Saturday, February 23, 2008

Time Flies

I've now been here for over seven weeks, and life here--its sights, sounds, smells--has become my norm. Home seems especially far away these days, though I'm not yet feeling much homesickness. Occasionally I'll think of little luxuries that I particularly miss (for instance, pancakes and showers lasting more than four minutes), but at the same time I don't want to wish away my upcoming ten months in anticipation of things that will be waiting there for me regardless.

I'm really very happy here. My room that at first felt like a cell is now very much a home (four- and six-legged roommates and all); my classmates are now also good friends. My sole complaint might be regarding the monotony of the menu--I find that I can only stomach so much rice and spice. But I've found a loophole, in that most Dhaka supermarkets stock a few imports like Pringles, Nutella, and cheese, so I now have a bit of a stash to keep me sane!

With respect to classes, our first two modules are now complete, and tomorrow we begin our third with a new set of instructors. This unit will run for the next six weeks, so if you don't see another post between now and mid-April, you can assume I'm keeping busy with assignments and such.

I must say, however, that I enjoyed a delightful vacation this week. I had the opportunity to attend a classmate's wedding reception last weekend, and was all decked out in a beautiful new sari.

Friday, February 15, 2008

An Update

My apologies for being so terrible about updating! We've now finished our second module, and are very happy to have a week off before starting the third (quantitative research methods, biostats, and epidemiology). The last two weeks have been pretty intensive with practicing qualitative research methods. The last week was spent working on small-scale research projects. My partner Taufique and I looked at understandings of death among the elderly members of the village and the relationship with their overall well-being. It was actually a very interesting subject, and I'd be happy to elaborate if anyone in particular is interested.

Apart from working on the project, I haven't done very much lately. Almost all waking hours were spent somehow away from my room, and mostly away from the internet, too. However, when I was in my room, I met another of my roommates:

I went into Dhaka earlier this week to attend a security briefing at the US Embassy. To get there from another area in the city I enjoyed a sunrise rickshaw ride--quite the experience, I must say. Also, it was suddenly very strange to see so many Americans in the same place. I then managed to get to the American center to pick up my mail, so a big Thank You to everyone who sent things--it was so exciting to have some dispatches from home! (And some chocolate!) I have very good intentions of sending mail to everyone at some point, but I've yet to find a post office around here. I'll keep looking, though.

During the coming week, we have planned to go to Cox's Bazar (the longest uninterupted beach in the world, apparently), in the southern part of Bangladesh. One of our classmates is getting married this weekend, also, so a few of the other international girls and I are planning to go sari shopping tomorrow so that we can appropriately dress for the occasion. I'm pretty excited.

More to come when I return from the trip, and hopefully some good pictures then, too.