Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Hurry up and WAIT syndrome.

I spent the day ripping weeds out of my "garden" and mowing the lawn. Now I'm sore and sunburnt. I've been getting lots of emails and phone calls from all my friends, and I'm becoming even more sappy than I was last week. I've got my suitcases packed, weighed and waiting on the living room floor, and my to do list is pretty much complete. I always end up taking the maximum number of bags at the maximum weight limit, and every time I say that next time it will be different. It's really hard to handle six huge bags (plus three carry-ons) that are each about 70 lbs., especially in the Dhaka International Airport, where there are swarms of people trying to "help" for a small fee. Those luggage carts are hard to drive, man! But I can't think of one thing that I would want to take out. Actually, I'm sure I could fill up a couple more bags!

The political situation in Bangladesh is not good at the moment, and there is a chance that there will be a hartal (strike) on the day that we arrive. That means we will be either stuck in the airport, or we'll have to stay in some motel. After two straight days of travelling, I'm sure I'll just want to get somewhere that I can unpack my bags, recharge my iPod, and take a LONG shower. Oh well, I'll take what I can get, I guess.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Interesting Tidbit

I just found this on the Council of Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) listserv I subscribe to. I wonder what those silly Republicans are up to, showing off their tolerance and open-minded-ness! (I know, that's not very tolerant and open-minded of me towards Republicans, but I admit it, I'm a political bigot.)

On Monday, August 30, Imam Izak-El Mu'eed Pasha, the Muslim chaplain of the New York City Police Department will give an invocation at the Republican Party convention. Pasha is the Imam, or spiritual leader, of Harlem's Malcolm Shabazz Masjid. In June 1999, New York Mayor Giulianni appointed Pasha as the city's first Muslim police chaplain.The convention is scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m. Pasha's invocation is the fifth item in the order of business.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

I called this picture "smiley" but I think she was actually pissed off about something. Yep, my mom just came in and looked at the picture and said, "Yep, that's her, always bitchin' about something." Posted by Hello

This is my brother with Heidi the Dog. I think Heidi kicked the bucket a few weeks after this picture was taken. Obesity problem.  Posted by Hello

Page has always enjoyed showing off her butt. It was really hard to get her to keep her pants on. Posted by Hello

Oh yes, I was one hot 8th grader. Just check out the bowl cut hairdo...oh my GOD!! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Fun quotes from Page's visit, which only Page will find amusing.

1. "I don't want to touch the open wound." - Page with the concealer. The open wound was mine.
2. "You just wanted to say 'breast'." - Katie to Masud, and we were talking about chicken. This conversation was followed by a very off-color joke about cannibalism by Katie.
3. "Just park up here on the grass." - Katie to Page, every time we rode in her car.
4. "What grass?" - Page, being a smart-ass.
5. "I sounded snotty." - Page, upon hearing her own voice on the answering machine.
6. "OK, Rob." - Katie, attempting to piss Page off.
7. "Can you tie this un?" - Isaac, asking someone to "untie" something.

Countdown...T minus 10

Another day, another tearful goodbye. Page left yesterday, I traded her in for Mom, who will stay here the rest of the time and we'll have our tearful goodbye at the airport. Ahhhh, I love being melodramatic.

I sure do miss Page though, the whole day yesterday I kept thinking about how boring it was without music playing (I'm too lazy to play it myself), and Isaac kept asking me to make a "web formula", which was Page's specialty. OK that was a really long sentence, probably a run-on, but this is a blog and who is checking anyways?

At least I'm insanely busy, so I don't have time to mull over things too much. Last night we had some people over for dinner, and the gods of cooking smiled upon me, if I do say so myself. I made rice, chickpea curry, cauliflower curry, fried eggplant (sounds gross but it's to DIE for), and mango salsa. I also stopped at this new Kebab House in Rochester and got some beef kebabs for appetizers, which I'm told were delicious. And Masud grilled some beef shish kebabs. Nothing burned, nothing was over/under done, the salt and spice levels were great. Just when I thought I was a domestic failure, I come through and surprise everyone!

Let's see if I can get it to carry over into other areas of my life. Small successes, it's what I live for. Now if somebody could please figure out what the odor is coming from the downstairs bathroom!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

May my CD drive rest in peace...

