commentary

TGI…Thursday?

So there are a number of things that are taking some getting used to here, from allowing 2 hours for a 10km commute, to figuring out how to properly tuck my mosquito net in to keep the hungry little buggers out.

But one of the things that has been the strangest to acclimate to is, seemingly, one of the simplest.  Namely, that the workweek here starts on Sunday rather than Monday.  Evidence for my needing a bit more time to adjust?  Check out this except from a gchat between my Mom and me:

Patricia: I thought you were off line bse you had to go see your affiliate.

me: welllllll
the week starts on Sunday here
so Sunday is Monday
so i thought today was Wednesday
(third day of the week)
but!
it’s not!
my meeting is on Wednesday

It’s surely one of many differences between Boston and Dhaka.  Time and time again, in conversation after conversation, I’ve been asked something along the lines of, “This must be such a different place from where you’re from.”  My response is always – Absolutely.  In some ways, more than I expected.  I didn’t really think that much about the challenges of being a woman in Dhaka before I left.  Or what an unspoken curfew at nightfall would feel like.

But the similarities are there, too.  And oddly enough, more and more are emerging as I get to know Dhaka and its residents better.  The people I’ve been meeting have been incredibly politically active – seemingly everyone has an insightful opinion to share on the history of and current state of affairs in Bangladesh.  The city is chock full of universities and academics asking all sorts of interesting questions and working on thoughtful projects.  Plus, it’s pretty darn humid here, too.

And that meeting on Wednesday (the fourth day of the week) referenced in the conversation above?  It’s a prime example of the former.  One of the biggest worries of those of us here doing independent research is being stuck with lame duck affiliates.  But Dr. Rahman, the affiliate that I was meeting with, who was an INSPIRE fellow at the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts last fall, is certainly no lame duck – both brilliant and enthused, he’s wanting to get started right away.  It was a heartening encounter, to be sure.

As was dinner tonight.  I’ve a classic and acute case of welcome to Bangladesh! food poisoning the past couple of days, which kept me out of my first day of Bangla classes.  But after a lot of Propel and even more sleep, I’m now taking on dinners and verb conjugations in (fairly) full force.  Yay!!

There’s a whole lot more to the past week, but for now, I’ll leave it there, with a good morning! to America and a whole lot of love to send home.  Someone have a good cup of Diesel coffee for me!

Rickshaw riding down our street in Baridhara at twilight.

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