Only 5 days left to go... these last 4 weeks have passed faster than ever. Having so many people around the base made everything so much more fun and stimulating! I practically finished my divemaster course a couple days ago: done all the tests, passed all the exams, drawn all the maps, and saved all the drowning divers... we'll be celebrating this weekend. Yay! :-D Ellen will also be joining in on the celebrations for her Open Water Diver certification, her fist step in her zero to hero journey (from non diver to divemaster in 6 months).
The past week has been all about dive training and species recognition lessons: Ellen did her Open Water, Caroline her Advanced and the others started studying for their Rescue Diver course. Everyone learned how to identify the different species of invertebrates, fish and substrates and started testing out the new survey methodology. I've been assisting on all the courses, giving me the chance to see how it feels like to be on the teaching side of the lesson. I've been enjoying it a lot and i would love to continue my own training by becoming a dive instructor and being able to certify friends and family.
Talking about the future... remember last post when I said there might be an opportunity for me to come back? Well, its now official! Shallow Waters asked me to come back next year as their Science Officer once Marina leaves (in May-June 2014). The only catch is that I have to do my Dive Instructor Course first, but that's no big deal, especially since I was already thinking about doing it even before they said anything.
Things really seem to be falling into place. I remember when I was leaving Italy three months ago saying that the best outcome would have been to stay here working for them. It was just a dream back then, but its almost become reality now! The contract wold be for a whole year... and it's a bit scary to think about. I've only been here 3 months and i'm already starting to miss the commodities of the civilized world... good internet connection, entertainment, good food, wine... not to talk about friends and family; but it would be the opportunity of a lifetime. After a year here I could finally say I have some real experience in the marine conservation field and i could apply to all those jobs that consider me inexperienced now. The more i think about it the more i believe it would be the perfect stepping stone for my career.
But lets go one step at a time. First of all: roadtrip around Cambodia. I'll leave Koh Sdach with Marina and Jess on the 28th to go to back to Phnom Penh; we'll stay there till the 31st, when Jess will go back to England, Marina will come back to SW headquarters and I will start my actual roadtrip. First destination will be south-eastern Cambodia; I'll stay around Kampot and Kep for about 5 days and then I'll go to Battambang and Siem Reap, in the north-western part of the country. The bulk of my trip will be in Siem Reap for sure, in the temple city of Angkor Wat. I'll stay there almost a whole week before moving first to Kampong Cham, then to Kratie and finally to Boeng Yeak Lom, in the far north-eastern tip of Cambodia. These regions are known for their wonderful river scenaries (Mekong River), untouched lakes and sky high waterfalls, but i'll tell you more when I'll get there (or better, i'll let my camera tell you more).
On one side i'm really sad i'm leaving Koh Sdach, but on the other hand i really cant wait to go on this adventure and see all these spectacular places.
I'm also getting quite excited about coming back home, and I really wasn't expecting this feeling. I mean, of course I've missed my family and friends, but this wasn't much different to my trip to Brazil... and way shorter too... I din't feel this way after 3 months being there... I wonder what's different... of if something changed in me. Who knows.
Still, i cant wait to come back home and go out for a big nice dinner with all my family and friends, enjoying some good wine and the best company in the world.
This post is starting to get way too long... I still have a lot to tell you all but I'll try to spread it out with the following posts. I think i won't bring my PC along with me on my roadtrip (to save backpack space) but i can still post from my phone... i'll try to write something every day to keep you all updated on my location but don't expect the posts to be long or fancy (since i cant really control the page format from my phone). You'll probably find a post with only text and then a couple more posts with only a photo... i'll do my best to keep the blog simple and organized and in the worst case i'll just reformat everything once i get back to Phnom Penh on the 17th-18th before catching my flight. Also, the photo gallery won't get updated until i get my hands back on my PC... i'm sorry... but i really need the space in my tiny backpack for my clothes. :-P
I'll still post some low-res pic from my phone though.