One Month

Trip Start Oct 13, 2005
Trip End Jul 28, 2006

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The One Month Milestone!

It's been one month since I left home! I remember the days when I thought I would never make it here. Every week I would be asked "So, when are you leaving Carolyn?" and every time I would say "hopefully in the next two weeks... or so." Wait a second, isn't that what I said 2 weeks ago? Oh dear. Now the question I constantly get is "So, how long have you been in Bangladesh?" Now I can say "One month!" I like this answer a lot better.

What do I say after being in a foreign country for a month? Most people would pause and think: "Where do I begin?" Well I know exactly where to being: the culture! Oh my goodness. I believe that my Canadian culture is at one extreme and Bangladesh culture is at the other extreme. Put them together and it's the exact opposite! It wouldn't shock me to see everyone walking on the hands instead of their feet! It is that diverse out here! I won't bore you with cultural details (because it probably wouldn't make sense anyways since most of you have not been here) but I will say that it is extremely different than ours.

A first glance at the Bangladeshi culture, one could easily glorify their own culture and point out the bad parts of the new and confusing culture they see around them. It would be easy for me to do that. But who's to say a culture is backward or uncivilized? There are reasons why Bangladesh culture is the way it is. I cannot sit and watch this new culture. I must explore it and understand it. So, I have made it some what of a game. I feel like Sherlock Homes, trying to figure the clues out, with the few tools I have (experience, knowledge and schooling, namely IDS) so that I can understand Bangladesh. Why do people constantly argue here? Why do Canadians always complement and lie while Bangladeshis complain and criticize? Why do people always try to rip you off here? How come quality doesn't matter? How come people abuse the fact that labour is cheap? Sometimes I can put the clues together and I get the "Eureka" moment! But for the most part it is still a life-sized puzzle that has just been opened from its box. Many things don't make sense here but I have only been here one month. I can't expect to know it all! Nor can I expect to ever know it all.

So it's been one month of being in a new culture, its been one month of learning a new language, its been one month of meeting and living with complete strangers and its been one month that has been absolutely wonderful! I have enjoyed myself even when I am basically studying all the time and getting nervous right before class, as if I have an exam coming up. I am the only student therefore I can rely on no one, except for my own brain. But by the end of my 4 hour class I feel like someone has switched my brain with jelly! But thank goodness for weekends! Most of my entries have been about my weekends and the fantastic and bizarre adventures that have happened. Don't worry I will continue to feed you with these stories!

I have 3 weeks left of Bangla lessons. Hurray! However, I don't know what to think. Part of me is extremely excited to have language lessons end because it is really hard and draining. And once Bangla lessons are done, I can actually get on with why I am here (volunteering at the YWCA as an English Teacher and working at the MCC office in Dhaka). But part of me is scared because I really do not know a lot of Bangla and most people don't know English. How will I survive? How am I going to communicate with anyone, especially my students that I will be teaching in December? AHHH!!! Oh well I am sure things will work out! God will provide!

Well those are my thoughts today. Hope all is well at home (wherever that may be) and everyone is enjoying the weather. I hear it has been a nice fall in the 'Peg. Well it has been a nice (hot) fall here! I feel like I am always sweating... that is probably because I am! And it's very humid here, which is nice (for the time being) because I don't have to use my lip-chap 24/7 and my heels are not all cracked and dry! Sweet!

Have a wonderful week everyone!
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