Welcome!

It is a real pleasure to welcome you to the ‘home page’ for my archived blog (2009-2010). (I’m taking the leap and making it ‘public’, albeit belatedly. I haven’t yet quite fully embraced the ‘public private’ interface of social media! See Post 1.) I set up this blog initially to create a portal to my experiences in Bangladesh for family and friends. The ‘blog’ is best described by the older meaning of the term i.e. ‘web log’, in that it is comprised of a series of journal entries. 

To navigate further, scroll through the numbered post titles from the menu on the right (Archives by Post Title). Post number 1 was the first post written. There are 66 posts in all, including this one. I hope you enjoy reading the blog as much as I enjoyed writing it. I would love to hear what you think, so feel free to comment.

[Three notes re viewing: 1. Best viewed in Google Chrome browser. 2. Hover over images displayed in posts to view explanations/accreditations. 3. Unfortunately, blog does not display well on phones: it was designed before smarthphones were the norm.]

48 responses to “Welcome!

  1. Hello Ann,
    I discovered your blog on December 16, 2021. A bit late, I know!

    I left Dhaka in 1969 when the population there was half a million. Now it is reaching 20 million. So, my residual memory may be of the past. But from your blog I learned that some things in a culture never change.

    I am an expatriate living in the United States. It’s over 50 years that I have been to Dhaka. In my late life I try to touch my childhood and youth in the internet. Though remote, the sights and sounds and the life sensations of being there give me great pleasure. Your Dhaka experience and descriptions are priceless.

    Thank you for taking me back there in the most pleasant way. Take care and God bless you for your charity work.

    Best,
    Sal

    • Dear Sal,
      Thank you for your lovely message. The increase in Dhaka’s population since 1969 is mind-boggling! Even since I left in 2010, it has increased by 7.7 million!

      In other ways too, it must have been so very different then, especially politically, with the uprising in 1969, leading to the Liberation War a couple of years later. (It would be so interesting to hear your personal stories from that time.)

      But then, as you say, there are so many things that don’t change. I love the way you use the words ‘sights’, ‘sounds’ and ‘sensations’ as a means of triggering memories. So true.

      I’m glad you found my experiences and descriptions helpful, but I am sure that you have far more interesting stories to tell, as a true Bengali!

      Thank you again for getting in touch. Regards, Ann

  2. শুভ নব বর্ষ
    Śubha naba barṣa
    Happy New Year Ann
    You must return soon. Too long.
    Hashem

    • Hello Hashem. How lovely to see a little bit of Bangla on New Year’s Day! Yes, for sure, it has been too long. Hopefully, one day, after this pandemic ends, we will meet again. In the meantime, every best wish for 2022. Ann

  3. Sober salutations, my dear Ann. Your splendid blog remains afloat: a validation of your excellence. A neighbor mentioned Ireland in conversation and I thought of you, and landed here. I hope you are well, or as well as one can be on this troubled planet. Knowing you, you are worried, like me. We can converse further if you provide a contact. Steve (NY)

    • So great to hear from you Steve! Those lovely, lazy, lengthy conversations we shared (twelve years ago now!) seem like a lifetime ago. And yes, it would be very difficult not to feel concern for our ‘pale blue dot’, what with the chaos being caused by climate change and the crippling effects of this Coronavirus disease. ☹ I would love to chat further: I will e-mail you. Ann

  4. I found this blog on Expats Blog. Did you see comment? It gives me pride and joy. Thank you for respect and understanding.

    • Thank you Syed. No, I hadn’t seen your comment on the Expats Blog site: I had forgotten that I featured there. Thank you for your kind words and for getting in touch again. Much appreciated. Ann

  5. stevenbaumbarger

    Glad to find your blog.

  6. Ann, Lisa here again.

    (We had a lovely exchange last Summer).

    I thought of you today while listening to Joy Crooks, a London singer of Irish/Bangladeshi origin. Brings us all together! Have you heard her sing?

    Good news re vaccination but I think it might still be some time before we can travel…..

