|Michelle in the Netherlands|
Since there she has been to multiple countries, embracing all she can. She attends Depauw University, in Indiana, and takes advantage of all the opportunities she can to travel abroad. Earlier this year she even traveled to Israel. Michelle knows four languages. English, French, German, and Latin.
Recently she went back to Germany to visit her Host Family and see her Dominic (the charming German she has fallen for). She visited a few places including Paris, before starting her next adventure.
She is currently studying abroad in Madagascar...
|from her flight, viewing the beautiful island of Madagascar|
Here is an insert of her letter:
here is a description of the city (first impressions) i wrote right after the ride from the airport to our hotel. It was about 45 minutes down small city streets, with vendors and markets, people selling whatever they can sell (from vegetables to car seats..). Children walking barefoot, women carrying bundles on their heads, men pulling extremely heavy carts of wood. Chickens (both dead as meat and alive walking around on the street) were surprisingly skinny. I've never seen chickens that scrawny before. Hundreds of people out on the streets, in open air shops, walking, sitting, cramming together in vans (somewhere between carpooling and hitchhiking, that's how a lot of people get around i think), and not one single white person
|a view of the countryside in Madagascar|
|a city view of Madagascar|
They have electricity and running water, they even have internet (which is surprising). Not wifi though, so I won't send this until tomorrow (right now I'm lying in bed typing on my netbook). It's not nice by american/european standards (in slight disrepair), but I'm pretty sure it's nice by malagasy standards. It's the first malagasy house I've been in though, so I can't rightly say. Running water is a luxury though. I have my own room, which I'm rather grateful for. It's nice to have some personal space.
I'm surprised at how well I can communicate in french! Not to say I can speak french well, so much as to say that I had very low expectations. But understand what the other is saying about 75% of the time which is not bad at all for the first day. It really helps that I'm in Madagascar, not in France, because it's their 2nd language, so they speak slower than French people do and use less vocab. That's good. We haven't started learning very much Malagasy yet. I know some basic words like excuse me and thank you. Other than that, shamefully, I only know how to say "No, I don't want to buy that" and "No, I can't give you money" because I get hassled a lot from venders and beggars because of the color of my skin. About giving money, little kids, who are otherwise happily playing a game, upon seeing the color of my skin, will hold out their hands for money! It's depressing to see the way race is socially constructed. I feel apologetic for the color of my skin, knowing the atrocities that my people have committed. What can I do, though? Also I've gotten more "cat calls" from young men in the past few days than I have otherwise in the entirety of my life. Having long blonde hair makes me stand out even among the americans. I get a lot of coy smiles and "bonjour madamoiselle!" and a lot of "vasa vasa!!" (malagasy for "foreigner"), and a lot of snickers. But people are just amused, not hostile.
|view from the Host Family home Michelle is staying with|
Sis~ I know you are reading this so just say the word if you think I should keep private & not share it.
It is so interesting how brave and adventurous Julies kids have always been. My Girls are more like Hubby & I, not as curious about the world. We'd rather explore the many places here in the states we haven't seen. Or just hang at a beach...
However... Annie is getting the travel bug and moving forward to her plans of traveling abroad for a Journalism program this summer to cover the Olympics in the United Kingdom. (I just wish this wasn't so costly!)
For now, I will continue to pray for my amazing Niece and this journey she is on. If you are reading this Chelle~ I LOVE YOU♥