Neko joined in the children’s parade, proudly sporting her American flag and duds.
Neko’s been busy working on her head control so she can really enjoy some of her toys. Lying on the ground is just not cutting it anymore.
The bumbo was a hand-me-down from a great one-time Dhaka family. They also gave us their saucer, but she’s not ready for that yet. She loves the Bumbo, and will gladly read books, throw (drop) the ball for you, or cuddle with a stuffed toy in it. We’re working on hitting the play gym stuff from the chair, since she’s not into lying under it so much any more.
Last night we set up the doorway jumper, and it’s also a hit. Technically she’s too small for it (supposed to have her waist as high as the tray), but she loves it. She spins around and smiles, looking at us, and the rest of the room. She’s almost got the bouncing part down, but not quite, especially with stocking feet!
Yesterday we spent some time with other babies in the park at the American Club. It was Neko’s first significant amount of time outside (other than when we go on walks), and she was sneezing from all the dust of Dhaka. Oh well. I guess she’s got the family allergies too.
We’re almost on a schedule, at least for sleeping, day times are a mixed bag. The ayah’s very good at putting Neko to sleep, and we’re grateful they like each other so much. It was a pretty easy transition for Neko, and since I’m only working half days, we still get some cuddle time in in the mornings. Not that she’s much of a cuddler, she’s too curious and active for that.
There are a lot of naptimes in Neko’s (our pre-natal name for the baby, and what I’ll call her here) day, but not very many long naptimes. Of course, every time I say, “She’ll be up any minute now,” she’ll actually sleep for a whole hour. That happens mostly when Mr. A is around, of course, so he doesn’t get to see her day time 10-20 minute naps.
So, here is is nap 3 and it’s only 1 o’clock. Here’s hoping we can actually finish this entry!
My computer broke, and I’m now on the lookout for a local person with a Mac to use as a master computer for me to back up all my more recent photos. I haven’t been very dedicated to backing things up since we’ve been in Dhaka, so… there are a lot of things I’ll miss if they’re lost. Luckily, the problems only with the “click” of the mouse/trackpad (the computer always thinks I’m left clicking, regardless of my actions, the mouse I’m using, etc., and the keyboard shortcuts aren’t enough to be able to save what i need on disks). So, that’s put a big crimp in my blogging too, plus, I don’t know how to use the software and such on Mr. A’s computer, so no photos here for a while.
Otherwise, I’m going back to work next week, and we’ve hired an ayah to help out here with Neko. Thankfully, work’s being pretty flexible, and giving me the opportunity to both work part-time and work from home, when projects allow. Of course, now they’ll have to lend me a laptop, since I don’t have a computer any more!
Neko herself is adjusting to Dhaka, she got a bunch of shots last week (and loved them, not so much), and has some more this week. She’s loving the bell toy hanging from the play gym that arrived in the layette last week, and she’ll bat at it for quite a while before demanding to be walked around to look at things around the house. She made her first laugh noise earlier this week, but hasn’t repeated the feat. She also loves when her daddy makes silly noises, so I bet we’ll hear another laugh soon.
Things around Dhaka have changed while we were gone, especially notable are: a new menu at the ARA (breakfast was good, and more people are hanging out there than there were in the fall), but the pool is closed for several months. They’re building a Nando’s in Gulshan 2, and a sign outside declares “the neighborhood will never be the same!” If it becomes something more like Gulshan 1, I think we’d all be pretty happy. There’s some tasty options down at Gulshan 1. A new building appeared behind ours, full of new residents, but there’s nothing finished on the outside walls, so it looks like it will melt away in the next rainy season. And… naptime’s over.
There seem to be two perspectives on Dhaka. (1) That it’s a dull place at best, and frustrating at worst. Or, (2), that it’s a great place for families with close knit community. Most people I talk to share both perspectives when they talk to me about their time here. I’ve already experienced both ends of the spectrum of opinion myself, so I understand why this duality exists. (For the benefit of my friends in EaST, “Yes, Dhaka is Janus-faced.”)
However, when speaking to newbies or future posters, regardless of your current opinion on Dhaka, or how you despair about the dearth of Western movie theaters and ice skating rinks, you always mention one thing… The tennis lessons at the American Club. They’re cheap! They’re sporty! It’s the best tennis court in Bangladesh!
And it’s the last one that really is the clincher. Because, as the nicest court in
Bangladesh, it’s got a lot of draw for the local aspiring international tennis players who are otherwise not eligible for membership in the American Club. So… how do they get court time? By working as “markers,” instructors, coaches and ballboys.
So, I’m now taking private tennis lessons, at the club. (Doesn’t that sound terribly posh?) Twice a week, even.
I’m not very good yet, though that depends somewhat on whether I am practicing form or power during my lesson. I also look like a moron because I haven’t had any lessons in stance yet, just in swinging and following-through.
However, at the astounding rate of $3 including court-time, instructor, ball-boy and all the tennis balls you could ever need, I think I’ll start looking better soon. Some of the instructors are better than others, at teaching, but they’re all great at tennis.
Some of the Americans are also quite good at tennis, so on the weekends, during the prime times, it can be fun to sit up over the courts and watch the lessons or games. They even set up a little area on the side of the action where you can have drinks delivered to you in a shaded chair while you watch. It’s just like Wimbledon, but hotter. Much much much hotter.
I find myself looking back through these posts, and realizing that I haven’t said much about the local culture, architecture or amenities. Mainly that is because I do not have any good pictures of such things to share with you, however,
I will attempt to go out and start collecting some, so you can see a little more about this strange double life of dusty, muddy streets, widespread poverty, and the shock on everyone’s face to see me walking around on one hand and the normalcy created within the American community as an island of home-life on the other.