Sunday, September 7, 2008

Looking for Adventures

Well, since I last posted, not too much has gone on.  On Wednesday, I had my meeting at the American Center.  I was pretty intimidated to go out by myself, but I think I did pretty well.  I'm surprised that I can get around the city with my Bengali...the only thing I need to learn are numbers.  One would think that this would be pretty easy, but I can't see a pattern in the Bengali numbering system.  I'm sure it's there; it just has never made itself apparent to me.  On my way to the American Center, I hopped on a CNG (baby taxi); the driver said it would cost 40 Tk (1 US dollar = 68 Tk).  He didn't realize that I wasn't from around here until halfway there, so he asked for more money when I got to the center.  But I gave him the 40 Tk and left.  At the American Center, Shaheen brought in a guy who works for USAID to see what I could do for my project.  It was kind of helpful, but I insisted that I keep my affiliation to IUB.  This man (who got his MPh from Hopkins) had never heard of Vandy, so he lost brownie points from me.  Some people might think that would be normal, but ever since Yunus got the Nobel Prize, most Bangladeshis know about Vanderbilt since Dr. Yunus did get his PhD there.  Regardless, on the way back, CNG drivers were asking for 100 Tk from me.  I guess they saw me coming out of the American Center, but I bargained one driver down to 50 Tk.  It was probably still a rip off. 

David and I have been going to the American Club frequently.  The food there is decent, and I guess it's nice to hear people speaking in English.  It also has great wireless, which is a plus.  There are many small children who play there, and I wonder what it would be like to be living in this country as an small American child.  As much as I would like to think how awesome that would be, I feel like they are missing out on so much in America.  I don't know though.  David has also taught me how to play darts, which I feel like we will be playing a lot of this year. We are also trying to meet other Americans our age, just to have other people around.  We met a girl today who is on a Fogarty grant...she's a med student at Tufts and her roommate is at medical school at Vandy.  

One night at the American club there was an extremely intoxicated girl who was unknowingly embarrassing herself.  I was amused because this kind of seen is so typical in Western culture (especially college culture), but I almost felt uncomfortable watching her because I knew that was definitely not a social norm in Bangladesh.  I feel like I'm sharing this story because it's weird knowing that you have to act a certain way when you go to other countries.  

I kind of feel bad not having any more interesting stories to tell.  I haven't really had the chance to go explore yet, but hopefully soon.  As for my research, I need to get my letter of support from IUB, and then I guess I'll start working after that.  Oh, and we finally got wireless in the apartment (yay!!).  So I can finally skype! 

Speaking of which, if people want to call me or send me letters and stuff, let me know and I'll give you my contact information.  And I think that's it for now.

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