i played football with a bunch of students on the field in front of the school this afternoon. i hadn't planned on this, but Bimala stuck her head in the door on her way over and asked if i'd like to go along.
im pretty sure the resulting game made them all think that all Canadians are inept at playing soccer. even if all i did was play right defense. one of the guys in one of my classes was playing too and he said I still had to prove my worth as a player to them. that could be a tall order...
on our way over to the school which is about a ten minute walk from our place, everyone was turning to watch us walk by. and by this I mean everyone. no exception. bimala's from nepal so she's still seen as a foreigner here. but the reason for these looks wasn't 'hey look at the two foreigners', but instead 'wtf? a guy and a girl walking together in casual clothes?' well, maybe not everyone was thinking that, probably a lot of them were just curious, but that's what some of them thought. i know this because Bimala told me this. guys and gals hardly interact here. and if they do, it's almost discreet. I can get away with it because i'm a white guy, but i think if any of the native bangladeshi's were doing it they'd probably get not a few looks of disapproval.
of all the cultural differences and strange things that go on here, ie playing soccer while a cow walks across the middle of the field during play to eat..., this is the only thing that's really thrown me for a loop. before I came here everyone was voicing their opinions about how long it would take me to get over the culture shock. most people said a month. I got here and pretty much shrugged it off. so there's cows on the road. big deal. so they drive like maniacs. so do some people i know at home. but this guy/girl interaction thing caught me off guard. i mean, they do interact here, but as for how social they are with each other I've no idea, as pretty much all I've seen is groups just sitting around talking. today was the first time I saw just one guy and one girl talking with each other. it's easy for me to get into conversations with the guys in my classes here, but it'd be pretty hard to do the same with any of the girls. not for the least of reasons that at some point in each class, they;ve asked me all about if im married or have a girlfriend and when I say no to both, they frantically write things down in their notebooks. or they get this looks in their eyes which to me looks like "FRESH MEAT". or last week, i looked up, and the girls (who always sit together in each class) were taking pictures of me teaching with their phones.
and you know what'd really not fair about this whole situation? some of them are pretty fucking cute.
but, since i dont really want to have some mad raving father come after me screaming stuff about family honour, im kind of at a loss as to how to talk to them outside of "what's the answer to this question?"
and doing simple things like holding a door open for them either gets me weird looks, or that Fresh Meat look again, which at this point i just think is funny.
the students at this university are funny in that they're around my age, but they're so underexposed to life that they act like they're in grade 10. they ask me questions about alcohol and sound like they're asking "oh, which girl do you like in our class" like what happens at home. a few of them wanted to know what slang was for porn. they havent asked anything to do with sex yet, which is good cause i'd probably just laugh and not tell them.
though it's easier being a white male in this country than it is being a white female. im sure maggie's already had a few marriage proposals, and I know she's been approached at least twice about converting to Islam. I've been asked a grand total of three times about a girlfriend, and twice about being married. now if they ask me i just turn it around on them and shoot their own question back at them which usually results in a big laugh fest in the class.
on that subject, im fast discovering why my parents forbade my sister and I from taking education in university, ive been teaching for two weeks and i pretty much dont want to do it anymore. i like interacting with my students, and i like having a good time in class with them, but fuck me, the teaching part is fucking balls. im not a fucking teacher, what the hell do i know about making tests and marking assignments and putting up with students who cant put two words in order? while i like building a relationship with my students, i think this is the only thing about this internship i dont like. it takes away too much time from the real reason i came here, to do research on nursing. my class schedule is set up so that i lose three days a week during the best time to plan interviews and observations. it's kind of lame. the nursing students have placements in a few hospitals that ive been asked to accompany them to to do observations and talk with the administrators, but i cant cause i have four fucking hours of proper grammar to teach. that being said, i started to design two small surveys that i can administer to administrators and nurses alike, with different questions for both. my plan is to use these as prelim surveys from which i can design better ones.
two of the guys in my first class who are the best two english speakers in there, offered to show me around Dhaka on saturday and teach me how to barter. should be good times.
today was nick's birthday, who is also from canada slash london and is another volunteer faculty member at the school. he's also the half brother of the guy im doing my project for. so maggie and i figured we'd switch things up for dinner from the usual mulgi, bahth and dahl (that'd be chicken, rice and lentils) to pizza and a nice cake. goddamn they make tasty pizza here. bimala also blended up a batch of lassi's which are kind of like milkshakes. so fucking tasty you have no idea. i thought after the soccer game i wouldnt be able to eat, but i pretty much stuffed myself.
so now im sitting on my bed with the mosquito net down and a candle on the bedside table cause wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, the load shedding has yet again turned it's attention to sector 10, and rocking the lungi again.
tomorrow im going to work more on my surverys and come up with a quiz for next week. fun.