I am here sitting in front of the computer and getting bored. I looked up on the wall where my National Wildlife Federation calendar hangs and I see that today is December 15. Yes, were are halfway through the last month of 2008. I know, I know. I have wondered aloud many times in the past too, where did the year go? So I thought what a neat idea to look back on my personal 2008. I have been blogging for roughly 4 years now and never have I done a recap of my year. Of course each yearend I read other bloggers recaps of their respective year, and each time I tell myself that I too would do it next year. So, I am doing it this year.
I remember how 2008 started with rain. Unfortunately, not much came after the initial showing. We were close to getting water rationing. We might still get water rationing summer of 2009 if the snow caps do not meet the norm or the rainfalls are sparse.
In January also husband and I were having a problem, a good problem actually, because our individual vacation cap from our jobs were getting full and we needed to take time off else we would lose further accruals. While still mulling over where to go or what to do or how much money to spend on said vacay, we received a very disturbing and devastating news. My MIL who was ill for a total of four days and who was scheduled for surgery in January suddenly expired. Our dilemma on what to do or where to spend our accumulating vacay time was solved. Unfortunately, we had to use it on going to Bangladesh for a funeral.
Because availability of vacay time was not a problem with neither of our jobs and the fact that this was considered an emergency situation, we were easily allowed to take time off, as much time as we wanted. Within three days of getting that dreaded phone call, we managed to arrange everything, including husband flying off to LA to make arrangements with my passport/visa. Apparently Bangladesh requires visa for US passport carriers. But it was easily resolved with a stamp that hubby had to personally get from the embassy in LA.
In spite of all the rush, I managed to bring with me a journal where I wrote everything that I experienced in that 20-day trip from my thoughts to the people and places I met and seen. I am still having second thoughts if I will share that journal/diary entries here.
I was pleasantly surprised at my Bangladesh trip. It was a very pleasant trip, enjoyable, and educational. I know the reason we went there was not for R&R, but after the funeral, R&R it turned out to be. There was very little sightseeing accomplished as my husband and I and the family continually played host to people streaming in and out to extend their sympathies and “check out” the foreign wife.
I don’t think I have written about the fun discoveries from my Bangladesh trip. Here are a few things that set them apart from the rest of the world, I think. Here are their traditions sort of:
- They have rituals performed when a “new bride” (which I was considered to be) enters the husband’s families home for the first time.
- I have my hair combed and braided by an aunt on the first night in preparation for sleeping.
- Meals are eaten rather late. Breakfasts are from 9-11 am. Lunch from 2:30-4:00. Dinner from 10:00-11:00. Of course, there is tea time, around 5-6 pm. My husband and I have requested coffee in lieu of tea on some days.
- People entertain friends and relatives in their bedrooms. Yes, bedrooms. If you stayed in the living room or were not invited in the bedroom that meant the owners of the home do not consider you close enough to merit a bedroom visit 🙂
- A lot of people start coming in to visit after the sun has gone down. Must be the heat causing this trend/tradition, but it was winter when we went there.
- Winter there was in the 60s too, pretty cool, and I was unprepared.
- People love to do two things: eat and chat. And enjoy paan in between meals.
- Be prepared to be fed like a truck driver. People keep shoving food in front of me. I think I had two dinner invites on one night and eating two dinners is not something I recommend.
- A new member of the family by marriage gets showered with gifts.
Needless to say I have had a memorable first trip to Bangladesh. Yes I did say first, I and hoping there would be follow-ups as I just scratched the surface of the country my husband calls home.
Because our tickets were purchased on a very short notice, our return flight from Singapore (there was no direct flight from SFO to Dhaka) to SFO was not available on the date of our arrival from Dhaka. While my in-laws were lamenting that the three extra days we have before our actual flight back to SFO should have been spent with them, understandably so, my husband thought that we both needed a few days to relax, breathe in and out, and just recharge for the long flight home—in Singapore. He was very thoughtful in those trying times, thinking of me that I have never seen much of the world and since we were in these parts I should sample Singapore. Sample we did. I was glad we did the Singapore (and a day trip to Malacca), because he seemed to be able to gather all his strength back and seemed like the old him.
to be continued….