Back in September, I had written a list in my diary of goals for this year. Things I wanted to do, aside from KPR. This is, for the most part, what the list says:
1. Go back to Lalon Geeti
2. Boi Mela!
3. Dental things (wisdom teeth out, cavities filled, orthodonty for my top teeth)
4. Perform on a stage
5. Keep learning German
6. Go back to math
7. Read, read, read enough to change my world.
So how did I do?
1. I did not go back to learning Lalon Geeti, my favourite type of Bengali music, the one that grabs me. Total fail. Maybe next time.
2. Boi Mela! Yes, after SEVEN YEARS! Although it was a bit weird because it coincided with Shahbag, and there was a fire, probably arson, but still.
3. I have not yet been to the dentist. Also total fail. Now, with 2 weeks left, I am frantically trying to set up an appointment.
4. Perform on a stage…not QUITE, although maybe the 100 days of KPR event next week will count? Also, trainings and recruitment talks have SORT of been like performing? But it’s theater I want to do.
5. German! Before I traveled to Germany last year, the wonderful Alex Bardis took it upon himself to be my instructor on German, and I LOVED learning with him. I had never before attempted to learn a new language and it was glorious. Alex taught me with a cheer and patience that I intend to emulate whenever I become a teacher myself. We intended to keep up our lessons on Skype, and we did, for awhile, but of course things got crazy, and I’m sorry to say my education in German is currently on hold. I MUST go back to it. (Alex, if you’re reading this, I hope you get on my case about it.)
6. Go back to math. Awww. I love math. Back in class ten, Pure Math was my favourite. I tried to follow the math major at Cornell, but, alas, took linear algebra, understood nothing, got a C, and that was that because you needed a B to take the next course. I didn’t take it too personally. I maintain that I enjoy and am good at mathematics! Just not the way Cornell needed me to be. So I’ve always meant to go back to it, and it freaks me out a little that I’ve become so distanced from it. I’m not sure I know how to do an integral anymore. Scary. So I had an ambitious, do math with Abbu in Bangladesh plan. Of course, didn’t happen. Haven’t picked up a textbook once.
7. Read. It felt like I haven’t read anything, but I looked at the list I’ve been keeping (I don’t usually keep a list of what I read, but I wanted to for this year) and it turns out I’ve read over 40 books this past year, which actually is pretty good. I’m slightly embarrassed that almost all the Bangla I’ve read have either been by Abbu or by Humayun Ahmed, so I won’t list them here. (I’m only slightly embarrassed. They were good books, that’s why I read them.) Here’s what I read in English:
Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier
The Casual Vacancy JK Rowling
1984 George Orwell
An Unquiet Mind Kay Jamison
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Jonathan Safran Foer
Freakonomics Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Pavilion of a Woman Pearl Buck
Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card
The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde
The Private Confessions and Memoirs of a Justified Sinner James Hogg
The God of Small Things Arundhoti Roy
Siddartha Herman Hesse
The Sisters Brothers Patrick DeWitt
Watership Down Richard Adams
The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut
The Historian Elizabeth Kostova
And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini
Unaccostumed Earth Jhumpa Lahiri
Right Ho, Jeeves P.G. Wodehouse
The Life Before Us Romain Gary
Lord of the Flies William Golding
Little Birds Anais Nin
Pieces for the Left Hand J R Lennon
Fifth Business Robertson Davies
She Walks in Beauty – compilation of poetry
Many of these were for Skype book club with Becca and RM. Many were gifts from Carey Lab members. Some I just found lying around at home. One was purchased from a little boy selling photocopied books on the street. I very much enjoyed most of them and would recommend all of them. Except maybe Freakonomics, which got on my nerves a little bit, but maybe that’s because I have an education in behavioral sciences, which I’m going to take as license to be a little pompous in this regard.
Okay, so I haven’t done most of the things on my list. But I think about KPR, and the relationships that I will carry with me wherever I go, and you know what, I am very satisfied with my year.