    • Hello again Lisa – yes, I remember that lovely ‘conversation’ about travel! And yes, as it happens, I do know of Joy Crooks! I came across her by accident at some stage last year when I heard her being interviewed on an Irish radio show (I think it was Seán Rocks’ Arena on RTE Radio 1). She reminded me of Amy Winehouse, a memory that further brought me back to Bangladesh. I had a small iPod Shuffle (pink!) that I brought with me, stacked with music (pre-Smart phone – for me anyway!). One of the artists on it was Amy Winehouse. (Little did I know then that, sadly, she would no longer be with us the following year.) So, hearing Joy Crooks sing brought me back to Bangladesh in a number of ways. I like her song ‘London Mine’. I had been looking forward to a trip to London (pre-Covid) when I intended to explore Brick Lane! Sometime, hopefully ……Nice to hear from you again. Regards, Ann

  7. Herro Ann!!!!!!

    We’ve lost touch. I was thinking about China today and thought of you and all the laughs we had. 🙂 I can’t find your e-mail so I clicked on your blog and started re-reading………hours ago…..!!

    I see it’s still very much active and that you’ve got lots of ‘hits’.

    Ann, you really should post some of your replies to comments as posts. For example, your reflections on travel during the pandemic are really great (Post 2. The Decision). This is too good to be hidden in a reply to a comment! Why don’t you start another blog?

    You’re still hiding your light under a bushel!!!

    Send me your e-mail address. You probably have mine categorised and can reach it at the tip of a button. 🙄 🙄

    Love, Ellie xx

  8. Ann, I found your blog through a recommendation on the Bangladesh Health Project website. In referring to your blog they say:

    ‘….. her thoughtfully organized blog entries are enlightening, introspective and entertaining and well worth a read for a glimpse into Bangladeshi living.’

    IMO, a very accurate description. 🙂 I am enjoying your blog so much. It’s so informative and helpful.

    • Jazz101, thank you for messaging. I didn’t know this! After all this time, it’s lovely to hear that somebody is reading my blog and finding it informative and entertaining! I’m curious about your username (Jazz101): are you a jazz fan/musician? I’ve been reading a bit about jazz lately (in the context of visiting New Orleans some time soon). I’m also curious about your interest in Bangladesh/The Bangladesh Health Project? Best wishes from Ireland. Ann

  9. Hi

    My name is Joyce, I am a marketing executive at expatfinder.com which is a leading expat information and services website.

    I saw on your blog that you are and expat. I wish to interview you to further share some of your tips. The questions are mainly about the housing, the daily life etc.

    It just takes 5 minutes (or more depending if you have lots to say 🙂

    Of course, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.

    If you are interested to participate at this project, please send me an email at interview@expatfinder.com.

  10. ManOnMission

    Hey Ann, I landed in Dhaka a month ago and am only now beginning to get over that feeling of being continuously overwhelmed. I am finding your blog very helpful and very interesting. I know it has been some time since you blogged (2009/2010) but it’s all still totally relevant today. Really! It’s Sunday evening here now and I’m just in from work and doing a bit of research for a trip to Sylhet so I’m going to reread your post on your trip. Thought I’d drop a line and let you know that nothing has changed and to say thanks for sharing. I, for one, am glad you ‘went public’ 👍

    • Thank you for your comment ManOnMission! It’s lovely to get reminders of life in Dhaka. Sometimes I can’t quite believe that I lived there. I’m happy to hear that you’re finding the blog helpful. My trip to Sylhet is still vivid in my memory: it was my first solo venture in Bangladesh and I loved every second. So I wish you a joyous journey too. What ‘mission’ are you on?! I’d be interested to hear your story! Regards, Ann

  11. Assalamu Aalaikum from Ottawa. 🙂

    I’m a Canuck of Bangladeshi descent. Came across your blog accidentally while searching for travel info on Rajshahi (where my father was born). Going to visit this summer. Want to let you know how much me and my family enjoy your blog. We can’t stop reading. So, thanks for writing and for sharing.

    • Walaikum Assalam Yasir! Thank you for taking the time to get in touch. It always means a lot to hear from someone with connections to Bangladesh. Great to hear you are enjoying the blog. Hope you have a wonderful trip this summer. I’m envious – maybe I’ll get to return one day. Insh’Allah! Kind regards, Ann

  12. Hello Ann,

    My name’s Alina, and I am a journalism student at Griffith University, based in Australia.

