I’ve traveled elsewhere but my trips lacked the opportunity to interact with the people of a culture. I looked out the window in Argentina or in Poland and took it in like one would hastily read through an eighteenth century poem. I was thrilled by its solely enigmatic unfamiliarity; this trip taught me to observe, to interpret, and to discuss what I saw out the window.
Going into this exchange, I thought my primary challenge would be maintaining graciousness and a sunny disposition and no doubt there were moments where that I struggled, but I felt the most struggle internally. During those multiple hour traffic jams home, the race against the imminent hartal, or those mornings where I would arrive to a workshop thirty minutes late, I experienced a new personal challenge: the act of letting go in moments that are beyond my control.
As an avid marching band participant, I knew that a group can create a cohesiveness that is fascinating even beautiful to an audience. I’ve been lectured about the immense power of the collective, but this was the first time I could stand back and watch. I could observe the reflective and articulate minds of my fellow cohorts and marvel at the brilliance created when their minds were culminated. I felt the sheer power of the group and the potency it possessed in combating the issues of climate change and beyond.
This exchange illuminated the whole of my imprint, positive and negative, on my immediate and broad environment. I’m much more cognizant of my impact, and that has definitely bitten me in this month of being home, but I’m determined to make use of this jolt of awareness. I learned that my Achilles’ heel in solving a problem is producing the initial idea. My mind seizes the chance to weigh the pros and cons and the logistics of a solution; it struggles to be the visionary. Once I get that thread of an idea however, I make it happen. Discerning this exchange’s impact on me is still a work-in-progress, but this elongated digestion of what I’ve experienced is definitely an indication to me that Bangladesh, the nation irrefutably dear to me, altered my course forward.