Monday, August 17, 2015

Japanese? In Dhaka?!

Yes, you read that right.  One of the other newbies and I had thought to get our meal from our favourite bakery (and I was out of the DELICIOUS granola they make) but it was closed.  So, off we went in search of a restaurant.  Our poor driver (Ashraf) had NO idea where the restaurant was and even resorted to shouting out the window for directions to a Japanese restaurant.

How did we know where to even look?  Thankfully my friend had the skinny on a great site for locating the best foods in the city (I love people who already source that stuff out for me).  So if you are ever in Dhaka (if you are ever in Dhaka... hahaha), make sure to check out Dhaka Snob when looking for something really delicious to fill your tummy.

Tonight, we went to a place in Gulshan 2 called Izumi.  In the middle of the chaos that is Dhaka:

we saw this:

This was actually from the inside but it was simply too pretty not to include.

The entrance

Looking to the left when entering

The entrance of Izumi

While we were instantly charmed by the entrance and the decor, we were even more impressed with the delicious food we ate (and we ate too much of it)!!

The beautiful, simple table setting.  The chopstick holder was made to look like edamame.

Baskets lined the ceiling.

Your standard soy container

The salmon sashimi and avocado salad (crazy good)

The vegetable tempura

About half of the kaarage (there was so much of it!!)

The tempura tuna and avocado roll

Sorry for the tilted picture, but this was our free miso soup at the end of the meal. 

Really and truly (and not just because I've had enough curry already), Izumi was one of the most pleasurable meals I've had.  The food was fresh and delicious.  Even the ginger was hand cut and pickled.  YUMMERS in my tummers is all I really have to say, that and I can't wait to go back!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

When Fairytales Come True

When I was a little girl, I wanted to sleep in a princess bed. You know, the ones with the fancy curtains and gauzy netting all around. It didn't need to be pink (in fact, I hated pink back then) or gold or even very fancy, but it needed to have the pretty gauzy curtains. I held on to the romance of that childhood fantasy for years, right into my 30s. And now, as I'm about to turn 40, the fairytale bed has become my reality... Sort of:

But the romance of the bed is lost to the function of the gauze. It's there to keep the dengue filled Mosquitos from biting me in the wee hours of the dawn and making me sick. So, while I now have part of my childhood fairytale, there is none of the romance.  However, I'm more grateful for the practicality of the gauzy curtains than the romance or fantasy. So, thank you Dhaka for teaching me that practicality is a good thing! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Driving SItes

Bangladesh is a colourful place with lots to look at when the monsoon rains aren't rearing their ugly heads.  I won't say that Dhaka is a beautiful city but there sure is beauty to be found there, as well as the quirky, and downright dangerous.

The other day driving home from school we saw monkeys on the road, cows grazing in a small paddock next to apartment buildings under construction as well as just on the road in general.  We also saw street dogs and cats as well as the odd goat along the roadside.  The most amazing site had to be the commuter train with people sitting on the top, on the outside!!!  What?!  Unfortunately, it was dark and my camera phone was buried in my purse.  I tried not to make that same mistake today as I rode to and from school.  Here are a few shots:

A type of rickshaw.  Apparently several students will come to school this way.

I was trying to get those big bales behind the man, they were on the back of a bicycle!!!

Beautiful sari'd ladies in the street this morning. 

The buses, people ride on top of these too!

An amusement park close to the school.  Don't worry, Mom, I have no intention of testing out those rides.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Colour Overload

So I've just been in Dhaka a few days and I've let the colours get me down rather than bring me up. Not the beautiful colours of the saris, or the amazing rickshaws:

Not even the bright colours in school (which I love), but the colours in my new place. They aren't my style and I've certainly obsessed about how much they aren't my style. I've let in get in the way of how gloriously big my new flat is and how nice it is to have a neighbour. I've let the colours I dislike rule some of my conversations with people I really like. And while I'd still like to paint over them, maybe my lesson to take away is that I choose how they make me feel. So I need to choose better, it's part of the process of living overseas.
Wall paper in the dining space

Corridor and dining/living room

Master bedroom

Saturday, August 1, 2015

First Impressions: Dhaka

Always rushing to get in line to go nowhere fast. This is my first impression of Dhaka, at least at the airport. Once outside, your senses are assaulted with beeping horns and people chattering and rain falling. There isn't much to see in a monsoon but I did see lots of lush green trees everywhere. 
The heat doesn't seem too oppressive but that might be the three years in Singapore talking. The people are friendly and very interesting in getting to know who you are and what you are doing, which is as welcome a change as are their open, smiling faces.
No photos yet as I'm still jetlagged and stuck indoors with all the rain!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Hello Again

It's been nearly 3 years since I last produced a blog entry. Ever since I left Turkey behind and started my Singapore life, I put my blogs to the side and stopped writing. It wasn't as though Singapore wasn't interesting but somehow in my mind I felt it was too "vanilla" to be interesting to others. I also struggled my first year here with a debilitating back injury that ended up costing me over $10,000 in treatments etc, so it was fair to say that my feelings about Singapore ranged around bitter at best. 
But now as I prepare to leave, I deeply regret how little I shared of this adventure in my life. So over the summer holidays I'll be doing a bit of a catch-up series of the trips I've taken, the experiences I've had, and the people who've impacted my life.

