Behind the Scenes.

As excited as I am to have moved from the Quad Cities back to Memphis, there are some real bitter parts to that sweetness.  One thing, leaving friends and family behind.  That's never fun.  I hate missing out on my friends & family members' happenings and though I didn't make as much effort as I should have to be a part of their lives regularly, I always knew the distance between us was measured in minutes and single digit miles.  Another thing I've been missing a lot lately is work.  I had this amazing opportunity to work at a zoo for a few months and it was even better than it sounds.  I loved the people who visited the zoo, the folks I worked with on a daily basis, and of course the animals.  Overall, the experience was just fantastic and I was genuinely happy to go in to work and be there everyday.  I didn't have a position that would have worked long term for our family, so I know I wouldn't have been there forever, but I sure do miss it now and I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  That's why when I came across this entry in my drafts folder, I decided to finally publish it now.

To preface, I wrote this November 1, 2013 & had every intention of adding more details and publishing the entry back then, but with so much going on in such a little time, it slipped through the cracks.  I haven't touched the entry since I first started writing it so it isn't perfect or really even complete - but I wanted to share it nonetheless.

So, I work at a zoo.  And it's the first time I've ever worked at one.  The more I think I know about the zoo and zoos in general, the more I find out I am actually still so clueless.  Today was one of the most awesome work experiences I've ever had.  Ever!

Let me explain by telling you I work in the administration building at this zoo.  That means I am not an animal handler and therefore don't have any super cool opportunities to see what goes on behind the scenes.  Any animal interaction I've had thus far is really just what any zoo goer has the opportunity to do - aside from the fact that I get to conduct the twice daily giraffe feeding (which is just as amazing as it sounds).

A few days ago one of my supervisors asked if I had ever been behind the scenes of any of the exhibits at work.  I told him no but that is something I would love to do.  He told me that one of the perks of working at a zoo should be getting to see all kinds of things that go on in a day and honestly, I couldn't agree more!  For me, this is more than likely going to be a once in a lifetime experience for me.  I tried not to get my hopes up in case this was to fall through, but low and behold he followed through with his word! 

We went behind the scenes of the giraffe barn, which is what I wanted to see the most.  After helping conduct the giraffe encounter many many times a week since the end of July, I really was interested to see the inner workings for the hoovestock keepers.  Also, since the zoo season for us ended last weekend, it has been a week since my last giraffe encounter so I am really missing those beautiful animals!  To go through one of my favorite animals exhibit from behind the scenes was incredible... to do so with our assistant zoo director in tow just added even more to the experience!

After that, we headed to the colobus (monkey) indoor exhibit which was even cooler than the last behind the scenes tour!!!!  Our assistant zoo director told us not to make direct eye contact with the monkeys because they would interpret that as threatening or challenging.  He also told us to stay back away from the barrier because the monkeys may try to grab/injure us.  This was not what I expected to hear at all!  When you go to the zoo and you see the monkeys in the exhibit they seem so friendly.  The monkeys will literally come right up to the window and seemingly play around with you in their outdoor exhibit.  Oh, and I make eye contact with them ALL THE TIME!  So yeah, needless to say, this was one of those moments where I just realized I was very clueless about these animals I feel like I've grown to know.

Like I said, it was a super cool experience and one of my favorite days while working at the zoo.  I miss it and everyone there all the time and wish like hell it was a place I could have worked for tons of years!  And even before working at the zoo, we were members for years and have SO many great memories out there.

In the grand scheme of things, it didn't work out for me to work there very long... but it doesn't stop me from thinking of everyone, missing the atmosphere, and really reflecting back on how great an experience it was.  Hopefully someday soon I will be able to put the focus on a fulfilling career for myself... as important as it is that either Tony or I stay home with our kids (IF POSSIBLE!), it doesn't keep me from having additional dreams for myself and my future.

PS, you know how I said there were SWEET parts of moving to Memphis from the QC??  Well that definitely includes missing out on all the snow they keep getting!  Holy moly!  Living closer to our family and friends here after being away from them for 5 years has been so great.  We have so much to catch up on and look forward to and I am so thankful for all the opportunities that have been placed before us both then and now!


  1. Thanks for sharing wonderful information, it is really nice information.

  2. What a cool experience!! That sounds like an awesome job, Ali!


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