Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving week-end

We celebrated Turkey day last week-end with some of Dave’s co-workers. It was a potluck with about 12 adults and 4 kids, including Catherine. The food was great and the turkey was purchased from the American Club here and was cooked to perfection. We had all the trimmings (including cranberry with the mandatory ringed impressions from the can!) and apple, pumpkin and pecan pies for dessert. Our contribution was homemade bread (not by me) stuffing (also not made by me) and apple and pecan pie (purchased from the American club).

On Thanksgiving Day, Dave and I both worked a full day (yes, I’m working now-consulting for UNFPA). We decided to forego the traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the American Club since we had eaten the very same meal a few days earlier. We, instead, went to the Radisson hotel for a special Bangladeshi food and cultural event. It was a buffet of every imaginable kind of Bangladeshi food ever. There were probably 40-50 stations. At 8:30PM they had a nice show including dancers and various singers, all in traditional costumes.

The day after Thanksgiving, we had a wonderful brunch at home, but unfortunately, we had no access to the internet at home, so could not talk with any family members as planned on Skype. We are back online after getting it fixed today (Saturday) so hopefully will talk with everyone soon. We took Catherine to the pool to go swimming…and on the day after Thanksgiving! She enjoyed playing with some 4 year olds in the big pool and decided that since they went down the big slide that she would/could too! Dave and I took turns treading water in the deep end praying we could catch our little TWO year old as she came flying down the slide…and we did, but not before she went under water. She had a blast and all she could say was “more, more!” Pictures are of her getting ready to go to the pool and her pool side. Understandably, we were a bit preoccupied when she was going down the slide and have no pictures of that! Maybe next time! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weathering the storm

Thanks to everyone that has called and emailed to see how we are doing after Cylcone SIDR hit a couple of days ago. Thursday night we knew that it was supposed to make landfall after increasing in strength over the Bay of Bengal. We went to bed to pouring rain (not an uncommon sight here!) and awoke at 3AM to HOWLING winds. We live in a big concrete building so felt very safe. The wind was really blowing and we sort of slept with one eye open the rest of the night. We got up a couple of times to check doors and windows and the power went out about the time SIDR rolled through. Catherine slept through the whole thing. We didn't have power all day Friday and the photos above were taken between putting together puzzles, reading and relaxing around the house. Included here to let everyone know we are fine. Many, many Bangladeshis fared much worse than us. The coastal region was hit the hardest and the death toll is up over 2,000 by this morning's paper estimate. People lost their homes (tin roofs blew away) and their crops (fields were flooded from the tidal surge estimated at 7-8 feet). There are photos in today's paper of floating cow carcasses reminiscent of the destruction cause by the tsunami back in late 2004. Emergency relief from various aid organization is promised and we hope it gets to the people that most need it quickly. Life marches on here in Dhaka city, hundreds of miles from the coast and the hardest hit areas. Today, Sunday, people return to work and things seem to be getting back to normal. One last note: the ship carrying our container with all of our belongings was due to arrive Chittagong (the main port here in Bangladesh) on Thursday! We are not sure when we will see it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The eye of the storm

That red blob is where we live! Cylcone SIDR is picking up steam and heading for the southerrn coast of Bangladesh! We live several hundred miles inland, so are not too worried about ourselves at this point. We have just had rain today and some winds, but the coast has gotten really hammered, we hear. We will batten down the hatches tomorrow and probably stay inside. Give us a buzz on the skype if you'd like to check in with us, and check out updates on or at the hurricane central site below:
Also, we were expecting our shipment TODAY in Chittagong which is the main port of Bangladesh on the Bay of Bengal where the cyclone was headed! Let's hope the ship is able to weather the storm, and we see our belongings (some of you may remember...5 bikes, our clothes, beds, etc....) sometime soon! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Catherine's birthday, the conclusion!

Friday, November 9th, Catherine enjoyed playing with her new friends at the American Club at her very first real birthday party. Everyone had lots of yummy snacks, enjoyed the playground and open space and delighted in the wonderful birthday cake! It tasted as good as it looked. She was happy and very tired by the end of the afternoon and she enjoyed a woderful nap after the festivities. The only thing missing was her friends and family being here from the States. She LOVES the happy birthday song and has been humming/singing it since the big day!

My birthday continued...

I celebrated my birthday by opening gifts at home which included a really cool, retro outfit that mom bought for me from a local artisan store. I like to walk around the apartment with my hands in my pockets and my shades on and act like I am in a fashion show. I don’t know where I learned this or where I got all this great fashion sense because mommy never wears fancy clothes here (or anywhere). Mommy will write more about my birthday festivities in another post.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My birthday, by Catherine Martz

This week (November 7th) I turned TWO! I wasn’t feeling all that great, but mommy and daddy gave me a piece of yellow cake with pink frosting on it and then I felt much better! I blew out both my candles on the first try.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Where we live PART I: Catherine's room

Friends and family have asked what our living conditions are like here in Dhaka and I will try and give a glimpse of what it’s like. We live in a 6-story apartment building with an elevator. There are two apartments on each floor. Our neighbors in 3A are an American couple from California. They also have a dog, Bogart, and love to see Catherine as they really miss their grandkids. Upstairs, there is a Japanese couple with a precious baby; a Scandinavian couple and everyone else are Bangladeshis. I have met one very nice Bangladeshi man who owns his own restaurant in Dhaka. The Bangladeshis living in our building are al professionals. (School principal, doctor, etc).
I will give more detail on the inside of our place and start with Catherine’s room, which is actually the nicest room in our apartment. You can see from the pictures she has some colored mats on her floor. The are letters and numbers and serve two purposes. One, they are educational and two, they provide a soft surface to play on (i.e. fall on) as the floors here are concrete! She has a table and chairs with tea set and some play kitchen pots. She also loves her little books and the newest addition, the house and ball pop-up tent! She loves to crawl through the tunnel and play with the balls inside or just read one of her books in her “house”. She has a little red car that has lots of bells and whistles on it that she likes to ride around. Will includes updated pictures of her room when her new furniture arrives in a couple of weeks! She is getting a new bed and dresser.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Catherine's first haircut!

Well, you would not know if from the pictures, but Miss Catherine was sick today (the day of the haircut and day before she turns TWO!) She had vomited during the night and couldn't keep liquids down this morning. Of course, this happened the day AFTER she was seen for her 2 year well baby visit at the local hospital! Even when she is not feeling great, she is a sweetie and wonderful to be around. I found this barber in the DAWC "yellow pages" a small spiral bound book put out by the Dhaka American Women's Club. The book noted that he cuts children's hair and makes house calls! He spent about 20 minutes cutting Miss Catherine's hair. She was very good and did not fuss or try to get down once. As I write this, she has not thrown up all day and has slept well and is getting her appetite back. Tomorrow will be much better I'm sure and not just because she will be TWO years old!!!

Attended our first real birthday party

Miss Catherine attended her first real birthday party. Her friend Henry was celebrating #2! Funny thing is that Henry and Catherine were born on the same day around the same time (Henry born in Boston a couple of hours later). It was great that his birthday party was last week-end and Catherine's is this week-end. Double the fun! Catherine is playing with her friend Zoellie. We enjoyed wonderful pizza and homemade birthday cake! mmmmmmm.