So stay tuned!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Career Changes and Challenges

We've all changed careers a million times... in our heads at least.  I know I have.  When I was a little girl I was pretty convinced that I would be a successful singer and that I'd marry the young version of Elvis (he was already dead by then but you can't argue with the logic of a 4 year-old).  I stuck to my singing dreams until my grade 1 teacher praised my drawing and then I knew for sure I'd be an artist. After a while I realised that I could do both really and was contented with that.  As I got older I switched careers multiple more times from nurse to chef to flight attendant to psychologist.  Being a psychologist was my teen dream.  I loved learning about the inner workings of our brains and the causes for behaviours.  It was fascinating to me.  I shifted the dream slightly to child psychologist after my first few experiences in working with young children beyond simply babysitting.  Finally, during my final year of high school there was a click in my brain that gave me direction (and lots of encouragement from those in the business), I taught a child how to do something and saw that Ah-Ha moment happen and my life was forever changed.  I KNEW that I'd be a teacher, without a shadow of a doubt.  So I chose my university for it's renown in producing good educators, I struggled through my first year of general studies and applied for the education faculty.  I was denied and my hopes and dreams felt like they had been shattered.  I went back to school of course and focused on my love and passion for history, taking history courses and a few pre-requisites for teaching on the off chance that I could get in on the second try.  I applied again and wept with joy when my acceptance letter came that summer.  I don't think I realised how badly I wanted this career.  I entered the education faculty my third year and was laden with extra courses for having missed the second year.  I busted my butt and was happy to do it, I was going to be a teacher!
And a teacher is just what I am.  A teacher and a coach and I love what I do.  I am passionate about my students and offering them the best possible chance for success both in academics and in life in general. I'm often asked by my young charges if I have children of my own and my ready answer is that I don't need my own children because I get to love and help the children I work with all day.  I've seen thousands of children pass through my classrooms (I've taught Pre-K all the way to Grade 12 across a ridiculous number of subjects) and sports teams and I've loved them all (yes, even those that fought, swore, disrespected themselves, their peers and me, and we generally a challenge).  I feel like I'm changing the world with each one of them.  I look at those I taught in their high school years who are now parents, doctors, lawyers, business owners, accountants, members of the military service (this list could go on forever), and I'm proud and honoured that I got to be a part of their formative years.  Teaching is a blessing and I'm ready to move on.
Yes... you read that correctly.  I love what I do but I'm ready for the next step in the work.  Many of your minds jumped to the word administrator or principal, didn't it?  Well, while that's a good next step for some, it's not for me.  It's not my dream to run a school or mentor teachers in that way.  My dream is to help kids who struggle.  My heart breaks for the little boy who can't control his anger and is being ostracised by his peers because of it, or the little girl who doesn't understand how not to be aggressive in her relationships with her peers.  I want to help the child whose self-esteem is plummeting and they're struggling to find a way to believe in themselves again.  I want to help the popular kid understand that the pressures they deal with that others don't see are real and that it's okay to struggle.  In short, I want to be a counsellor for children. All teachers do a level of this work but with the ever changing demands on the teaching profession, they simply don't have the time or the training to do it as effectively as they might like but a school counsellor does and that's what I want to do.  I've nurtured this dream of mine for several year but never felt ready to take the big step of asking for it or getting the training to start the wheels in motion, until yesterday.
Yesterday I applied to take courses for a diploma in professional counselling (I need to start small because finances are always an issue... my issue anyway, saving is not my thing really).  I feel like it's the right step for me.  I've also used the great site of to register for some awesome and free psychology and behaviour development courses.  I even started my first coursera course today.  I'm taking one about behaviours in the classroom, how to assess and modify them to best suit the needs of the student.  I've just completed one lecture and I love it.  
So while teaching has been incredibly good to and for me, I'm ready to step it up a notch.  I'm not sure when or if I'll find a job as a full time counsellor (not next year for sure as I've already signed on to stay one more year at my current school in Singapore), but I'm taking the risk and the step towards a career change and I'm EXCITED!!