I guess. If anyone ends up in Minnesota this summer and wants to stop by and say hi, let me know! Otherwise, I'm all for keeping in touch via blog, e-mail and cell phone (this should all be much easier and more reliable than when I was in Africa).
Also, sorry if you got this notification as a friend or family member of one of my East Africa pals who was reading my blog as a way to check up on your loved one!
PS. An unrelated but wonderful thing I just have to share. If you have a particularly significant canine in your life you should listen to the song "Man of the Hour" by Norah Jones immediately.