“The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
If you’ve been around Therap long enough, you may remember Justin’s blog featuring a series of thirty or so posts, written by a very cheerful fourteen-year-old about her adventures out west.
My name is Iona Brockie. I’m Justin’s daughter, and those blog posts were five long, busy years ago. I’ve blogged for Therap intermittently since then (a pilgrimage to Scotland, a business trip to Maine), but recently I’ve been busy studying mechanical engineering at Cornell University. This summer, however, I’m spending a month in Therap’s Bangladesh office, helping out and getting a grasp on just how little I know about the world.
Although I’ve only been here about a week so far, I’ve already learned and seen a lot. Being on the Bangladesh side of Therap is very cool. The office is a lot larger than our Connecticut one and has a lot more people. There are different rooms for different teams, and I’ve really enjoyed having a desk in the T&I room. Everyone is extremely friendly, even while busily preparing for the new release!
(Plus, there is a very cool wall with clocks showing the time in all the US timezones.) The ability of everyone here to flip seamlessly between Bengali and English has made me very aware of my own monolingualism. My shaky grasp of Spanish does not come close to comparing.
I’ve spent some of my time in the office reading and adding to a variety of documents, some of it meeting and talking to people, and some of it researching all the questions I’ve been running into about Bangladesh, its culture, and its current events. All of the above have been very informative, but what has really surprised me is how fascinating I’ve found Bangladesh politics and history. In general, those were two areas of study that never really appealed to me in school, but researching what is happening around me and how it got there is fascinating. I’m learning a lot, and I’m excited to share it all when I get home.
Even the simple differences between Bangladesh and the United States are very interesting. Having the weekend be Friday and Saturday, eating rice and meat without utensils, and a computer keyboard with very unfamiliar letters are all new and intriguing. People wear different clothing, and even the food sold in grocery stores is different! Every difference seems to have a reason, and thinking about the corresponding reasons for why we do things the way we do in the United States has been rather enlightening. The title of this post is a very relevant quote from “Little Gidding,” by T.S. Eliot. It’s hard to know who you are when you don’t know what else is out there. That kind of perspective is one of the things I can feel myself gaining from this trip.
I’ve really enjoyed encountering some of the things my dad has blogged about in the past. The Parliament building, the leader memorials, and even just the CNGs are all amazing in their own right, but the fact that my dad has written about them before gives a whole new dimension to the experience of exploring a new country.One day I had the opportunity to explore New Market, a gigantic market in Dhaka. It isn’t actually very new at all, as initial construction was completed in 1954. Wandering through the various sections of the market was very exciting, and I’m pretty sure almost anything could be purchased on its streets. Food, toys and tools were all in plentiful supply, and all of the clothing was absolutely gorgeous. The excursion was definitely an adventure, as it is undeniable that I stand out as a potentially gullible foreigner! I was in good hands, however, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.
I am looking forward to the upcoming 9.1 release, my dad’s arrival on the 21st, and then eventually returning home on August 3rd! I can’t wait to see what else I learn between now and then.
Danica and I woke up this morning, grabbed some “Continental breakfast” (Danica learned what it was this morning and referenced it frequently), and met Deb in the front of the hotel. We drove over to Downeast Horizons and met with Jeff Jones, a very friendly man who was quite enthusiastic about going paperless and the cloud. It was exciting to listen to him, to hear the kind of excitement for the future Therap can inspire. He confirmed the user guide opinions we heard in the first two meetings. Danica and I have a great idea of where we want to take the user guide next. There is a lot of work ahead of us!
After we finished speaking with Mr. Jones, we drove down to Bar Harbor and walked around the shops there. They were awesome. Deb showed us a great little artsy shop hidden in a maze of alleys and corner. I fell in love with a little necklace that featured a painting on the back of a domino, and haven’t taken it off since.
We ate lunch outside, at a little bakery and restaurant. It was cute, the food was good, and the weather was gorgeous. It was nice to spend some time in the fresh air before the long drive back to Auburn.
We spent the drive back napping, listening to Harry Potter, drinking chocolate milk, and eating very messy blueberry turnovers. Awesome.
Deb dropped us off at our last hotel pretty early. Danica and I are staying in a cute, little, almost apartment-like suite. Feeling cheerful and inspired, we walked to a nearby Walmart and got all the ingedients for the ideal dessert – Spaghetti-o’s, Nesquik, and no-bake desserts. Awesome.
This has been a pretty cool time, for a first-business-trip-ever. Between figuring out this user guide business and seeing a state I’ve never visited before, I feel quite accomplished and very pleased. We’ll be home tomorrow, and it really seems like the past four days have flown by. A million thank yous to Deb for her patience and enthusiasm, and to everyone who let us speak with them about the user guide.
(We’ll add pictures to these when we get back!)
