Charky and Quell
“I just love spending time with Charky and Quell. They are such amazing dogs,” I say to my neighbors, Diana, and Dough, as we sit in their backyard.
Charky, only four months old, is a ball of energy. He runs around the yard, chasing his tail and barking at the slightest movement. His enthusiasm is contagious, and it is hard not to smile when he is around.
Quell is more reserved. He is three and a half years old and has a calm and gentle demeanor. He sits by my feet and looks up at me with his big soulful eyes as if asking me to pat him. It is hard not to fall in love with Quell. Dough rescued him one rainy evening at the 13th Avenue and Van Buren intersection.
Over the past six months, I have developed a strong attachment with these dogs, first with Quell and followed by Charky. They have become like family to me, and I always look forward to spending time with them. I play with them whenever I can.
“They are both such great dogs,” Dough says, patting Quell’s head. “We are lucky to have them,” he says. I nod in agreement, watching as Charky runs around, circling me, a sign that he likes me. He enjoys how I rub and pat him on his neck. “I don’t know what I will do without them when I go back to Bangladesh,” I retort.
Diana smiles. “They bring so much joy to our lives,” she says. “We are grateful for them every day.”
As we sit there, watching the dogs play, I cannot help but feel grateful for the bond we have formed. It is amazing how animals can bring people together and create strong connections.
“I’m so glad that I moved next door to you guys,” I say. “Charky and Quell bring fun to your alien neighbor.”
Dough and Diana both smile. We all sit in the backyard, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the company of our furry friends. Moments like these make me appreciate the simple things in life and the power of love and friendship.
For the past six months, I have been struggling, more than anything else, to find a solution to my problem. I have not found food that is spicy enough. Looking at the lady behind the counter, I notice that she is wearing a fiery red outfit, a symbol that they sell the spiciest burger in Phoenix.
“Make it the spiciest you can on a scale of 10, please,” I say.
The lady looks surprised and exclaims with a big smile on her face, “Are you sure? We get very few orders at 10.”
The US has a unique way of measuring performance – on a scale, even when it comes to dining. Coming from Dhaka, which I consider to be the most amazing capital city in the world, I have been struggling to find spicy food that can match the level of heat I am used to.
“I’m more than sure,” I tell myself, but to her, I say, “Let’s see what you’ve got.”
“It will be no different this time,” I again remark to myself.
I had heard about the American way of life – fast-paced and intense, akin to the movie “Fast and Furious” – and was eager to partake in it.
“It is just seven o’clock in the evening,” I tell Teddy as we walk westwards along Van Buren, taking in our surroundings. “How can the roads be almost empty so early into the night?” Teddy wonders aloud, noticing the sparse traffic and presence of homeless individuals in the area.
As it was our first evening in downtown Phoenix, we concluded that it might be a ‘holiday’ of sorts.
It did not take long for me to get used to the emptiness; I cannot help but wonder if I made the right choice in coming here.
Being thousands of miles away from my loved ones, I often experience a sense of emptiness. Calm and quiet downtown evenings seem to exacerbate this feeling. I often find myself questioning whether I am missing something, as each evening seems to mirror the previous one.
People in Dhaka often despise the ‘hustle and bustle’ of the city. Similarly, I yearn for the peace and quiet of Phoenix in Dhaka. Unlike frequent road congestions and last-minute cancellations due to traffic in Dhaka, such occurrences are rare in Phoenix.
The longing for my mom and sister is intense, as is my yearning for the hustle and bustle, noise, and crowds of Dhaka. However, Phoenix has grown to become my second home, and I can provide countless reasons for that sentiment.
When someone asks me, “Do you really like this desert?” I answer, “I don’t like it; I love it.”
A Chef’s life
“Casey, you seem to like the chicken biryani,” I observe as I watch her stare longingly at the leftovers.
She nods, a small smile forming on her face, and replies, “It’s so delicious. I wish I could have it every day.”
I chuckle, “Well, there’s plenty left over. Would you like some more?”
Casey hesitates for a moment before shaking her head. “No, it’s okay,” she says. “What are you going to eat tomorrow?”
I shrug, “I haven’t thought about it, but I will be happy to pack it for you.”
“Why not,” she says without hesitation.
When I was in Dhaka, I rarely cooked. In Phoenix, I have no choice. I started cooking to survive, and I still haven’t gotten used to it. The satisfaction of having someone enjoy my cooking brings me immense joy. After sharing these experiences with my mom and sister, they often suggest that I consider opening my own restaurant.
Trust me; I truly dislike cooking.