Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The next step

The last days in Kenya are a whirl of emotions for any RA, and I was no exception. On July 18th, I had to say goodbye to my hyenas, my coworkers, and my newfound home to fly back to the US. I kept myself busy with sundowners, horseback riding in Nairobi, and movie watching as my departure crept closer and closer. 

Despite not climbing on a horse in ten years, I didn't fall off! I suspect Richard, my true and stalwart steed, had a lot to do with that. 
There were tears to be sure, but on the whole I didn't fare too badly. I can thank my taxi driver, who chatted with me all the way to the airport, and a fellow airplane passenger, with whom I talked for most of one of my flights, for keeping me upbeat and distracted while traveling home. They delivered me safely into the arms of my family who were more than happy to whisk me home and listen to my many, many Kenya stories. 

The transition from Kenya back to my childhood home is a bit of an odd one. In some moments, jumping back into my old life is very easy. Obviously the house I lived in for 21 years is familiar and I fall into the same patterns I've always had pretty quickly. It's certainly been nice to have access to a veritable wonderland of food, AC, and internet. In other moments, I am launched back to Kenya. I find myself watching for biting ants while walking around barefoot outside, or jumping when some animal moves in the backyard. Even with frequent updates from folks still in the field (thanks Robyn!) I miss the hyenas around whom my life revolved for so long. As I settle back in, I'll do my best to savor the wonderful memories of the year I had while still enjoying the place I am now. 

In at least one notable way, my life is going to be a little different than the average homecoming RA's. My time in Kenya may be done, but I'm not through with this lab yet! Come August, I'll be taking over as the new lab manager for the MSU Hyena Project. With my prior experience volunteering in the lab last year, and some training from our outgoing manager, hopefully I'll be able to step up to the challenge of this new job. After a year of hyena wrangling, camp managing, and the general chaos that every RA experiences, I bet every other job will feel like a breeze!

1 comment:

dee said...

Can't wait to start working with you! Hadley is getting ready to turn the reins over to you so hurry up!!

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