The Things I Will Miss

I have not had much time this week to post anything on the blog.  My season here in Madagascar is quickly drawing to a close.  I’ll be here in Toliara Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and then I’ll begin the long journey home.  Madagascar has truly blessed my life, and I can hardly even believe it is time to be saying goodbyes (which I am actually doing tonight at a little goodbye ceremony we are having).

As I think about leaving, I decided to make two lists to put on the blog.  First:

Things I Will Not Miss

  • Taxibuses: if you have read some of my older posts, you probably know that these were a bit of a challenging experience.  It only costs $15 to drive to the other side of the country, but you must sacrifice your sanity to do it.
  • Being Stared At: Being a foreigner means I get stared and laughed at a lot.  Hopefully that will happen less in America.
  • Dim Lights: I think the government here decided to make sure it was illegal to sell light bulbs that made it possible to see at night.  If you try to see inside at night, you will start to go blind.
  • Flooded Streets: Once the rainy season started, the street outside my apartment has been almost constantly under water.  Stagnant water.  Stagnant filthy water. That the kids can play in!
  • Slow internet: For technical people, my internet has a download speed of 0.05 Mbps. I have gotten used to twelve hour downloads.
  • “Sokeeee” ladies: This is one you can really only understand if you have been here, but there are ladies on the street who sell sea urchin, which is called “soke”.  They walk down the street and shout “SOKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” as loud as they can every 12 seconds.  It is a pet peeve.
  • Flies: No lie, when I open my window, I get about ten flies on my desk within five minutes.
  • Cold Showers: I didn’t realize how great hot showers were until there was a hot shower at the hotel my parents and I stayed at.  I averaged four showers every 24 hours.
  • Bad Coffee: The coffee they sell on the street is very sad.
  • Water bottles: I have been buying water from water bottles for 9 months so I don’t get violently ill.
  • Air Madagascar: This is the frustrating airline, and the only one that operates within Madagascar.  I called yesterday and found out they had changed my flight six hours earlier without telling me.  They have a tendency to do whatever they like.
  • Power Outages: There are lots of them.
  • Dust: It only takes one afternoon for my things to be covered in dust.  My computer and camera are angry at me for how dirty they have gotten.

I like the second list much better.  Honestly, as hard as I tried to think of serious things to put on the first list, none of them are all that bad.  Cold showers really aren’t a huge deal.  

Things I Will Miss

  • Taxibuses: This is the one thing that made both lists.  Strangely, some of my best memories are from taxibus rides.  It goes to show that some of the best things in life do not come without some sort of challenge.
  • Sunrises and Sunsets: We get up every day here at 6am. That, combined with the fact that people tend to stay outside much more here than in the United States means that I have seen more sunsets and sunrises here than I ever did in all my time in the United States.  Next year, I’ll be working a lot with college students, and that means my schedule will have to go back to going to bed at 2am and waking up at 9.
  • Rice and Laoka: I honestly love the food.  There is nothing quite as satisfying as huge bowls of rice.  Malagasy rice and laoka is simple and wonderful.  Though I’ll miss it, perhaps I’ll get a rice cooker and try my hand at it when I get back to the States.
  • The Missionaries: I will miss my Malagasy friends, but I think there is a special place in my heart for my fellow missionaries.  All of the ones I know here love the Lord and have been a wonderful and fun encouragement to me while I have been here.
  • Nap time: Everything here shuts down from noon to 3pm.  Even when I didn’t nap, it was always a wonderful break. I don’t think my life will have that luxury back in America.
  • Lemurs: They are the best!
  • Geckos: I remember the first time I realized there was a gecko in my room.  I was flabbergasted that there was a lizard in my apartment.  Now I realize that there are probably hundreds of geckos where we live, and it is not surprising at all to see four of them in my room at once.  They are a welcome, fun presence.  Plus, they eat mosquitos!
  • My friends: My Malagasy friends have been so kind to me.  They have been patient when my language skills have not been very good and when I have done weird American things that they did not understand.  They have taught me a ton of lessons about life, and I am so grateful for all the friends I have here.
  • Walking: I have no car and no bike.  I walk everywhere, and I love it.  I don’t think that walking everywhere will be possible back in Arkansas, but I certainly hope to walk more.
  • Stars: You can see them here.
  • Fano: If I am ever feeling down, I just go downstairs and Fano is there!  I was discussing this with another missionary the other night who agrees with me: Fano can make anyone joyful! (except maybe his parents at times.)


3 thoughts on “The Things I Will Miss

  1. To clarify, the picture is Fano. And if anyone is a close follower of the blog, they might wonder if those bumps on his head are still there of if that is an old picture.

    Thankfully, all the bumps are gone! This is just an old picture I had.

  2. Ryan! This post really made me miss East Asia and brought back to my mind the bittersweet process of leaving. I think I know a lot of what you are going through. I’ll be praying for you during the difficult transition back into life in America.

    With Easter coming tomorrow, I have been thinking about singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” with you.

    And thanks for clarifying about the bumps on Fano’s head. That was the exact question I had in my mind as I looked at the picture!


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