The sound of settling



I missed a week or two on the blog. Life went from cooped up to chaotic very fast. This post will be a compilation of the moments that I managed to capture while discovering the city. I find it extremely risky to try to take photos while on the street. For one, I would prefer to keep my phone. Secondly, stopping to smell the roses in Dhaka foot traffic is no easy task. You may get hit with a live duck. (This happened.)

It is amazing how my normal is consistently redefined. The novelty of peculiar smells, crowds, unpaved streets, daily turbulence, and the overall feeling of being an absolute stranger are already starting to fade. Truthfully, I will always be extremely foreign here, but at least the process of settling has begun. More truthfully, I have not grown accustomed to the smells, and doubt any human ever will.

Bangla class, which consumes most of my time, has graduated from the “my name is..”, “your name is…” level of comfortable difficulty. I probably should be writing in my Bangla journal rather than my blog, but that would be responsible. Every night we are expected to have a full page or so of written script. Currently, I can explain my life in an impressive display of Bangla prepositions. The banana is on the bed. The banana is under the bed. The banana is through the bed.

I thought you might like pictures better.

Notable Experiences from week 2 and 3:

-I met some of my soon-to-be colleagues at DNet- very excited to see where I will fit within the company

-Cheered for young Bangladeshi beat boxers and break dancers at an American embassy event

-Drank tea and jammed out on a rooftop

-Watched a classical dance performance at the Hay Festival, a wonderful literary/cultural event with guest authors and poets from Bangladesh and abroad

-This is a fabulous one, I witnessed a former Fulbrighter launch her mobile health project, Critalink.  More to come on her team’s progress but take a look at the short clip if you have the time:

-Met Mohammad Yunus. I know he might not be everyone’s rockstar, but he is a stud in my world. We attended a fascinating micro loan event where small social business entrepreneurs pitched their plans to a panel of economists, agricultural experts, marketers, and Mr. Yunus himself. One man brought in his quails for good measure. An incredible space for development.

-Hiked through mud, haggled for fabric, got sized at a tailor, found a lizard living in my wall. Named him slim shady.

I’ll be more diligent with the blog, I promise.

Cheers to another week of Bangla and pandemonium… And some kind of Bangladeshi Thanksgiving?



Hint: you must go through all of my pictures to see the elephant. : )


Bangladeshis breaking it down at the hip hop concert


 Fused with traditional music and dance.


Intense speculation as to why there is a new hole in our neighborhood every morning.


The hole count increases. Bewildered and learning to watch where we step.


A food market in Bashundhara, near our dorm. Chaotic and colorful. No, I cannot eat any of this fruit without giving it a good long soak in bleach. At least.


Meg (pale person above) navigating her way through Bashundhara.


Open mic night on the roof of Jatra.


We clearly found the bohemian Bangladeshis. There were enough flannel shirts and man buns to be in Silverlake.


Jennifer, a former Fulbrighter, launching Critalink. A mobile solution to Bangladesh’s lack of emergency first responders. I don’t even want to share the statistics on traffic fatalities here.


Me, Natasha, Kelsey at the event. In that order.


Atif, our language instructor. Giving us a translated version of the event along with a few history lessons.


Jatra, the ex-pat shopping haven with a social development conscious. I cannot afford most of this, but fun to poke around.


Yunus Center, where Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus put entrepreneurs through Sharktank- Bangladesh. Or at least that’s what I’ve been calling it.

Yunus laugh

In contrast to the relative brilliance of the room, it took us some time to discover we were on camera. Consequently, we couldn’t behave or maintain composure.

Yunus text

Except for Yoni. Who genuinely frowned like Jafar for a full hour.


Working hard.


I’m sorry mom, I’m coming home with one.


I mean, come on.


The pretty mosque in our neighborhood


A criticalink meeting, I am pictured back right. I have no idea what is going on but appear quite attentive.


Just a little take out Bangla-Mexican to give me food poisoning.


Rehana! Our second Bangla teacher at IUB. I loved her dress. Made by her mom.


This is what it looks like to ride a rickshaw through Gulshan. With no traffic. Rare.


Taking a study break to play in the pool with the other 5 year olds at the American club.


Gardens near the American center


Hay festival dancers. Our friend Kathleen performed beautifully.


Hay festival lights

IMG_1783 (1)

Photo credit here goes to Kelsey. I have yet to have an elephant sighting. This is the Dhaka elephant. He wanders the city mugging people. He will stand in front of your car until you give him money.


So I’ve heard. Thats all for now.


5 thoughts on “The sound of settling

  1. Goats! They are adorable, and if you bring one home, we want to play with it. And from a woman with over a hundred elephants (smaller than the Dhaka elephant, of course), i hope you get your own sighting soon.

  2. Pauline,
    I think you should make your second field of study about this proliferation of holes in the road. Very disturbing. Perhaps the goats are digging these.
    Keep up the blog, it’s great.

  3. Pauline, I am impressed that you met Mohammed Yunus. First, I have never met a Nobel Lauerate. Second, I have never met a Nobel Peace prize winner. Third, I have never met anyone who has done so much to aid the poor of the world. Good for you! BTW, love the goats and elephant.

  4. Pauline this is so great! I’m loving reading through all this. I’m lapping it up from the comfort of eastern market. Very impressed with your gumption and looking forward to upcoming posts about your research. Hugs – Alexa

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