A place that hasn't entered my mind since Heart of Darkness, freshman fall in college - at least not that part of my mind that's personal, adventurous and creative. The genocide in Darfur and famine in Niger go into an entirely different part of my mind. But enough about the negative.
In just 5 short months I'll be spending 6 weeks frolicking, getting bitten by, and changing nappies of baby baboons in South Africa. With my boyfriend.
On (what some might call) a whim, we applied to a volunteer program in a baboon sanctuary. My boyfriend actually heard of the program back in September, but at the time we neither had the time or the money to be able to think about it seriously. With the prospect of me graduating this June and getting a sizable signing bonus from my employer-to-be, we were faced with the dilemma of how best to waste this money without doing something silly like putting it down on a house, investing it, or saving it.
I wanted to go study Buddhism in Thailand. I had made plans to go do just that about a year ago, when I had a term off from college. Instead, I got an internship... by accident. The internship was with my current employer-to-be (who gave me an offer for a full time job at the end of the internship). Thus I figured it was only fair that, having sold my soul to the devil (err.. corporate America) last winter by choosing an internship over Buddhism, that I should redeem myself by at least going to Thailand before I started my full time job at this same employer in the fall.
However, there were a couple of problems with that. Mostly, the fact that I would be leaving my boyfriend back home. I invited him to come along, of course, but Buddhism and Thailand just don't strike his fancy quite in the same way they do mine. To him, it was a huge waste of money (even more so than putting it down on a house).
enter Animal Planet, baboons, and South Africa
We both love animals. A lot.
So I did some quick research and realized that we could afford to do the baboon thing for 6 weeks together. Now I'm not sure if we'll have enough money to put down deposit/security on an apartment we need to rent when we come back so that I can start my new job, but... those are just technicalities and mere details.
Africa, here we come.