Over the past weekend, I hosted a clothing swap party at my house. I was a little nervous about how many people might show up, since I’d gotten RSVP’s from complete strangers and people outside the embassy, but we had a completely manageable crowd that fit into our living rooms nicely.
If you’ve never been to a clothing swap, everyone brings the stuff from their closet that doesn’t fit right, or that they’d loved the idea of but never really liked on themselves, etc. At the swap, there are designated areas for tops, bottoms, accessories, shoes, bags, dresses, etc. I tried to include an area for more local fashions at mine, but there weren’t many and they got snapped up so fast that there wasn’t any need for a special space for them.
I had a ton of clothes that don’t fit well any more. Between the Dhaka 15, the pregnancy and the wistfulness that lovely things I’d once worn would someday fit me again, I was a bit of a clothes hoarder. So, in the spirit of purging, I got rid of all of that stuff. Some of it was pretty popular, so I was happy to see it going to new homes.
Since there aren’t many shops where you can buy western clothes here, it was a good chance to get some new things for the wardrobe, and have a chance to try them on first (unlike internet shopping).
I came away with a few blouses, 2 bracelets made for people with giant wrists (yeah!), and a lovely scarf. I was happy with how it turned out. Some people brought really fancy things, I guess I have high quality friends.
Thanks to the speedy folks in the Dip Passport office we’ve already received Lil’ Adventure’s new passport in record time. We dropped it off at the passport receiving office at the county courthouse last Thursday, and voila, here it arrived early this morning, less than a full week later!
As I mentioned before, we bid on our future post this summer, even though we were more than 1 year from transferring. Our transfer date is right at the tail end of the summer bid group, and many of those who bid simultaneously with us will transfer as early as May of next year. So, it’s a weird situation to be in, we already know where we’re going… but we’re not going for 14 months!
But, of course, the big question is… (for those who don’t follow us on FB too), where will the Adventures be in for Christmas 2012?
Seoul, South Korea!
Mr. Adventure finally gets to do some work in his chosen career path (Economics), and I (hopefully) will get a chance to teach some ethics or philosophy at one of the several American universities that have branch campuses in Seoul. Plus, the wee little adventurer will be living in a pleasantly shady complex with grass and playgrounds. We’ll be able to drink the water, and even go see a movie if we want to! We’re excited.
Singapore is known for one thing in this part of the Foreign Service world… it’s the place where you go for a med-evac. (aka medical evacuation). We’re not sure if it’s because of that, but few of the Dhaka-types seem to go there for weekend holidays. The flights are direct and convenient, so it’s a bit surprising that so few go. (Perhaps it’s because the hotels are so expensive?).
Among the 20- and 30- something couples, it’s also a bit of a code. If you’re going to Singapore, you’re probably going for one particular reason. And, yes, we went for that reason too. We’re pregnant!
That’s a big reason for the fall off in postings recently; I’ve just not been feeling ship-shape, and since I started the new job at the same time, it was a tough period of trying to sleep as much as possible whenever I was not working. I’m feeling better now, as we enter the second trimester, and the doctor in Singapore says everything looks good (all the right fingers and toes, organs, brain size, etc.). I’ll be delivering back in the states this winter, so expect some cute baby pictures then.
We passed out sweets at work (a Bangladeshi tradition whenever there’s good news to be shared), but I can’t send any out to you all, so go scavenge up some chocolate and celebrate in absentia.
You may remember that I was paired up with Becky at SmallBitsFS for the 2011 Foreign Service Swap Box exchange. She received my Bangladesh care package about a week ago, and gave me overmuch love on her blog post Valentine’s Day…
The box she sent me from Mexico arrived yesterday, slightly worse for wear, complete with the regulation holes and extra tape that many of our DPO shipments arrive with, but everything inside was fine, wrapped in bubble wrap and labeled with informative post-its.
She’d obviously read my blog, because she included a variety of strange candies for me to try, including some mysterious “fruit seasoning,” which looks like it’s just made for a tropical climate. Breadfruit, jackfruit and mangoes, WATCH OUT!
She also included some things for our china cabinet, where we currently display some rather questionable pieces of art. To replace those, we have a cool handpainted plate, a metal star and a pewter flower plate. And, of course, no box from Mexico would be complete without a dancing gourd animal. We can’t decide if this one is an armadillo, a deer-pig, a street dog (it looks like the local street dogs, but better fed), or the mythical cousin of the jackelope. However, he’s a cutie, and destined to sit in Mr. A’s birthday present from me, a display shelf for little critters and statues.
There was also a beautiful glass jar that will be perfect for a candle, especially since we’ve got so many here, but not much to put them in!
All in all, a pretty amazing box, and full of a cool variety things… candy experiments, house decorating, and even somethings for the husband. I am so glad I participated in the Swap!
You might not know that I’ve been working on a PhD for what seems like my entire life. It’s made me stupider in some ways, smarter (?) in others, and generally convinced that I take criticism wayyyy tooo personally. However, all that self awareness aside, the best part of the PhD is that it is now OVER. Yes, the good news is that I passed my doctoral defense this week with only eeny meeny corrections, and as of 2011, can call myself Doctor Adventure.
(That sounds like a really cheesy character in a comic book).
And, I also took the Foreign Service exam, yet again. Whoo hoo. I think once you take it the 4th time, it’s no longer as exciting. I took it the first time in 2004, and passed, back when the test lasted pretty much all day, and tested a lot more things. Now, the test is shorter, possibly easier (or is it just that I’ve taken it so often I have seen all the questions before?), and graded on a curve such that the top x% of takers “pass” regardless of score. There were some lovely essays to write, multiple choice questions on math, pop culture, American history, world politics… and grammar. YEAH. I heart the grammar section.
