Thursday, December 27, 2007

Checking out

We're off to Unawatuna, Sri Lanka by way of Bangkok. Finally some rest and relaxation! We'll take lots of pictures to share when we're back in Dhaka. Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day in Dhaka

Christmas is a very social holiday and therefore, difficult to recreate without close family and friends. But, we did our best. Our kids have never seen snow, Santa, or Christmas lights. They understand very little of the cultural event we call Christmas. As an example, I give you Odin wearing our Christmas stockings as 'gloves'.



They did understand that Christmas Day is the day when we open some gifts. They both enjoyed their new toys- especially the tricycle!





It's tough to share new toys, isn't it?



We did some of the usual Christmas cooking- and eating.



Lily had her first mashed potatoes and loved them.




We had fun playing all day...







And we also got some work done, thanks to Odin.



Hope you all had a great holiday. We were thinking of and missing family and friends around the world.

You know you're a parent when...

... you spend Christmas Eve putting together kids' toys.

Tree of love


About 10 days before Christmas we brought in our tree. Most people say they 'put up' their tree, but we say 'brought in' because our tree lives in a pot outside. It's much bigger than it was last year!

We were unable to locate our beautiful wooden Christmas tree ornaments from Russia (given to us by Lacey) so we decided to make ornaments with pictures of family and friends. Here's are a few of them on our tree of love, hanging by dental floss.

Brishti


Our poor dog Brishti hasn't even made the blog yet! She's cute, but usually not as cute as kids- the competition is tough to beat. Anyway, it's about time we introduced our dog Brishti. Her name means rain in Bangla, but ironically, she does not like water. You can tell by her face here while she's getting a Christmas bath.

When we moved to Dhaka we adopted Brishti from friends who had rescued her and her brother as puppies from the street. She had been hit by a car and still has the scars on her paw to prove it. She an exceptionally intelligent dog (I guess that street dogs are bred to be smart- dumb ones don't usually last long enough to procreate). She's also usually exceptionally dirty which is why she's stays outside. But we brought her in the house and cleaned her up for the holidays.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lily's steps


Ok, this isn't a great picture of Lily, but it's the only one I have from this momentous week. She said her first words on Tuesday! 'Bye-bye', complete with appropriate hand gesturing. Absolutely adorable. She followed up with a 'hi' on Thursday, and last night I got her to try barking like a dog. This girl learns fast!

She'll be walking soon... There were reports of her taking a few unassisted steps at play group this week, but no repeat performance so far.

Eid ul Azha

Friday was the Muslim holiday Eid ul Azha. It's the second largest religious holiday of the year. To celebrate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to God, they sacrifice animals (usually cows or goats here) and share the meat with family and the poor.

The week before Eid ul Azha, the streets of Dhaka become crowded with goats and cows being taken to market. Most people prefer to spend the holiday in their village homes, since sacrificing animals can be messy. However, there's plenty of sacrificing in Dhaka as well. The night before there were numerous cows tied up outside houses on our street. The clean them and put festive decorations on their heads and necks. Odin enjoyed visiting all the cows on our street.
Early on Eid, someone trained in proper religious sacrifice protocol comes to kill the animals in the street. The family then cuts the animal up for sharing the meat. Less fortunate people from nearby slum neighborhoods come to houses sacrificing for meat handouts. We like to call this phenomena 'meat trick-or-treat'.
Queuing up for meat on our street

Some children with their bags of meat on Eid


Being a vegetarian, I'm not crazy about this holiday. That morning the streets are covered in blood and the smell of dead animal lingers into the evening. However, this is one of the few times during the year that many people in Bangladesh eat meat- usually they cannot afford it. I guess that a little extra protein in their diets can't hurt.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My favorite security guard


Many of you will recognize this security guard from Halloween, even without his hat. He does a very good job of managing all traffic coming in and out of our driveway. And he's not afraid to use his whistle.

Victory Day


Yesterday Bangladeshis celebrated their independence from Pakistan in 1971- they call it Victory Day. In the week preceding Victory Day, intersections are bustling with hawkers selling Bangladesh flags in all shapes and sizes.

Independence day celebrations in a country where many people remember the war for independence are quite different than in a country like the US where independence was won many generations ago. The wounds of sacrifice are still raw and emotions run high as everyone over 40 years old remembers the atrocities that defined the Liberation War. Many of those who fought for Bangladesh's independence are now calling for the prosecution of what they call 'war criminals'- those persons still living in Bangladesh who participated in the systematic killing of intellectuals and academics who supported the liberation movement. As little as a year ago, some of these people were a part of the ruling government.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Goofy hair


Odin's hair is finally long enough to make silly hairstyles in the bathtub. He, he.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Grocery shopping

Wow, I'm really behind on the blogging...



Every weekend we make a trip to the US Commissary. That's where we buy most of our prepackaged foods. It's a small 5 isle establishment that carries most of the essentials. Here's Odin doing some shopping on the cereal isle.





Here are a few goodies from the commissary that we can't get anywhere else.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Birthday parties in Dhaka

We went to our friend Sam's 1st birthday party this weekend. The local snake charmer showed up, as he usually does when he hears of a festive occasion in the expatriate neighborhood. Odin did not like the snake charmer- at all.






He did, however, like the marching band that showed up about half an hour later. If any of you are interested in having them for your next garden party, just let me know and I'll see if I can book them for you. :)


Enjoying the show

Odin's got rhythm

video

My Lily

Here are a few recent pictures of my Lily. She has just sprouted her third tooth and weighs almost 18 pounds. I love, love, love my girl.

Practicing her new clapping skills




Odin loves her, too.