Saturday, May 19, 2012

What's goin' on?

I really intended to keep people more up to date on this blog with what has been going on here in Dhaka, but time has not been on my side. 

I will do my best to give you the crash course of our lives here over the past few months, if that is even possible, but maybe I can start with some highlights.

  • Our new to us car arrived in February and it is suiting us nicely.  We bought a Toyota Probox: None of the cars have the same name here.  I have seen a corolla, but that's about it. This name has gotten some mileage!  The first day out I got into an accident and was standing still, yet I got yelled at by the driver that I owed him money.  I couldn't do everything they say you are supposed to do since the driver boxed me in and there was bumper to bumper traffic.  I did have the embassy number on me, and told him to F-off and call them and see what they say.  As I was dealing with the driver and the occupant who spoke english and was a local, a crowd of about 40 onlookers gathered. Eventually one of the guards standing nearby had been entertainedn enough by the foreigner, so he sent me on my way and made the other driver move for me. I found out the other driver called the embassy, and he was told to call back the next day once they had a chance to find out my side of the story.  The dude never called back.  Extortion. 
  • We went on a mini"vacation" to Srimongal and visited some tea plantations and I saw real live in the wild monkeys, while hiking in a tropical forest at 7 am alone (heavenly, I tell you) (separate post to hopefully follow) 

  • Hollis turned 5 in March and we had a great party at the American Club.  Bounce house, pizza, cake, adult beverages.  I hosted the party while fighting off a sinus infection that resulted from one of many flu bugs.
  • Kids got lice!  at two separate times.  I am itching just thinking about it.  We are using tea tree shampoo regularly as a preventative and performing weekly or semi-weekly nit checks.  We used the traditional chemical treatment the first go round, but I took some advice from a friend and school nurse to use plain listerine.  You put it in a spray bottle, spray dry hair until saturated, put on a shower cap and let it sit for 2 hours.  You shampoo and condition normally and comb with a good lice comb.  The key to lice is the comb.  Usually the one that comes with the shampoo sucks, so I ordered this gem over amazon last month:
  • We went on a much needed vacation to Sri Lanka, which started out with a hilarious, albeit, somewhat pathetic story.  Hollis woke up vomiting in the middle of the night, but we were determined to go.  He would be better off being sick in Sri Lanka, was my view.  So we thought he was going to be ok and checked into the airport and our flight was delayed (which is pretty normal here).  We had our carry on luggage with us and then Hollis got that look and said it--"I think I'm going to throw up".  Andy did his best to run with him to the nearest (very far) bathroom, but on the way as he was carrying him out in front of him, he yacked!  Then, since Andy was running super fast, he wiped out on the puke on the tile floor.  Poor Hollis was covered from head to toe in puke, Andy somehow managed to not get any on him, and nobody else got puked on.  I am sure this is not the first time people have been seen leaving Dhaka puking.  With all our clothing packed and CHECKED ALREADY, I looked for clothing at the two dinky shops with clothes in the waiting area.  This is happening while Andy is trying to clean poor Hollis up in a disgusting bathroom with no paper towels, only a chip of a bar of soap, and bio hazard tap water.  After three trips to each store and finally resorting to rummaging through the storage area myself, I finally found a t-shirt and two pairs of shorts.  We threw out his clothes and had to wash his flip flops off. 
  • After all that we made it to wonderful, lovely, Sri Lanka. (separate post to follow)
  • We have had no fewer than 3 earthquakes that I have experienced while in the 4th floor of our building--not fun!
  • Got up close and personal to Madam Secretary--Hilary Clinton when she was in Dhaka for a whirlwind 24 hours!  The kids got their picture taken with other Embassy kids and her, and Hollis of course stole the show and told her a 10 second story that she actually listened to.  Still waiting on video of that....
  • Isobel got giardia, and was sick for at least 2 weeks, then recovered.
  • Andy and I got giardia and are on medicine and are on the way to recovery.
Needless to say, I am looking forward to getting back to the U.S. for part of the Summer and can't wait to do many things that I took for granted before moving here, such as:
  • driving a car where there are rules and stop signs and stop lights
  • walking down a sidewalk without worrying about stepping on feces, piss, or loogies
  • breathing fresh air
  • going shopping and not being hassled by the zombie patrol of beggars, and feeling like a jerk because I cannot give everyone of you money
  • going shopping and just being left alone to think and shop
  • eating fresh fruit and vegetables and not having to disinfect the crap out of it
  • brushing my teeth with tap water
  • going to a park and not being followed and asked a gazillion questions every 30 seconds and having my kids pictures taken by strangers
  • taking a train without the fear of my kids getting crushed by people just trying to get on the thing
  • no earthquakes (hopefully)
  • having family close enough that if I wanted to I could get there by driving a car for 6 or 10 hours

So, in a nutshell, it has been a wild ride so far and the kids are very happy.  They are super resilient, much more so than this chick.  They love their school and their friends and make our time here fun and interesting.  I have neglected to post for so long mainly because I felt that all I would do is complain and I don't want to be that kind of blogger or person.  Often times, this city is too much, but the people we have befriended have made it so much more bearable and enjoyable.  Already we are getting ready to say goodbye to friends in a few weeks that will be off to their next assignment.  That is a reality of this lifestyle and one that I definitely can say without a doubt, I do not like.  There is always the chance to meet up again in the future, in a new place and for that I am grateful.

Until next time...............

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