Since we are going to stay for another one or two years in Dhaka, I decided to make a new project for myself which I called #BreakIntoBangladesh. This project is supposed to help me understand Bangladesh better, as some of you might be aware that Dhaka has been ranked at fourth least-liveable city by The Economist Intelligence Unit in 2017 Global Livability Report, that way I can learn how to enjoy this city.
Anyhow, I must say that I actually have planned to do it since I arrived in Dhaka in April 2016. However, I got pregnant immediately, I found it hard to move around the city because it is very chaotic place and I focus on #fitpregnancy. Additionally, the terrorist attack that occurred on 1 July 2016 at Holey Artisan Bakery has restricted our movement in Bangladesh. Therefore, I tend to go to the gym and stay at home either for cooking or reading. I did not do much socialization. Subsequently, I also just stayed home taking care my new-born until he was five months old.
That being said, luckily, I managed to see a little bit of Dhaka prior to the terrorist attack whereby I went to few markets, museum, restaurants and some nearby districts which gave me the sense that Dhaka is still liveable city regardless its deficiency. It has everything you need but it is pretty expensive.
Whenever people ask me ‘How do I like Dhaka?‘, I always have similar answer ‘I like it here. It is liveable. Despite the fact the air pollution and the arsenic contamination are worrying, Dhaka is still colorful, dynamic, vibrant yet chaotic.’ And whenever I say that I always think ‘It will be so much better if I can speak the language and read its alphabet that way I have a conversation with the real local people in the market or shop than my domestic staff only,’ Perhaps that is my first project in 2018, learning Bangla language. As so far ‘Ektu-ektu Bangla pari‘ (I speak a little bit of Bangla).
That being said, at the end, it is about our attitude toward the city, I can choose to be happy or be grumpy. As in Indonesian, we will say “Tak kenal maka tak sayang,” which can be translated ‘If you don’t know, you will never love (them), Hence I decide to learn to love Bangladesh. So let’s see how my project goes!