So, four months later and I'm back. And if it's true that home is where the heart is, then I'm definelty not only back, I'm back home.
In some ways not a lot has changed since this summer. The people are the same, the tigers are the same (with a few additions) and the atmosphere is the same. It's like I never left, and it feels just like coming home should feel like. On the other hand, there has been changes and there has been progress. The lions just came out of their cages for the first time, and even though they're still ajusting to their new life and haven't taken full advantage of the enclosure yet, it is amazing to see them outside enjoying the feel of grass beneath their paws. Right now I'm actually sitting on the skywalk above tiger island, monitoring the lions' behaviour. The sun is baking and the lions are about as active as I want to be right now.
Inside tiger island several of the tiger enclosures have also been strengthened and several more of the older tigers get out to play every day. They're let out and left to be big cats by themself. They run around the enclosures, jumping trees, jumping eachother. And wouldn you believe – when it's time to get them back in beofre the afternoon programs start, they run back inside their cages or is led in with little hassle at all. No problem seeing that they're pretty happy with their new arrangement.
My babies from this summer has grown big and strong, but are still very nice babies, and some of them I still hang out with every day at breakfast. Hiccup, or Nua Mek II, has gotten pretty big compared to the little kitten he was four months ago, but is still super cute and very nice to handle. My very favorite, Nua Mek I, doesn't come to the sala every day, but when he does he's a perfect little gentleman and behaves like a star pupil. He just turned a year and will still try to sit in your lap.
Now this is my third time volunteering at the temple, and it seems it just gets better every time. Of course it helps knowing the people who work here, but also the feeling of getting more and more comfortable aroung the cats is really an amazing thing. Remembering how big I though seven month old Saifa was the first time I was here, makes it a little funny how I now feel perfectly at ease around the ones that are a year and older. Still a long way to go before I'm a full blown tiger girl, but I'm pretty happy with my tiger journey so far. Hopefully I'll be back again in not too many months, and I can keep on working on my tiger whisperer skills.
And so, in other news.. The nights have been pretty cold here, and I've been sleeping with a pair of sweat pants, a hoodie and three blankets. Bad viking? I think so! The days on the other hand are pretty hot, and there has been no rain so far. It's definetly a lot more enjoyable than temperatures below zero and snow back in Norway.
Today is Decemeber 18, which means christmas is right around the corner. To no great surprise I haven't really gotten into the right jolly spirit just yet. The heat, the tigers and the general feel of being in Thailand aren't exactly things that scream out christmas to me. I did bring some christmas comics, some chocolate and christmas soda from Norway and I'm sure I will enjoy it in the next few days even it the christmas feeling isn't quite there. We're also going to be having a christmas party with the volunteers ans staff, which I'm sure is going to be pretty amazing. Most fun gang of people to party with ever!
So, finally a little update from this side of the world. Hopefully the internet will let me check my facebook and email from time to time, allthough it hasn't really been working too well so far.
And this was actually posted two days after I wrote it because of that stupid internet.. Tomorrow's my day off though, so hopefully more updates then! :)