Monday, 4 February 2013
My name is Minke Witteveen. Minks and Minkles to friends and family. I was born in Durban and grew up in Westville. I was a kid who loved playing in the garden rather than with Barbie dolls, wore shorts rather than dresses, and spent copious hours reading. Not much has changed. My love of the natural world stems from my dad, who is a naturalist who knows something about everything. So at the end of my final year in high school, with a love for and strength in Biology, I decided to register for a general BSc, majoring in Genetics and Zoology. As Zoology was only offered in Pietermaritzburg my first major life change was undertaken. A family trek of 45 minutes was made to move yours truly, at the tender age of 18, to my new home at The YW in Pietermaritzburg, which was also occupied by 5 other females. I was concerned. Four years and an Honours degree later, I am so glad I moved out of home and have loved living with a bunch of wonderful and diverse girls. My university experience at UKZN PMB has been amazing. There have been highs and lows, but the experiences and opportunities I have had, the people I have met and the lessons I have learnt have really made it worthwhile. The growth and self discovery that occurs at university is astounding. And now the new chapter of my life begins. My new journey begins. More specifically, at 04h30 on the 5th of January 2013 two heavily laden vehicles left Westville for a 2 day trip to Plettenberg Bay. It is here that I will spend the next two years studying Kelp Gulls, Larus dominicanus, for my MSc, registered through UCT. Weeks of organising and packing and buying and furnishing my house to be culminated in an afternoon of packing cars, and all of a sudden we were on the road. It has been an emotional time, leaving behind deep friendships and special people, but today I have had the first stirrings of true excitement. To speed through this beautiful South African landscape, to see bright yellow sunflowers bobbing around and sprays of purple and blue flowers on the roadside and breathe deep. What an amazing country to be working in, what an amazing time to start something new!