Monday, June 25, 2007

Catching Up!

I’ve definitely fallen behind on the blogging. I originally hoped to post every day, at least until the days got too routine to do so, but it takes up a lot more time than I expected, and classes and homework assignments are getting longer every day. I’m not abandoning the goal of posting every day, but I am going to catch up by providing a summary of the last several days below.

Thursday, June 21:
Truly not much to say. I went to class until 1 p.m., and felt sick (dizzy/lightheaded) the entire time. It sounds like dehydration, but I don’t know how that’s possible because I drink SO MUCH water. I came home, slept ‘til 5 p.m., did some homework, ate some plain rice for dinner, did a little more homework, and went to bed.

Friday, June 22:
I did homework and studied for about three hours, then met up with Farina, my “native” conversation partner. She took me to the Liberation Museum, which is all about the 1971 Liberation War. Museum seems to be a loose term here, as it was more like a house with newspaper clippings tacked all over the walls. The newspaper clippings were not even in chronological order, which was kind of confusing. Farina’s father was a freedom fighter, though, as I had mentioned before, so I knew it was important to her to take me there. When I came home, I had about an hour to relax and get ready for a party at Jamal Ahmed’s house/studio. Jamal Ahmed is a fairly wealthy, fairly well known painter in Bangladesh, and was educated in Dallas, TX. He is also the guy who pulled the bottle of wine out of his pants at our program director’s party last week. His wife prepared a HUGE meal with a variety of different Bangladeshi dishes, and it was all excellent. He also had some musicians singing Bengali folk songs (which later digressed to a few random verses of Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and the Beatles). Our teachers were also at the party, and, not entirely surprisingly, I like them a whole lot more outside of the authoritarian setting of the classroom.

Saturday, June 23:
After a late night, I slept until 11 a.m.! Upon waking, I began to realize how much studying would be required for Sunday’s test, and felt sort of doomed from the start. I joined up with several other people for a trip to “Coffee World,” a very sterile (comfortingly so) bookstore coffee shop. We all ordered waffles and coffee (yum!), then got down to studying. We were there for six hours, and even then I didn’t know even half of the vocabulary that was fair game for the test. We came home for dinner, then returned to studying late into the night.

Sunday, June 24:
As I walked into the classroom, the teacher was neatly printing (in English) “Welcome to Hell” on the whiteboard. Nothing like a little pre-exam encouragement! The test was a 20 question nightmare. The first 10 questions listed English words for our conversion to Bangla. Sounds easy, right? Not when you had 150 vocab words to learn… the odds of remembering the Bangla word, then writing it correctly in Bangla were pretty slim. I left one blank, as I could only remember the first letter of the Bangla word, and took my best stab at the others. The last 10 questions showed Bangla conjuncts (such as the combined letter for b + d), and asked us to write out the letters that composed the conjunct. I knew a few, guessed at a few, and left the rest blank. It’s been a few years, but I can confidently say that I still don’t like tests!

Sunday night we hung out with some Bangladeshi guys in their 20’s whom we had met at Jamal Ahmed’s party. There are never girls to hang out with because they all have either curfews or husbands. We watched “Borat” together, and after the guys had left we nervously wondered whether they had been offended by the jokes made in the movie (particularly those about all Muslims being terrorists).

I apologize that this post has lacked the detail of my previous postings - but sometimes, you just need to economize!


Overseas Dreamer said...

Even the economic versions of your blogs are great. No need to apologize. I however, apologize for just now reading it and finding out that I have failed to wish you a Happy, Happy Birthday!!!
So...Happy, Happy Belated Birthday! We will have to celebrate American style. Or whatever style seems most appealing. :)
Yikes, the test sounds dreadful - as does your security briefing. Unfortunately I do believe that mentality makes its way into even the diplomatic is wrong but it exists. Sadly. I have heard many similar comments over the years and it is somewhat disheartening. I'll do my very best to be different!
You are beautiful in your dress - how lovely!!

All my best to the now 5 days past birthday girl! XXOO, SB

Wendy said...

Noreen -- I liked white water rafting and it was a good experience, but it wasn't as fun as I hoped. We went on class I-III waters and it was pretty calm most of the way. I would say only 5% of the time did we had a little spinning/rock-bumping action. I really didn't want to fall in, but I kind of wanted the excitement of rougher waters. Also the water was much dirter than I expected; it was brown and there were water spiders everywhere! I did get wet because water would get in our raft when we dipped down and other rafts splashed water at us. It was pretty cool to try and I'm glad I did.

Remember I told you that Tan's friends were going rafting and camping. Now I'm glad we didn't make it because I SOOOO needed a shower after rafting and would of hated to be camping into the weekend and not be stanitized! Thanks for asking about it.

Carol and I went to new employee orientation today to give our Corp Comm speel and Carol said your bro was in there - but I didn't know which one.