​ Sweet Dreams – Peace Corps in an alternative universe 

Because I am posted in a country where I might contract malaria, I have been given an antimalarial medication called, “Mefloquine”. One of the side effects of this medication is lucid dreaming. The following is what I dreamt last night (as best I can remember). 

I was in Las Vegas. It was for my Peace Corps staging event. There were no hotels. There were no conference rooms. I don’t remember any Peace Corps staff. We were all in a very large house. It seemed that the house had countless rooms. I only remember a very massive bedroom with a massively impressive bed. There was even a large, intricate wooden headboard and snazzy lighting. Despite ample sleeping space, no one slept due to immense excitement. 

We arrived in a city in the country of service. I’m not sure which country it was. It wasn’t Swaziland. I was taken to an apartment building and given keys. Upon entering the apartment, I was very excited and impressed. There was a full kitchen and two bedrooms (or so I thought). The bedrooms were on opposite sides of the apartment. My roommate was a PCV I had met in Madagascar (in real life). I chose a room and started settling in. I was exploring the apartment when I opened what I thought was a bathroom door. It was another bedroom with a closet full of dresses. Apparently there was another roommate who wore a lot of dresses. I never actually met this roommate. 

Be kind to yourself.

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Reflections from Madagascar

Recently, I vacationed in Madagascar to celebrate the New Year. Here are five quick reflections from Madagascar

  1. ​Yes, I went all the way to Madagascar and managed not to see one lemur. I didn’t make it to any of the national parks. I guess I have a reason to return, in addition to the beach and tasty stuff. A day on the beach is never wasted. 
  2. Speaking French could be  an (unofficial) prerequisite of visiting the island nation. There are two languages: French and Malagasy. English isn’t spoken with any regularity.  Luckily, a few people who did speak English were there to help me when I needed it. I’m extremely grateful to these language champions! (Side note: After speaking and hearing so much siSwati for the past six and a half months, I found myself greeting and responding in siSwati. Yebo babe would be uttered only to realize that I meant to say Bonjour Monsieur.)
  3. Madagascar is big. It’s the fourth largest island in the world. Navigating the island takes considerable time. I traveled on a taxi-brousse (intercity public transport) from Antananarivo to Tamatave. The journey of about 320 kilometers lasted 8 hours on relatively good roads. 
  4. The food was quite delightful. I enjoyed delicious seafood from traditional restaurants and traditional Malagasy hotelys. I sat in an ice cream parlour and had some peach ice cream that made my taste buds say “thank you”. I was fortunate to try several natural juices. I’m happy to report that they were all refreshing and delicious. There was even good Mexican food at a hostel in the capital. 
  5. During my trip, I was fortunate to meet some PCVs currently serving in Madagascar. They were all wonderful folks. We shared laughs, played games, and ate good food together. I learned that while the Peace Corps experience has some similarities wherever you go, it is just as unique the people who serve. 

Be kind to yourself. 

Monday in a Picture – New Year, New Haiku (times two)

Happy New Year! Bonne
from Madagascar. 
Love meaningfully. 

My mother almost
named me “George Quincy”. She knew
she’d just birthed GQ. 

Be kind to yourself.

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P.S. – Bonne année means “Happy New Year” in French.