Friday, February 12, 2010

blog silence

I'm sure I will feel better. sooner or later. meanwhile, I'll go to the clinic on Sunday since the fever is going up, not down. no Ball for me tonight, nor Book Fair tomorrow.

some pictures to remind me that it's been a busy week. I haven't slept it all away, though the last 48 hours have been pretty much sleep.

the flowers in Jan and Feb here are fabulous and the weather (except the dusty air and the mosquitoes) is perfect. Last weekend, I went to Matan's school's International Fair and worked at the American booth.

We had a commencement ceremony on Sunday with the President of Bangladesh speaking. On Saturday we had to have a rehearsal -- in a different location, so it was sort limited in its effectiveness. But I did get to go out with my colleagues for fasika (I think that's what it was called - have to check). (uh, the small person in front is not in my department but people like to get their pictures taken here!).

and the night of the commencement, yes, I remember it clearly, Sabreena brought over a mosquito net for my bed and I've slept well ever since!

classes are going ok - up and down with one class, to the extent that I sent them packing about a week ago when it seemed that noone had done the reading. Sabreena, the TA, is helping the students understand what I'm expecting, and helping me understand what they need. She did the tutorial yesterday on her own when I stayed home sick.

Matan is working hard at school and I'm impressed that he hasn't missed an assignment since we got back from Israel. He's doing his registration for next year for Mounds View already. Also getting many emails from colleges since he did the PSAT a year early (they do it both sophomore and junior years here).

I really feel like I've been fine most days, and then boom, I get a bad cough or cold or stomach upset, so that the last 6 weeks have been pretty off. not sure how to help organize a conference a month from now -- all of my energy has gone into classes since I've tried to take advantage of the days I feel fine.

One question I haven't answered: why Bangladesh? It was pretty much a matter of things falling into place. I wanted a sabbatical that would take me out of the States. I was pretty much open to the whole world, but definitely had a preference for Asia. The Fulbright people at a women's studies conference suggested that I use their search function to see which countries were looking for what. I plugged in community college teachers (many countries actually prefer teachers who are used to pretty heavy teaching loads and little time for research) and women's studies. I also did a cc teachers/American lit search. Well, the answers come up alphabetical so Bangladesh was at the top of both lists. Lots of the options removed themselves: much of Africa wanted French competency, South America Spanish, and Arab countries Arabic. (not all, but enough that when it came down to specifics like teaching American Lit in Jordan, there was an Arabic langugage knowledge preference, if I remember correctly). Then there were different variations in English subject matter -- like Viet Nam wanted someone to teach journalism. I think it came down to about 10 that would work, I only remember the 3 that I put as my top choices: Bangladesh, Hungary and Trinidad and Tobago.

Next -- at that same conference -- I sat by someone at supper who had been to Dhaka (though her Fulbright had been somewhere else in Asia) who could connect me to the dept head at BRAC. The dept head asked for my resume and wrote a letter of invitation that looked like I was the person they wanted. Since it's so competitive, I think that was probably very helpful.

I really wanted to come to some place that I might not otherwise get to. I thought maybe that a semester might have been adequate, but then Matan wouldn't have had the same option to join me (at least not with 1/2 of his tuition being paid). It's true there were moments (here) that I thought one semester might have been enough, but this second semester -- except for being sick -- has been very different so far. We know more people, we spend less energy on logistics, and while I hardly feel I'll be any kind of expert on Bangladesh, I am asking better questions now than I would have known to ask six months ago.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear from you. I hope your health improves as the month goes on.
    I am enjoying my time with the family and hope to see Nitzan this weekend.
    All is well in Chicagoland. Mom