I'm also really disconcerted about my environment. This is a country where (I feel) that women are treated as equals, nor should they feel like they should be. Clearly, as someone who went to an all-girls school for 14 years growing up thinking that women were of course equal, if not better than men, this bothers me a lot. People also stare at me a lot, which perhaps I've mentioned as well. I just don't get it. I guess this is where "cross-cultural understanding" comes in. Today, I went to the ARA (American Recreational Association) to become a member. I saw all these American kids running around playing with each other, and I thought about how interesting it would be to live in different countries as a child. Most members are in some way related to the Embassy, which I guess is why all of the Fulbrighters are allowed to join as well.
I met the cook, Rita, today as well. She seems really nice, and it's funny because she speaks to me in Bengali and to David in English. But we are paying her a lot, which I don't really agree with, but whatever. My cook at YPSA cooked for me as well as for the entire staff (about 25-30 people), and she only got an equivalent of $25 a month. Rita is getting paid $120 a month, most probably because of her experience with foreigners/ability to understand English.
I'm feeling really useless right now, especially since I'm not doing any work. Tomorrow I have a meeting with Shaheen at the American Center to discuss my project. Apparently, they have a problem with my affiliation with IUB and want me to work with some other organization. I don't think they realize that a huge reason for why I came to Dhaka was so that I could work with Dr. Rahman as IUB. I'm going to have to explain that to them tomorrow. I'm also nervous about having to travel by myself to the meeting because I'm not really sure how to get to the American Center.
So I guess I'm a little lonely and distressed just because I don't know what I'm doing here. I've really tried these past two weeks to be super upbeat about everything, but lately I've found it a little more difficult to keep that up. Hopefully by the time I write my next entry things will have worked out positively.