So I’m in Madagascar . . . No, seriously, I’m in Madagascar.

This morning I woke up in a tiny bed that I was sharing with my sister in the smallest hotel room I’ve ever been in. Greggory woke up first and took a shower and let me keep on snoozing for a bit, and then, while I took my shower (the shower was quite funny–you had to actually pick up the shower head and hold it above you to use it), she went down to a shop across the street to buy us some coffee. Gregg returned with the coffee a bit later and apparently the shop didn’t do take away quite like we’re used to–they sent her with the actual china cups and coffee pot as well as the cream and sugar pots. But it was quite nice and the coffee was delicious!

Then, we wandered around the city (Antananarivo, the capital city, which I think has far too many syllables). We peeked (yes, Mom I’m spelling ‘peeked’ correctly this time) into a cute little craft shop and bought a granadilla and the most delicious mandarin on the street. Then, we went to a French cafĂ© and breakfasted on quiche, dainty pastries and hot chocolate. After that, we went to a really great outdoor market. I bought a beautiful alligator-skin belt for a ridiculously low cost (about 3 bucks) a nice bag of saffron, also for far too little money, and some beautiful pieces of jasper that Greggs and I bought and which we hope to have made into necklaces as presents for some of our friends.

Later, I visited her Peace Corps office and met a few of the members that were in the city. (All of them had a certain air of coolness that you must just get automatically from being a part of a program like this).

Right now Greggory and I are hanging out for a bit at an internet cafe before a big house-warming potluck for an ex-Peace Corps volunteer.

I would write more, but it’s pretty difficult to type on this keyboard. Perhaps I’ll post some photos when I get back to Swaz.

Tomorrow, I’m going to be making the six hour bus ride to Greggory’s site (the town she works in), Tanambe. About 18,000 people live there. They have electricity, but no running water. I can’t wait to see it so that I can really get a feel for what Gregg’s life has been like here for the past year and will be like for another year after this. I think it will be very helpful for me to see the way she’s living and how she handles that when I arrive in Ghana two weeks from now and will be living in a situation that is very similar to hers. (By the way, try not to judge my grammar, punctuation or writing style too harshly as I am mostly focusing on just trying to press hard enough to make this impossible keyboard work for me.)

Oh, by the way, it is so wonderful to hear Greggory speak in Malagasy (the local language). She speaks so naturally and is perfectly at ease interacting with the locals. I wish so much that I could do that–with any language! And speaking of language, Malagasy has some interesting quirks to it: in order to say “walk around” you simply say the word for “stand” two times. So when you are walking around in Madagascar, you are standing standing. Likewise, if you want to sit around, you must do some sit-sitting.

I think we’ll be heading off now to pick up a few beers to take to the potluck along with the homemade bread Gregg’s friend Sean made. (I think it’s so cool that he makes his own bread. I’ve decided right now that my next goal is to learn how to do that myself and start doing it all the time.)

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