Tuesday, December 14, 2010

White Love

White Group (from left to right) back row: Nusrat, Nazma, Rabia, Me, Ngoc, Anh, Aaliya, Yagel, Sumitra, Jesmin
front row: Israt, Jannatul, Pahima, Meher, Vinh

Time is flying! but when isn't it? It's the end of another 7 week course and subsequently the end of the semester. This time around I'm ready for a break and ready for the change that awaits us all next semester. Speaking of which...next semester we will all be teaching semester long courses instead of 7-week classes. I've spent the past few days not only grading and planning for our winter break vacation but also beginning to plan a semester-long course. I will still teach business leadership but will expand on the existing topics and emphasize self-leadership development.

In the spirit of Who Moved My Cheese here are the Writings on the Wall (with no editing) that the presentation groups created to inspire themselves and their classmates to practice leadership in regards to each specific topic from our course.

Ethics: “The more you’ll be ethical, the more you’ll take the world up.”
Psychodynamic: “Respect yourself and others to build a bridge of a good relationship.”
Transformational: “Transformational leadership is like a mountain, climb on it. If you succeed in climbing you can become a good leader.”
Culture: “If you don’t know anything about me you can’t make friendship with me.”
Women: “Never prefer to be the follower because of being a woman, other than make this fact as your straightness to be the leader for others.”
Our students really do say and write the cutest/funniest things all the time and it's hard to remember to write them down...I didn't do too great of a job recording cute sayings from the white group but here are two:

- "In first class I failed, second year I studied two classes and I became third position and then first position. Oh God! A big change!!" -- Rabia

- "I want my teacher to keep smiling because it rises the value of your face." -- Meher (in her first writing assignment where they had to tell me about themselves and their expectations of the teacher)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Never Never Land

'Tis the season for Christmas markets, gluhwein, schneeballen, and shopping....in Europe! After two Christmases in Europe, I will be spending this one in Asia. Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of Christmas for me, cue the Christmas movies, cookies, and music but this year it's been a little harder to get into the spirit without the reminders...there are definitely no Christmas lights or gluhwein stands around Chittagong and certainly no snow! With the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes it feels more appropriate to think about having a picnic, with lots of OFF, on the Sea Beach in Chittagong. Despite all the reminiscing about my time spent in Germany I am looking forward to spending this holiday season traveling through Nepal and India. Even though Christmas night will be spent on an overnight train in India I have no doubt that it will be a memorable one. Anyway, after spending the past two years in Germany, Christmas Eve has become more important to me than the 25th....oh how I will miss Stille Nacht in the Partenkirchen Kirche this year :/

This reminscent post came after seeing many of my friends from Germany tagged in a note by a fellower GAPer. When I first arrived at ELR in January 2008 I heard quite a bit about this goodbye letter but nobody seemed to have a copy of it. Now she, Bethany, has posted her letter on facebook. Below is most of her Goodbye letter. I feel that it resounds with me even now that I'm in Bangladesh.

From Bethany, November 2007, taped to the back of every bathroom stall and above every urinal in the Abrams:

I have learned so much about myself and this place just in these last weeks, all things I wish I had grasped early on. I am passing my reflections on in hopes they will help you make the most of everyday here.

Look around, you are not the only one that has to leave their room to cook, do laundry, go to the bathroom, make a phone call or go online. You’re not the only one that has to wake up early, walk in the weather and put on an ugly uniform along with a fake smile. You are not the first overqualified person to scrape food into a slop bucket. This is a tiny price to pay for a humungous experience!

Never sell yourself or this experience short out of boredom or loneliness. You will not die if you are not the life of the party or the center of attention. You will not stop breathing if you don’t have someone to hold hands with in the hallway. The coolest person you could ever get to know out here is yourself.

Spend your time and money on the things that matter. Why get hammered every night in Garmisch when you can sip champagne in the south of France? Travel, travel, travel then travel some more!

We are not animals, better example; we are not 16 year old boys. For crying out loud go take a cold shower (alone). Go for a hike, read a book. Remember I got lucky; I ended up with “an amazing blessing I don’t even deserve” and not a terminal virus.

Develop an independent routine that forces you out of the Abrams. Frequent a coffee shop no one else goes to. Take a good book as a lunch date. Get an entertaining Deutsch lesson at the local theatre. There will be parties even your best friends forget to mention. It is better to know how to happily survive solitude then to have loneliness take you by surprise. You may otherwise end up eating the entire contents of your fridge, guzzling a 3 euro 2 liter bottle of wine and wake up on the kinderpath next to a pile of slugs with sheep poop in your hair…I’m just sayin.

Go outside everyday and take in a slow-mo 360 view of the Bavarian Alps. Trust me the goose bumps will never get old!

I hope you find the happy balance. I hope you never have to grow up and can stay in our Never Neverland forever…seriously though you are not really Peter Pan. Gravity does exist even at the Abrams and you cannot actually fly. Please stop sitting on second story windowsills it makes me nervous!

Bethany's letter reminds me to enjoy the day-to-day moments of anywhere I may be and that happiness isn't a destination but a daily ingredient of life. My time in Bangladesh is already passing too quickly and I know that these nine months will be just as integral as my time spent in Germany to my sense of identity on my quest to find direction in life.

Below are pictures of our AUW family Thanksgiving meal and 2 pictures from the past.

 Thanksgiving Dinner on the rooftop of Panclaish - How many times do you celebrate Thanksgiving on a rooftop?

 Our Thanksgiving buffet spread

Remembering the alps - the view from my bedroom window in the Abrams for 2 years!

Tallin, Estonia: One of the MANY Christmas Markets in Europe where I spent time enjoying caroling, gluhwein, cold weather, and Christmas trinkets