Random Updates & Musings

Health

My first week back in Victoria Falls passed pretty quickly, and I got a little better each day, now recovered from my African Tick Bite Fever adventure.  I’m likely going to stay on an antibiotic a little longer, just as a precaution against any potential future pathogen nastiness, but what I also understand is that there are no guarantees of anything either way.  I honestly feel like I’m going to be just fine, but a couple more weeks of doxycycline won’t hurt, beyond having to eat yogurt as they only real accessible probiotic available, which I’ve never liked.  Save the suggestions on various brands and flavors and magical formulas — life is too short to try to like something that I just don’t.  And yogurt is on that list, save the frozen kind.

Visa & Travel
The phone call came last Wednesday that my visa application for a Temporary Employment Permit (TEP) was approved and since my visa was set to expired the next day, I had to pack my bags and make the 8 hour bus ride journey back to Antelope Park to pick up my passport, then another 4 hour bus to Harare, the capital, to get my official passport sticker and stamp from the immigration office.  So now I’m all set through September, if I so choose, without having to deal with any more visa issues in Zimbabwe.  I’ll have to do a similar process in Zambia if I plan to stay longer than 30 days.  After a long bus trip, I opted to fly back to Victoria Falls from Harare, which was an hour versus 12, so an easy choice.  With the available flight schedules, that meant a two night stay in Harare, and I opted for somewhere nice and peaceful as a brief respite, and it was just lovely, complete with high thread count sheets and a bathtub, which are two of my favorite things.  I even got a haircut, had a pedicure, and found myself in an angling shop at a local shopping center, just to breathe in a little bit of home for a few minutes — an eddy in the river of my day.

Internship
The cubs are settling in pretty well, after the first week of being a bit anxious and unsure  of their new surroundings.  Now that they have started walks with volunteers and handlers, and get a chance to get out of their enclosure and go explore their environment, with its sights, sounds, smells, and constant stimulus, they seem happier.  I haven’t seen them since last Wednesday, so I’m looking forward to doing so tomorrow morning.  Then I get to geek out on some project management ideas in the afternoon with a fellow PM, so it will be nice to focus some energy there, as well.  I actually don’t miss it — meaning the corporate version of project management in the traditional sense — I only miss the sense of accomplishment of a high-performing Agile environment.  But the corporate politics and bullshit that gets in the way… uh, yah, no.

Social Sharing
I’ve been thinking about this whole blog and the Facebook updates that I post, and the notion of whether it’s a perverse type of “hey, look at my awesome life”, which is the type of self-advertising that I normally dislike.  I’ve spent my life cheering on people around me in their various life adventures, however big or small, and was always happy to do so.  I put my own adventure list on hold for a very long time, always for the sake of my “have to” lists, a product of how I was raised, which is that life is tough and full of chores, and something that you just get through.  My own spirit has always felt differently, that life is a journey, full of gifts, and something that you should cherish.  I waited a very long time for my turn to get out there and live my true spirit, beyond the “have to” to the “chose to”, and I make no apologies for grabbing the golden ring with both hands and enjoying the ride.  I’ve paid my dues.  So I share my adventures not to brag, or to illicit comparisons or envy, or to illicit anything, really; I do it to share the blessings that I’ve been given and to preserve my own memories so that I can look back on them over time.

Reflection
I’ve also been reflecting (shocker!) on the last year, from the time that I made my decision just about a year ago to leave my current life and leap into the unknown, to the actual process of leaving my job in August, selling my house in September, and traveling since then.  It can be easy to let the days melt into each other and for cobwebs to start to form around the memories and details of the last year, and the last seven months in particular.  One of my blog posts during my travels in Europe was a list of all the wonderful things that I had experienced up to that point, which I’ve included below, updated to my current time in Africa.  It’s almost like a daydream in some ways to think back to all of this.

Europe:

  • Toured a windmill
  • Been in the same attic where Anne Frank hid
  • Marveled at art from many of the great masters
  • Toured several castles
  • Taken river boat cruises on the Rhine and the Seine
  • Walked atop a medieval wall
  • Stood on hallowed ground of a concentration camp
  • Been inside St. Mark’s Basilica and viewed Venice from the roof
  • Taken a gondola ride along the Grand Canal in Venice
  • Had wine at sunset on the tallest rooftop tower in Florence
  • Walked through the Coloseum and Roman Forum
  • Marveled at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
  • Walked through St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Stood under the domed roof of the Pantheon
  • Had gelato on the Spanish Steps
  • Took a passenger ferry in the Cinque Terre
  • Rode an alpine gondola in the Swiss Alps
  • Walked through NotreDame Cathedral
  • Walked down the Champs Elysees
  • Stood on the top of  the Arc de Triomphe
  • Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower

And…

  • Driven all over the southern half of Ireland
  • Stood atop and sailed below the Cliffs of Moher
  • Stayed at the top hotel in the world, the Ashford Castle
  • Visited a U2 exhibit at a little museum in Dublin
  • Marveled at the incomparable & still in-progress La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
  • Visited small towns dabbled throughout the Provence region of France
  • Experienced real lavender from Provence, France
  • Soaked up the sun in the French Riviera, from Nice to Monaco
  • Was overwhelmed by the beauty in Milan, from people to fashion to the Duomo
  • Enjoyed several glorious days on Lake Como, including visiting several lakeside villas
  • Spent a delicious week on the Almalfi coast of Italy
  • Visited the isle of Capri, including the infamous Blue Grotto
  • Made a second trip to Rome, falling in love with the city all over again

Africa:

  • Celebrated the birthday of a young 103 year old Zimbabwe woman
  • Walked with lions, from small cubs to large sub-adults
  • Spent the holidays in Africa with a group of volunteers from around the globe
  • Threw a Christmas celebration at the local orphanage for a bunch of joyful children
  • Rang in the New Year at a musical festival in Victoria Falls
  • Dropped 70 meters into a gorge swing over the Zambezi River
  • Made formula for baby lion cubs & helped introduce them to their first meat
  • Gave medication to full-grown adult lions
  • Helped a team of professionals dart & examine several adult lions
  • Visited both semi-wild lion release sites, the Dambwa and Ngamo prides
  • Gone on amazing game drives in several national parks in three African countries
  • Seen four of the “Big Five”, just missing the ever-illusive leopard
  • Rode an beautiful elephant named “Chibi” (I still have reservations about this)
  • Learned a few basic words & phrases in both Ndebele and Shona languages
  • Had a drumming lesson while eating crocodile and warthog
  • Seen the magnificent Victoria Falls, including a helicopter ride above them
  • Celebrated my 45th birthday with lions & elephants
  • Had my heart stolen by two cats, Stanley and Charlie, and one dog named Goose

 

And the adventure continues…

It’s been beyond what I could have imagined; the vast majority good, a little bit of not so good, but overall, a dream come true.

4 thoughts on “Random Updates & Musings

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