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Showing posts from June, 2011

Ohhhhh Madagascar.

Tomorrow marks the two week countdown to Canada. I was just there in March, but it feels like forever.

I've changed some of my travel plans and it's direct to Canada and no stopover in Belgium. It was a heavy hearted decision to make, but in the end, I just need to get home.

I can't wrap my head around the fact that I leave Madagascar on the 14th. And arrrive in Canada on the 14th in the late afternoon. Can't quite understand how I'm flying or waiting in an airport for 28 hours, but because of the 9 hour time difference, it's still all in the same day. My mental capacity continues to exclude the concept of the world time zones and how to convert currency in one's head.

Warning - Those that don't appreciate the bathroom talk can skip the rest of this post.

Keeping with the general Madagascar life, my stomach decided to play a wild card today. I walk around like I'm sooooo adapted to this kind of living, and then I get hit with today. To keep thing…

Laundry 101

Laundry, is a bit of a sore subject for me here.

In camp, we put our clothes into these giant yellow bags, and all clothes are washed together - in hot water and hot dryer - and then ironed on the hottest setting. This results in most of my clothes being grey, destroyed, or left with iron marks on them.

In the village - it's the same thing. Except it's just one person doing our laundry day after day.

Last March, most of my clothes had been destroyed - I had just had enough to wear a full week of different outfits and that was it. I spent most of my time in Canada searching stores like Old Navy, Superstore, Walmart, etc - for clothes that looked half decent, but that when ruined, wouldn't make me cry or scream out loud.

Since then, I hide all of the clothes that I really like. But the housekeeper finds them sometimes. And washes them, and then they are most likely destroyed.

We have contacted the cleaning company, we have written notes to the housekeeper....but nothing…

Pictures to come.

Ah...the bad week continues. But somehow even though I'm having a "bad week", I'm still finding myself in some pretty hilarious situations and having a lot of fun. Kind of sounds bizzare? Well....if I've learned anything - it's that MG follows no logic...and anything is possible.

I have a few pictures I want to put up, but my eyes are failing me...they want to shut no matter how hard I keep them open....so I'll have to wait until the weekend, which consists of:

Friday night is St. Jean Baptiste day in Quebec. Which translates to a night at a nice restaurant here in Toamasina, filled with Frenchies, a few fake Frienchies, lots of hilarity, and Quebec kareoke. SO don't know any Quebec music...but something tells me that after two glasses of wine, I'll somehow learn.Sunday, I'm walking in some kind of parade for Malagasy Independence Day.. Each department was asked for two volunteers to walk in the parade, and I figured this would pretty much be …

I got 99 problems and the bf ain't one....

I am having a bad week. I don't know how it can be called a bad "week" because it's Tuesday, but I'm having one. In the grand scheme of things, I have nothing to complain about. Food, sheter, etc. All taken care of. Even gots me a job for the next year or so.

But:
Today the power went out...well for longer than it was on. This is extremely annoying. 50ish people sit in an open area. When the power goes off, there is this like...charger type thing that's attached to the desktop that allows for approximately thirty minutes of power. When the power goes off, this device makes an incredibly loud screaching sound. 99% of the desktop users don't turn it off. So we have 50 of these things making screaching noises at different times. They are so loud that I can close my office door - and it makes no difference. I have a laptop, so I can continue to work, but it's JUST A BIT distracting when I have these screaching devices ringing in my ears.Ok. So it's no …

Normal for a Day

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As someone new to this odd way of living, I've been given a boat load of advice.

The advice that sticks with me today, is this: It's totally normal to feel like resigning every so often.

So, as far as an expat is concerned, today: I'm a normal expatriate.

(I realize this is an odd post, since I fought so hard to stay. And I'm pretty sure this feeling will pass.)



Edited Post-Run. A few things to add. First, I'm pretty sure I run like Pheobe Buffay Second, I would be a bazillionaire if I: went back to school, become a psychiatrist and started running psychiatry. Third, I'm so far from normal. :-)

Major Cheeseballness

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A year ago today, I went tothis pig roast/party.

There was a really good friend there, a guy that I sort of liked but did NOT want to date. After my last.. um..interesting experience (that stayed off-blog mostly), dating an expat was the furthest thing from my mind.

But somehow he won me over with his charm (or I drank too many of these), but we started talking about dating. We had been friends for six months or so, and I didn't want to risk ruining another friendship, and...well, I was nervous about dating anyone really.

But we started to date.
And then moved in together.

Turns out I'm pretty good at making decisions when it comes to the important stuff.
It's been a super interesting, crazy, fun, wacko year.
 Here's to another interesting, crazy, fun, and wacko year.

One Day....

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One Day...I'll be less of a weirdo and won't have the urge to photo/poke weird bugs (or fish) that I see (This one was in the stairwell in my office building).  One day....I'll be able to covert currency somewhat accurately....Yesterday's "steal of a deal" at duty free....
 One day...I'll hang up my clothes...
 ...on hangers...
One day....I'll get my English speaking and writing skills back to where they were before I moved here...instead of some messed up version of Frenglish.  One day....my wallet will be so organized that I won't constantly be losing my bank card/credit card/passport...
One day...my purse will be so organized, that I won't have get people to call me to find my phone...or find an entire empty bottle of Tylenol that has magically opened itself and dumped it's contents all over my purse...
 One day...I'll learn that drinking champagne and Jell-O shooters in the same night is not a good idea.
But that day - won't be today…

On a lighter note....

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I am prepared for any party or celebration. and it's after effects, should things ever get out of control.

