Wednesday, August 19, 2009

and the rain came

Not sure where all the water goes, but it poured last night from about 5pm until 9pm and then just drizzled the rest of the night. the picture is me cooking by flashlight (it's on my head) but the flash of the picture doesn't capture the way the flashlight beams onto the project. good thing we didn't need to go out last night.

Yesterday was very productive. I signed up for a month-long language course that will start next Monday. Usually it will be from Sun-Thur, 8-10 am. It's in the same direction as my university, but the distance is not as easily walked as it looks on the map.

First of all, getting to the language school. Rickshaw drivers in our neighborhood don't really know that neighborhood, even though it's not far. So yesterday's driver dropped me at the shopping mall and set me up with another who claimed to know where he was going. Indeed, he did take me to the right street. The most harrowing moment was when he took an exit entrance onto a bridge and the oncoming traffic beeped at him until he pulled over. He couldn't make a u-turn since there was a barrier down the middle. He just waited until there was a lull in the traffic and continued on in the wrong direction. So I guess you could say he knew where he was going. At the end he wanted more money than I had in small bills and some other guys came over to sort it out. They told him to take 50 taka and be still. I was still offering 70 (or 100 if he had change for 500). He was not happy. Then I had to call the school since I was actually on the wrong side of a big road and it didn't seem like this street continued on the north side. I kept walking and found it a little further down.

The language school is a 3-4 room apartment that looks like a very nice gathering place. I'm looking forward to meeting other new people and teachers who will answer lots of questions.

From there I went to the university. The security guard at the language school arranged the rickshaw and explained where I needed to go. Wasn't sure why the rickshaw driver put up the carriage roof, because it was noon and hot? or, as I later saw, we went through the most densely populated neighborhood I had seen yet. It looked something like what I would think of as a refugee camp. We came out almost exactly across the street from my university. Who knew that there was a route between those buildings on a fairly modern looking street, that wound the way it did through to the place that I would be studying? And I thought it looking like walking distance on the map. Distance-wise, maybe, but I don't think I'm going to try walking there.

At work I'm reading through books and previous syllabi and exercises trying to get a feel for what I'll be teaching. Not sure who my students will be. Met my officemate. Cooled down.

Eventually went out to make my way back home. I walked this time to Gulshan II which is a huge round-about intersection where traffic is usually backed up. I wanted to get to a large grocery store. Along the way I almost popped into an appliance store to see what a washing machine would cost (I figured that to send out wash would cost about $80/mo, so the breakeven point is $800? except that one could hire someone for far, far less. I guess). Anyway, got to the grocery store and they did have maple syrup so pancakes are on the menu again!

Took a motorized rickshaw home and made it just as Matan called to say he was home without a key (left it at school). No after school activities on Tuesdays. We'll learn that, too.

Today he's home sick with the flu and the school is requesting that people stay home 24 hours after the fever breaks. There is swine flu in Dhaka, but not at the school.

I think I'll probably stay here with him. There's so much work to do on my classes and the journey to get to the university isn't really necessary every day, I think, though I do like talking to the other teachers and running things by the dept head.

Got to talk to Shaked on Skype from her dorm room! Nitzan is on his way back to MN -- not sure what route he's taking.

And it's a beautiful, sunny day today. Mabe the wash will get dry!


  1. Oh my - your life is full.full.full. I hope Matan is feeling a lot better.

  2. carolpurcell60@gmail.com20 August, 2009 22:57

    It is interesting to read your blog as we on the Century campus are going through our duty days in preparation for classes that start on August 24.
    The mostly finished parking lot and the temporary classroom spaces seem like small inconviences compared with learning a new language and new money and new pretty much everything.
    Keep up the journaling as long as you can (and add more pictures as you get a chance).
    Thank you for sharing this experience with us all.
    Carol Purcell
    Mathematics Department