MEMORIES AND SOME QUESTIONS

My camera is being a little weird, so for now phone photos will have to do. And yeah, I`ve got a smart phone now.  My uncle gave me one which wasn`t being used when I was in Pakistan. I believe I need one since I`m going to the Netherlands soon. It`s nice to stay in touch with my family through it and Google Maps will also be handy later on, but apart from that? I still like my old phone.blog5.jpgThis afternoon we discovered that there were plants full of berries outside the house, so I picking a bowl full of them. I remember I used to do that sometimes when I visited my grandmother some years ago. In front of the house there were some plants and during summer I used to pick raspberries. Ah, summer memories. That`s one of the books I borrowed from the library the other day, by the way. It`s called “Home fire” on English, for those of you who`re interested.

In the end I`d like to ask you a few questions about the Netherlands and Maastricht:

1. Do you know how I can find a place to live in Maastricht? I need to find a place that suits for an exchange student and that`s not that expensive.

2. What`s the public transport like in Maastricht?

3. Is there anything you think I should be aware of when it comes to the system there/the country, since I`m going to live there for about five months? Let me know!

Hope you guys can help me. If you`ve been an exchange student (doesn`t matter where), do share your experiences. I`d love to hear them.

 

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MORE LIKE A NORMAL UPDATE

It`s been a while since I`ve taken some pictures and gave you a “normal” update. Feels like my whole life have been about the past month. I think I`m going to say that a thousand times the next weeks. I already talk quite a lot about Pakistan with my mum – as if she wasn`t there tooo. Don`t know what`s going to happen when I come back from the Netherlands after staying there for five months. Maybe I have a lot to tell because I spent time with my family there.

blog3Speaking of my family – I video called one of my aunts who lives in Pakistan and has four kids. It was so nice to “see” my aunt and two of my cousins again. Everyone`s younger than me, so I feel like an older sister to them. They`re going to call me again tomorrow, because two of my cousins were sleeping. Looking very much forward to that. I still can`t believe I`m in Norway. Like when was I even in Pakistan? Relaxing here seems so weird.blog1

My first day at work is on Monday and till then, I`m going to enjoy my vacation as much as possible.

THINGS I WANT TO DO IN JULY…

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❤️ Try to let everything that`s been happing in May and June sink in. The summer vacation began in a way I never had imagined, but then there`s so much with life that we`ve never imagined.

❤️ Begin my first job ever. Yep, this girl is going to work for the first time this summer! I`ve got a job as a phone-seller. Not the best job, I know, but it`s a start. I`m glad I`m going to gain some experience. Hopefully it`ll make it easier for me to get a job when I`m back from the Netherlands next year.

❤️ Get everything fixed when it comes to the exchange process. I still need to find out where I`m going to live, which is the biggest “worry” for me right now. I also need to sort out the learning agreement and renunciate my Pakistani nationality. AND of course book the plane tickets!

❤️ Try to sell the clothes I don`t need/use. I`m going to give the clothes that don`t get sold away to Fretex, which is a thrift shop. I`ve already sorted out 50 % of my wardrobe and it makes me happy to it much cleaner now. I think I`m going to put them on sale on an international page, but not sure yet. If you`re interested in buying cheap clothes, let me know!

❤️ Meet up with some fellow students. Well, two of them used to study social anthropology, but dropped out and joined psychology after the first year. I`m not sure if I even want to meet people during the holidays, I sort of wish I could just pack my stuff and go to the Netherlands pretty much right away. But perhaps meeting others will be good for me, even though my mind is somewhere else.

❤️ Read at least 5 books. I went to the library the other day and had told myself not to go, but how could I resist… I borrowed quite a lot of books during April/May, because I thought I`d start reading them when the holidays began. So, I borrowed three books and I can`t wait to start reading them after I finish the one I`m reading now.

❤️ Try to learn some basic Dutch. That was also another plan I had for this summer vacation. If you know about any online courses that are free and that teach basic Dutch, let me know!

❤️ Try to reply to all of your comments. I`ve been replying to comments here and there the past months, but I haven`t replied to everything and I want to. So I`ve told myself that by the end of the holidays I should of have had replied to all of you.

❤️ Wear Pakistani clothes. I wore them all the time in Pakistan and right now I feel like I`ve got a “thing” for them, so why not. It`s also summer now, so definitely appropriate too!

