Sunday, September 11, 2011

Daily Frustrations and A Little Escape

Something about international experiences is that they often bring with them plenty of small, daily frustrations.  Most days are good, some days are frustrating.  Last Thursday, for example, was mostly good, with some meetings, an orientation, and a movie night with new friends.  But, I've been battling daily headaches and dehydration, and we found out on Thursday that a) there was still no list of potential research assistants for hire and b) we would have to leave for Matlab (the village where we'll do our research) 3 days later than planned. 
Me, Roslyn, and our new roommate, Poonum at the American Club
Friday, on the other hand, was awesome.  Shopping and lunch with friends, some R&R at home, and a par-tay at the American Club.  The American Club is a bit of a sanctuary for those who are members.  There is a swimming pool, tennis courts, a restaurant and a couple of bars, a workout room, and a small library and video rental room.  We were there to drop off Roslyn's membership application on Friday when we found out they were hosting a party that night.  Admission was $25, which is pretty freaking steep on a student budget, but my, oh my was it ever worth it.  We wore our American clothes, listened to music, watched people dance, and sipped on gin and tonics (women aren't allowed to drink out in public in Bangladesh).  It was so nice to feel a bit of home again and feel a temporary escape from daily life.

Today, Roslyn and I had our first day of a two-week intensive Bangla language course.  The class was great, however, we were under the impression it would last until 1:00 or 1:30, but instead class is in session until 2 p.m. every afternoon.  After class, we had some administrative issues to deal with.  These things would normally not be a problem, but we didn't pack any food for lunch and had only shared the snack I packed, and we got stuck in traffic just a few blocks from our apartment because we hit one of the wealthy gradeschools just as the children were letting out for the day.  We came home starving, sweating, only to find out that the air conditioner in my bedroom is broken and won't be fixed until tomorrow.  These are very small, insignificant things under normal circumstances, but added altogether and added to the daily challenges of communication and getting from place-to-place, we were both feeling more or less stressed to the max. 

Luckily, our apartment also serves as a bit of a sanctuary.  It is quiet, cool, and the one place we're able to go to really decompress and relax.  In these first couple of weeks, it is a sanity saver, for sure!

I remember experiencing all of these feelings when I was first in Taiwan, as well.  Some days are great, other days are really difficult, and every day you're faced with some amount of frustrating or stressful situations.  The keys to getting through these days and situations, in my opinion, are to remain as calm as possible (a real test of patience) during the situation, and take some time alone with a book or a magazine or, my personal favorite, laying sprawled out across the bed doing nothing at all.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds frustrating, but oh so amazing Katie! You look beautiful and happy! Awesome pics!!!