One of my favorite things about traveling is all the people you get to meet. Simply by sitting down somewhere you can chat with a variety of people from all different walks of life. Which I think is why I love traveling so much; meeting people, hearing their story and finding out why they are where they are. On this particular journey, I met a couple interesting people.
I first met a Pakistani girl (who spoke impeccable English…she went to a British high school in Pakistan) and was going home to college in Minnesota. She is majoring in Economics and Poly Sci and was in Dhaka about ten days before me doing economic research. She had just been visiting her family in Pakistan. She’s graduating in the spring.
I met another woman named Jihan at the gate for the flight to Dhaka. She was born and raised in Bangladesh, and even had an internship at the icddr.b for a year back in the 90’s. She had her Master’s and PhD in Chemistry!! I was so glad I met her because I was able to ask her more about Dhaka and what it would be like. She was in a way an answer to prayer. I’d been hoping to meet some kind Bangladeshi woman and I did!
I sat next to a Bangladeshi man on the flight to Dhaka. He spoke very little English, but we could converse enough to chat a little bit. He told me about his home in Dhaka, his wife and kids. He asked me why I was going to Dhaka and I told him I was visiting family. He said, “Bangladesh is full of old men.”
Once we got off the plane, I ended up in the visa line with a woman from Italy. She was 25 and was a teacher in Florence. She was also visiting family in Dhaka. She didn’t speak a ton of English, but it was good enough that we could talk while in line. It was our first time in Asia for both of us and we remarked on our surroundings. When I said goodbye, she hugged me, kissed my cheeks and said, “Ciao.” I wish I’d gotten her name.