Ami ektu Bangla boli (আমি একটু বাংলা বলি)

I’ve made it through a month of Bangla language training. I am not progressing as fast as I want to, but hopefully I will get better with time. At least this week we switched into a smaller class. The Bangla students were combined for 3 weeks, and I’m now in a class of 4 – smaller, more intimate room and more attention. We are in class 3-5 hours each day, and I do homework and study for about 2-3 hours each day, and I still feel behind. I’ve turned into a recluse as well – not going out much and happy to stay home in my PJs.

I miss the immersion training aspect of my Peace Corps training – I would learn things in class, then go home and practice them with my host mother and all the children. Now, I go home and go to Starbucks to study and do not get the speaking practice that I desperately need. Or I talk to myself in the shower. Both not terribly conducive to being adept at conversation.

I can now read the Bangla script at a 6 year old’s speed, which is better than a month ago when I couldn’t read it at all. It’s a beautiful script and the language itself sounds nice. I have to keep in mind that I went into this language knowing 0 words a mere 25  days ago. Now I can introduce myself, say where I and my family are from, talk about the weather, count to 30 and a few other things. Plus I can now read a completely foreign writing system.

In sad news: In the past week, there have been two murders of foreigners in Bangladesh. ISIS is taking credit for the first death, and the second happened today. The U.S. Embassy has restricted movements of its staff, and it reminds me that I did not choose the safest job in the world, especially in a world of growing extremism. I still have 6 months before departure, so I’ll be keeping an eye on what is going on in Dhaka and beyond…

In happier news, I got a diplocat!

Diplocat Mus

Diplocat Mus

Meet “Mus” (pronounced Moose), my little shelter kitty. I decided I needed a study buddy, and so I went to the Arlington Animal Welfare League. It happened to be the day after a huge ‘clean the shelter’ event, where the shelter had waived the adoption fees. Only 6 cats were left in the shelter that Sunday – the leftovers, if you will. I walked around trying to decide and then Mus turned around and looked at me. I went in to his enclosure and petted him, and he purred, and it was a match. Shy at first, Mus is quickly becoming lord of the apartment. He started off life in a feral cat colony, and had been in the shelter for 2 months because of his shyness. However, he seems to like me just fine, and I love having a furry critter to snuggle with at night. Besides…look at those eyes.

Somehow I keep finding toy mice in my bed…

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