Monday, July 18, 2011

the countdown begins...

So I leave for Vietnam in exactly 35 days. WOW! It seems so soon. I feel like there was not much time given to prepare to move to a different country for ten months.  I played the waiting game for so long and I didn't want to jinx myself by starting to prepare earlier than necessary. Now I feel like I am cramming everything in at the last minute. Not to mention trying to move out of my Chicago apartment back home to Ohio. Plus there are a million things on my Chicago "bucket list" I am trying to do before I leave. I really don't know when or if I am coming back here :( It makes me sad to think about because I have really enjoyed my 4 years here. They have truly been life changing and have set the stage for the years to come.

I am leaving for Vietnam on August 22nd at 7AM from the Dayton airport. Then I fly to Chicago and leave for my 17 hour flight to Hong Kong. That should be interesting. And then I finally arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at 10PM. Still don't know exactly what I am doing when I get there. Probably stay in a hotel for the first few days -- but hopefully I can keep my stuff at my institution where I am staying in the guest house. I don't know if it is going to be ready yet when I arrive.

I am looking forward to exploring the city a little bit though before things officially start. I have to fly to Hanoi on the 28th for our orientation which will be nice to meet some other people who may be living in Saigon with me. But then it is back to Saigon to kick off my project! It seems so surreal that this is actually going to happen.

I have been getting some snazzy equipment ready for my fieldwork. Sorry I don't have my camera with me right now to show you pictures of any of it.  But I got some really nice hiking boots, hiking backpack, and a rain coat that doesn't feel like you are wearing a rain coat. I still think I am being naive about the hikes through the forests. I am going to need to get some sort of lightweight pants to wear while hiking. Something tells me my pale little legs filled with sugary-southern blood are not going to withstand the massive amounts of bugbites with just a thin layer of bug spray. AHHH.

As for my little birdies--my lab mentor, Dr. Reddy, has been super helpful in getting me squared away with things that I need and it definitely helps that she is preparing for a field trip to Mozambique. Our minds are in the same place. So here is what I am hoping is going to happen with my field projects (this is a work in progress and I am sure will require much tweaking after the first run of things):

  1. Set up mist nets in various spots to see what birds fly into them and perhaps target birds by playing their songs to make them come out and investigate. However, I read up on a whole ethics debate about this and playback calls are quite the debate. Never thought about it before but it is something to keep in mind.
  2. Once the birds are in the net, we will take them out, take measurements and weight and mark the location--maybe clip a feather to make sure we don't catch the same one again. It would be nice to collect a feather too!
  3. Let the little birdie fly away! Hopefully I can do all of the above in < 5 minutes so the bird is not too stressed out. I am getting some practice with this a week from Monday. So hopefully I won't be totally clueless. 
Vietnamese classes are coming along slowly but surely. Next week will probably be my last one unfortunately :( I am going to miss Mr. Long. We'll hopefully have some sort of celebration!

Okay--I am out until next time!

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