The song "Home" by Chris Daughtry just came up my iTunes....
"I'm staring out into the night,
Trying to hide the pain."
As I continue packing, listening to music, reflecting on my summer - the research I did at Hazara and in Lahore, my internship at Al-Imtiaz Acadmey, my students and their memories, the Imtiazian (and the hours I spent on its layout!), the up's and down's with my family members, the funeral I attended, the smiling faces of my nephews and nieces, the hospitality of Dr. Luke at the Bach Christian Hospital, the witty jokes my cousins made, the heat and sweat during power outages, the long nights Skyping with my mother, and the boring days I spent texting - I am saddened. I am sad to be leaving this place; my students, my house, my home, my family, my country.
"I'm going to the place where love
And feeling good don't ever cost a thing.
And the pain you feel's a different kind of pain"
Before embarking on this summer's journey, I knew what I would be losing if I committed to teaching journalism at AIA. I could have done an internship with some U.S. government department. I could have been a counselor at SJP's 10th anniversary. I could have spent time with my friends in NoVa and enjoyed Java Chip Frapaccino every afternoon. I could have spent time with my only brother and taken him to the theater to see Harry Potter's newest release. I could have served my mother and perhaps even learned some cooking from her. How wonderful it would have been if I could reunite with my old teachers and catch up on their lives. I could have bugged my sisters and started mischievous fights with them. But after this summer's experience ... I am glad I made the right decision to come back to Pakistan.
"I don't regret this life I chose for me."
I learned a lot this summer. More than I could have ever imagined. I grew in ways I did not expect. My summer experiences have made me better, stronger and more confident. I've learned to be patient and flexible; to not let little things get to me; and to always be open-minded and forgiving no matter the circumstance. I've learned to ignore (painful) comments even if they were made by my loved ones. My summer taught me to always have the bigger picture in mind. I've strengthened my abilities of coping with stress, loss and the truth. My students showed me that one can always live in the moment, but without memories, it's as if the moment never happened. I was reminded by summer how good it feels to be selfless.
It's been a long summer and I am grateful for every minute of it. I will forever cherish these memories. But I think it's time to come home now.
"Well I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong."