Whoa, it's been a while, hasn't it? I've been all over the island and back in the past few weeks and haven't been without serious stimulation of some kind or another since the beginning of July. I will breifly chronical my passage.
I spent a few lovely days in Diego with some other PCVs who came up North for vacation. You may have seen photographic evidence of the ensuing fun on Facebook.
Then I hit the road out to Mahajunga to meet up with my long-lost stagemates, Beth and Brain, who showed me the town pcv style (that means we ate the best food in town).
After that, our Education 2008 trio left the toasty coastal excitement for the blustering cloudiness of the highlands, specifically the capital, Tana. A few days in Tana can do a body good (or bad... but either way, it's worth it). We hit up the best food spots and used the crap out of the internet.
Then on to everyone's favorite Winter Camp- Mantasoa, for a training of trainers (that's right, TOT) conference. It was fun to be really cold and shiver after moaning and moaning about the heat for the last 7 months. It was also great to reconnect with my stagemates. I haven't seen enough of them since returning here; I saw some of them more often when we were in America than I do now.
After a few more days enjoying the cuisine of Tana, Kinsey and I set sail (via airplane) to Diego to start teaching at the university.
Life in Diego... It's good.
We're living in the visiting teacher housing at the Univeristy of Antsiranana, which offers a breathtaking view of the Bay of Diego (the 2nd biggest bay in the world) and Sugar Loaf (see facebook). But in exchange for this, we have to endure constant high winds from the Indian Ocean that come across the bay. There will never be a good hair day in Diego. We each have our own bedroom and bathroom and a shared kitchen. Kinsey has been learning me up on Malagasy cooking. We also have little patios that have great views- but you can only sit there and read so long before your eyes are dried out from the constant wind.
I started teaching on Wednesday. I'm teaching 3rd and 4th year Academic Writing and 4th year Applied Linguistics and Teaching Methods. I'm teaching 28 hours/week not including movie club and conversation club hosted by the English department. It's nice to be busy and intellectually stimulated. I have a ton of resources (I can even make copies from time to time!). The students' English levels are great- they can understand controversial conversations and have extensive lexicons. At the end of my first class, I opened up discussion time for any questions they have. A student raised his hand without hesitation and asked "When can you use 'douchebag' and what is the difference between 'douchebag' and 'douche'?" They're fun.
Conversation club last night was... interesting. The topic was: Men in skirts. I don't know where they got this topic. A pair of students gave a presentation on the history of men wearing skirts/dresses, and then we discussed it. There's only so much that can be said, and two hours later, it definitely felt like we were beating a dead thing with a very big stick.
Our house also came with dogs. There must have been a long line of friendly foreigners who have fed these dogs. There are about 3 female dogs who keep close to the house and are very friendly and passive towards us. One of them runs over to us and lays down with her belly sticking up everytime she sees us.... I will feed and adore her, but I ain't touching that belly.
Thanks so much to everyone who has sent me a package! (Specifically: Mom, Matt, Shannon, Fran, Peggy, Jane, Nina, Abbie, Fraser, Ben and Ronda). They are so great to get and mean a lot to me! However, the tax on them here in Diego is super expensive (of course it's worth it, but it's still expensive), so if you still want to send a package, send it to Tana:
Corps de la Paix
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