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(no subject) [Sep. 10th, 2009|07:05 pm]

15 hour work days with only a couple days off every three weeks mean that when I'm not out in the forest, I'm usually watching movies in bed with this darling boy I've been seeing, or comatose. Hence lack of updates. Also, the humidity has killed my camera, so until I get either get that taken care of or find a replacement, here's one of my last photos: Legolas, the alpha male of my group. Did I mention that I went to Nicaragua last week? I'm in love.


(no subject) [Sep. 2nd, 2009|02:09 pm]

My life has been too amazing for words.

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(no subject) [Aug. 7th, 2009|01:18 pm]
Turns out that hiking way out into the forest at four in the morning is not one of my favorite things to do. Who would have thought?
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(no subject) [Aug. 3rd, 2009|06:14 pm]

I've found myself neglecting Livejournal as of late. By the time I finish working out in the field, I'm by far too exhausted to compile any sort of coherent sentence, let alone an entire entry. Today I didn't go out into the field - my boss went to sleep at 5PM yesterday and is still in bed now, and as I'm still in training I figured I didn't really have to do anything, which I sincerely appreciated.

The first leg of my flight, from San Francisco to Houston, was without a doubt one of the most interesting experiences of my life, if not number one. Somewhere above Texas, we struck a patch of entirely unexpected weather. The plane seemed to drop from the air, thrashing about violently. At one point, it felt as if we had turned so that rather than flying parallel to the ground, the plane was at a 45 degree angle. The four year old girl seated next to me, on her way home from celebrating her birthday in Santa Cruz with her brother, kept exclaiming, "The plane wants to go faster! The plane wants to go faster!" Her father just held onto her, silent and staring straight ahead. Many people were screaming and swearing. When the pilot told us to put on our seat belts, you could hear the terror in his voice. I braced myself against the armrests and my life didn't flash before my eyes. I only hoped that, if the plane was going down, I would pass out before the inevitably terrifying plunge and surprisingly, I had no regrets... I felt that if I were to die, it would be too soon. But I was satisfied, albeit extremely pissed off that, of all the possible ways, I was going to die by crashing into Texas.

The plane leveled out and an hour later we landed at George Bush International... lovely. I pulled some benches together and camped out for the next eight hours, before boarding for the second leg of my journey to Liberia, Costa Rica. After landing at the airport, which was less of an airport and more a expanse of concrete with a roof over it and open walls, my boss picked me up and we headed into town for lunch and to restock the communal food supply. I attempted to make conversation with Ronnie, our pirate taxi driver, but ended up merely nodding and looking confused for our forty minute drive out of town and through the endless cattle pastures. We arrived at the Albergue, the tiny little building that houses the researchers, and I was introduced to all of my new friends. I honestly knew from the start that these were people who I would sincerely like, and I definitely do. I unpacked, and a couple of hours later Reid came back from the field and we caught up - I hadn't realized that it had been almost a year since I had last seen him.

Training has been exhausting. I've only been going on six hour hikes so far, but soon I need to move up to the full 12 hour day. Tracking down monkeys, bushwhacking, and hauling around a load of equipment. One month ago, I had no idea that this would be how I would spend the next four months. It's still surreal. But somehow, it already feels like home.

Too tired of typing. Here are some photographs...Collapse )

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(no subject) [Jul. 28th, 2009|01:16 pm]
It's never really a good sign when you walk out of a bathroom stall and notice a man standing at a urinal. On second thought, I did notice the urinals when I walked in, but merely thought, "Oh, that's different..."

Obviously not fit for civilization. Departing for the rainforest this evening.

(no subject) [Jul. 20th, 2009|11:49 am]
Still pissed.

I think someone was just trying to maliciously fuck with me. WHY THE HELL DO YOU NEED MY CLOTHING AND BOOKS?

Now it's going to be more that $400 to replace my passport, and it may not get here in time. And then there's all my gear.

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Brief Update [Jul. 19th, 2009|11:49 am]
On Friday, I put the majority of my material possessions into my car and headed for the bay area. First stop, Santa Cruz.

I parked my car in what I was told was a very safe location. I put most of everything in the trunk; a duffel and a laundry were in the backseat, covered with a blanket.

After a fantastic night, we walk back to our cars en route to get breakfast.

My car window is smashed in.

The majority of my material possessions are now gone. I didn't leave much in my apartment, as I won't be back there until January. Everything. Laptop, hard drive, ipod, both my cameras, EVERY last piece of gear I needed for my trip. Everything I've written on a computer since I was 13. All of my photos and music. MY PASSPORT. My dresses, novels, and the journal/sketchpad which I have been writing/drawing in for a year. Now who the hell wants DRESSES AND NOVELS?!

So now here I sit at my parents house, my worldly possessions limited quite literally to the clothes I have on my back.

It's quite the strange feeling.
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(no subject) [Jul. 16th, 2009|07:52 pm]
Help me justify spending $400 (which I should be saving) on a f1.4 lens for this trip...
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Creepy, right? [Jul. 11th, 2009|05:08 pm]
Where do I start? This has all happened so fast, I hardly know how to begin explaining.

Well, I suppose this is as good a place as any: Monday, I am ranting to Kyle, venting my frustrations over this country and my current position - plodding along, finishing school in the conventional matter. Jokingly, I say that I've had it. That I'm declaring myself an expatriate, and I am going back to Costa Rica.

...Less than two hours later, Reid, a classmate from last summer's field school in Costa Rica, contacts me. He has been hired as a research assistant for a woman from Tulane University, Valerie, and he was to spend the next five months living and working in Costa Rica, collecting data on Capuchins (a species of monkey).

Valerie was in need of another research assistant, and Reid suggested me. I thought about it, I told myself repetitively how crazy the idea was, and then I applied.

Fast forward to yesterday. I am talking to Valerie in Costa Rica over Skype for an hour; she can't get a hold of my references, who are doing field work out of the country, but in a move she calls rare, she hires me anyway...

...So, I am dropping all of my fall courses and am completing my degree in the spring, and in only a few weeks, I will be getting on a plane, headed for the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

This time, it won't look anything like that photo. I'll be there for five months, rather than the two weeks I spent there last summer. There won't be any trails. Instead of plodding along in a group of five or more students... I'll be tracking capuchins as they move through the canopies all by myself (and sometimes, in the dark!). Twelve to fifteen hour workdays, focal animal studies, collecting fecal matter (poop! We're analyzing it for hormones and parasite loads), marking home ranges with GPS, and incessant data entry. Two or three days off every three weeks, which will be spent adventuring through the country, camping as we go. There are a few specific research questions which we're seeking to answer, but I'll get into those later.

I'm overwhelmed, giddy, shocked, scared, and so fucking excited. I have to continually pinch myself to assure myself that I am awake.

More to come as I process this all.
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(no subject) [Jul. 9th, 2009|03:20 pm]
I have some very big news that I've been holding to myself, and that I, with some luck, will be able to share in a few days. Crossing my fingers, crossing my fingers, crossing my fingers, and knocking on some wood for good measure.
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