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  • Writer's pictureKrista N Oswald

Life is a carousel

The past week has been full of ups and downs, or as I like to call it –– being a PostGrad in a foreign country. Don’t get me wrong, there are more benefits than pitfalls, or I wouldn’t be here, but it’s not all funtimes in the mountains. Sometimes I have to earn my keep.

Firstly the “downs”. Last Monday I came to the realisation that I was going to have to spend 6-8 weeks longer in Canada than I had planned. My “short trip” home to visit my husband, canoe through bogs looking for moose, and attend my aunts’ wedding, was going to involve police clearances and visits to consulates.

What it comes down to is that Ben (Smit) was presented with a far better work opportunity at Rhodes University, and I jumped at the opportunity to join him. Neither of us was really aware of what this would require, and we unfortunately found out too late for me to deal with it appropriately. Long story short, I need a new PhD visa (that says “Rhodes” not “NMMU”), and the most parsimonious (and most legitimate) way to achieve this is to get the paperwork complete while I’m in Canada. I’m so glad I arranged for volunteers to arrive mid-September to expedite data collection, as I may not be back in time.


The “ups” on the other hand, included a very productive trip to Cape Town and submitting a paper. I was asked to present at the monthly meeting for the Tygerberg Bird Club (past –– and potentially future –– donors to the rockjumper project; pictured above), and when Susie (Cunningham) found out we arranged for me to do a run through the day before at the Fitzpatrick Institute (part of UCT campus pictured below).

I’m so glad she did, as my 45-minute presentation lasted all of 15 minutes (whoops). However, with excellent advice and discussion with the Fitz-onians (as always), I added a multitude of slides to bring it up to 35-minutes when I presented for the TBC, which included my being able to show off some photos from around the Fynbos. Still not 45, but I’m not sure I could ever speak for that long (and who would listen haha).

I also managed to submit a paper on PIT-tag risk assessment, co-authored by Ângela (my genetics collaborator), Anthony (Ben’s 2016 Honours student), and Ben himself. Wish us luck!

I also snuck in some birding with Campbell Fleming (a colleague from UCT) at Strandfontein (pictured way up top with flamingos), ate some great food, and attended a DNA workshop.

Thanks Cape Town!

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