Saturday, December 11, 2010

Love Thy Neighbor

I find it tough, though. we have two neighbours--one to the left and one to the right. The one on the right smokes disturbingly cheap cigars twice a week. The stench permeates in our apartment through our balcony door and not even Febreeze can help get rid of it. I welcome the cold weather--he has reduced his cigar smoking to once a week.
The neighbor on the left has another bad habit--he/she tends to bang on the wall when Son wakes up and cries at 2 am in the morning. Now, I get the sentiment--no one likes to be woken up by a hysterical child at 2 am. I personally don't. I, however, do not appreciate the expression of that sentiment--the person clearly does not have children or otherwise he/she would have known full well that there is little I could do about it. Perhaps he/she thinks I enjoy the experience...The problem is that it is affecting my disciplining methods--I am a firm believer of letting a child cry it out rather than sitting in the room and trying all tricks known to motherhood to make the child sleep. With a neurotic childless wall-banger as a neighbor, I get nervous and afraid to apply my true and tried methods.

This past Friday we were informed that next Friday the entire South East Asian section at FSI will have its own holiday party, at which all students have to make a 10 minute presentation of their country. A very deluded person from the Bangla section decided that we should sing a popular Bengali folk song that playfully discusses the merits of Islam and Sufism. The song is presented as a clever banter between a man and a woman, and while I am certain it can be a delight for the initiated aficionados, we, the FSI students with barely 3 months of Bangla under our belts, face the following problems:
1. The Bengali lyrics are old-fashioned, poetic and very difficult
2. The music is particularly ornate and contains a million twists and turns.
3. None of us look like accomplished Bangla folk singers.
4. None of us can can play the tabla or any other instrument for that matter. We will have to do with a tambourine, which I can only imagine will contribute immensely to our Earth-shattering performance.
5. We have only 4 days to practice, with one hour per day.
I will inform you of the results in due time.

My midterm progress evaluation is coming up this week on Tuesday. I had an especially un-progressing end of the week, failing to understand simple yet unpalatable passages about Bangladeshi education (our topic for the week) and to share unintriguing information about my own educational past (our daily speaking training involves endless discussions of our past experiences; as a result, we all learn something new and unexciting about the others every single day). Thusly, I have devoted this weekend to entertaining Son and revising piles of Bangla words. I am having a blast.


  1. your son and yourselves can swap the bedrooms!Being a late sleeper and Emil not yet induced to tobacco smell, this seems to be only solution to continue to love thy neigbors!

  2. There are worse things in the world than rocking a baby back to sleep. . . All the horrible habits a baby picks up from not crying it out? Overrated. All the nights of snuggling in a quiet house? Very, very few before he's too big. . .

  3. Tulip, I couldn't agree more! The problem was that he doesn't respond to rocking at all. Since he is having nightmares, touching him makes him scream even more, arch his back and hit us and kick us. The literature recommends that you should just make sure that he is safe, and then let him fight out his dream. I have noticed that even calling his name out gently makes him scream even more. IT is very odd and disheartening. This is why I am frustrated with the neighbours and try to hold him, which seems to aggravate things. Lately I have noticed that if we lower the temp in the apartment, he sleeps much better.