    I’m contacting you to request a Skype interview with you for a feature article I’m writing. The article is going to be comparing the perspectives of western expats who reside in wealthy Muslim countries based in the UAE to those of expats from the same western background who live in developing third world Muslim countries. I am pitching this feature article to “The Courier-Mail”, a popular Australian daily tabloid newspaper.

    Reading some of your blog entries, I can tell you’re a very insightful and reflective person. Because of this I would find your perspective a really valuable one to include in my article and would be much honoured if you’d agree to let me conduct a Skype interview with you at any time in the coming week.

    Of course, if you agree to the interview I will be mentioning the name of your blog, as well as your first and last name in my article. I would also need a contact phone number from you to give to both my journalism professor and the editor of “The Courier-Mail” for fact checking purposes (It will not be leaked to anyone else).

    If you would like, I’d also be happy to email you a copy of my finished feature article before sending it off for potential publication for your approval of quotes I will have included from you and how I will have written about you.

    Kind Regards,

    Alina

    • Dear Alina

      Thank you for your lovely comments and for considering me as a prospective subject for your research.

      The proposition you present for your proposed feature article sounds interesting.

      I’m not so sure though that I would be a suitable candidate, given the following:

      1. It is quite a long time since I lived in Bangladesh (2009-2010) and therefore my views would not reflect today’s reality given the many changes – both global and local – that have occurred in the interim period. From what you write, my understanding is that you are looking for the views of western expats currently residing in Muslim countries. I would be ‘reflecting’ back upon living in Bangladesh which would give a somewhat skewed perspective. It would not be easy either to compare such a perspective with more immediate ones.

      2. Even if a retrospective perspective is considered relevant, I would argue that it is not possible to develop a comprehensive standpoint in just one year (which is the total amount of time I spent in Bangladesh), particularly when the language barrier is taken into consideration. I’m not sure if I could be considered a true expat therefore. The term ‘expat‘ in itself is problematic I think and one that you might consider exploring further in your article.

      I can provide a retrospective view if you still consider it appropriate. And if I can help in any other way please let me know. I look forward to reading your published article.

      Wishing you every success in your studies,

      Regards,
      Ann

  13. SayeedSayeed301

    You write a very interesting blog. I am reading for a long time. Right now there is sadness in Dhaka in aftermath of attacks in Gulshan. I am recently qualified engineer and have many foreign friends. I am fearful for future of Bangladesh. I read your post on religion and it is very well-informed. I hope you would not change your positive views on Bangladesh. Sayeed in Dhaka

    • Hello again Sayeed. I too was shocked and dismayed by the attack in Gulshan, as I am by all the horrific terrorist attacks that have taken place around the world. My heart goes out to the families of the deceased. Having lived in Dhaka (and crossed paths with some very fine people who work with JICA) it felt very close to home. I can empathise with the fear that you feel for the future. But, no, the actions of a few will not change how I feel about Bangladesh. I concur with the views of your own Muhammad Yunus: we need a global solution to this problem. In sympathy, Ann 😢

  14. Hi, Ann. What a funny place to find you after all these years!! It looks like you’ve been up to all kinds of wonderful adventures. I’m still at the same email address if you’d like to get in touch! All the best, Andrea

    • Andrea! Hello. Great to hear from you! And what an amazing coincidence. I’ve been going through boxes of books these last few days and yesterday I came across a little booklet on Chinese Culture. Inside, I found some postcards and letters from China. Two were yours – from when you were teaching English in Guangzhou. I sat down and read them through. (It’s taking me a long time to get through these boxes!) So, I had been thinking of you and wondering if you were still in Ontario etc. And then I got this message! The mind boggles. I’ll e-mail you properly in a few days. (Actually, I have a different e-mail address for you.) Again, delighted to hear from you. Till later, Ann

  15. Hello Ann: I stumbled upon your blog while researching travel tips for Asia. My wife and I are planning a six month trip and your blog has totally inspired us. I am not in the habit of leaving comments but I had to write to thank you for such a beautifully written, interesting and informative account. We will definitely return to re-read your posts on Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, all of which are on our itinerary. You have us thinking about including Bangladesh now!

