Monday, November 22, 2004

My Bhabi's brother has two little girls (Noreen - 3 and Shaneen - 1 1/2), and they live upstairs. They love Isaac (except when he doesn't share). He loves them (except when they want him to share).  Posted by Hello

Eid Hotties (Tanya and Me). Posted by Hello

Onadi, Jitu (my nephew) and Isaac in the rickshaw in Narayanganj. Notice the rickshaw wallah's nifty face mask. It's just that polluted here. Posted by Hello

GRE'ed out.

I've been tested. I have now completed one of the requirements for admission to phd programs across the country. And I'm proud to say that I kicked some math ass. So here's to you Mr.'s Borud and Weatherwax, my HS math teachers that I drove crazy with comments like "When will I EVER use this in real life?", and to my dad, who showed me that finding the volume of a cylinder really isn't THAT hard.

After my test, I found myself rather bewildered (after having seen my surprisingly good math score and surprisingly bad English score) and alone on the streets of Dhaka. Freedom at last. No 4 year old, no 40 year old, just me with a bag full of taka and no place to go. So I called up my buddy Tanya ( and we met for lunch. Yep, I told that rickshaw wallah where to take me, and he did. No problem. After a feast of bel puri (outstanding, must have more), garlic naan (to die for) and veggie curry with panir (kinda jhal but good), we strolled over to the Gulshan market where I blew some more takas on useless lumps of plastic that Isaac pines for (pokemon figures). She took me to visit BRAC (it's huge and kindof messy), and then we went to this really amazing little ice cream place, ingested more empty calories, and then I managed to get home without getting fondled, mugged, or kidnapped. It was a great day.

I am now going to ceremoniously discard my pile of study cards with vocabulary words scribbled on them, stack up my GRE study books to pass on to the next poor soul who needs them, and move on with my life. For it is good.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Isaac's new buddy is Onadi. He is distantly related (Masud's brother's wife's brother's son - follow that?), and he goes to an English medium school so they were able to play superheros together. Posted by Hello

I am a gigantic person. Seated here are (left to right) Ikram Bhai, Dadi (wife of the man who gave Masud his name - she's 95 and is 3 1/2 feet tall), Isaac, me (aka giant human), and Rina Bhabi. Just look at the size of my head compared to theirs. I dont fit in here. Posted by Hello

Ikram Bhai bought these balloons with whistles for Isaac, and he spent the rest of the day blowing them up over and over so Isaac could let them go and terrorize us all with a high pitched squeal. Ikram bhai sure learned his lesson. Posted by Hello

Go Bangladesh! Posted by Hello

Here's Isaac, showing off his Eid outfit and his henna tatoo. Don't worry mom, it washes off.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I'm alive, don't worry...

Hello Blog Fans! I meant to post something before I left about how I'd probably not be able to update this for a while, but you know me. As my mother in law says, I've got a "patla mata" (watery head).

I spent the last week celebrating the end of Ramadan with Masud's family in Narayanganj. My oldest brother in law (who passed away two years ago) built a house there, and we went to visit my boro bhabi. I took along my "bandhubi" Tanya (fellow Fulbrighter), who didn't mind roughing it for a few days without western toilets and hot water. (Or maybe she did, I don't know). It sure was nice to have her there. We shared some funny moments, most memorably ridiculing a "huzur" who mangled the morning azan so badly that we couldn't sleep. Nobody else seemed to think it was funny. She's also got a blog that you might be interested in.... A cool dude, indeed.

In other news, I must confess that Psychic Susanna may have been correct all those years ago when she said "Let's face it Katie, you're an airhead." I had given my dead laptop to my Bhabi so that she could have her brother send it to the US through his shipping company. He happens to know a thing or two about computers, and he took a look at it. When I arrived in Dhaka, he said "Well, the only thing I could find wrong with it was that the battery was dead." Apparently, computers don't work when they don't have a power source. DUH! I felt so dumb. But I'm happy at the same time because I have my dear little POS computer back. Sigh.

