Now what? haha. Summer vacation is lovely... get up when you want, sleep how much you want, no work, just fun... interestingly enough, I'm glad this will only last about a week. It's nice to get out the Xbox and play games I haven't played in months, sleep 9-10 hours a day, and not have the stress of always having to do something on my mind, but I can't help but feel like I should be doing something... more. I suppose in the end it really is all about balance; in the midst of paper-writing and studying for finals last week, I gladly welcomed days with absolutely nothing on the planner. Now, though, once I've blown up a good share of mutated monsters' heads in Fallout 3 I can't help but desire some sort of structure to my days.
Like I said, though, things are good. I'm leaving for South Africa this Thursday and I'll be there for three weeks. It's a program through U of I about wildlife conservation and management along with learning about the various ecosystems in the region. We'll mainly be in national parks and the last six days or so will be spent hiking and camping... very excited for that. Apparently the trip starts with looking at animals through bars (in an animal rescue center, for example), then looking at them through the Jeep windows, and then seeing them while actually walking around. There's something called the "titanic seat" on the Jeep, which is a seat at the very front of the car, actually on top of the engine area. All of us on the trip (~10) are fortunate enough to get a turn on that seat (:-\)! When we're driving around and passing leopards and elephants, I wouldn't be surprised to feel like I was about to get mauled at any moment. No casualties so far, though, they've said. I won't be taking antimalarial medication because we're going during Africa's winter and mosquitoes aren't active at this time. I did get a hepatitis A shot and am taking an oral typhoid fever vaccine from McKinley, however.
Speaking of Africa's winter, I feel compelled to share something. When I tell people I'm packing for my trip to Africa, they're usually like "oh, so you're bringing lots of shirts and shorts and sun screen, right?" Then I tell them we'll be there during Africa's winter and they say, "oh, so you're bringing lots of sweatshirts and pants and stuff, right?" Turns out that both sun screen and a heavy winter coat are on the packing list. Winter in Africa means the temperature is a little below freezing at night and then over 100F during the day. Yeah. That's insane. Layers, they keep reminding us. I'm really curious about the resilience and determination of life in this climate at such an intense temperature range. These parts of Africa are extremely diverse despite the seemingly unfavorable conditions. If the conditions are predictable and regular, though, it makes sense that something out there found a way to survive in them.
When I get back, I've got a few days to myself and then I'm off to U of I again to take some classes and continue research in my lab. Some of my IBH friends will be around so I'm looking forward to hanging out with them in a non-stressed setting :-) It's looking to be a good summer.
Finally getting some sleep and about to go play some more Xbox (while I still can!),
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