Anyway, after this test, there’s an essay to write, and an oral exam/interview/group work evaluation to do, assuming I pass through each hurdle. And, then, you wait on a list of people who qualify for the job for many months, before doing it all again because there are a lot of good candidates, and your number never came up. So, we’ll see where this test takes me.
It would be really nice for the Adventures to be a tandem couple; both of us like to be doing ‘important things.’ Let’s hope DoS thinks we should be one too.
Google just made this Santa’s “Nice” list with its announcement on Monday that they’d be keeping Google Voice and “Calling in Gmail” free through the end of 2011. Until today, I thought my fun times on the phone would be over at the end of this month, as Google had planned to begin charging for phone calls to the US in January.
However, not so!
If you don’t use Gmail Calling now, and are a FS with decent internet access, you should set up your google account and give it a try. I Love It. I can call the US for free any time, just like Skype, but I don’t just have to call a computer, I can call cell phones and land lines too. It’s not all that different from a VOIP, but we don’t have a VOIP device.
If you’re in the US, it’s free to other US numbers, but not to call me out here in Dhaka. For that, you should use Skype, since we’ve always got it on when we’re in the house. (One of our friends even has their Skype calls forwarded to their Dhaka phone, so perhaps we’ll try to get that going too.)
It’s a quiet Saturday morning her in the Adventure house. Perhaps we have so much paper and cardboard lying around it’s like another layer of insulation has been added to our flat. And what does having a metric ton of cardboard and paper mean? It means our boat shipment (HHE) finally arrived, and along with it, everything we’ve been missing for the last three months is finally ours once again. Surprisingly, there was much less damage in the HHE than we expected, but I am missing somethings still. Hopefully they’ll turn up, there are some boxes that have yet to be opened.
Last week we went to a big dinner and party at the Ambassador’s house, which was topped off by a singalong around his giant Christmas tree. It was a week of embassy festivities. There was also a concert in the embassy itself, many of the performers were staffers, it was classic Christmas music, and accompanied by the occasional jig or two from an excited child. I also attended Mr. A’s section’s “Open House” in which staffers in other sections (or spouses) got a chance to tour his office area, and see what they do in there. There were some fun interactive activities, some presentations and a bunch of cookie displays to keep us well fed as we followed the tour.
I also picked up my first paycheck from subbing at the American School. It’s in the local currency, so I’ll have to take it to a local bank to cash it. However, it’s recommended that all bank visits take place via a car, rather than walking, so I’ll have to wait until next week. Why? Because our payment finally cleared on the car we bought (third time’s the charm), and we can pick it up early next week.
However, all of these events were overshadowed by the knowledge that our possessions were in the city and had cleared customs. For various reasons, they couldn’t be delivered until the end of the week, but what a day of fun that was!
We had 4 crates of stuff. That wouldn’t be much if we’d shipped furniture, but that’s mostly “boxes.” A whole lotta boxes. The pile below is most of the kitchen stuff, but we found random kitchen things in lots of other boxes. For example, the box of utensils also had the Bocce set, but nothing else, and was labeled “Small boxes with photos.” Uh? What?
That was true of many of our boxes. There were about 10 boxes labeled “books” which contained at most one book, and usually none. The books were labeled clothes, or games…. Shoes were labeled clothes, etc. However, it’s understandable, given that almost all of our stuff was holed up in a single little room in a giant pile of doom when the packers arrived.
However, the priority for me was the Christmas tree. So, even though we hadn’t found the silverware, or even cleared a path to the door, we cleared a space in the perfect corner and set up our tree. It was harder to arrange than we thought a fake tree would be. It’s our first fake tree, though I’ve had some mini trees and decorated a few fake trees for work and such. However, we think the results are worth the effort, and thank our upstairs neighbors for coming down to help us put all the hundred or so ornaments on.
So, in sum, we’ve had a week of festivities, opening boxes and big happiness, and it isn’t even Christmas yet. I hear that a lot of the folks back home are knee deep in snow, but we’re still enjoying the “chilly” high 70 and low 80 degree days. Brr, where’s my jacket?
Yesterday I had planned to meet up with a fellow blogger (Becoming Bangladesh) and show her the delights of the American Club, since she’s not a member, but like many in the last week, she’s recovering from something and couldn’t make it. We rescheduled, but it left me with a great big empty afternoon of possibility.
We decided to head to the Dhaka American Women’s Club’s annual Christmas charity bazaar. It was much bigger than we’d anticipated it being, with food vendors, a real Santa, a bounce house, raffles and other craziness. We were lucky enough, in fact, to be the winners of a Nando’s gift certificate (a favorite restaurant, though we’ve not been to a Dhaka branch yet).
We capped off the afternoon with dinner at Sura, a Korean restaurant that lived up to its reputation as one of the best restaurants in Dhaka. Yum. Spicy! Tons of food! Fast service! Ambiance! We had dinner with our future neighbors, who’d we’d known back in language training in DC. They’re currently in temporary digs until their apartment is finished, but soon we’ll have some neighbors to share the Wii fun with.
Earlier this week, we’ve had a whirlwind of social events, poker night, a “tea” at the DCM’s, an ice cream date, skype-dates… its been nice to be so busy, the first few weeks here were rather quiet.
Nothing too fascinating in this update, but expect the photos from the upcoming Ball next weekend! We’re also planning some interior painting and a little mini-break out of Dhaka.