Author's Name: Khadijah M. Written Age: 15 Traveled Age: 8
Some of the best months of my entire life were spent in Pakistan. My trip started out very simple when my mother and I decided to visit family abroad, which required leaving the rest of our family behind. It was the longest I had stayed away from my siblings since birth, but I realized an exciting adventure laid ahead of me, so I was optimistic. Still, the cultural differences in Pakistan were surprising, as were the contrasts to the average American lifestyle.
My cousins’ houses were completely made of rock and cement. I could infer that this country did not care about the environment, as the streets were completely littered with trash and the major water sources were polluted. I greeted relatives which I had never met and my grandmother whom I had not seen in five years. I was incredibly surprised by lack of technology and facilities in Pakistan, but for my family it was normal.
I soon adjusted to a routine, spending most of my time at my uncle’s house. During this time, my cousins and I developed a very special bond. We cherished our daily chores and weekly shampoo-bag making. The bags were folded in a specific way, then given to our other uncle, who afterward filled them with shampoo and sold them at the bazaar. We did this every Saturday night and after always made our favorite noodles, simply talking the night away.
Like the difference in chores, my cousins had an interesting way of cleaning their house. Since the house was made entirely of rock, they used a hose to spray and flood the house. After it was clean and everything was dry, it would be close to dark. Exhausted from the day, we would sit outside and wait for the rain. It wasn’t a humid rain, but a cool, cold rain. I never knew the power of water until those nights. We longed for it in the ninety-degree weather.
I traveled through multiple city-states, including Lahore and Karachi, during my trip. Along the way, I had plenty of learning experiences. I learned how to make flour from wheat and other simple and important life lessons. However, I also learned some of the harsher realities of life.
One should never talk to strangers. While I enjoyed exploring Pakistan, I never exactly felt safe during my trip. Kidnapping in Pakistan was a common occurrence, and I had some encounters with people who had bad morals and intentions. One day, I was approached by a complete stranger who tried to convince me to follow her. I knew better, and luckily my aunt appeared before the stranger had the opportunity to try anything. When I turned back around to where the woman had been standing, I saw she had disappeared into thin air.
Even though I was exceptionally young when I traveled to Pakistan, I made many memories there that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Though at times dangerous, Pakistan is still full of extraordinary views, rugged mountains, beautiful glaciers, roaring rivers, warm people, and simple living. There is beauty in even the most dangerous parts of the world. While I wouldn’t recommend going alone, visiting Pakistan is a nice experience. I would certainly go back if ever given the opportunity.