Isolated thoughts

Category: Stories

For the lost and abandoned

I spent my Tuesday on an alpaca farm and with my friends.

Woke up at 5am, checked the patients and then caught the train to the city before taking the one from the city down to Mandurah. The train ride was quite relaxing and wonderful at that time, since most of the world wasn’t up yet and travelling to the regional areas of WA. I was enjoying my music, and reading the introduction to Wuthering Heights on my kindle as I made my way down.

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Taban picked me up from the train station and we drove about 20-30 minutes to the farm. When we arrived we were greeted by the strangest assortment of dogs – a border collie that was obsessed with the game of fetch, and a tiny doggo that liked pats.

We went into the shearing shed and helped to herd the alpacas into little pens. The white ones had to be separated from the greys, browns and blacks as their fleece are of different value.

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Little crias (baby alpacas) which make the strangest, cutest whines.

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After shearing all the adults and the little crias, we had lunch, and boy was I starving. It was wonderful being fed all sorts of fresh produce, and I had honeydew! It’s been quite some time since I’ve had so hearty a meal, and if this is what I will have when I go for more farm pracs I cannot wait.

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The little doggo.

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After we had finished shearing the males after lunch, we went around the farm feeding the weaners and those being halter trained. I was sitting on a hay bale on the back of a truck, and it was exciting to say the least.

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We were treated to an autopsy of a cria later, and learnt that they had some unique features – their liver and the coiled colon. Alpacas are pseudo-ruminants so they have 3 compartments to their ‘stomach’. Had a mini quiz at the place as well since there were skeletal remains scattered around the whole field. Am horrible at recognising the bones but it was still insightful. Got to bring some samples back (for educational purposes) as well! How cool is that?!

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I came back to get my assignment for the night, showered and then drove over for a Christmas dinner with my friends. It was lovely, and I had a wonderful time. Drove back at night and it was scary for my contact lenses were so dry, astigmatism makes the road lights shine too bright, and I stalled and kinda panicked on the steep slope when leaving the highway. Thankful for the guy who reversed and asked if I needed any help – and waited with me to make sure I made it safely through that wretched place.

Last night I had a visitor: little Rocket! He’s a spoodle: spaniel x poodle cross, and since he has some poodle in him, I was so very excited.

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Little bugger took over my pillow at one point in time.

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And this morning, Morrie decided to nap on my bed too. My bed has officially become a resting place for wayward animals. Please, all of you just make yourselves welcome.

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If this is the life I will lead, I will be satisfied.

When my self belief wasn’t scarred by the modern itch

I have literally spent the day studying and learning about soils and pastures. It is all so new to me, and rather intuitive at times and I get extremely frustrated. I’m almost done with all the learning objectives though…almost. I have another 24 hours to cram it down and regret my foolishness for the past week. But I suppose that this happens to the most determined of us – we get distracted or prioritise other happenings in life, or we simply need a break.

I spent my Tuesday and Friday of my study break volunteering at the Perth Royal Show. Having read stories about fairs and shows since I was young, it felt very surreal to walk into the show grounds (they were huge!) and take in the scene of horses trotting about the huge oval. I also saw a little Clydesdale, it was wonderful. I felt so jealous of the riders at that point in time, for it has been my childhood dream to own a pretty pony and ride it whenever I like. I also yearn for that special bond between a horse and its one and only rider.

I helped out at the cattle judging. I also helped out at the cavies and rabbits petting section. We had to sit the children (or big kids) down and get them a towel and an animal. The guinea pigs were adorable, and reminded me of my previous guinea pigs. The rabbits were so soft and adorable. The eager kids, shy children and loving parents made it slightly more meaningful and bearable. My heels were dying at the end but I managed to wander around the fair for a good bit before heading home. I wanted to buy churros back for my roommates but they said that they didn’t have a bag and that I should finish it on the spot. So I ate churros as the sky darkened and it rained. I quite liked enjoying the fair alone. Its nice just having the time to watch showjumping, for example, and not feel afraid that my companion is feeling bored out of their mind.

I had wonderful conversations and learnt a fair bit about cattle at the fair. An elderly gentleman was asking me about what I am studying and we joked about me becoming a racehorse vet whilst moonlighting as a jockey since I have the build for it. That was 8 year old Jolyn’s dream – a dangerous dream, but a dream nonetheless. We laughed about me being too short to rectally examine a cow, which may very well come true but I’m sure there’s a way around it! I love the passion the people had for the animals and what they do; we have very different yet connected realities and I absolutely love it. He asked about Singapore’s education system, which I was more than happy to share about. He offered us kids ice cream, but the cold is disagreeable for me so I declined.

Wednesday I spent on the farm learning about dangerous things and basically how to stay safe. The kids followed us around and were an adorable disruption. “Now no saying that the goat ate your homework guys”, the instructor said. I wish I could own a goat…and a horse, and a dog, cat, guinea pig and maybe a couple of sheep just for fun. I asked my mom and she said that I needed to settle my living situation first. I take that as a yes, so here’s to getting a guinea pig or a hamster in the near future hooray!

I had to take the bus on Thursday for an interview, and the bus drivers that I met were so sweet. “Hop on love, we’ll leave in a couple of minutes” “Sit in front, so you can see the street names” “You’re going to the vet’s aren’t you? It should be just that way.” “Have a good day love” It really made my day – the kindness that people shower me with every single day makes me feel like I need to be a better person. I want to spread this kindness and love too.

Saturdays mean bootcamp. And boy, was my ass kicked again. It was so cold and windy, and my lungs were burning because I was pushing myself. But I absolutely love it. I really like having an instructor correcting your techniques and movement. Some people don’t really execute exercises properly, which takes away the effectiveness of it. But with the presence of a trainer to push you and challenge you it makes it so much better. The trainer keeps saying how he’s not sure if I’m being pushed by the exercises cause I look okay. But boy, am I absolutely dying inside.

If anything, I’m going to turn up for the remaining 6 weeks to get my ass handed to me and I’ll enjoy it. I’ll choose fitness over laziness everyday, thank you. And I’m going to tip bigger sheep…I swear.

On to week 10!