Annoying things friends studying abroad do
We all have friends who study abroad and when they return home during their study breaks, they make the following months amusing for us with their new and recently achieved "coolness", and how difficult they find it to adjust to life in Dhaka. This is a tribute to them. And, because this is mostly directed at quite a few close friends of mine, I'm going to go ahead and take a few liberties at pointing out their quirks, without meaning any offense to anyone.
A 6-MONTH OLD ACCENT
This isn't an adjustment issue so much as a "How did you learn to sound like Tom Hiddleston in a few short months" issue. It's one thing to be a Bangladeshi having lived abroad all your life or even for quite a few years, but really, how did you sprout a thick British accent over one semester abroad? It gets even funnier when some of them sound like their old selves around their close ones, but have a drastic transformation when they're ordering their food at restaurants. The funniest of these incidents occurred when, not having spoken to a very close friend from school for his entire first semester, I received a call from him at 5 AM Dhaka time because he'd been having a tough time. I promise I would've started acting the part of the consoling friend much sooner if it hadn't taken me 5 minutes to recover from a random British man crying on the phone at the break of dawn.
MOSQUITOES, MOSQUITOES EVERYWHERE
This one altogether isn't completely pointless, seeing as how all of us hate those annoying little parasites with passion, especially in the winter months. But refusing to leave your home and declining invitations to dinner parties and barbeques because there will be "too many mosquitoes to handle" is rather extreme, don't you think? Call me a blind optimist, but there's a fun way to look at every inconvenience and I believe battling off mosquitoes has been doing wonders to my badminton skills, courtesy of the much-loved electric rackets.
AFRAID OF FOOD POISONING
It's one thing to want to avoid street-foods because let's face it, they are unhealthy, although the dust and bacteria from the Dhaka streets probably add to the deliciousness of these foods. But to go so far as to avoid eating anything besides home-cooked meals because they don't "trust the restaurants" is what cracks me up every time. Eighteen years of eating and drinking in Dhaka seem to have contributed rather magnificently to the fully grown, foreign-college attending person that you are. But now you'd rather parch your throats from thirst instead of giving the bottled water here a try. Fabulous.
HEAT AND TRAFFIC
Okay, this is something all of us make it a point to complain about everyday of our lives in Dhaka. Ten minute journeys are indeed turned into hour-long ones and the humidity tramples on most of our moods. But will you believe me when I say a friend of mine actually refused to see me for a week following his arrival because the heat made him too cranky to interact with others for 7 days straight? I didn't either, but then he told me.
DEEP CONCERN FOR THE MOTHERLAND
None of us are blind to the problems gripping our motherland. But giving up on it altogether, asking your friends and relatives to get out while they can and pinning it with the prophecy that "Ei desher kichu hobenah" seems like a particularly ungrateful thing to do if you aren't going to stick around to make things better.
The list goes on and on, and keeps getting funnier with the time our friends stay abroad. I may sound like I'm complaining, but really, we're all just grateful for the entertainment all of this provides. Who knows, we'd probably do the same things if we were one of them too. So this is a word of thanks for the humour they bring in every few months. It's our quirky way of saying that we'll miss them and that we can't wait for them to come back when holiday season starts again, perhaps with thicker accents and heightened fear of everything local. Until next time!
Sarah Anjum Bari is a ravisher of caffeine and prose, with a heart that lives in Parisian cafes. Reality checks to be sent in at [email protected]