Friday, October 28, 2011

It’s Halloween in Dhaka!

And people take it seriously. Maybe because it is a way to reconnect with home, or maybe because it is yet another reason to party, but both expats and local embassy staff have embraced the holiday and the amount of parties, carnivals and trick-or-treat events for children are mind-boggling. Two weeks ago was the pre-cursor of it all by the name of the Glitter Ball, organized by the Australians. It is possibly the most infamous expat party in Dhaka and is in essence a giant costume party held at the Radisson Hotel. It sells out in 17 minutes once tickets become available (they are sold in tables rather than individually) and then the tickets start getting traded around with more secrecy and fervor than the Google IPO. Each table chooses a theme (which this year ranged from Australian road signs to a bunch of Amy Whinehouses to a beach party to Arabian Nights) and then coordinates their costumes. We were lucky to snag tickets the morning OF the ball and yours truly went as a devil and the Diplomat—as an office zombie—since we landed on the monsters’ table. How appropriate.

Then, in the past week, there have been 3 trick-or-treat events for kids, which Son attended with a vengeance in his old devil costume because I am a bad mommy and could not get my act together to have a new one made for him (which is what all good mommies here do apparently). On top of that, the costume clearly was not very appropriate for Dhaka as it was made of wonderful plastic-y fleece material, which was perfect in the cold October weather of Washington, DC but not for the 85+ degrees of Dhaka. Son sweated profusely yet bravely and as a result our house is heavy with the sugary loot. Yesterday, our Embassy hosted a trick-or-treating event and all of us were encouraged to dress up to work. I wore my witch hat with matty silver hair, which I forgot to take off while talking to a couple of puzzled and somewhat horrified visa applicants.

So, as you can see, we are doing swell in Dhaka. Last weekend, I finally hosted my first dinner here, using my new plates. I admit that it was excruciatingly difficult to prepare half of the dishes because there either aren’t such ingredients here or I do not know where to find others. A lot of American missions overseas have a great place called The Commissary, which is connected to the Embassy and sells a lot of goods that you can find in the good ol’ U.S. In Dhaka, we are blessed with an exceptionally good one even if somewhat expensive. For example, yesterday I bought a box of Tide detergent, and you’d think I was buying gold dust as it cost in excess of $20. To be fair, I shop there extremely rarely and mostly for alcohol, which it stores in abundance and variety. I prefer to shop in the local supermarkets where I buy locally produced goods, and I would encourage anyone going to live overseas to do the same. It will save you a bundle. 
Son has now acquired the habit of coming to our bedroom early in the morning, standing next to my side of the bed and staring at me until I wake up. Who knows how long he stands there, but I can tell you that there is something rather startling about waking up and seeing in the dim morning light (without your glasses on) a creature of some kind standing by your side, wild hair sticking in all directions, whispering in monotone, “maamaaaaaa…………..maaaamaaaaa……….maaaammaaaaaa.” He then climbs into our bed, and rather than snuggling with us like they say in the books that children do, he begins twirling up and down the bed like a cheerleader’s baton, coming in and out of the sheets and sticking his feet in all of our soft body parts. I continue to obstinately try to sleep, but then he takes on licking my face and biting my feet. So, with a deep sigh and filled with love, I get up. Good morning, Dhaka!


  1. HILARIOUS! Love your blog and almost fell off my chair at your description of your son in the morning.

  2. Hi,

    I am truely enjoying reading your blog after I found you while I was searching info about Foreign Service. Actually, we(me and my significant half)just got here here Dhaka a few days ago, and you blog helped us a lot too.
    Love your writings and real world stories.