Thursday, January 11, 2007

Working World Nostalgia

So I used to have this AMAZING job! I got to spend my days teaching kids and adults all about the natural world using one of the greatest zoos in existence as my resource. I took them on tours through gorilla exhibits, simulated rainforests, snow leopard country, Siberian tiger habitat, etc.etc.etc. I got to go behind the scenes and see animals up close and personal, and was often treated to a viewing of feedings and enrichment sessions. And to top it all off, part of my job description was to be trained on the proper handling and use of a collection of exotic animals for education purposes. These ranged anywhere from birds of prey to snakes to alligators to kinkajous to porcupines, etc.etc.etc. Oh, and get this! They paid me to read books I would read anyway and surf the net doing research on topics I loved. It combined most of my passions: teaching, animals, ecology, psychology, and anthropology to name just a few. It didn't pay so well (teacher's salary), but it was a GREAT JOB! And when you're single with no kids, you find ways to live a little leaner for the sake of passion and happiness. Besides, when you feel like you're making such an enormous contribution to and impact on the world everyday like I did, money was just somethin' you needed to keep the heat on. Anyway, I find myself nostalgic for my old job these days, more than ever. I'm not really sure why. I stopped working 9 days before the birth of my daughter who is now 2years and 4 months old. So you'd think I'd have been hit with the nostalgia bug awhile ago. But I suppose the back to back pregnancies, sleep deprivation, MOUND of dirty diapers, endless breastfeeding and bottles, not to mention the move to another region of the country, has kept me a little distracted...until now.

Don't get me wrong, raising kids is rewarding in its own way, and quite a bit like my old job; dealing with animals, teaching, psychology, etc. But, it's just not the same. I'm starting to wonder if I'm one of those stay-at-home-mommies who's not really at stay-at-home-mommy. I might be more of a part-time-stay-with-the-kids-part-time-stay-at-the-office kind of person. Problem is, zoo jobs don't pay so well, and when there are kids involved, well....the stakes are a bit higher these days. Anyway, here's a glimpse at my former life. You'll actually see some "before" and "after" photos here of me skinny, then REALLY, REALLY pregnant. Check out the face! Sheesh!

That's me holding a juvenile American Alligator for the Girls for Planet Earth educational summit at the Bronx Zoo. (newly engaged and obviously not yet pregnant making this a "before" photo)

A mere year later and I am now holding an American kestrel (bird of prey) and am NOTICABLY pregnant (the "after" photo), 8.5 months to be exact. My supervisors were actually fearful that I'd go into labor right there. MAN...did you ever see anyone get so pregnant in the face!?!

Finally, another "before" photo. This is Jungle World at the Bronx Zoo, my favorite exhibit. It is an encolsed replica of an Asian rainforest and contains a variety of exotic and amazing animals. In this picture, I'm the one in the pink shirt way off to the left, looking noticably older than the teens that surround me, and we're looking up at fruit bats, a blood python, and white cheeked gibbons hanging in the trees above us. I'm telling you, it was an AWESOME job! How many people get paid to go hang out with gibbons and fruit bats? Then again, my current "job" sometimes feels that way. (wink)

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