Worst Email Ever

Preamble: I know death is a fact of life and yes, the world isn't always fair. I'm not saying that my life is so horrible....but simply how dealing with this while I'm far away from home is a bit different than dealing with this if I lived in Canada).

Last December a fellow expatriate’s father passed away while she was here. She had to travel to the Philippians. She came into the office to say goodbye and I gave her the kindest words I could think of (and meant them). The pained expression on her face was heart breaking. I have no idea how I didn’t break down crying as well.


Two weeks ago, an fellow-Albertan expatriate’s wife passed away. He had to take the 24+ hour long journey home.

Yesterday another expatriate’s grandfather passed away. She too will have to travel a very long way (once she gets through the incredibly long process of going through our travel agency).

It was no secret that I wanted to stay in Madagascar for a longer time.

But, these kind of events mak…

Happy and Wet!

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Today, the project handed out like the fanciest umbrellas I've ever seen for a safety milestone met. That's what they said anyway...really, I think it's because...
Winter has arrived!!! We'll now get rain, rain, and more rain!
(having a hard time capturing rain here...not sure what that spider looking thing is. I HOPE IT WASN'T A SPIDER?)
 It also means that on nights where I have to walk home....
The second most expensive rain coat from MEC + the fanciest umbrella I've ever seen =
Me soaking wet!!

But, please don't think I'm complaining!!! I've read the COUNTLESS posts on Facebook over the last four (six??? eight???) months about the cold and seen the FREEZING temperatures and moutains of snow.

I went back to Canada in March and nearly froze to death.

So throw some rain at me? Ruin a pair of shoes? Rain cats and dogs (or lemurs and zebus?) on a run day?

I'm totally happy with that. I'll make do!
As my (partially psychotic looking) smile unde…

Contract Renewal

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What could possibly be in a manila envelope that would make me have such a ridiculous grin? (Especially since I've written about what a stress case I've been lately?)  Could it be.....
 Yup! That's a Contract Extension!
The very quick details before I fall asleep:
- It's nine to twelve months
- I'll be in the same role as before
- It's what works best for everyone.

It's been an interesting few months. That's the one thing I can always count on in MG. Life is never dull.

Beach Weekend

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This weekend is the first real fun I've had in ages. It was busy, but I also passed out on Saturday afternoon night, so I got some rest too.
Saturday started out as usual, into the office at 07h00. But leaving at 09h30 for a wedding. I brought my dress up clothes to work and changed in the (gross) bathroom. Work was a bit - no a complete - gong show, so I wasn't exactly relaxed going to the wedding, but once we got there, I forgot about work problems pretty quickly.
The venue was at my co-worker's beach chalets where I've been a bazillion times. The set-up was perfect!  After an hour or so, the wedding started.

First the wedding party walked down the isle.

 The the flower girls and boys.
One of the flower girls decided that she didn't want to wear the dress....so she ripped it off herself. She'll be two next weekend. Guess the "Terrible Twos" have started already!
The little boy (who is quite a character) couldn't get the "throw the flowers" …

Weekend Partay

I can't wait to go through my pictures and put some up of my weekend.

I went to a perfect wedding on the beach (and then had to go back to work. Boo!)
I fell asleep when I was supposed to go to a housewarming/pool party.
I went to a going away party - where we had a snow fight (or ice fight??), then I went swimming in my underwear, ended up in some kind of Nintendo dance-off, and then stole the show at a kareoke contest (me + alcohol = not a good mix with kareoke. I will fight you to the death for that microphone).

I'm not sure what tomorrow will look like, but man did I ever need a "normal" Sunday in Madagascar - where it's complete stupidity and comraderie and fun.

I told Louis my goals for this week are simple:
1. Eat supper every night. I have started this awful habit of going straight home and eating cereal.
2. Run Monday, Wednesay, and Friday. Headache or no headache - this is a proven miracle worker for everything in my life.
3. Go to the Tiki Bar once DU…

Rainbows & Sunshine

Ok. So yesterday, I had some kind of nervous breakdown. (Ok, probably not a REAL nervous breakdown). But I was so tired, frustrated, and....FRUSTRATED, that I couldn't deal with anything else. After my computer crashed, I just left. (It was past 18h30, so no big deal).

I’m frustrated at work. I’ve been trying to get something somewhat simple done and it HAS TAKEN ME THREE MONTHS. Part of that is due to the rotation schedule – everyone is always away when you need them (or I’m on vacation), but most of that is just due to Madagascar. I kept three staff an hour and a half late last night while they were waiting for software to be installed on their computer.

I made them come to work today to use the software to catch up on some work – and the software is still not installed. WE HAVE BEEN REQUESTING THE SOFTWARE FOR OVER THREE MONTHS. There is even a special process and sheet that we have to get approved and sent to the IT Department, and that’s all been done. TWICE OVER. AT LEAST.

Last Madagascar Vacation Post

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Well, here it is. The last vacation post on my Madagascar/South Africa trip!!! In short, it was awesome. And something that WILL happen again.
We flew back to Joberg and got in late afternoon. We had a bit of a nap, ordered up a cheese plate, and then went walking around the hotel. This hotel has like casinos, shows, a spa, four or five different hotels all linked together, ten restaurants - it's like a mini-Las Vegas! But my last night wasn't that great. I wasn't feeling fantabulous...which meant no loud partying for me. I don't really know how to gamble, so the casino was a no-go for me (actually, I really liked the few times that I've played Blackjack, but I have no idea how to play it. Yes, I can count to twenty-one, but there's all these rules and stuff. Whenever I've gone, I've had someone bascially telling me what to do.
So we walked around, and then, after me begging, we ordered room service again. I'm just obsessed with room service on this …