After you’ve been at post a while, and gotten your sea legs more or less, you are often called upon to serve as a ‘social’ sponsor for an incoming employee (and their family, if they’re bringing one). Depending on the size of your post, you might be almost exactly matched for lifestyles with the incoming person, or just the only one available to help at the time. Dhaka’s a medium sized post, so we’re mostly matchy, but not 100%.
Our first sponsees arrive (at the inconceiveable hour of 4:30 or so) tomorrow morning. Thankfully, they overnighted about half way here, so they aren’t trying to make the 30 hour journey from the east coast in one fell swoop. To help prepare them for their arrival, both the Adventures have been sending them helpful (and overly-advice ridden) emails about what they need to bring to Dhaka, how to find us at their airport, whether they can bring gold boullion (ok, we didn’t address that, but it’s apparently something a normal traveller can’t bring to Bangladesh, fair warning), etc. We’re also responsible for setting up their house, checking that they’ll have enough temporary towels and the like to get by until their first shipment arrives, showing them around town to the main sights, etc.
In anticipation of their arrival, we did a little preemptive grocery shopping for them. Our CLO provides a helpful list of things that most people get, and we came up with some other ideas too. There is also a list posted in the commissary here, but it’s full of such strange suggestions that I am not sure if it’s for real or not. On our preparatory shopping list are:
Small dish soap bottle
Frozen Dinner (lasagne or something)
Salt & pepper
Pre-washed fruit and veggies (courtesy of our housekeeper’s talents in bleaching produce)
Of course, we have it pretty lucky, as we’ll only need to get them about 1-2 days worth of stuff, as we’ll be able to take them shopping the day after they arrive. When we came, it was a long holiday weekend, so our sponsor had to think ahead for several days. The CLO list includes stuff like cold cuts and mayo, spices and such… but those things are so particular, pricey, and weird here… so I am crossing them off the necessary list.
We’re also going to gift them a few things to round this list out, but I’m keeping that a secret until they arrive.
We’re borrowing some movies from the CLO so they’ll have something to do in that bleary, early morning fug that they’ll be in when they get to their new house. Hopefully they’ll like the options, two of them are childhood favorites of mine, so they might be too “retro” for modern kids!
We’ll also do our part to keep them awake and acclimated to the time change. We’re spending the afternoon having lunch out, and swimming, and having dinner at a big embassy barbeque party. Hopefully that will be enough to keep them awake until dark, so that they’ll be on Dhaka time soon.
We’re excited to meet them, hopefully they’ll have an easy transition.