The CD-ROM drive on my new laptop, which is all of one and a half months old, has kicked the bucket, bit the dust, gone to that great computer graveyard in the sky. Although it's still under warranty, I don't have enough time to get it fixed before I leave. Thank God I already uploaded my entire CD collection. My music is safe. Let's just hope nothing else breaks. That's what I get for buying the CHEAPEST of the CHEAP models.

Today I finished packing my fifth suitcase, leaving one more empty for me to fill in the hours before we leave. Condensing our lives into six suitcases has been a tiresome and anxiety ridden experience, and I know I've probably left out some important items. I think we'll survive, either way. After all, many of the 140 million people in Bangladesh are able to survive without half of what I've packed.

Maybe my materialistic lifestyle will suffer, but I hope I'll learn how to live with less.

For some reason, we really look like sisters in this picture. Posted by Hello

One of the things I will miss the most about leaving the US is having lunch with Sue and Deb.  Posted by Hello

Kanta's birds helped us study one day. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Ode to Kanta

For the past month or so, I've been brushing up on my math skills in the hopes that I can get a semi-respectable score on the GRE. My studying buddy, Ishrat a.k.a Kanta, has made it both fun and rewarding. I don't think there is anybody else in the world who would put up with me talking about bodily functions while working out solid geometry math problems. She's got some mean math skills, so whenever I'm stuck, she patiently explains the logic behind each solution. Then she tries to make me feel better by saying how hard the problem was. What a great friend!
We decided that trying to take the test before I leave would be unreasonable, so she is going to take it here and I'm going to take it in Bangladesh. I wish we could have gone together, because I have the feeling that I'll be in serious need of some comic relief on testing day, but at least we've come this far together.
So here's to you, girl! I'll think of you whenever I need to find the volume of the space around three spheres within a cylinder!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Another ode to Page.

I'm just so relieved that my sister is here, that I have to devote another post to her. She is a neat freak, so she goes around and puts my junk into neat little piles. It's great! It gives the illusion of cleanliness! We both bought some really funny anti-Bush t-shirts (from jibjab.com). They have a picture of Bush on the front with his goofy grin and ten gallon hat, and the caption says "right-wing nut job". If you haven't seen the political cartoon called "This Land", you simply MUST take a moment to go to http://www.jibjab.com and watch it. (Then you will think my shirt is all the cooler!) Also, check out some of their archived cartoons, good for a laugh (especially the farting elves one - good for all you sickos out there like me who enjoy a gratuitous fart jokes.)
I'm not sure that I will wear a tshirt with Bush on the front while I'm in Bangladesh. Even though it's a joke, I'm not sure everyone will get it. Could be dangerous.
Today we're going to do some more shopping for stuff that I'm taking to Bangladesh. I think that my suitcase space is reaching capacity, so I have to draw the line at some point here. I just know I'm going to get there and wish for that one thing that I forgot to buy while I was here. Oh well, life is about making sacrifices, I guess. I've got enough skittles to feed a small village anyways. Last time, I took some gummy bears and shared them with everyone. I gave some to Masud's Fupu (paternal aunt), and she said "Eta ki, rubber?" (What is this, rubber?) She tore off the head with her one good incisor, and then gave the body to my nephew. American confections are wasted on her. Good thing I was there to finish the bag.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Introducing Fidget.

Fidget is the fish, not the plastic horse. Page bought him for Isaac. He's already been overfed once, but I rescued him. Isaac picked out a bunch of random toys to put in his bowl instead of the standard fish gravel and fake plastic castle. We think it's pretty rad. What a cool world for a fish. Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Ode to Page. (With a Sub-Ode to Chris).

Here are four things that I love about my sister.

1) She says what's on her mind. No beating around the bush - no sugar coating. I love a person who can tell it like it is.
2) She has so much more self esteem than I ever did at that age.
3) If I was her, I don't think I would have been able to give up the last three weeks of my summer vacation to help my sister out. Of course, I don't have an older sister, so I really can't say what I would have done. But I probably wouldn't have given up the last three weeks with my boyfriend before he goes to college...