Danica and I had an easy morning, as Deb had some things to do and our meeting was canceled. We explored the hotel breakfast more thoroughly. I ordered a broccoli-mushroom-cheese omelet (delicious), while Danica took on the waffle maker. We proceeded to watch Battle of the Wedding Designers while we packed up all our stuff and prepared to get back on the road.
Deb picked us up, and we chatted and listened to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on tape (well, CD, but you know…) as we headed towards Ellsworth and our next hotel.
We stopped at a quite large, quite nice Panera for lunch, where I discovered that Deb shares my adoration for the BBQ Chopped Chicken salad. Mmm. Just wonderful.
We got back on the road and drove by gorgeous trees and water for another couple hours before arriving at our new hotel. The beds were very tall, and quite entertaining. We sat down with Deb and went over the basics on confluence that we used to change over the user guide, so she’d have an easy time when we worked on updating its content.
When that was settled, we headed back onto the road and drove to Acadia National Park. This is located on the beautiful Mount Desert Island. We drove up to the top of Cadillac Mountain (fun fact: it’s one of the first places in the United States to see the sun rise!), a gorgeous winding drive up the steep sides of the mountain. We got out at the extremely windy top and took our time taking pictures, climbing on rocks, and enjoying the beautiful view.
We got back in the car and continued along the road, getting out again to explore the trails around Bubble Pond, a beautiful lake edged by tree-covered hills and bathed in low sunlight. We walked around the edge of the lake for a while, hopped across small streams using stepping stones, and explored to our heart’s content.
It was wandering along the side of one small stream that we encountered a cylindrical tunnel letting water through the hill under the road. The water was only a few inches deep, and the tunnel several feet in diameter, so I was (obviously) determined to explore it. Danica wouldn’t go in her Converse, but I and my trusty hiking boots made it through the entire tunnel, climbing back over the top of the road in a rather triumphant mood.
We explored a little longer, then headed over to the Jordan Pond House Restaurant for dinner. That was awesome. I had a popover (think…a croissant shaped like an eccentric muffin), swordfish with couscous and vegetables, and then Danica and I split some delicious brownie-with-chocolate-and-peach-ice-cream concoction. Wonderful.
It was a tired ride back to the hotel, but we were serenaded again by Harry Potter on tape. The moon was a deep red color, sitting on the horizon. How peculiar. What a day. I certainly owe Deb a tremendous thank you for the wonderful adventures she leads us on (and the good food that comes with them)!
So. Danica and I have left the comfort of our cozy intern cave (aka the tiny back room in Therap’s Waterbury office) to venture forth into the world (aka Maine).
At about eleven this morning, my mother drove the great distance (520 yards, actually) to pick up Danica, then took the two of us to the Bridgeport train station. The parking garage had steep ramps and sharp corners and was generally terrifying in the boxy van. However, it was quite conveniently right across from the train station.
There was a brief moment of panic when it was determined that our train to Boston was supposed to arrive at 12:12 and not 12:30 as we had previously believed (made worse by the fact that we picked up the tickets at 12:11), but as we rushed out onto the platform an announcement played stating that the train was running twenty minutes late. Relief.
After some waiting, I decided to double check with the others that we were on the right side of the tracks. This thought had never occurred to my mother, and Danica just assumed that the train took up the entire space. Oh dear. Turns out we were supposed to be on the other side.
We made it with plenty of time. Danica and I bid my mother farewell and got on the train. However, we had to go all the way to the front of the coach cars (and were warned “no phones, no fun” in the quiet car) and then track back to the very last car in the train to find two seats together. Exhausting. However, the rest of the train ride was an easy, if long, one.
We got off the train and Deb met us at the top of the escalators. I attempted to pull off a bag in one hand, a drink in the other, and balancing as we took another train. Not so much. The bag got to sit on the floor, but in no time we were off and at her car.The drive from Boston to Maine was beautiful, all green trees and blue water. I dozed off at one point and woke up on the middle of a bridge, surrounded by gorgeous water and boats. It was quite the surprise.
We drove into Portland and had dinner at the Flatbread Company, a flatbread pizza restaurant by the water. There was a short wait, easily passed by watching kids play by the dock and listening to a man play something that sounded like a cross between bagpipes and a harmonica.
We ate out on a deck where you could see the water in between the floorboards. The food was great, from the mandarin orange soda to the salad (with seaweed!) to the huge, cheesy, randomly sliced flatbread. It was quite the satisfying meal.
Deb brought us back to a hotel, where we will be spending the next two nights. In the morning, we’ll be heading off to help Deb as best we can and try and get some advice from Therap customers on what they want from their user guide. Wish us luck!
EDIT: Figured out how to add the images! If anyone knows what the man in the photograph is playing, feel free to let me know. Also, the titles for every day’s blog post by Danica and myself will be linked. Keep an eye out.