Did I know beforehand it's gonna be my 'most glamorous' (according to some of my friends) week? No.
I was feeling, as usual, a little bit tension while preparing for my presentation before the Greater Reading World Affairs Council in Reading, Pennsylvania. Scheduled for June 13, my presentation on current political situation was quite a challenge as I knew that I would have to answer questions on broad range of issues. From my presentation in Indianapolis (April 18), I knew I cannot stop the audience ask any kind of questions. So, I returned to my apartment early on Monday to do some background study.
Surprise was awaiting me, and I had no way to minimize it. Although I knew I would attend a TV program with some other guest speakers Tuesday night at BCTV (Berks Community Television), the information that the program is a short one was wrong.
"It's a one-hour program," John Hoskyns-Abrahall told me as I reached the TV station few minutes before 9pm when the program was scheduled to begin.
"It's a live program and you're tonight's speaker," he gave me no time to surprise.
"I didn't know it, I'm not prepared for it," I told him in vain.
On a hurry to go to the studio, he just said: "I would ask you some questions about background of Bangladesh and gradually shift to current situation."
"And people will call during the program," another blow to shake me further.
So far I've asked people questions and the arrow comes back to me, like boomerang! I thought.
But I am damn of a speaker, I didn't feel how one hour passed!
"Cool!" I said to myself, as we finished the program.
John is also damn of a interviewer, he asked me everything which can be asked about Bangladesh, from issues dating back to 1757 to current situations, even what might happen in coming days.
The audience at my presentation the next day had written on their faces how it was. I also felt as I was answering the questions.
I've noted down the points for presentation, but at neither of the two presentations I could see those. Audiences' face writing always guided me through the presentations.
I was overwhelmed when president of the Council Mike McCarthy presented me a large box of Tom Sturgis Pretzels.
Dan Kelly, a staff writer/columnist of main local newspaper Reading Eagle showed me the whole city before taking me to their office. I talked with the editor, news editor and some reporters.
Talking with crime reporter Jason Kahl, I learned that there are many incidents of shooting in the city, which lost many of its residents over the last decades due to fall of industries, especially textile industries.
Tom McMahon, Reading Mayor, has undertaken several projects to give the city new look to attract people. Law and order improvement is one of the his key strategies and challenge too. They're constructing a large theater building to house several theaters with IMAX. I am sure the city will become full of life again soon.
The newspaper published an article on my presentation the next day.
After dinner at a retired people's community, Keith and Carol Orts, a very lively and happy nice couple who are actively involved with the world affairs council, they drove me to Harrisburg where I passed the night to catch my flight back to Pittsburgh next morning.
"Have I seen you earlier?" an elderly woman asked me as I was coming out of community building after dinner.
"No way, I'm here for the first time in my life," I said.
"Have you been to the TV station?" she asked.
You see, how famous I've become!
Coming back Thursday, I took preparation for midterm seminar. I was very excited and impatient to meet the other fellows, Susan and Katie, my only kins in this land thousand miles away from home.
I didn't know how and when they have come so close to my heart.