EASIER, BUT STILL SO DAMN DIFFICULT

“Shouldn`t ask you how you`re doing, because you`ll ask me the same, maybe just for the sake of it, and I don`t really know what to say”.

Imagine if I hadn`t gone to Pakistan, imagine the regrets I`d be having at this very moment. Imagine if I hadn`t changed the date of my ticket or stayed here. I don`t think I can explain properly to anyone how relieved I`m feeling. I can`t explain to anyone how lucky I feel for being given the opportunity to meet my grandfather one day before he died. I feel so incredibly lucky, I can`t say that enough times. It was worth the money, the effort, the time. Everything.

I just came back from spending a month in Pakistan and it goes without saying that I miss being there, especially with my family. It`s going to take time for me to “go back to normal”, but honestly? It feels like some people don`t understand these kind of things. It`s as if they expect you to get on with life as if nothing has happened. I`m glad it`s the holidays now, because it gave me the possibility to stay in Pakistan for a month and I don`t have to show up at school.

If you were to ask me how I`m doing, I don`t know. One moment I`m in tears, the next I feel okay. Since this is the third time a family member of mine has died, I sort of knew it was coming. It hurts to think that my grandfather is not physically among us anymore. I won`t be asking my mum how he`s doing because I know she talks to him at least once a week and I won`t be able to ever see him again. The idea of him not physically existing is still very new to me and just thinking about it makes me cry. I wish I had went to Pakistan in March to visit him. Despite everything, I feel quite good knowing that I went to see him one last time and knowing that I got to spend as much time as I got to spend with him considering I`m his oldest grandkid.

A part of me wants to delete everyone in my friend list and get on a plane as soon as possible, but that`s just my head. I`m glad I`m going to the Netherlands, I need changes in my life. I kind of wanted to cut my hair short again when I was in Pakistan – who knows if I end up doing that when I`m in the Netherlands. Social media is too much, most people are too much.

Everyone grieves in different ways and I know that I need time. Time to process it, time to get used to it even though I`ll never be completely used to him not being around. Time to… think about it, even though it hurts. Time to cry, to feel everything deeply. Hopefully it won`t hurt like this forever.

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//photo: source

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN A BIG DREAM CAME TRUE

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At this day and at this time last year I was standing inside the Anne Frank Huis. A dream come true, forreal. I had been waiting for years with frustration, sadness, happiness, hope, belief. I knew that I`d get there someday, but I just didn`t know when. So, when my mum told me last year we`re going, I was thrilled. I was beyond excited. It was an amazing experience and it was worth the wait. I made the most out of my visit in the Museum; spent more than two hours there. I was also very excited to finally be in the book shop. I ordered something from there a few years ago, but being there was amazing. Being in Amsterdam was amazing. It was my first time in the country and in the capital and I loved it.

Definitely going back there when I`m off to Netherlands later this year. Can`t wait to be there. Once Again.

LONG TIME NO LIST

♥ Pakistan is different than Norway in many ways. The way people live, the roads, the houses, the way of thinking and looking at things, the atmosphere. I`m glad I spent a month in Pakistan. I know I`ve said that my life`s in Norway, but I sort of miss what people are like in Pakistan. There`s more hospitality there and people will be nicer to you in a different way, even if they don`t know you. Norwegians are… weird. There are many nice people in this country too, don`t get me wrong, but there`s a difference that I notice.

♥ The heat didn`t annoy me as much as I thought it would this time – yes, we had two air conditioners most of the time and two air coolers, but it wasn`t that bad? It was quite bad when we were outside, though, but I tried my best not to complain, haha. Going to Pakistan during summer isn`t that bad, hopefully I`ll be able to visit my family there very soon!

♥ Weird to think that I only have a grandfather left. I feel like I`ve been “luckier” than many of my cousins when it comes to that – some of my cousins are 5 years old and younger and haven`t spent that much time with their grandparents. Two of my cousins are less than 3 years old and only have a grandmother left.

♥ I want to say a huge thank you to aunty Bano and aunty Samina (we call almost everyone either “uncle” or “aunty” there, haha) who came to our house most of the days and did the dishes, cleaned the rooms, washed our clothes ++. They managed to do so much work so well in the heat, especially aunty Bano. She got ill the last day, so I didn`t get to say bye to her, but I really hope she`s doing okay. May God give both of them and their families peace and an amazing life.

