Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Day in the Life

I decided to document a day in my life. Carried a pen and a little book around with me and wrote down my actions/thoughts as the day went on.

Morning starts with the bathroom shakedown. Brush my teeth, wash my face etc. all while shaking so the 20+ mosquitoes in my bathroom don’t land on me. I’ve gotten quite skillful at not poking my eye out when I try to put in my contacts.
Making coffee in the morning has to be done equally fast so the water being poured into the machine doesn’t catch a mosquito.

I wrap myself in several layers of clothing, a scarf, and a hat. It’s fifty degrees right now in Gaibandha and we live in buildings built to reduce heat in the sweltering summers.

I eat my breakfast, pack my coffee, and walk to work. The fog was so thick this morning that I spent a good portion of my walk hypothesizing why that was. Is it because it’s getting colder so the warmth of the life below is creating a faster condensation rate? Or are there more cook stoves going that release particulate matter into the air because people want more hot breakfasts during the cold? I almost fell into a pothole and decided to stop thinking.

I settle into work with my coffee, answer emails, read the news headlines and begin my day. A wave of nausea overcame me and didn’t leave for most of the day. So it goes.

Today I’m working on a paper about evil spirits. I’m reading through 3,700 infant verbal autopsies to find instances where mothers talk about the evil spirits that have killed their children. Thousands of detailed descriptions of the symptoms their children had right before they died. Gruesome examples of Shamans telling the mothers to beat the child to get rid of the evil spirit.

I can’t get through I’ll Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab without tearing up. Does anyone second that? I’ve disallowed myself to listen to any more sad music while reading these interviews. Only angry music like The Clash. Or Alanis Morisette.

During lunch I mix half a cup of cold water with half a cup of boiling water. This trick is the best thing that ever happened to me. I eat steaming hot vegetables and rice, a piece of fish and some hot Dhal I pour into a bowl and drink like soup.
I found a store that sells tootsie pops in Dhaka and I bought the man out. I keep them in my desk and every day after lunch I eat one. It’s the little things.

At 6pm I go home and meet my Bangla teacher. I use my cellphone to light the pitch black walk. My Bangla teaches me with stories and Bangla dramas. It’s incredibly effective. He always brings in a question to ask me before we start my lesson. “What does ‘beat it’ mean in the Michael Jackson song?” Today he asked me “What does ‘I’m a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World’ mean?”

I ate dinner and made tea and settled into my bed. I read my book interrupted every once in a while by the dance of the power outages.

Good night!

1 comment:

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