Monday, July 22, 2013

Iftars, Goodbyes, Anniversary, Packing, Shopping, Madness

Just when I thought that our lives cannot be anymore frenetic and exhausting, it happened. This is what is happening in our lives right about now:

  1. Ramadan is back! I cannot believe that we managed to be here through another Ramadan – typically it is in August and since we already have been here for 2 years, it only makes sense to see it twice. Just for us, the special of the decade, Ramadan this year fell in July. And you should know by now, fasting during Ramadan ends every night with an Iftar, a typical meal of water, dates and sweets, followed by massive quantities of food in the houses of those blessed to be able to afford that. You’d think that fasting during Ramadan is a great opportunity for the pious rotund revelers to shed a pound or ten since they do not eat or drink a thing until sunset. Apparently, however, people struggle not to GAIN weight during this time of fast. As an obsessive dieter, I am painfully aware that any period of starvation will lead to a counterproductive stuffing of my face later on. Imagine then the hapless Western diplomat or guest, who has been eating pretty finely all day and then has to face the cornucopia of an Iftar dinner. If fasting people gain weight then, what’s left to us gluttons who do not fast? So, yes, my waistline shudders at the thought of Ramadan given the crazy amount of Iftar invitations we receive.
  2. Add to this the many lovely goodbye parties, receptions and dinners our friends are hosting for us lately. Saying “no” is not an option as we want to see everyone before we leave. But after the 10th party, especially if you keep seeing some of the same guests, it is starting to get a little awkward as we keep saying goodbye to them over and over again. I feel like people are secretly thinking, “Leave already, damn it!”
  3. Then add to that our packing this past week. Even though the good people from the State Department pay for packers and movers who come and pack everything for you, including the Embassy furniture (yup, it happened, even though I had been warned about it and told the movers many times what NOT to pack – there was some unpacking today before they took all 128 boxes away), it is still exhausting as you prance about the house and realize that there are clothes/thing that you/your husband have not worn/used/remembered since your wedding and they probably need to go NOW. Naturally, it is a good question why they got packed to Bangladesh in the first time, but suffice it to say that I was not the one supervising our prior packout, so…At any rate, I got rid of a heap of old clothes this week, which makes me so darn happy. I am even giving up 4 pairs of shoes!!! Which, in truth, had to happen – you’d be curious to know that out of our 6 traveling suitcases, one is completely and solely filled with high heeled shoes. Yup, 20 kg of shoes. I am not saying that is ALL of my shoes. I am just saying that is all the shoes I am taking with me to Washington. The rest will travel directly to Rio de Janeiro to await me anxiously in the spring. I simply ran out of space.
  4. I am also trying to complete all of the clothes that I am having tailored here. As you can imagine, tailors here are obscenely cheap and have helped me augment my already massive closet considerably. So, I am frantically trying to complete everything to be able to stuff it in my boxes as the suitcases are already full. Same goes for framing pictures, buying gifts, selecting mementos and the like. Naturally, it does not help when all the boxes are packed and sealed to receive a decorative anvil as a goodbye gift, which inevitably happens. So, a piece of advice for all my fellow Foreign Service packers out there – if you are packing a few days before you leave post, ask the movers to leave you a box for collateral damage. That would include the above-mentioned anvil, dresses late from the tailor, two precious wooden kitchen spoons which Son apparently has been playing with somewhat unusually quietly in the most remote room of the house while the movers were around, a favorite glass Tupperware, which has been lying around the back of the fridge with something unidentifiable in it for what appears to be several months, and other similar domestic treasures. Then ask the moving company to pick the box up the day before you leave.
  5. And amidst the madness, the Diplomat and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Yup, it has been a while that have been doing this marriage thing. And it has been eventful, folks. We definitely were not bored all those years. Whether it was looking for jobs, scraping through law school, suffering through business school, facing layoffs, having a baby, traveling like mad people, buying or selling apartments, moving overseas and then some more, life together has been entertaining and never, ever boring. It does help that the Diplomat is rather easy on the eyes.


We have about 10 days left in this lovely land of Bangladesh, which translates itself into 24 more iftars, and 21 more goodbye dinners. It also means that I will definitely need an aisle seat on my way out of here as my behind will have expanded by probably 30 solid pounds by then. 

11 comments:

  1. A hilarious penultimate (?) blog! Amma and myself enjoyed the humour but I am sure you will not leave anything behind, not even the jinxy! It would be nice if you can edit the best features of the Bangladesh as the memorable impressions of a first time dweller like you and publish it at some appropriate forum. You can also provide valuable tips for your new colleagues at the embassy, and I found such guidance in plenty throughout the blogs that you posted while at Dhaka ! All the best !

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  2. I've been reading your posts, which I find very entertaining. You are such a natural writer. Very insightful and detailed, but never boring.
    I have a question actually... I'm over 40 years old. Do you think I'm too old to take the FSOT test? Please be honest. Thank you.

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    1. I have written a new post especially for you!

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  3. Hello, I love your blog! It is beautifully written and a very insightful look into life as a diplomat. My husband and I passed the FSOT and submitted our personal narratives. We are now in the agonizing period of waiting to hear if we will be invited to the interview. Would it be possible for me to email you some questions please? Or is it best to just post them directly in the comments? Thanks!

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    1. Hey Tamara, sure, email me offline. Give me your email address and I will contact you.

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  4. Hi, I am 15 years-old this year and I wish to be a FSO. What advice would you have for me? What subjects should I take?

    Thanks!

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    1. I will write a post dedicated to this topic very soon, I promise!

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  5. Oi Diplomatic Mom!
    Are you already in Rio de Janeiro? Are you living in Barra da Tijuca?
    Did you go to Fellini for a regular supper?
    I'm so looking forward to read your impressions!
    And so many congratulations on your anniversary! Lots of love and health for your family.

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  6. Dear Anonymous, not yet, no yet. We will be there in March. keep the tips coming! And thank you :)

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  7. Hi Diplomatic Mama! your blog looks great, are you in Dhaka right now?? would you have a personal mail to write to you? Thanks!!

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  8. Hi, I am not, I left soon after this post (read further). GIve me your email and I will write to you.

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