Monday, October 24, 2005

Language Proficiency Interview

Bombed it. I studied for hours last night and have improved 100% since the practice exam...i know i have. Yet, it boggles my mind that I could walk in...and freeze. I think I am looking at some major tutoring at site, and I feel I am the only one. Chatting with other trainess at the local cyber-cafe, it seems like everyone feels pretty darn good about their performance. Good for them:) So, we received the official Swear-In Invitations from the US Embassy, and I will admit I shed a tear. Embassy. Nice. So now that language class is shesh and my bangla is "officially" bad, I have so much free time on my hands. I have found myself reading every single profile of every single person on, and yes, racking up a 40tk bill with the cyber-cafe nut-cases. Although 40tk is less than a US $, it is A LOT here in the Desh. Off to a lunch of rice and probably fish-bones.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Barisal, Taposh Kumar Basu, and CoffeeCha

Barisal. Endless coconut trees, incredible shopping opportunties, a rockin' new host family, and yes, a bike. Not only is everything perfect about my new home, but I get to buy a bike!!! Peace Corps reimburses!!! So, upon arrival in Barisal for a brief 3-day visit, I was greeted by a Bangladeshi woman that speaks a little too rapidly for my developing Bangla skills and a maid-servant with pigtails. They showed me around the "palace" and then to my room. So, my new digs...about twice the size of my room in Foresthill. Interesting. Oh, and the neighborhood is named after my host family. And the food is out-of-this-world. And i have the CUTEST little host-sis. And my brother's name is Dip. And my life is perfect. After settling in and dancing around my huge room, I was off to my DYD(like a school)to meet my supervisor(who does speak english!) and see what kind of people I will call my "colleagues" for the next dui bochhors. (Side-note: My supervisor's name is Taposh Kumar Basu or DD Sir...but when I am alone in my huge room, I call him "Toppy") My counterpart is the computer instructor and he introduced me to the place by serving me a steaming hot cup of coffee mixed with tea. Khub moja or very tasty for the Bangla-impaired. I get a bike! And back to the classroom is giant, they are providing me with a whiteboard(ha! most people get chalk!), and yes, the Refrigeration and Electronics teacher is a tiny woman named Polly. Ah, Bangladesh. Though she is a 3rd world desh, my site-mates and I, upon arriving back in Dirty Dhaka, had a nice rootbeer float at the typical BD restaurant, A&W. Pizza Hut is next door. So, there you have it. I am loving every second in this place and sometimes I have to pinch myself just to remind me that I am not at the Palm Theatre in San Luis. Life is good, the cousin is engaged, and yes, Ross Crabill still writes a darn good letter.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

So, what happens if your supervisor doesn't speak a word of English?

TOmoRRow is the big day. The SupervisorS Conference in the big city of Dirty Dhaka. It is time to meet the dreaded Deputy Director that I will be working with for the next 24 months. This is not just a boss, this is a community-integration mechanism. PLEASE speak ENGLISH, Please speak ENGlish. Being as I cannot even buy a roll of much-needed toilet paper(yes, I know I should integrate better into the culture)in Bangla, I don't feel I am ready to discuss my "work-plan" in the Bengali language. But here goes nothing. Following up the big day in Dhaka, I am off to Barisal for a quick 3-day meet and greet with the new host-fam and a little touring of my new home(for the next 2...4...months). I am stoked, but also nervous as all heck. I still cannot believe I am here.

Monday, October 10, 2005

If we can dance in Burkas, does this mean we are ready for two full years of service?

Pre-service training is almost over and I feel that the majority of us here in Gazipur are ready. We have all realized that our Bangla is not improving, that we are indeed wearing the same three outfits day after day, and that yes, this food is bland. However, one thing that is for sure here in the Desh is that the Peace Corps trainees are pretty awesome. From a truck driver to an Alaskan construction worker, we have it all. Now, as we prepare to head out to our sites for 2 years, the anticipation grows and the days get longer...and longer. And with Ramadan currently in full-swing, those afternoon ice cream cravings are a bit harder to take care of. I am headed to Barisal, one of the BD's division capital cities. Surrounded by rivers, we are pretty much guaranteed some flooding, but this also means transportation by boat (which excites me!). Myself and two others will take on this Southern city after the Muslim holiday of Eid. November 6th. I will be rocking the Department of Youth Development with "whatever i feel like teaching....from sex-ed to line-dancing" classes...while Lauren and Brent (my chill site-mates) will take on the less-than-superior Bangladeshi school system as full-time english teachers. Overall, I am excited most about the ice-cream store in Barisal....and the fact that my new host-fam speaks superior english.