A lot of people ask me what I miss most about home, so I thought that perhaps I should write something on this topic. However, the more I think about it the more difficulty I am having. There are so many new things to take in every day, that time to dwell on the answer to this question is scarce. It seems to me that by focusing only on what I am missing, I am failing to recognise all that I am gaining. Rabindranath Tagore (see post 29) expresses this sentiment succinctly when he says:
‘If you shed tears when you miss the sun, you also miss the stars’.
Hence the caveat in the title.
Bearing this in mind, and apart from missing the obvious (family and friends with whom to share stories), here are some of the other things that I miss – some of the time.
- Working. Being able to engage actively and fully in stimulating and meaningful work (see post 25, post 48).
- Exercise – and a sense of physical freedom (see post 10).
- Socialising (as in ‘going out’ with friends).
- A sense of belonging/community – be it ‘imagined’, or not.
- Clean air.
- Irish weather, especially the seasons, the wind and the cloudscape.
- Dublin: the character of the city and the social and cultural possibilities it offers.
- The Atlantic Ocean, the Irish landscape and the quality of ‘light’ – particularly on the coast.
- Comfortable public transport.
- Easy access to decent toilets (especially when travelling by train/bus etc.).
- Fast, reliable Internet service.
- Washing machine.
- Hot showers.
- Good hair days.
- Running, drinkable water.
- Reliable electricity supply.
- Insect-free working and living spaces (free in particular of pesky cockroaches and mosquitoes).
- Being alone in a quiet place.
- Fixed prices for transport to work. (I’m thinking here of the daily struggle with CNG drivers.)
These then are some of the things that I won’t be taking for granted when I get home. In the meantime there is ample compensation: a new culture to be experienced, new work to be undertaken, new people to meet, new places to go and new adventures to be embarked upon. Based on what I have experienced so far, I am certain that the list of what I will miss upon leaving Bangladesh will be lengthy.
P.S. I’m a little surprised (and pleased too) at some of the things that I don’t miss e.g. TV.