It has been a long time since I last wrote, I have been struggling with managing all my PhD course load, research, Grant applications and running AAAEA Career Center. Also, since I have to write a personal essay about me for the NSF scholarship, my recent posts will revolve around my experiences and background as I try to discover my self more for the background essay.
I was recently asked what did my stay in Pakistan mean to me. Before responding to that email, I have never put my feelings about Pakistan in words and now as a tribute to Pakistan, I am sharing with you all what Pakistan meant to me.
I lived in Pakistan when I was between the ages of 10-13. We went there becomes my mother was sent there by Unicef for a three year contract. Also during that time my father developed a trading business from which I got a chance to visit many cities in Pakistan (Actually, I visited more cities in Pakistan that Jordan!).
The experience was great and life changing in many ways. First of all, I developed a great taste for Pakistani/Indian food and cuisine, Biryani and Somasa’s are my favorite. On a more serious note, this was probably the first time I began developing as an individual and started exploring myself. Growing in Jordan, was lovely (especially because we lived in the same building as all our cousins), but it did not give me the same opportunities as Pakistan. In Pakistan it was the first time I really became proficient in English and it slowly became my main language (sadly to some extent), also during that time we had a wonderful shiekh (from Afghanistan), who worked very hard with us to teach us tajweed and help us with memorizing the Quran. It was during this time that my fascination with history grew and blossomed; to the point that I would draw a map on a piece of paper and that would become my game for hours and days. It was the first time that I learned Islamic History and was able to better place the events of history in context of what is going on in Modern times. It was also the time that I really discovered books and became an avid reader. In those three years I also grew in a very different environment. I did not have TV (and never had one since), so I ended up dedicating my free time on reading, playing computer (limited since we only had one computer and we were five plus dad and mom), exploring the outdoors (some), gardening (some), trying to discover where ants main tunnel is (total failure : ), and building small houses, towns and forts in mud that got almost immediately destroyed (and of course I played with Lego, cars, etc). I also did not have my cousins around me and did not form very deep bonds with my classmates (some were very nasty), which made me develop, foster and appreciate my relationships with my siblings and gave me time and space to develop my own identity. As a country Pakistan is very beautiful, and it saddens me every time I hear bad news about Pakistan.
I realize that I did not write about any certain experience or site. But when one is writing about a period as long as three years, one usually writes what was the most significant aspect of it, and it was my internal development. I truly believe that human mind has multiple stages that they grow and Pakistan was when I graduated to the next change (I date it to) about 12 years old, but who knows