My personal heritage has a lot to do with my culture. When I refer to culture I refer to my understanding of my traditions and way of life that is derived from my country. Living in the U.S. has always been something foreign to me, or at least the way Americans are stereotyped to be. I came to the U.S at the age of five and go back to visit my family back in Bangladesh about every four years. Every time I go back I feel as though I have never left because living in the villages, cooking out of the ground in mud stoves, living in mud houses, bathing in ponds, and sitting on the floor with the family are things that my immediate family has incorporated into our “American lives”. Growing up in the U.S. was not really difficult for me, I was able to learn two new languages because of it and I learned of many new cultures that would not have been possible to me, but no matter how many cultures I become aware of or immerse myself in, I feel as though the culture I was born with is what defines to be my personal heritage. It is the way I am, it is the way my parents are, and it was the way my grandparents were. My personal heritage differs from my national heritage because although my personal heritage is derived from my country, I feel a longing and pride for the U.S., which I consider to be my national heritage. I spent my entire life growing up here and although I am always ready to tell people that I am from Bangladesh born there but raised in U.S., the land of opportunities. My country may have an interesting culture but when it comes to women, the culture somehow impairs us. My national heritage allows me to empower myself and my education, opportunities that my family back home does not get.
I visited a heritage site of the Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat in 2011. I had gone to visit my family back home in Bangladesh. We went there to pray for my grandmother’s health because she was very ill. We spent three days there, praying and learning about our religion. By the third day that we were there we were noticing an improvement in my grandmother’s health. She was becoming strong enough to walk again. While at the mosque I felt a sense of purity and holiness that I have never been able to feel again. It brought me closer to my culture and my heritage because it was allowing me to get in touch with my religion that affected my heritage and culture immensely. This site is important to me because it helps me keep faith in my religion because it is something I witnessed with my own eyes.