So someone who is considering relocating asked me about my experience – here it is 🙂
Since I lived in UK all my life I would often hear of the horrible events taking place back in Pakistan. I had quite a few Pakistani friends who would inform me not to relocate as there would be “Terrorists” everywhere, or better yet the extreme brainwashing “priests” would stare me down forcing me into an arranged marriage to a man twenty years older whom I had never met.
My mother would tell me its all exaggeration and I should see it for myself, look at the so-called “dangerous country” with my own eyes.
So I decided I would!
Below are some snippets & pics of my personal experiences. I hope you enjoy !
Well it wasnt a good start as the plane that we were travelling in apparently had a bomb threat – I kid you not! I tried to remain calm as my subconscious persuaded me to think maybe this was a sign , was it truly the right time and place to go?
Nearly 15 hours of delay & a long 8 hour flight we arrived in Islamabad. At this point I was exhausted just wanting to get onto my connected flight to the city that never sleeps … “Lahore”.
It took about 30 minutes or so to reach, by that time I fell asleep in the car absolutely knackered .Afterall I had weeks and weeks to explore.
The next day to my surprise I woke up to a cook, who had prepared me breakfast, of omelette, toast also the desi version which was a ghee “Paratha” 😛 , must say it was rather delicious yet a tad on the heavy side 🙂
Anyways over the weeks I discovered this country lived up to its name, the hustle & bustle. Street venders would be waiting anxiously at every traffic light selling simple goods such as stickers, key rings ,toys .Not to mention the beggars, a lot of them banging on the windows demanding money , sometimes I would give in other times it was necessary to ignore 😦
Theres not one moment one can relax whilst driving. Vehicles squeezing into any gap possible along with motorbikes scratching past .It was as though everyone was in a constant rush .What I found fascinating was how everyone had adapted to this style of driving . All had made their own rules and it was running pretty smoothly for the amount disorganisation that there was.
I found it exhilarating (not going to lie – it was blimming awesome), the noise of honking , people selling veggies on carts – all became normal to me. Dodging of cars, exchanging of non polite words between the drivers – yes drivers. Nearly every household has at least a driver, cook , gardener and a couple of maids 🙂 I must say they live a life of luxury! This is the norm over here.
The people are by far the most friendliest I have ever met. If you need help or directions they would go out of their way to assist you. If you are discovering liberty market they will randomly hand you food to try .*warning* do not speak to them in english ( they have this gift of finding out if you’re foreign ) or be ready to be charged double – personal experience.
Not one street was empty , so full of life .
I recall the first wedding my family were invited to. My God. Women adorned in beautiful gold & diamonds along with vibrant coloured sarees and shalwar kameez’. Music and dancing till late into the night are all the customs & traditions of a mehndi (day before the wedding). Stealing the grooms shoe and then saying goodbyes . Completely the opposite to a British wedding (which is also so beautiful in its own way).
I suppose I could go on and on but the page would be too long .. so lets finish it off .
Settling in was a task and it wasn’t easy. I was accustomed to a different lifestyle, one where there was more freedom. I could grab my bike and go to the corner shop by myself , go to the park for jog and cinemas with friends (without my mum panicking about the crowd lol) . Over here one has to be more careful and its understandable.
What was most difficult was the education system. Honestly having to catch up – coming just before completing A levels was the hardest thing for me, oh if only I remained in UK for a couple more months but hey we learn from experience. Anyways I had to do it all again (Pakistani people you must know what CIE’s are , yep much more complex than AQA). Then there was the catching up, I for one hate being late in studies – I detest it. Hence the struggle to catch up with my BA was ridiculously hard but I managed to find amazing private teachers (from LGS & LUMS) and didn’t have one weekend free until I finally got a degree in journalism (French & English) – ( apparently Punjabi uni’s degrees are good but I would’ve preferred University of Arts in London. Wasn’t allowed back alone now was I lol , but again if I would have gone back to UK I would never have appreciated how hard work pays off ). I managed to get a job too can you believe it? Yep, I teach French to the most loveliest of students in a brilliant school who call me their elder sister and to see them actually speaking French phrases is the best feeling in the world – je t’aime mes chers.
Years ago when my friends told me stories it was hard not to believe them. But let me just say. I did not see any terrorist lurking in the back of alleys , I did not experience any bomb go off every time I went out. I met some “Priests” who claimed that women deserved rights too and that they were as important as men. I also came across couples who were happily married to wives and husbands of their own choice !
I loved it soo much . Yes there are ups & downs but that is in every country. I have made the nicest most genuine friends. What I’ve learnt is , go and see it for yourself instead of believing what others say ; it might just be something you like! In my case, I adore you Pakistan, yes we can improve you but its your imperfections that I love <3. Should I say it ? Ahh let me say it ( Dil ro raha hai mera – ye mera Pakistan hai ) hahah thanks to the guy who said this and made it viral :’)
I dedicate this song to Pakistan – cos baby its only youuuu ❤