Combining the Best of Small-Town and Big-City Life
Yamin’s parents were among a wave of emigres who left the recently formed nation of Bangladesh after it gained independence from Pakistan in 1971. They moved to London in 1974, and Yamin was born there five years later. “There were lots of aunts and uncles around,” Yamin said, remembering his boyhood home. “In a way our household was a typical Bengali household, right there in London.”
While he was in college, Yahmin met his future wife, Mairead, a veterinary student from Northern Ireland. Their friendship eventually blossomed into romance, and they maintained a long-distance relationship after he moved to the United States in 1999 to pursue a doctoral degree at Georgetown University. Mairead joined him there after earning her veterinary degree, and their first child was born in 2004.
Soon afterward, Yamin was offered a position at the UW-Whitewater and the family moved to Fort Atkinson. “I grew up in London, and growing up was fine there, but I wanted my own kids to have space,” he said, adding that the town offers the best of both worlds. “It’s a good combination, with small-town life here and the university just a few miles down the road, and with Madison and Chicago close by as well.”
Yamin and Mairead are raising their three children to appreciate their heritage while also embracing life as Americans. “They’ve had a chance to experience both our cultures,” he said, adding that the family travels to Europe nearly every year to visit grandparents and other relatives. “It’s always going to be a mixture.”
He said he feels fortunate to live here. “It’s been a welcoming community for us,” he said. “I’ve been lucky in the opportunities I’ve had, and I feel like we’re in a good place. We’re luckier than a lot of other people, and that’s something to be thankful for.”
This portrait and story are part of "A Place to Call Home," a special exhibition by writer and photographer Lori Compas at the Hoard Historical Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.