Sunday, August 10, 2008

And So it Begins...

9:41pm and this is my second take at this blog post. Damn you Blogger!

I'm sitting here at the computer, with the Olympics playing in the background. Don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Tag was an Olympic hopeful (Gold Medalist in AAU Nationals.) As such, he has several friends on the American Tae Kwon Do team, and he fervantly cheers on other American competitors. Through his passion, I have been able to view the Olympics as I never have before, through new eyes, filled with hope and pride. It has been a moving experience. However, as thrilling as it may prove to be, it does not keep me from near jumping out of my skin because tomorrow.... school begins.

The road here has seemed so endless. As a young girl, I wanted to be a dolphin & whale trainer. However, the fact that it seemed to require a lot of marine biology scared me away. So I turned to less cerebral, more instinctive pursuits... namely Theatre. And don't get me wrong, Theatre is still one of my greatest loves. There is no feeling like being on stage. But she has proven an unfaithful mistress, sometimes embracing me tightly to her bosom, other times kicking me in the teeth. And I was just not made for the "Business" of Show Business, particularly not here in Los Angeles, where no one is allowed to age or eat. Too many nights, I have sat by the proverbial phone, waiting for the promised call, only to go to bed late, teary-eyed and alone.

Whenever Theatre (or the rest of my uneven love life) left me broken and alone, animals have always been a source of joy and comfort. Nikki, my dear soulmate, has saved my life more times than I count. Beaker is a great spirit clown who has taught me to laugh at the simplest things. And when all else failed, I have often treated myself to a soul-inspiring trip to the Zoo.

Therefore,it is no surprise that when in 2004 my best friend said "Make a list of the things that make you truly happy, and then create a job from that," "working with animals" topped the list (followed closely by "working outside.") However, simply making those discoveries does not place all the yellow bricks in the road. My research took me high and low, searching for the best training programs for zoo keeping, or in-field observation and rehabilitation. Eventually, through one recommendation and the next, I came across the EATM program. Now all I had to do was apply, play my odds with the lottery admissions, find the finances to pay for 2 years of life with school but no job, AND complete the intensive 22 month program. I applied in late 2004 for the 2005 admissions, only to find myself 15th on the waiting list, short on cash and mired in a lousy job.

Flash ahead 3 years. Years filled with further research, paying off debts, & finding a boyfriend who not only encouraged my passion but promised to help me with living expenses. Lady Luck granted me grace with the admissions process, and friends have been nothing but enthusiastically encouraging, reassuring me that they are proud of me, they are excited for me, and they respect the fact that I am following a too long surpressed dream. From the little girl who dreamed of training whales, to the 36 year old woman, nervously giving voice to her "back to school" jitters... I can hardly believe my journey, my luck, my future.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, and keep your internets tuned to this bat channel. I'll do my best to blog all the ups and downs, so that you too can take this facinating roller coaster ride with me. They tell me dreams come true. They tell me to believe. I've been waiting a long time for those promises to be made manifest. Tomorrow, I walk trhough a door untried.... and find out what wonders are on the other side.

1 comment:

Ark Lady said...

I'm a graduate of EATM. Sending you good thoughts but if you don't get in there are other options. I write a series on Unusual Animal Careers and will be releasing a eBook on other options in the near future.