Chapter One: The Beginning

Where else can I begin? I wriggled myself free from the rusty leather seat of the tax-brousse and spilled out onto the paved asphalt road. I looked down at my feet, unaware of how swollen they’d become from twenty four hours in the van. The road from Tana to Ambilobe is paved, which is an…

A New Story to Tell

Preface I don’t consider myself a great storyteller, but I want to be. Those who are wise and observant, nonjudgmental and painstakingly descriptive are the great writers with whom I am enraptured. I’ve never understood my impulse to write and paint pages with sound and letters, but, here it is. Often I feel the urge…

A Day in the Life in Montasoa

Each morning I wake up around 6 am; at this time, the sun creeps up over the mountains, but I can never see it, because my windows block out most of the sun. Instead, I’m awoken not by the familiar sound of my phone alarm, but by the zaza kely (baby) crying and the rooster…

Pre-Service Training #1: Welcome to Mantasoa!

Tonga Soa and Welcome! This marks the first of many posts about my new life…living and serving in Madagascar as a Peace Corps TEFL (English Language Education) Volunteer. This isn’t just a new job…it’s a whole new life. The best way I can explain what has been happening to me is this: I am relearning…

Packing for Peace Corps

When packing for Peace Corps,  you can only take: two suitcases, 23 kg (50 lb) each one carry-on one personal item Geez. Guess I’ll be leaving my library at home! A few months ago, I wrote a post touting the benefits of packing light. I’m a big believer in traveling light so that you aren’t weighed…

My first WWOOF Experience

If you’ve ever thought that spending time in nature sounded nice, have you checked out WWOOF? WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, and is exactly what the name says. It is an international network of organic farmers, who serve as hosts for eager travelers. It’s a chance to explore a different region/country/continent, practice…

Easter in Ohrid

“A prophet he was, without words, but with a most beautiful personality. A prophet he was, without words; A prophet–with righteousness and mercy.” -The Prologue from Ohrid, St. Nikolai Velimirovic (1880/1-1956) Almost every night at dinner when I was little, my dad would open The Prologue from Ohrid and read a passage on the life…

Ah, Germany!

Charm, family, history, and agency. These words summarize my quick but memorable trip to Goslar, Braunschweig (aka Brunswick) and Berlin, Germany. Berlin was my first stop in Europe; normally I arrive exhausted from a long trip and wander around the airport until I find a person or a sign to direct me to where I am going….

Prague: Take Two

I fell in love with Prague five years ago on my first trip to Europe. The moment I stepped on to the Charles Bridge, I felt home. I also contemplated moving there and supporting  myself by singing opera on the famous bridge for money. I even wrote a set list. But while my chanson dreams might…