Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reflections on a great week

This had to be the follow on from the last blog :)
I had a trip to Kolkata this last week just a few days to catch up with the team and have a few meetings.
It was wonderful to be in the place that will be my home and dream of possibilities for the future.
I have some concrete things I will be doing when I arrive at the end of April, all of which I am very excited about. I managed to catch up with a few friends as well.
I was inwardly dreading the return to Bangladesh after such a good week in Kolkata, but the week back here has been wonderful.

I have started a new module at language school which is medical vocab and lessons. It is hard work but great. Reminds me of my first few days at nursing school, trying to remember all of the body parts, disease names etc except this time it really is another language :).

It has also been fun to watch all of Bangladesh become so excited about the hosting of the opening ceremony of the ICC World Cup. They have been cleaning the streets ordering new paint work on all the buses and having a general spruce up. I watched the opening ceremony last night and felt proud to be in Bangladesh. What an achievement for them.
I think I was most excited about seeing the team captains brought in on a rickshaw each. Those rickshaws drivers looked so proud to be a part of the ceremony, and it optimised so much about Bangladesh. Ah you got to love it.

Well that is about it, it is hard to articulate what makes a week good, but it has been a good one. No stars on the start chart - see previous post if you are confused about this - Some good chill outs with God, and feeling super excited about the future.
Hope your weeks have been as good as mine.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Reflections on a hard week

So this week has been hard, maybe it is because I am in another culture shock cycle, maybe it is because I am sick of being in a classroom,or maybe it was from a bad day of harassment.
I had one very bad day on Thursday - loosing the plot and doing a lot of shouting and very close to swinging my bag (which contained at the time a very large heavy dictionary) in the direction of one man's head. Ah it's been a hard week.
Let me tell you what happened. I was walking down the street on my way to class and a guy walks past me and shouts in my face "whore". Not pleasant- however nothing to unusual. Despite being dressed in a very conservative manner all of the time I experience this sort of harassment on a semi regular basis. Some days it gets to you other days you can just shake it off.
About 30seconds later a car drives past, the driver stops and asks me to get in he wants my services for 2hours (use your imagination as to what he wants) after telling him no he repeated his statement again this time using some expletives. Again I said no. The third time he called me some very nasty things.
At this point I let loose with a range of expletives of my own letting him know just what a horrible person he is etc etc. I was simultaneously working out if I could manage to hit him in the head with my bag (and heavy dictionary) through the car window. Fortunately for both of our sakes the range of expletives I spoke made him understand that I was not interested.
This was the last straw I came home and was mad not just at the man but at the culture at life and everything.
I was trying to figure it out, and wrote in my journal trying to process through everything. Here is a little excerpt:
Sometimes this place feels too much for me. Who am I amongst it all? Who am I when people speak negatively into my life? Who am I when I no longer find my identity in what I am doing? Who am I when I am struggling with language? Who am I when I feel as though I can't do anything right? Who am I when I am no longer in control of anything.
Who am I? I am a beloved child of God, that is who I am. Regardless of what strangers speak into my life. This is my identity.

I feel like this is what made it seem so overwhelming. I lost track of who I was.
God is with me, he sees what is happening, he sees the hurt, he hears the mocking and He is there, walking me through it.
It is still really hard and I don't like the shouting but when I remember who I am and that I am not alone it is easier to process and deal with.
My flatmates and I have also come up with a star chart. Each shouting gets you a star, a particularly bad shout and you get a purple star worth 5 of the regular ones. Once we hit 50 stars we get a treat :)
We started last week and I am about halfway