Saturday, November 26, 2011

What did you do when you were 22?

I had a hard week. There was emotional drama, physical drama, and I was ready to call the whole thing off and run away to Rangpur for the weekend. I got into the back seat of the van and we head up. It was dark and no one in the front could see me back there. The windows were cracked open and the Bangladeshi air rushed into my seat. In such situations there is really only one course of action. I put on my headphones, turned on Beyonce, and rocked out, in silence, all the way to Rangpur.

When I got there, Shefa and Neelu were ready to party. They had bought chips, coke and Sprite and we were ready to dance. We played music videos in the conference room on the projector and danced full out.

At around 11pm Shefa had the idea to go up onto the roof to look at the stars. It was chilly and chillier when we lay down on the concrete floor. But who needs physical comfort when you have the Bangladeshi stars?

“So how was 22?” Shefa asked.

It was the year I started at Hopkins. Johns Hopkins. My dream school and what I had worked hard to reach for 21 years. It was the year I had a hard time dealing with my parent’s divorce and all the rippling it entailed. I met some absolutely amazing people. They will be with me for the rest of my life. And the friends already in my life proved to be larger than life. I dated a zookeeper, I learned how to play the guitar, and I went to Israel.

And now I was turning 23, on the roof, under the stars, in Bangladesh.

As it turned midnight, Neelu, Bulbul and Saijudin came up the stairs with a birthday cake lit with candles. It said “Happy Birthday, Chelsea! Khub Bahlo!” They put“Khub Bahlo” on the cake because it is my favorite phrase here (mainly because it’s one of the few phrases I know how to say) and it means “very good.”

I cried a little bit because I’m a cryer and blew out the candles.

I wished for a year as exciting and filled with love as the last.

Asalam Walaikum,


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