Tomorrow I'm going to a parlor to get a pedicure (1st in my life) and a manicure (2nd in my life) and a facial (1st). I feel like such a memshahib! I deserve some pampering, man. All this third world roughing it has taken a toll. (What am I saying? I haven't cooked or cleaned in 2 1/2 months. Roughing it?)

After taking the GRE on the 22nd, I'm going to start my Bangla script lessons. I'm hoping to get good enough to write a steamy love letter to my husband in his native language. He'll probably wonder who the heck wrote it. I might have to put some scathing sarcasm in it, or he might not recognize me.

Mosquitoes are starting to gang up on me, so I'm signing off for now. More updates and pictures to come.

Monday, November 08, 2004

This is one of the Hindu idols that were thrown in the water after puja was done. It's made of rice stalks, which are shaped into the figure of the goddess, then it's covered with clay, painted and dressed up. When puja is over they dump it in the lake. Posted by Hello

These boys live downstairs from us. The older brother is about 14, and he ALWAYS takes care of his little brother. It's so sweet how he takes care of him. This also happens to be the baby that Isaac hit in the eye with his toy gun. This baby has a necklace around his neck (called a tabiz), it has a piece of metal and a piece of wood on it. I'm not sure what it's for, but I think it's to fend off bad luck or something. Posted by Hello

This is a more common rickshaw motif. Check out those knockers. Posted by Hello

Another Saddam picture. The rickshaw wallah was proud of this one. Posted by Hello

Momo, Isaac and I went for a walk today. We checked out the pond. Posted by Hello

Here I tried to take a picture of the pretty girl on the back of the rickshaw in front of us, but our driver got in the way. Pretty girls with piercing stares is the motif of choice for most rickshaws. Posted by Hello

All Purpose Pond

Here are some kids having their morning bath in a pond. Masud and his siblings used to bathe here!! Posted by Hello

Some kids I met today. They loved that I took their picture. Posted by Hello

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Rear view... Posted by Hello

Much to the chagrin of my Muslim family, I bought Isaac a traditional Hindu "dhoti". It's just so damn cute! You can tell he's feelin' it! Posted by Hello

I snagged another rickshaw picture today. This one features Saddam and his buddy Osama. Posted by Hello

Friday, November 05, 2004

This is Afrida, Isaac's cousin. She's 7, and usually very patient with him.  Posted by Hello

This morning, Isaac bonked a little kid in the eye with a toy. Thanks to Karma, he was attacked by another boy this evening. The boy grabbed both of his ears and dug in his thumb nails. There was bleeding. What a good life lesson. The bandaids are more for his feelings than his ears. Posted by Hello

Here's a guy who my brother in law hired to do some yard work. He's about 60 feet up in a tree, cutting branches with a machete. He worked all day for meals and 100 taka (about $1.75). Posted by Hello

Ahhh, my fellow countrymen!

So far, I have had to explain to exactly 14 people why my country's people are so "boca" (stupid). People just don't understand what it is that US citizens see in Bush. I find myself defending him to some degree, just so Americans can save some face. I try to emphasize the fact that Americans are scared of terrorists, and they believe that Bush will protect them and their children. People reply that because of Bush's actions abroad, terrorists are becoming more determined to hurt America. I've even had conversations with some less educated people from the village, who say that because of Bush's foreign policy, the entire world has been upset. If these people can understand that, why can't the voting public?
I had high hopes, the psychic in India predicted that Kerry would win, the international polls showed that the entire world was overwhelmingly in support of Kerry, and my sister in law had two dreams that Kerry would win. She's rarely wrong when she dreams something. But apparently my fellow voters didn't hear that news. My mom even convinced my 95 year old grandma to vote Democratic for the first time in her life, but she changed her mind at the last minute. It must be the fear factor.
Oh well, at least now there is an end in sight. I'll be out of the country for the next 8 months anyways, and after that, I only have to wait 3 1/2 more years.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Isaac the washer-woman. Yeah, he's bored. Posted by Hello

This is how chips are transported in Bangladesh. Hmmmm. Posted by Hello

You can tell he's really enjoying himself. Posted by Hello