Hey world… so it’s only been a few (cough) months. What happened? Well… life happened. Family and close friends know the gist of things, but for those of you missing out I’ll give you a brief summary of the past half a year. My mom was diagnosed with cancer just prior to me leaving for Namibia, and she made me promise up and down that I would not change my plans and that I would still leave and follow my dreams of living in Africa. It was still extremely difficult, she actually underwent surgery to try to remove the tumor while I was flying from the US to London to South Africa, and finally to Namibia. Unfortunately, it was not possible for them to remove all of the tumor. After talking with my sister and my aunt in November, I had come to the harsh realization that this upcoming Christmas very might be the last one I get to share with my mom. My Aunt Sandy as my Christmas gift, bought me a ticket to visit for the holiday and gave me the most wonderful gift of being able to spend Christmas with mom and my family. Hearing about everything going on from across the world is one thing, but actually seeing it is completely different. When I returned back to Namibia in January, I was just not able to focus on what was happening around me, my heart was still back in Poolesville. Mom contacted me to let me know that she would be starting hospice care soon and that finalized what my heart had been telling me. I chose to leave CCF and Namibia at the beginning of February and come home to spend what time I could with my mom and help out around the house as needed. Leaving Africa was so hard, but I knew that I would be back and I knew that the place I needed to be was home.
It was 110% the right decision, I am so extremely grateful to have been able to spend those 2 ½ months with my mom, and nothing can ever take that away. Mom passed away on 13th of April surrounded by her family and loved ones. Losing a parent is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. My mom was the greatest superhero that I have ever met. I miss her every single day. I am comforted to know that she is always with me, and always will be.
Okay. Deep breaths.
The week after mom’s funeral I received super exciting news. I had been chosen out of 115 applicants to interview for a research assistant position at Panthera!! Quickly, go google Panthera. And no Matt, not Pantera. But go check them out. I’ll wait.
This is the big leagues for cat conservation!! This is THE dream. My interview took place over Skype at 2am my time, because… oh yeah, I forgot to mention – this position is located in Cape Town, South Africa! Despite being 2am, I thought the interview went really well. And it did! After a week which had felt like all eternity, I heard back from my interviewer, Dr Ross Pitman. They wanted to offer me the position!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (x100 !)
Next thing I knew, and with a little feeling of deja vu, I was planning to move to Africa within a three-week time span. Cape Town, is a major city and very different than living in the bush in Namibia, so Diesel will be joining me on this adventure! Unfortunately, there is a whole lotta paper work involved in importing a dog from the US to South Africa which takes some time. While I am currently writing you from a very lovely Air BnB in Cape Town, Diesel is still in Maryland. Once all his paperwork goes through and I can find someone willing to come out and visit me that doesn’t mind traveling with a dog (any takers?), he will be joining me!
I arrived very late last night, so I am still more or less just recovering from jetlag and trying to orient myself a bit. The hosts that I am staying with, Jeanne-Marie, Wicus, and their chocolate lab Moscow, are so incredible friendly and have helped make the whole process a million times easier (and with a smile)! Cape Town looks incredible, I live just down the road from Table Mountain, then again most of Cape Town does. I am about 10 minutes from the beach, and less than 3 km away from my office at UCT. Perfect! 🙂 I walked down to the main road this morning and did a little grocery shopping, but apparently the rains have followed me from the US and a big storm is coming in. And that is why I am currently sitting at my computer instead of out and about exploring. But, everyone is very grateful for the rain since Cape Town is currently in the worst drought in over 100 years!
Jeanne-Marie and Wicus are taking me out exploring tomorrow and then I start work on Monday. So I should have some new things to write about very soon!
Until then, cheers!