Happy two month Anniversary of living in Fianarantsoa to me! It is hard to believe it has been two months since I stepped off the bus in Fianar and was bombarded with sights, sounds, smells, way too many people wanting to carry my bags, and a whole bunch of feelings. I remember tiptoeing around the Amboaloboka compound careful not to offend anyone or do anything I wasn’t supposed to do. Now, although I am still conscious of how my actions are perceived by others I do a lot less tiptoeing around. Hanging out with my students does not overwhelm like it used to. In fact, I often chose to go hang out with them because I love our time together. I am no longer afraid to sit in on another class and learn how to cook, sew, and knit along side my students. Although I will say, I wish I had spent more time learning from my mom. She is quite crafty and an excellent cook. Learning how to knit in a different language or without any words at all is a challenge and to think I could have learned years ago! Nonetheless, I enjoy the charades and laughs that come with our time spent together.
Hopefully you are hearing what I am trying to say, I love Fianarantsoa. I have learned so much from my time here and I want to share twelve things I have learned with you. There are twelve because the 12th is the day I arrived in Fianar.
1. I now can successfully eat just about anything with a spoon, and prefer it. When tasked with eating with a fork, I failed miserably.
2. I have learned to love the sound of the roasters crowing at daybreak. It used to put a sour start to my morning and now they are the only alarm I need.
3. I have learned the order in which the people gathered around the table served themselves. I have even impressed some of our guest by uncovering the rice and placing the serving spoon pointed at them, signifying that they are welcome to serve themselves first.
4. With the help of Karis I have learned how to start a fire in the charcoal stove so I can make popcorn whenever a craving hits.
5. I have perfected the art of a bucket bath. You’d be surprised how much less water you use when it isn’t coming streaming out by the gallons.
6. I have learned that the rhythm of The Lord’s Prayer and The Apostle’s Creed is the same in Malagasy and English. There is something beautiful about saying them together.
7. I can navigate the bus system by myself with confidence. I can even tell the man who collects the money that I need change if he tries to charge me more.
8. Malagasy do not like thunderstorms or rain in general. So I have learned that I am deemed crazy for sitting outside on the porch when the rain arrives.
9. I have mastered the art of placing 10 stamps on an envelope without covering either of the addresses. Believe me, this is more challenging than you would think.
10. I can read Malagasy well enough to sing with my students at church better know as the Amboaloboka chorale.
11. I have learned that you always prepare more food than what you need because you never know when a guest might drop by and you must always serve them something to eat. There is always room for one more here.
12. Finally, I have learned that I couldn’t have learned any of this without leaving the comfort of my room. Some days are harder to leave my room than others but God always surprises me with what He has planned for that day.
So here’s to two months in Fianar! Thank-you for being part of my journey here, I always enjoy hearing from you. Your support means the world to me!