How have we been in Dhaka for almost a month already?!
I’ve started taking Bangla lessons and, as long as I don’t have to read anything in Bangla script, it’s going well. I know some greetings, basic life questions (“What is your country?”), how to give directions, and names for fruits, vegetables, and food staples. Some of the vegetable names don’t translate very well. Like lal shak, which, according to my teacher, is “red leafies.” I had to ask her to spell the second word because I thought she was saying “leafies,” but “leafies” isn’t a word, so that couldn’t be right. Sure enough, “leafies” it was. Similarly, pui shak is “green leafies.” Further googling revealed that lal shak is also known as red amaranth or red spinach, and pui shak is Malabar spinach. But I kind of like leafies, so I’ll stick with that.
We went to a runway show at Nabila over the weekend, and that was a very interesting experience. We missed the first half of it because I insisted that we not arrive on-time so we weren’t the first people there. Well, apparently runway shows in Dhaka actually start when they’re supposed to. So we missed the sari part, but we got to see the gowns. The show’s soundtrack was Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” played on a loop. Every time I thought maybe they were changing to a new song, the chorus started over again. I had “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world / Life in plastic, it’s fantastic…” stuck in my head for days.
Back to the clothes. The gowns were stunning and sparkly, and we got a quick view of the saris at the end when everyone walked down the runway. If I want to buy a high-end sari while we’re here, I know where to go! Afterwards everyone signed the guest book and was given a little box containing a sandwich and a fried veggie fritter, so we sat down with the models and Nate chatted with his friend, the choreographer, who had invited us.
A few days ago we were walking Athena and a young Bangladeshi woman, named Nancy, eager to practice her English, walked along with us. She was also eager to get a job, as it turned out, but she was really friendly and said she liked dogs. Nancy got nervous when Athena tried to approach her, although we appreciated her positive attitude towards Athena. She eventually realized we wouldn’t be giving her a job, but we all enjoyed the conversation none-the-less. At one point she said to Nate, “Your wife’s face is very red,” and he told her, “She does not enjoy the climate here.”
Speaking of the climate in Dhaka, I realized that I’ve complained about it in every post I’ve written so far. I think the fact that it’s bad goes without saying at this point. Although now that monsoon season is in full-swing, it’s cooling off a little bit. Several days ago it rained like crazy all morning long, and there was lots of street flooding. I don’t know why people told us we should buy a sedan here. With all the speed bumps, potholes, flooding, and otherwise uneven roads, a vehicle with higher clearance is really the way to go. We are very excited to finally get a vehicle at the end of the month, and no, it’s not a sedan, because we couldn’t fit Athena’s crate in the back.
One of my favorite things about living here is all the fresh fruit. Right now mangoes, lychee and pineapple are in season and I’ve been stuffing my face. I’m also freezing whatever I can’t eat right now so that I’ll still have a decent supply later. I can’t wait until our blender comes in the sea freight. That will be a wonderful day. Plus it will be nice to have more than four plates, cups and utensils.
Let’s see… oh, Nate needed his hair trimmed so he called a barber that came to our house and gave him an amazing hair cut for about $8. They camped out in the guest room for 30 minutes, and then the guy cleaned up and that was that. You’d never guess it was a temporary hair salon. Speaking of hair, Athena is shedding like crazy. We thought she did her summer shedding before we left Virginia, but it’s like her body realized she still had more hair than she needed for the climate here, and now she’s shedding again. If we have this much dog hair in our apartment, I can’t imagine what it’s like for people with really hairy dogs like golden retrievers (which we see a surprisingly large amount of here).
The next post I write will be from our permanent housing, which we are moving into tomorrow. I am so excited to finally get really settled in somewhere. We’ll be able to rearrange the furniture, get photos on the walls, and make it feel like home!