Freshman Fall passed in the blink of an eye, and I was more than excited to return home to Bangladesh for winter break. Spending a month away to reconnect with my roots was exactly what I needed to recharge my psychological battery after the stressful finals week. Although I was sad when I hugged my friends’ goodbye, I was mentally jumping at the thought of seeing my high school friends and family again.
I always look forward to the journey back home with dreaded anticipation. The boredom associated with twenty- five hours of air travel can take a toll on your mental stability. While I was waiting near the carousel for my luggage, I heard a man passive aggressively comment about how modern Bengali women were disrespectful to their culture because they weren’t dressed in traditional shalwar kameez. At this point, I felt that it was my moral obligation to swing my luggage cart around and drag it to the spot right next to him. Unfortunately for him, I was dressed casually in a pair of leggings, combat boots and my Tufts half- zip sweater. He was positively embarrassed and refrained from talking anymore. I love my country and culture and his negativity couldn’t wash that away. Besides, I make it a point to wear my Tufts apparel everywhere I go. I mean, what kind of a Baby Jumbo would I be if I wasn’t reppin’ straight from the motherland, right?
When I finally rolled into my parents’ home on Christmas morning, I looked like a zombie, utterly exhausted from travelling. Returning to Bangladesh after a solid four months did provide an element of culture shock but the sudden shift is scenario was very welcoming. I was home.
I was appointed as bridesmaid for my favorite-cousin-number-two, who couldn’t wait one day longer and decided to tie the knot the day I landed. Weddings are among one of many the Bengali festivities that I missed dearly, and the food was absolutely heavenly. Granted, I had a lot of fun but the jetlag eventually got the worst of me. I passed out at 2 a.m. in the morning. I woke up to the sunset the following evening. You just can’t beat an eleven hours’ time difference.
For me, going home meant transitioning from a starry- eyed, independent college student to a homebound, pampered princess aka the youngest child of the family. I didn’t have to do my laundry, chores or even make my own bed. It became easy to fall back to my old habits and I literally turned into a vegetable. And by literally, I mean a couch potato. It was good to be back. Honestly, it felt like I had never left in the first place!