Today, as I stood in my home, I had a view of the neighborhood. Lots of parents were out blowing up balloons in front of one of the houses, while the children ran around. I couldn’t help but feel, that will never be me. I have chosen to never have children. There just isn’t a motherly instinct towards primates at all within me. I’m different that way and because of that, I will never fit in with most people. It’s slowly putting distance between my friends and I, as they begin having children and creating a family. I have very little in common with them now, as their interests are naturally more towards parenting and less about other things in life. When I want to go out on the town, they have children to tend. When I want to go out for a group social, the children need to come too. So, as I look at all my neighbors, they all have one thing in common that I do not, children. I will never be part of that group.
It goes well beyond not wanting to have children that puts me at a distance with a lot of people. I find that in my past, I have made a lot of friends through different interests. One of them, being writing. But, as time passes and my interests begin to change, I find that these things have begun to separate me from a lot of people. Coming to the realization I am no where near as talented a writer as most and can offer nothing valuable to those around me, I have found myself drifting farther and farther into the background.
There is however, a group of people I am completely and totally at home with. Among them, I feel equal. Among them, I feel like I belong. I feel like I bring just as much to the table, as I have taken off of it. I’m at home, with fellow animal caretakers. Before moving to Switzerland, I volunteered at a small zoo back in the states. I loved it there. I fit right in. My skill set was appreciated by everyone there and I got along with everyone. We zoo people are a crazy bunch. We’re able to laugh at things together, that other people just wouldn’t understand. No matter how crazy or different we were, there was a common thread that kept us all linked together, that unconditional, unrelenting determination to take care of the animals under our care to the best of our abilities, no matter how shitty our pay was or how overworked we were.
While I was at school and completing the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program, I worked damn hard. I put all I had into it. Studied hard, did as I was told, and made sure to complete all that was necessary of me. At the end of it, my hard work paid off. I didn’t have to run around screaming, “look at me! Look at me! Look what I did over here!” Someone was already watching and observing and it rewarded me with being blessed with some of the most amazing animal experiences I have ever had. I was rewarded the care and training of the only sea lion on the campus, an honor sought by nearly all the students, (about 50 a year) but only given to 4. Needless to say, you had to have a perfect record and great grades. My hard work awarded me many wonderful opportunities during my second year of school.
I may be a little sensitive right now. I’ve just got home from 9 days of being surrounded by a lot of friends, only to come home and have my husband leave on his own 2 week trip. I am alone right now, except for the “kids”. In my darkest hour, I find it impossible to believe I will ever fit in with a life here in Switzerland. I don’t speak the local language, yes that can be changed, though it is proving to be a long journey for me. I have friends, but not the kind I hang out with on a regular basis and lately trying to sort out a time to get together has felt like pulling teeth. I think my only hope to have a life here is if I get a job. But can I? I don’t speak swiss german. Will that hinder me? Is it possible for me to find an animal related job while not speaking the local language? Any place like an animal shelter/ holiday kennel would probably not hire me. Not if my job duties require me to speak with clients. Dog training is a big deal here since every dog owner is required to take a minimum amount of classes, but in order for me to be a certified dog trainer, I would need the proper training and certifications, which I’m certain need to be done in their language. However, after achieving that, I’m confident an english speaking dog trainer would be in demand in this country. I’m not too keen on dog training though, as it is very little about actually doing dog training, as it is more training a human being how to communicate and work with their dog. I suppose I could possibly get into animal care in a more science based facility. English is a very common language amongst scientists. My biggest hurdle is myself and the language. Can I actually achieve a life here?
Right now, it just feels impossible and I am extremely lonely and just feel like an outsider and yet, would being in the states actually make me feel less of an outsider?
© Semi-Charmed Life