Klaudia Tondos (intern)
New Years celebrations are usually a time to reminisce about the past year and look ahead to the challenges and joys to come. For me, the beginning of 2019 also happens to mark half a year of my WSC adventure.
When I arrived at the Wolf Science Center in July, summer was in full blast and everyone was practically melting in the hot weather. The very first days were quite hectic, as they often are. I had to quickly learn about all the rules and customs, get used to the bloody procedure of wolves dinner preparation and face the challenge of driving a pickup truck that is three times the size of my usual car. But even with all those challenges my new countryside life quickly started to feel homely. And after my first wolfish kiss (thank you, Tala and Chitto! :)) I was definitely hooked!
Then came autumn - my favourite season! - with her crisp colours and romantic scenery. I instantly fell in love with the colorful forest. Pretty soon the days became shorter and the wolves became fluffier. As we do not observe or test our animals after sunset, I quickly learnt that shortening of the day means having to squish the same amount of work in much more restricted time frame. However, there was a huge benefit of that! In our humble students house, long gloomy evenings quickly turned into movie and game nights, and noone was really complaining.
And finally the winter arrived. The wolves became incredibly huge and majestatic, compared to their Summer selves (except for our one-and-only Taima, who insists on howling like an adorable angry chicken and rocks her scruffy dog look no matter the season!). The dogs are happily using every opportunity to frolic in the snow. Two-legged staff members also seem cheerful and happy… Well, except when it’s time to shovel our way through the impressive snowdrifts. Or spend hours battling the elements during the whole day of experiments and observations. Work in wintertime is much more physically demanding than in the warmer months, and it often makes me appreciate that my own project requires so much time in front of the computer. ;)
I came to the conclusion that 2018 was one of the best years of my life, and it was mainly thanks to the WSC. I made some wonderful friendships, which I hope will survive even after my internship is over. I experienced amazing things that I never thought could happen to me. Which doesn’t mean there were no bad moments. With animals, most days nothing goes according to the plan; sometimes it felt stressful and overwhelming. And then some things were just horrible: like in August, when we had to say a final goodbye to lovely she-wolf Ela. Despite this tragedy, I feel grateful that I had a chance to know her for a least a few weeks. All in all, I’m glad for all the little things: the good ones that made me happier and the bad ones that made me stronger.