Bye Bye My Home Country
By Fariya Kabir
This winter, I returned to Bangladesh for the first time in years after living in the U.S.
From the sky, my town looks different. It looks so small, calm, and able to melt my heart. A question that I am often asked is: “Which do you like more: Bangladesh or the USA?” I have never been really able to answer that question. There can’t be any comparison between the two for me. I can’t compare Bangladesh with any other country since it’s not just a “country” for me. It’s way more than that. It’s my motherland, the land where I was born, brought up, nurtured, loved, cared for, pampered. That land has witnessed my childhood: my pre-school life, my growth, my tears, and my smiles. I feel proud while thinking that I am from a place where you don’t have stunning buildings, you have nature and its beauty. I am from a place where you don’t have five-star restaurants, you have food from your mom’s hand. I am from a place where you don’t have advanced technology, but you do have the chance to live together. There aren’t great vacation resorts, but there are marvelous hills and sea beaches. There may not be the best educational opportunities, but there you’ll learn how to be a good human instead of just successful. Bangladesh may not have the best of everything, but there you have love, care, and hospitality. The US has, without a doubt, played a huge role in making me who I am today, but indeed Bangladesh holds a totally different place in my heart. It’s the country that has shaped me as a person and prepared me for my future.
Human lives are often so weird. We don’t always get what we want nor can we always predict what will happen. In 2018, when I was thirteen, I had to shift with my parents to America because of educational purposes and family reasons. It has been almost four years for me living in the US, very far from my motherland. In four years, I have had two trips to visit my home country, Bangladesh. The last was in 2019. This time, we came in November 2021. Today, it’s January 19, 2022. I am going back to the USA.
A safety announcement suddenly took me out of my thoughts. It was time for dinner. I finished dinner, plugged in my headphones to play my favorite song on my phone, laid my head on the shoulder pillow my boyfriend gave me, and tried to sleep. But I couldn’t. Something took me back to my trip. The trip went by in a flash as I was engaged with so many responsibilities, but it was great.
The main reason for the trip was the birth of my baby niece, Zayra. She was born October 31st, 2021 and is the first baby of her generation in our family. Meeting her was one of the very best moments of my life. I can clearly remember holding her in my arms for the first time. She was so small, lightweight, cute, and warm. All the days I stayed, I couldn’t go without playing with her, talking to her, and having her in my arms for at least an hour. Some days, my favorite cousin came over. We are close from our childhood. Her arrival added to my joy. We had so much fun together.
Also, my elder sister got married. I was really happy for her and her family, but at the same time, her leaving our house and going to a new place did make me really sad. To comfort me, I reminded myself that she is just leaving the house, not the family. That made me feel a bit lighter, but it didn’t bring me complete consolation. Her marriage ceremony was really fun, though. In Bengali culture, our marriage ceremonies go on for four to five days. My sister’s wedding lasted five days. We all got to dress up, click pictures, and enjoy all the moments together. Ceremonies like those are the only ways to bring loved ones together now that the world is so busy.
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Something that also added a great meaning to my trip was my new relationship. After my last heartbreak two years ago, I spent some time away from love and relationship things. But my new boyfriend has something different.
We met through mutual friends and started talking while I was in the USA, but we didn’t get together until after I went to Bangladesh. I wasn’t really in love at first, but couldn’t deny that the boy has something special that I haven’t found in anyone else in the past years.
He always makes me feel better in my bad moments. He is not one of those really sweet or cheesy boyfriends, but he is the perfect definition of a partner for me. I love him so much and am really grateful to have him.
I took a deep breath after remembering the last moments I had in my home county. I adjusted my pillow, paused the song, and fell asleep with a smile.
A new announcement played in the background and woke me up from sleep, saying, “Hi, New York!”
This piece is about the most recent trip I had to my home country, Bangladesh. The trip was a bit of a hassle as I had to take a long leave from school, but it was a great trip filled with so many good memories. The trip added a lot to my life so I wanted to capture the beautiful moments in a little journal on the plane ride back to America.
Fariya Kabir is a sophomore in high school. She is 15 years old, passionate about writing and loves children, animals, dancing and cooking. She hopes to be a pediatrician and work for orphans, the elderly and helpless people in the future. She lives every day with these words by Prajakta in mind: “With a smile for a smile and a heart for a heart Evolution of the new mankind will start No shapes, no sizes, no colors, no faiths, no wars, no judgments, no guns, no hate...”