Showing posts from July, 2011

Back in AB

Wow. I knew it was awhile since my last blog post, but I didn't realized I had left off still in B.C!

I had succcccch a good time on my mini-vacation and finished it with a near perfect ending in Montreal. Louis' is one of the luckiest guys I know, his girls are so wonderful and it was super great to spend time with them when we are at a point where we can be ourselves and relax and do whatever.

Since then? Errands, sleeping, napping, dinners, drinks, breakfasts, watching as much TV as I can, dentists, and one doctor's appointment. Basically the same for the upcoming week - except a little busier and add in trying to sell most of my possessions, as I've rented out my condo finally.

It seems like forevever ago that I left MG.

I have a bazillion pictures to sort through and post... but they'll have to wait. I'm too busy doing absolutely nothing productive for the rest of the night!!

Bye Bye BC!

I'm a few hours from leaving Vancouver and this mini-vacation was awesome!!

The second day in Tofino, we went on a zodiak/hike/natural hot springs tour. So awesome!! (Pictures were lost....hoping to recover them with some tech-help. :(). The day started out warm, but six hours later when we arrived, I'm pretty sure I had the first stages of hypothermia! :D My face was grey/white and I WAS FREEZING. Took me a few days totally warm up.

Victoria was awesome. I've spent a lot of my childhood there, but it was nice to go back for a quick visit. We did this crazy zipline tour where we went from tree to tree seven or eight times. Each and every time I stepped off the platform, I kinda regretted booking the tour, but it was lots of fun none the less!

Vancouver's been short and sweet. We had a good time, went out for supper with my mom (don't go here the service and food is pretty dissapointing....) and then ended up riding in one of those huge SUV limos because we couldn&…

Turn your computer sideways... :P


Life is rough :P


Off to Tofino!

Ahhhh jetlag. My most unfavoritest part about coming home. I slept nearly all day yesterday, I woke up this morning thinking that I had kicked it. This would be a record! Three days and I'm adjusted to a nine hour time difference! And then I drove to my dentist. Except I drove to the wrong city. And then couldn't remember how to get to the right city and had to make a couple of u-turns before I finally figured my way out.
And then I tried to break into my grandparents' apartment using my key - except I was on the wrong floor. Thankfully the tenant was nice and understanding...
As far as my adjustment back to Canada stuff, that's going pretty much as normal. Maybe thinking a bit too much about what happened in MG just before I left, but that's all normal.
Annnnndddd....NONE of the above matters - because tomorrow, I'm officially on vacation and will be landing in Tofino, BC.

Vacation Day #1

This post might not make any sense, I am mega jetlagged and forming sentences is hard work at the moment.

I got word that the Finance team has joined Julien's wife and family and were at his house until 2 am last night. Also, they have been planning food, etc for the family that will come to visit during the mourning process.

The sense of coming together from this tragic event has touched me so much. Although the situation is a horrible one, it made me remember the Malagasy culture in general, and they are always there to support one another. I sent the team an email yesterday or the day before, telling them about my last night with Julien, and how I think he heard the words that I told him and that he knew that he was loved and in everyone's prayers. I also told them that I think I am beyond proud to be part of the Finance team.

I'm a little less mind boggled about the whole sequence of events now. Naturally, I'm still sad, I still re-play a lot of the events, but I&…

Back in Canada.

This has been one of the worst trips back to Canada.

The timing of the phone call with the bad news was about ten minutes before I boarded the plane. Another co-worker was sitting next to me, and he gave me some time and tried to say comforting words. I went into "let's start making a plan" mode and started calling people to have the body moved and to find out what to do next. Once I talked to a few people and the plans were in motion, I was just stunned. I tried so hard. I just didn't feel like he was going to die. His condition was very bad, but I just didn't feel like he was going to die. How could he when we fought so hard for him?

But the fighting began too late. If we were more informed, we could have acted sooner. We assumed that the company he is actually employed for (a contractor for the project) was taking care of him. The family that he drives for is on holiday out of country, and they were unaware of his health status.

I'm doing the the whole ty…


Ten minutes before I had to board my flight, I got a call from my co-worker.

Julien has passed away.