Speaking of her boyfriend (Chris, aka Krist), he is one talented musician. She played a track of him singing last night - I truly expected it to be crappy because he's just a kid, and I knew a lot of guys in high school who thought they could sing but really couldn't.(Chris, if you're reading this, I mean it in the most respectful way possible!) He is really good! I think he's gonna be famous. Then I can say that I once gave him a ride when his car broke down and there was a scary guy walking on the road.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Bad Movie + Popcorn = Fun Family Night

Masud and I planned on seeing the Bourne Supremacy last night. We had free tickets, and it seemed like a good night for a movie. The only problem, however, was that we didn't have anyone to watch Isaac. We thought about taking him along, but I just couldn't handle the thought of people looking at me as I took my four-year-old into a PG-13 movie. So we decided to see the kid-friendly "Thunderbirds" instead. It was a really bad movie - terrible script, predictable plot, poor acting, lots of special effects, and the stereotypical bad guy of South Asian origin. Isaac loved it. Actually, I think Masud kind of enjoyed it too. And I enjoyed being out with my family. So it was a successful evening. Maybe we'll see Matt Damon another day.

Today we will be having even more fun, because of the annual Minnesota Elevator picnic. Isaac goes nuts when he hears the word "picnic". It will be a fun day, I'm sure, as long as the rain holds off. And tomorrow, mom and Page are coming. Life is good!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Something new every day...

When I first started my internship at Saludando Salud, I wondered if I had done the right thing. I'm so flustered - trying to get ready to spend 9 months in a third world country and coming out of an intense year of too many classes at once - I thought maybe I should have just passed up the internship and spent some time at home. But I can't believe how much I'm learning just by listening to stories and watching what happens.
Saludando Salud is a grant funded government program that targets Latino health issues like health education and access to care. They do some really neat things, like set up doctor's appointments and transport patients to and from the clinic, as well as interpret for them if necessary. I started working with Ellen De la torre when I was doing my thesis. She's the "Health Promotion Specialist", and has tons of personal experience with Latinos. Her husband is Mexican, and she spend some time living there - even had kids there - so she really knows the Mexican culture. And, although I can barely speak a word of Spanish, I can tell she's a pro Spanish speaker. Of course I always admire American women who have successful interracial marriages and families.
We spent the day at a conference in the Cities, and I learned so much just from our conversations. This internship has been worth every second so far, and I'm sure I'll learn even more before my time is up.
OK, now back to the real-life business of dish washing and floor sweeping.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Malaria prophylactic

I picked up our Malarone pills today. For some reason, our insurance only allows us to get 15 pills at a time, so it looks like the easiest way to get them will be to just buy them in Bangladesh (and hope that they are good quality). It's so funny...I was incredibly naive the first time I went to Bangladesh. I thought I was invincible, and refused any immunization or pills. This time, I'm taking even the long-shot preventive options like the Typhoid vaccine, and I've reviewed all of my choices for malaria prophylactic carefully, because I plan to take them for the entire time I'm there. Among other things, I can look forward to nausea, headaches, dizziness, sleep disturbances and appetite changes.
Today was a particularly moist day here in Minnesota, and the mosquitoes were in rare form. It made me think about what I'm going to face in Bangladesh. I still have scars on my feet from our trip last December. That was so bad - the night I counted over 100 huge bites on my legs and feet, I wondered how I'd survive. And now I'm going for 9 months! Since I saw one of our friends who came back from Bangladesh with Dengue fever, I don't want to take any chances. I'm usually an opponent of pesticides and chemicals, but I plan to bathe myself and Isaac in DEET.

Eyes are closing - time for bed.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Isaac has one week left at school, and although he insists that he won't miss it, I know he will be sad for Miss Katie. She's such a great teacher (with such a cool name)!!! Posted by Hello

America's Dairyland

We just came back from a quick visit to Wisconsin. I will try to go home one more time before I leave for Bangladesh, but I'm so busy that I'm beginning to think that this might have been my last trip.
I got some good pictures, and I'll share them with you now.

My Cool Grandpa

My grandpa always wears these groovy shades. He's such a movie star! Poor Chips the Dog, who never gets any excitement, was being strangled by that leash so he wouldn't claw me with his satan toe nails.

Disco Dad

I'm proud to say that my dad, brother and sister all had roles in the community theatre production of "Hollywood Hillbillies". While the script left something to be desired, my dad's ad-libbed monologue was hilarious!


My sister played a spoiled valley girl who is forced to spend "quality time" with her father's relatives in the hills. She was SO FUNNY, especially the part where "Bubba" assaulted her.

Rob the Drunk Attorney

My brother (the one in the hat), played a drunk attorney. He was really convincing. He belched a couple of times, and it was so loud that I worried some chunks might have come up with the burp. GROSS Rob!