It’s day two in Pakistan – more specifically, Karachi – and so far, I’m LOVING it! I’m supposed to be here for a month. The first week and a half will be spent in Karachi, and then Abaseen, my in-laws and I will go on a long road trip, from Karachi to Peshawar, which I am REALLY looking forward to. On our way, I am hoping to stop briefly in Islamabad to meet some local NGOs who can help me with my thesis, and while in Peshawar, I am also hoping to meet a few professors at the University of Peshawar, who might actually end up evaluating my thesis. Yay! Oh, and since these posts are done in journal-form, I will be sharing my experiences in all my 30 days here, ‘cause these memories are very precious; not only do I want them to be ingrained in my memory, but I’d want my future children to read them too.
Anyway, my time here is going really well so far. My in-laws have a pretty house here, so I haven’t felt much difference from my life back in Canada. I am sure that once I go to the kalli (village) in Khyber-Pakthtunkhwa (in about a week’s time), I’ll definitely notice a drastic change; ‘cause the life there is significantly different than here in the city. And, besides, it’s been around 17 years since I’ve visited Pakistan, and even longer since I’ve visited our kalli (around 20 years). And to think that Abaseen and I had been planning this trip for a very long time now and I am still in disbelief that it actually happened! I mean each time we’d plan it, something always seemed to come up to spoil it; whether it was work, school, or whatever. This time, though, we bought our tickets a few months in advance, because we knew that December is very high season, and it would have been very difficult to find tickets. And, of course, I knew that this time, the trip was set in stone and that there was no cancellations
By the way, I am well aware that my first post in Pakistan starts from Day two, and you must be wondering why, well, it’s only because most of my Day one was spent in travelling and sleeping, as Abaseen and I were both terribly jet-lagged. It’s been ages since I’ve been on a flight for 13 consecutive hours, with a four hour layover in the Middle East, and then another three hours on the plane to reach Karachi, so it took its toll. I still feel so tired and sleepy throughout the day, but I am sure that as the days go by, it will get better and better.
So, okay, I realize this post is very scattered, so I’ll start from the very beginning and talk about everything that’s happened till now. We left Canada on Saturday night. My sis-in-law was really sweet to offer to drive us to the airport, and believe it or not, but I packed everything on the day of our departure! I’ve been so busy with papers and assignments, that I even had a paper due today [December 5th](which I ended up finishing last night, while ON vacation!). But, thankfully I managed to do all my shopping (gifts, that is), the night before (Friday), so all I had to do on the Saturday was pack quickly, get a manicure/pedicure, facial, and get ready for take-off to the motherland. However, it all didn’t hit me, until I was sitting on the plane; realization hit me like a ton of bricks and a sense of euphoria overcame me. The BEST part of this trip, so far, is the fact that I get to spend time with my in-laws: mother-in-law, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. They are honestly the most amazing, funniest, and lovable people ever!
First off, let me tell you a little about my beloved mother-in-law. Gosh, where do I even begin? Basically, she and I click like bread and butter; she is so incredibly beautiful and so amazingly lovable that I have to keep pinching myself to see whether I’m dreaming or not. I’d always heard horror stories about how cruel and horrible mother-in-laws are/could be, and considering that this is the first time I am actually living with my in-laws, after the wedding (this is because my in-laws live in Dubai, but have a house in Pakistan as well), so I really didn’t know what to expect. I mean I knew we’d get along well, ‘cause we’d often talk on Skype, when I was in Canada, and Abaseen had told me many great things about his mother and how wonderful and sweet she is. But I still often wondered what it would be like if we actually lived together, in the same house, you know? But, wow, she totally surpassed my expectations. And ever since we’ve arrived, she’s treated me just like her own daughter; as a matter of fact, she spoils me! But I still try to help her out whenever I can; I hate the idea of her doing all the work, while I just sit there and indulge, ya know? It just amazes me how kind and considerate she is towards me. It makes perfect sense why her son – my beloved husband – is such an incredible person. He is the perfect reflection of her. Oooh, and I HAVE to say this: she has the most gorgeous eyes I’ve ever seen on anyone; it’s a blend of gold and green. Very, very pretty indeed! I hope that when Abaseen and I have our own children, in the very, very near future ka khairey, I hope my daughter, at least, has eyes just like her gorgeous grandma. I know for a fact she will have dimples, ‘cause both Abaseen and I, as well as my mother-in-law has dimples, hehe, but the pretty eyes would be an added bonus. Gosh, just thinking about how beautiful my future daughter would be brings goosebumps on my skin.
Oh, and then there is my super adorable father-in-law, who is THE cutest thing that’s ever walked the face of the earth. He’s always cracking jokes and has the most amazing sense of humour. He, too, is so incredibly sweet and kind to me, and treats me just like his own daughter. The best thing about him is that he’s so easy to amuse! It’s so adorable! I love how openly he laughs without a care in the world. It’s funny, ‘cause the day we were to arrive, he was also arriving from Dubai. And he tried to plan his trip in such a way so that he could arrive to Pakistan before us and then greet both Abaseen and I at the airport. Gosh, how sweet! Unfortunately, his visa got delayed, so by the time he got on the plane, Abaseen and I had already arrived to Karachi. We actually arrived at 2 am, and he arrived around 7 am in the morning – on the same day; so he JUST missed us by a few hours. And we obviously did not sleep between the time we arrived and his arrival, ‘cause, well, it was so exciting meeting both my mom-in-law and bro-in-law. There was just so much to catch up on that we stayed up till 9 am! Ah bliss!
Anyway, I am really looking forward to checking out Karachi, after all these years. I just saw a dark glimpse of it, as my mom-in-law picked us up from the airport and drove us home. But, then she kept telling us that it was too dark and that this wasn’t exactly the Karachi I was seeing, for the traffic here tends to get very insane during the day-time. (It was 2 am when we arrived and the roads were completely deserted!) I was really young, around 11, the last time I came to Karachi, so I vaguely remember it. One thing that hasn’t changed is the smell. Karachi has this odd smell; I am not sure whether it’s the gutters or the smoke (from burning trash); but, whatever it is, it made me pretty nostalgic. Not to imply that that smell is pleasant or anything. Actually, far from it. But I’m sure the longer I stay/live in this city, the more I’ll get used to it. Ah, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for me. There is so much to see and so little time! OMG, I’m also really looking forward to the food and shopping here. I’ve always heard so many good things about all that. And considering what a huge foodie I am, I’m willing to try EVERYTHING. From burgers to kababs to tandoori pizza to paratha rolls to faludas, etc. Gosh, I’m making myself terribly hungry just talking about this. Oh, and I’ve only brought $800 CDN with me, which my husband told me was MORE than enough to last me the whole month. Wow, a whole month! I have to be honest, so far, the past few hours with my in-laws have been pretty incredible. And I have a feeling that these 30 days will pass by really quickly. Hence, I want to write these journals so I can savour every moment, every memory, every word, and every experience, so that when I look back, perhaps a few years later, or even a decade from now, I’ll always remember this trip. And I have a feeling it will be getting better and better as the days go by. I just want to savour it all. Oh, and I have two cameras – well, to be honest, the bigger camera belongs to Abaseen and the video camera, which is actually a dual camera that takes pictures and makes videos, belongs to my brother-in-law. But, yeah, I plan to take tons and tons of pictures and make as many videos as I possibly can. But right now, I’m super tired and I need to rest, and tomorrow is a new day. Gosh, I love being a tourist. Even though I’ve been in Karachi before, I feel like I’m here for the very first time.