Wednesday, June 29, 2011

no longer homeless

I have good news and bad news.

First, the good news. I have a place to live!!!!! I am officially staying in the guest house of the institution from which I am working.  I have been e-mailing back and forth with my mentors abroad and they helped me get set up with one of the rooms they have there.  It is fully furnished and has its own fridge, TV, private bathroom, and most importantly....WIFI!!!! I was a little worried about whether I would be able to find that or not.  Another great thing about the place is that it is in walking distance from where I am working so that will help me feel more at ease when I arrive.

Okay, now the bad news. Could visas be any more of a pain? I am getting a little worried. My first application I submitted, I made a couple of errors.  I did not select to be a multi-entry visa student so that it would allow me to travel to different countries while abroad. Oops. I wrote down my starting date waaaay too late (but this was before I knew that Fulbright was going to fly me from Saigon to Hanoi and back for orientation). Another oops. I want to get to Saigon a few days earlier because it will allow me to move my stuff in and explore my surroundings a little bit.  And finally, I smiled in my visa picture and apparently was not supposed to? I guess, yet again, oops.So I resubmitted a second application a few days ago and my response back was that "things will hopefully work out". So....we will see. I am keeping my fingers crossed.  This just reminds me of the time that I was waiting for my passport before my trip to Europe. It literally showed up in the mail two days before I had to leave. ARGGH.

I guess I should fill you in a little bit about my project. I am going to be working at the Institute of Tropical Biology's Center for Biodiversity and Development in Ho Chi Minh City. !!!!!! I am so excited. To sum up my project in a nut shell, I will be doing a current assessment of various bird distributions throughout Vietnam and georeferencing the localities of each bird of interest that I come across.  In addition to this, I will be visiting various museums throughout Vietnam to look at the specimen collections they have in order to map where particular bird species have been found in the past. (FYI, the Vietnamese word for "bird" is "chim"--it is such a delightful word). Then, I can (hopefully) draw some conclusions about how boundaries have changed over time and possibly predict areas of high priority that are in need of conservation. It is somewhat of a branch off of what I am doing as a research project right now, but I am actually going to be getting some awesome field experience. I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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