I just need to get home.

Day 2

Julien the sick driver is now in a very good hospital in Tana. Since I have to fly through Tana to get to Paris, I thought I'd stop off at the hospital, drop off more money, talk to the doctors, and talk to his wife.

More confusion, more yelling, more....I don't even know what the word is. I don't even know what's going on right now. I think I've reached a point where everything that my brain is trying to process is at it's maximum comprehension level. All day I felt like I was communicating like a baboon, my French is all over the place, but I'm still managing to get plans into action.

I've been speaking a lot with my co-worker, whom Julien has been chauffeuring for the past four and a half years. After being tearless through this whole process, I finally broke down a tiny bit. I'm really crappy at yelling and it makes me more upset than anything, I think.

Julien is in and out of comas. After talking with his wife (and bringing her all my winter …

What a day.

Today started off pretty normal. Louis is away which means I'm always late for work. I cried in my office in front of two co-workers (it's my second last day here and sometimes I'm a baby). I pretended to make small talk with two directors, but really I just wanted some of their milk for my coffee. I started to get my work done. Well, first I went on-line to look at Old Navy - I have been obsessed with their summer stuff. And then started on work again.

Then our Admin Assistant comes in to talk to me about a co-worker's driver. The driver works for us but is technically employed by another company. And my co-workers is out of the country on vacation. The driver's wife called out of desperation  - her husband has been in the hospital for a week and can't get the treatment that he needs in Toamasina. He needs to be transferred to Tana - and no one is doing anything about it.

I've learned that these things are best dealt with in person, so I thought, hey, I …

Day of Rest. Sorta.

I haven't had much time to spend with any of my English friends (seems most of my weekends were occupied with French friends), so my last Sunday in Tamatave I decided to follow the group to Foulpointe. It's about a two hour drive of bumpy, bumpy, bumpy roads. Like, bumpy.
We left at 8h00 after I packed a picnic lunch and a cooler of necessities: Foulpointe is tourist central. There were probably 50-75 people that gave us a warm welcome when we arrived as they watched what they thought were walking dollar signs leaving the truck.
No, we do not want a boat ride. No, we do not want vanilla. No, we do not want seashells. No, we do not want our hair braided. No, we do not want necklaces. No, we do not want essential oils. No, we do not want a massage. No, we do not want lobster. No, we do not want shrimp. No, we do not want cookies.

In some of the markets, they have these loud speaker things that "promote" the products. It's very loud and very annoying, and I'm th…

In 3.5 days!!!

Instead of focusing how crappy this rotation was....I think I'll focus on the good of what will happen in 3.5 days.

First, of course, is the champagne. Although the new route that I fly uses Air France instead of Air Austral, we still get the champagne. Makes my life worth living when I'm on a plane for 10+ hours.

OF COURSE seeing my friends and family is AWESOME, are the things that I'm going bonkers to have back in my life for three short weeks:

STARBUCKS. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh Starbucks. I drink a VIA every day....but it just isn't the same. And a Drive Thru Starbucks? My dream come true.
Second Cup. I actually prefer Second Cup to Starbucks...but it's more like a super treat because I order their fat and sugar ladden drinks, instead of just a latte or a coffee, like I do at Starbucks. Oh, and their muffins rock. Why doesn't Madagascar have muffins???
 FRUIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Oranges, apples, and pineapple get boring. I want melons, and …

No Haircut, No Cry

For the last few weeks, I've been complaining about my hair. It's mega long....but not in a good way.

Does this remind you of anything?

Sorry, Ryan, I'm not a hater, I just don't want to have your hair.

So, I made a phone call - based on a number that a local driver gave me. And ended up in this neighbourhood.
I wish I could have taken pictures inside the place. Obviously, this is not a vaza-friendly place. But I needed my Ryan-mullet cut. So I braved it.

The "stylist" didn't have any hair product or brushes to try to style it, so I left the salon looking like this:
Very short, very scary.

But luckily, after some wax and four minutes of playing with it at home, I ended up with a half decent hair cut.