    If I had to make a suggestion it would be that you might include captions for your photographs … but, hey, I’m being greedy now.

    Thanks again for a great read. John (New Haven, Connecticut)

    P.S. I love your ‘Art, not Ads’ philosophy. Your blog is very much a work of art.

    • Hi John

      What a lovely comment to receive on a rainy Monday in the west of Ireland. You’ve cheered me up considerably! I’m delighted that the blog is providing you with inspiration.

      You are absolutely right about my photographs needing captions. Believe it or not, they all had captions up till recently when they were displayed via Cooliris photo walls. However, since Cooliris was acquired by Yahoo they no longer work and WordPress is rather limited with regard to alternative options. But I will be addressing this issue over time.

      In the meantime, I wish you and your wife a wonderful trip. If you have any questions about any relevant post content I would be happy to help. And if you intend to write a blog, be sure to send me the link!

      Ann

  16. dear ann ,
    How do i get you on Facebook or Twitter ,
    your admirer
    jb

  17. I wanted to say thank you for taking the leap in making your postings public. I love travel and the world, and a lot of times live through others and their adventures, as I am unable to set free as much as I’d like. I’ve been fascinated with India for quite some time, and seek out blogs that can give me as much insight as possible. One day, I hope to make the journey and nourish my soul, with the sights, sounds, colours, tastes, culture & allow India to encapsulate my being. I look forward to reading your blog, thank you again for sharing! Melanie

  18. Pls. Add Greenland on your blog visitors list..:-)

  19. Ann Maria, I wonder if you can help me. I am currently trying to set up a WordPress blog and I’m not the most tech-savvy person (understatement).

    I came across your blog and love the way your home page looks. I’m going for this kind of ‘clean’ layout. I chose the same theme as you are using but can’t figure out how you got the slide shows to work in the right-hand column. If it’s not too complicated, would you mind terribly sharing this knowledge?

    I am also puzzled about how you got your post archives to show up in chronological order rather than the default reverse chronological order.

    Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I’m almost ready to give up, it’s that frustrating.

    Rebecca Moore (UK)

    • Hi Rebecca
      Don’t give up!

      It’s funny that you mentioned the ‘clean’ layout. Just today I discovered that adverts are appearing on posts throughout my blog: hence the ‘Ad-Free’ blog icon in sidebar. I suppose there’s no such thing as a ‘free blog’!

      To get to your questions.

      In relation to the slideshows:

      1. I created the slideshows in the online slideshow creator ‘Slideroll’ – pretty straightforward.

      2. I pasted the embed code from ‘Slideroll’ into a text widget, modifying certain parameters (to suit my personal requirements e.g. size) using basic HTML code.

      If you like I could send you the HTML code I used, via e-mail.

      With regard to the ‘Archives’ widget, I created this myself because the available widget only showed posts in reverse chronological order, as you stated. So, what you see is in fact a text widget and again I used HTML code to create the ordered list, the links and the scroll box.

      I’m not sure if you know any HTML code: I have managed to pick up the basics through trial and error in creating my blog.

      I hope the above makes sense. If I can be of any further help, let me know.

      Ann

      • Thank you so much Ann.

        Some very helpful pointers. I’ll get someone to help me with the HTML code. Would you mind e-mailing me the text you used? Here’s my e-mail address:

        Thanks again Ann for taking the time to respond. I’ve been reading some of your blog and it’s so interesting! You write very, very well.

        Cheers,
        Becca

        • Thank you Rebecca!

          You’re most welcome: I’m glad to help.

          I will send you the HTML code: I have your e-mail address and have removed it from your comment above for your security.

          I will be interested to read your blog when you make it public. For now, let’s communicate directly.

          Best wishes,
          Ann

  20. hello Ann! It’s great to see you and your blog. After the trip to SUNDARBAN, we had a plan to meet but somehow we couldn’t manage…

    I will keep communicating.. Sulav

  21. I feel very proud about my country to read this blog. I pray for you.

  22. This was worth the wait Ann. Great stuff! Are you in Ireland now?

  23. Wow! Great blog Ann. Have only started but very excited. You have a very real style of writing. I can almost hear you!!! Soon, hopefully.

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