Around the World: Day 9- You’ve Been in Bangladesh Too Long When…

I met Jody several years ago and although our paths haven’t crossed in a while- I love reading her adventures through her blog She compiled this list with the help of some on her friends… Blessings to you, Jody as you teach English, impact those around you and enjoy all sorts of incredible experiences! 

You know you’ve lived in Bangladesh too long when…20 signs that it’s time to have a refresher course on American culture.

1.You nod your head to the side.*They probably won’t understand a frontal nod as yes.

2. You lean out your car window so you can give the lady at the drive-thru window your money with your right hand.*In Bangladesh it’s considered rude and unclean to use your left hand for eating or giving things to someone. Seriously, I notice every time someone hands me something with their left hand. If you MUST use the left hand, sanctify it by propping your right hand under it.

3. Eating with your fingers feels more natural than using a spoon. *Spoons were only used for rice pudding and goat milk yogurt. Forks? What are they?


4. A meal is not a meal without rice. *Rice is eaten for breakfast, snack, lunch, supper and midnight snack.


5. You can cross a busy street with motos and vehicles whizzing by and hardly even notice them.*Basically just start walking and weaving between traffic. I mean obviously, you don’t step in front of a bus or anything idiotic like that. In Bangladesh and most of Asia, there’s a pecking order to the roads. If you are bigger, you have the right of way.

6. It feels weird to shake hands (especially with the opposite sex).*Shaking hands is very American.

7.  The footprints on the toilet seat are your own. *The majority of the toilets in Asia are squat pots, and the Western toilets you do come across are filthy!!


8. You say estyle, estar, and busestand.*As far as I know this is essentially Bangladeshi. They have a tendency of adding the /e/ sound (as in set or bet) in front of an ‘s’ if the ‘s’ is followed by a consonant. So sit is said sit, but slit would be eslit.

9. You can ride bike side saddle.*It’s considered immodest for girls to straddle bikes… or even ride them. I mean if someone else is sitting on the seat peddling, I can ride side saddle behind them. And yes, I am talking about bicycles. They believe the same thing about motos (motorbikes).

10. You remove your shoes before entering a house… ALWAYS!!!!*Seriously, you were walking around in who knows what and you want to wear your shoes into my house? I don’t think so!!!


11. You consider threatening someone with your flip-flop a serious insult.*Feet are dirty. They’re the dirtiest part of you and pointing your feet at someone is very offensive, but if a guy is bugging you, pick up your flip-flop and threaten to throw it at them. That usually does the trick. If that doesn’t work throw it and go find some big brothers to take care of the situation.

12. You speak English incorrectly and simply. (Example: I am eating eggs for breakfast. Yesterday, I go to market. I can not come.)*While teaching English, I tried to speak correctly, but the point here is using the words and tenses that they understood.

13. You call it football… not soccer. *I don’t want to be quoted on this, but I believe America is the only country that calls it soccer. It’s football.

14. It’s totally normal to have visitors at any time of the day.*And visitors mean dropping whatever you’re doing and making sure they have biscuits (sweet crackers) and apples to eat. And answering all their questions: “Where you come from?” “How many brothers you have?” “Do you like Bangladesh?” etc.


15. You know that if the child is wearing two earrings… it’s a girl.*Due to the scourge lice, girls up into 7th grade will shave their heads. Sometimes the ONLY way to tell if it’s a girl or boy is to see if she has two earings. One earing may mean a Hindu boy.


16. You feel half-dressed without your shawar and Orna.*Shawar are light-weight pants worn under the dress. Ankles showing are considered immodest. Ornas are either large scarves or small shawls also worn for modesty.

17. You understand and enjoy cricket.*Cricket is even a bigger game than football.


18. You can tell the difference between Muslims and Hindus.*The town I lived in had about half and half of each. Maybe slightly more Muslims, but they often dressed pretty much the same.


19. You’d rather sit cross-legged than stretch your legs out.*When I sit in a chair I usually find it more comfortable to sit cross-legged. Often I prefer the floor.

20. You can sleep through the prayer call.*Not just the prayer call, but also the innumerable early buses rattling the house and blowing their horns.

-Jody Byler



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