This is my take on the "Kate + 8 meets Jane Nicole of the Jungle" look. With 90% humidity days and lack of sleep, I think it works. Close up - its a butcher haircut, but, nothing that won't get fixed in WHEN I'M BACK IN CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…

3.5 days.

I have three and a half days of work in Madagascar and this feels like one of my longest rotations ever. I've struggled with stress, my stomach, and worst of all - migraines. I have the occasional migraine for most my adult life and I went through a bad phase of them in my early twenties.

I've been to the medical clinic we have on site. One guy thought they were from a sinus infection (or, possibly an aneurism, he said). Another doctor made the comment, "Maybe you should consider a different type of work". Thanks "doctors".

I don't recall a time where I've wanted to be done my rotation so much. I need a vacation, some first world living, and to come back and start kicking ass here again. I think this rotation has sucked.

2011 Countdowns.

Nothing exciting to say other than I need to find a non-ugly countdown application to add to my blog.

Days until Semi-Annual Canada Trip: 7
Days until Cruise to Hawaii: 64
Days until Camping trip to Nairobi (more on this soon): 113
Days until Christmas in Canada: 167

It's been almost two years since I've moved here...but having a countdown to all the fun activities is sometimes more of a motivating factor than it seems. Anyone have any good ones? That can be tailored to look pretty?

Suck Lemons

Since I have been sucking at running and sucking at socializing, I have a goal to make from now until I leave for Canada. I'm hoping if I post it for the world to see it will make me more accountable.
Run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week, (maybe Saturday as well since I'll be travelling most of next week). Run Monday next week.Eat supper at the tiki bar Tuesday, go out for supper next Tuesday.Eat supper every night. Sometimes, after work, and after being a head case, I'm too tired to do anything. Which creates a circle of being tired. I need to get out more and socialize. I seriously never thought that would be an issue like - EVER.

Oh - and the reward for this goal? I get to buy one item from Lululemon. If I don't - no Lululemon. Technically my bank account would like me to fail, but I hope my love for overpriced workout wear win.

1 week, 2 days till Canada

I haven't done a countdown for awhile. But in one week and two days, I get fly 18 524 km home to Canada.
(Pretty sure Lybia is still a no-fly zone.) Wow.  No wonder I'm tired.

What's even crazier is that there are some expats that do this EVERY SIX WEEKS. They fly HOME every single time. I am pretty sure I would enter some other world of psychosis if I had to do this trip five or six times a year. 
This Canada trip, will be jam packed like the rest of them. Dentist (x4 - finally this implant will be done!!!!) Doctor Fly to Tofino to meet up with Louis and family for a mini-vacation Fly to Montreal for a two days (which means a little shopping at Simons) My youngest cousin's wedding!!! And a champagne breakfast the morning of. Spending time with my family and friends Going through everything that I own and decide if it's to be stored, sold in a garage sale, donated, or thrown away. I've finally decided to rent my condo out (I've lived in it 12 weeks in two years...…

A Guessing Game

What do you get when you have:

1. A curious and bored three year old
2. A bucket of paint left on the job site while a worker goes off for lunch

Although his parent's weren't exactly thrilled with him....I think the rest of the neighbourhood LOVES it. Personally, it makes me laugh and gets my morning off on the right foot every day.
The best part is that he TOLD the worker to not leave is paint behind. But since the little boy speaks English, and the worker speaks Malagasy, he didn't understand.

He definetly gave the neighbourhood some life!!!


Haven't put up very many pictures lately, so here's a bit of catch up for the last week.

Sunday, I was in the Independence Day parade representing our project. So many companies rallied together to walk in the parade.
 Not sure what company this guy works for???
 Some companies were even cool enough to come up with a dance.
 I hope this isn't what he has to wear to work?
 Walking down Independence Avenue. And yes, just in case you're wondering, I stood out A LOT. Generally vazas aren't involved in these kinds of things, never mind a giant vaza. Some of the staff I had never met asked to have their picture taken with me. Just another day of living the celebrity life in MG...
Yesterday was a baby shower. I have totally been sucking in the social I made sure to go. We took the regular bus the employees take to work.
 And it dropped us off as close as it could get to near the baby's momma's house.
 Since it's been raining a lot...the roads are fu…