Tag Archives: “home”

…R&R, finally

Dhaka’s a two-R&R post for 2-year tours. That means the government rates the conditions in the city strange and/or difficult enough to warrant two trips to some other place for a little sanity restoration. (Those of us who are here realize that 2 vacations isn’t really quite enough, and, on average, take an out-of-country trip at least every other month. Our rate is slightly lower than that, but close.) There are regulations in place at each R&R designated post about when you can take the trip. Here in Dhaka, you have to wait a certain amount of time after arriving (and vice versa on the other end), as well as have a certain number of months between each trip. You, of course, like any vacation time, have to coordinate with your coworkers and supervisors for coverage.

The R&R “perk” is that the government doesn’t just tell you to git outta Dodge, but also pays for your ticket out. You use your own vacation time, so we try to schedule R&R travel to coincide with trainings or long weekends to maximize the time.

We’re about 10 months into our tour here in Dhaka, and one of the last of our group to take our first R&R. It’s possibly the sweeter for being so long delayed, however, and we’re really looking forward to the chance of being a bit chilly for the first time in a long time. We even went through our winter clothes, wondering if we needed to pack the wool socks. Why? We’re going to Alaska, and we hear they have glaciers and grizzlies there. They apparently also have McDonalds and other American excitements, possibly even movie theaters and sidewalks!

…Google Voice, Part 2

For several months, I’ve extolled the virtues of Google Voice (via GoogleChat) to everyone I meet. Calls to the US were free, the sound quality was good, it didn’t require additional equipment… the only limitation was that it only really worked for outgoing calls. Our friends and family back home had to reach us by email or Skype if they wanted to initiate the conversation.

But, ALAS! They’ve just changed things, slightly. Calls to the US (or Canada) from abroad are now $.01 per minute (yes, a whole red cent). That’s a far cry from the $.52 per minute I paid my first year in college to SBI to call home occasionally, and from whatever insanity I paid to Sprint and various other companies to call home while on study abroad or other international travel in those years. But… I’m used to free calls, and I haven’t gotten over the shock yet.