Friday, June 15, 2007

Introduction to the Script

School was pretty brutal today. We learned how to say the numbers 1 – 10, and were also taught the script for them. I can say all the numbers (slowly), but definitely cannot recognize the script (except that their 4 looks like our 8). Numbers were easy compared to what came next: the script/alphabet!

We learned 6 consonants, 4 vowels, and one invisible vowel. Oh yes, I said invisible. We learned how to pronounce them as they are identified (such as a – b – c), and also learned how to pronounce them as if we were reading them in a word (such as “cab”). Then we practiced writing them, which was incredibly painful. Like little kids, it took us forever to shape the “letter” on our paper, trying to stay between the lines, etc. We would just write the same letter over and over and over across a line, the same way that little kids learn to write in cursive. In fact, our homework is to practice writing the letters and numbers. I can't realy recognize the characters at all yet, except I can tell if it's a vowel. A sample is provided below.

By the end of the class, at least two people were on the verge of tears, and another was ready to drop out of the program. (In this context, I love being the underachiever… I was like them when I was an undergrad – had to be perfect, had to get it right the first time… Possibly the greatest perk of growing up is not taking yourself quite so seriously.)

Some people came home after class and kept practicing the letters… I sent some emails and read a book instead. It’s nice to have the time to read books that haven’t been assigned!

At 5 p.m., we walked to the program director’s flat for a “casual reception” with the vice chancellor (equivalent to a university president) of Independent University of Bangladesh (the school that hosts our program). Let me just say, his apartment could have been lifted straight out of Manhattan. He had lots of very “mod” furniture, lighting, and art. He also had a full bar – which we all indulged in after such a frustrating day at school. Our teachers were also at the reception, along with a few of the director’s personal friends. One was an artist, who, upon entering the apartment, proceeded to pull a bottle of wine (Black Swan) out of his pants. The teachers looked slightly horrified (as Bangladeshi’s are not allowed, by law, to drink), but only slightly… as if that sort of thing happens from time to time and the appropriate thing to do is look shocked and then look the other way.

At 7, we had a quick dinner (very sketchy looking – it was quick because no one ate anything but potatoes) and a dessert of the most delicious pineapple I’ve ever had.

My apartment was the place to be, as we offered to host a “party.” We played card games and sat around and talked until nearly midnight – determined to stay up late enough finally be able to sleep through the night. (It didn’t work, by the way, we were all up by 6 a.m. on Friday.)

I am looking forward to the “weekend” (Friday and Saturday), and hope to go exploring in different neighborhoods.

The video below is of my first rickshaw ride.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Wow that looks difficult.