Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh

One of those days

I think my stomach thing is back. Finished the medication a few weeks ago, and now I’m again in the paranoid state of mind where I just can’t quite figure out how I feel.

Was booked on a 7:20am bus back to Rangamati this morning, which I didn’t make. Still in bed, trying to lie quietly, still my mind and figure out what exactly my body is trying to tell me. But it’s hard to hear what my body is saying, with Dhaka blaring full blast outside. Man, this city is loud. Call to prayers aside, the hooting, rickshaw bells, people selling everything and nothing cruising the streets shouting their little hearts out as means of advertising, banging and bashing from numerous nearby building sites, squawking birds, birds, birds, and just general Dhaka chaos is drowning out my internal dialogue with myself. Should I delay my return to Rangamati further and go back to ICDDR-B tomorrow to be put on other medication that may or may not help? Or that might just dull the symptoms until they reappear when the the course of medication is finished? Do I really feel that bad that I can’t go back to Rangamati? Or do I just feel that bad about going back to Rangamati?

No, it’s not that. I have been enjoying myself there lately. But still, it’s not exactly rocking my boat, professionally, creatively or socially speaking. I’m thinking way more about what the future holds for me than what next week does. Am I already living in the future, trying to ignore today? Have I already emotionally checked out, with more than 4 months to go before I physically check out of Bangladesh?  See, this is what happens when I don’t physically feel great here. Last week I was fine. Just FINE. And now, I want to get on and live my future, today. Not have to push through to the end of my placement, hunting for and/or manufacturing my enthusiasm daily, feeling like I’m jogging through treacle to get anything, no matter how small, done.

If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change coming to Bangladesh. Really, I wouldn’t. But right now, today, I just want to speed up time so that my leaving comes sooner. But then last week I felt the end was coming TOO soon. For some people, working here in Bangladesh in development is their THING. But it’s not my thing, it’s just the thing I’m doing right now. Despite all the amazing experiences and the incredible amount I’ve learnt about myself and the various communities here, it’s not my bliss. I’m fighting too much against my own personality to really fit the VSO mould. Often (often, often) I would prefer to just take over and run the damn NGO myself. I need a far more direct, and shorter, link between professional effort and reward. And in this context, reward isn’t money (even though, of course, that would be nice) it’s about seeing the impact of your work, witnessing the resulting changes and improvements. But that can take years. It’s Just. Too. Slow for me. For other people here, it suits their personalities and they are great at it. Really great at it, and the world needs more people like them. But for me, I’m fighting against myself too much to be truly happy or fulfilled.

But I guess, it’s through this seesaw, up one day, down the next experience that I’m getting closer to discovering the future I want to create for myself. And in what country. And I can tell you it’s not in this country.

It’s just one of those days.



  amanda visagie wrote @

Doll, I bet this experience is taking you WAY closer to being clear about what you want from your future than you can ever know. Each day might be building a patience and a capacity to accept what you cannot change – and THAT is a gift. So ride it out man. If all else, fails, think of the shittiest day you ever had at Accenture. That surely must help. And GO TO THE DOCTOR !!! There really is no acceptable alternative to feeling fine. xx

  estellevisagie wrote @

Ag dankie engle. Eish, I can be a grumpy cow sometimes can’t I. Good tip re flashbacks to Accenture days – nothing spelt meaningless quite like a 16 hour day for them. Yes, so change what I can change, accept what I can’t change, and have the wisdom to know the difference. Did you know that is the AA 12 step prayer?

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