I finished my internship in Karachi, and got to know my city and my family along the way. Karachi has changed so much. It now has a raging party and restaurant culture, like any major city in the world. Young boys and girls hang out, smoke, and party together. I never thought I would see Pakistan so cosmopolitan and liberal. (Pizza Hut was the most exciting thing to do in Karachi when I lived there in the early 90s.)
I came to Lahore for a meeting and ended up staying here for three weeks. The NGO I was working for just started their English summer camp, and once I saw the kids, I cancelled my plans to vacation in India. I signed up to teach in Minhala, a border village that was part of India until the 1965 war with Pakistan. The girls tell me they can see the lights of India from their rooftops.
The village, Minhala, is an hour and fifteen minutes from Lahore, through cattle, farmers, donkey carts, dung, and dust. And it’s sweltering hot, with the electricity hardly ever working, but I still look forward to school each day and am sad that tomorrow is the last day.
I am starting to miss home: my jeans, my independence, my sense of absolute security. For the past two months, I have constantly been balancing a dupatta (long scarf) on my shoulder, worrying that my driver and servants hate me, and developing escape strategies for every possible kidnapping/robbery/shooting (but not bombing) scenario in my head. But despite those mental adjustments, fed by my own American consciousness and very paranoid family, I have loved it here and I will miss it, a lot.
I am ready to book a return ticket. But first, I will take a break at a resort in the mountains in northern Pakistan, say goodbye to my family in Karachi, spend a few days in Kabul, and then fly home to Alabama with a stop in DC. Sweet home Alabama, seriously.