If I had a time machine....

....to write myself a letter a year ago today.... it would go something like this:

Dear Nicole,

It's August 8th, 2009, and you have just arrived in Madagascar and are super scared but are trying to act cool like you're not.
Drop the act, your eyes give it all away. There's no need to be scared! Everything will be fine!

You are about to embark on the craziest year of your life. I know, you didn't think that life could get any crazier than it has been. It does.

I've put together a list of just a few of the things you can expect along with a little advice:

  • FYI, A bucked filled with water is not not for flushing a toilet when there is no running water like you would think - it's to clean yourself self off after using the toilet.
  • It's not necessary to throw rocks at geckos when they take up residence on the outside door of your house. They are harmless.
  • Culture Shock is a real thing. You'll have some pretty big highs and lows... just like life of a non-expat... but ... different..
  • Not all Tuesdays will always suck. A lot of them will, though.
  • You will get sick. A lot. But in January, you'll get really sick and want to go home. Just tough it out...and suffer for three weeks...it will make you stronger and each time you get sick after that, the recovery time will be less and less.
  • You will be so incredibly homesick for your Canadian family and friends....(it's because they are just so darn awesome!!). You'll start to get used to the feeling, but it never goes away...
  • You'll show everyone that you can roll with the big boys. The crazy waves won't make you puke (unlike some of the boys), and you'll catch the biggest fish!!
  • You will have the best, most fabulous 30th birthday that ANYONE could ever ask for! And remember your last going-away party in Canada? Driving everyone crazy singing, It's my party and I'll cry if I want to? Funny that ...
  • Thanks to the dark pathway, you'll almost conquer your fear of the dark. Almost....
  • Don't waste your time trying to keep this blog a secret. With your big mouth and some crazy Australian, your blog will be public knownledge pretty quick.
  • Be VERY CAREFUL when cooking. Rember that when glass is heated, it breaks.
  • You will benefit hundreds of times from the kindess of strangers...a simple necklace...or a phone card...will help you so, so much..
  • When getting a massage, take a deep breath and trust that you won't get a "happy ending" massage...
  • You will meet some amazing, wonderful people, and have the time of your life....
  • You will worry about people back home more times that you will let yourself admit. That will never go away, so don't quit trying..

And lastly...

Quit worrying about the future...the options are endless and of course, you'll figure everything out, like always...

August 8th, 2010

Now...the question is...Would I want to see that letter or not? I'm thinking ... not. Part of the fun and amazingness (it's now a word!) of this past year has been making the mistakes and fumbling along the way, not knowing what is on the other side. I've cried more and laughed more this year than any other year in my life... and I couldn't be luckier.

...It also makes me wonder...what kinds of crazy adventures am I in for the next year? I can only hope it will be as good as this one.


  1. Congratulations on your first year of expat life. YOU DID IT! WOOO HOOO Love G&Gxxoo


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