♥ I have so many great memories from this trip, even though my grandfather died. Many of my cousins, my uncles and aunts were there and we had a great time, despite everything. It all would`ve been even better if my grandfather still was there, but I wanted to think that he would`ve wanted us to have a pleasant time, which I know I at least did. Throwing water on each other, having a pillow fight (which ended with a cup getting broken, ooops), conversations, several rounds with ludo (that game never gets old) and eating Iftari together. It was very nice to break the fast and be together during Ramadan too.

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♥ I don`t know if I`m enjoying the fact that I`m off to the Netherlands in less than two months as much as I did before my grandfather died. I`m happy that I`m going, but I don`t know..? Speaking of that, I received my letter of acceptance from the Maastricht University the other day.

♥ On my way to Pakistan there was this couple in Istanbul. During the boarding something was announced, but I didn`t really understand what they were saying so I asked them. The lady looked at me and asked “are you travelling alone?” I said yes and I could tell she didn`t quite like my answer, haha.. The same happened to me two times on my way back, and I just wonder: why did I as a women receive that reaction? Why can`t women travel alone? I get it if I was going to a country which isn`t that safe, but imagine if I had stayed at home and not been able to meet my grandfather one last time? That woman can shake her head as much as I want to – I`m off to the Netherlands very soon on my own anyways.

WHO THOUGHT THIS WOULD HAPPEN

God, where do I even begin. Who knew I was going to spend a month in Pakistan with my family? And who knew my grandfather was going to die?

The past month has been sad, weird, nice, tragic, beautiful, strange, pleasant, heartbreaking. I can`t tell you enough how happy and relieved I am that I went to Pakistan just on time and got to meet my grandfather. I can`t express how relieved I am. I still wish I had went earlier, but God had a plan and at least I got to meet him one last time. Oh, I was so lucky. I`m sitting in my room as I`m writing this and it`s as if I can feel the relief in my bones.

In the middle of May my mum came home and was worried about my grandfather. I never wrote about this, nor did I really tell much to anyone, but he had cancer and was getting treatment. Despite his age and the fact that he travelled back and forth from Mandi to Islamabad for a couple of weeks for his treatment, he was doing fine. My mum was in Pakistan in March and when I said “I wish I could go too”, I was talking about my grandfather. But he was doing fine, until his condition got worse in the middle of May. I was ready to visit him during summer, but then the awful news came. To me they were enough – I got scared and started thinking “I should go. I have to go”. I was in the middle of my exams and meanwhile my mum decided to leave for Pakistan. I wanted to go too, but didn`t say much until the day before her flight. With tears in my eyes I told her I want to go too, and my ticket was booked. I`ve already told you guys this, but I can`t say it enough times: My flight was on the 28th of May. On the 26th we noticed that my Pakistani passport had expired and I had to get an urgent visa. Thanks to my dad I got it fixed, but meanwhile my mum changed the departure date to the 31st of May. My visa got fixed and I got worried – “isn`t 31st of May too late?” I changed it again, because I wasn`t capable of waiting anymore. I packed my suitcase and went.

I landed in Pakistan 29th of May.

My grandfather died the 30th of May.

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My grandfather recognised me, even though he was in so much pain. He put his hand on my head and hugged me. I don`t know if he knew, but I think he knew. He was in so much pain. The craziest part for me is that he died in front of me. I was right there when it happened, he took his last breathe in front of me. I still think I`m in shock, it makes me very sad to think about everything that happened. How everyone was crying and how it felt like time stopped for a few moments. It was… weird to see him dead. Tragic. Unbelieveable. One minute he was there, the next he wasn`t. His empty room, the silence, the emptiness. Nobody will be able to fit his shoes.

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I was there during all the religious ceremonies. My flight home was on the 10th of June, but thinking about it brought tears to my eyes. My uncle paid quite a high amount to change the date, which I`m very thankful about. I got to spend more time with my uncles, aunts, cousins, other family members and other people there that I spent time with. I`m very grateful about that. We went out a few times, to eat ice cream. I did a little shopping and got to visit some family members. There were 9 kids living in the house at most and all of my mum`s siblings. It was nice to be together again, eat Iftari together and be together on Eid, even though the atmosphere was different. I got to meet four cousins for the first time, which was amazing. I miss everyone so much, I wish I had woken up in Pakistan today.

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I`m back in Norway. Right now I`m sitting in my room, which is weird. I say this after each trip, but really – yesterday I was there, now I`m here. Life`s so weird, I can`t get over it. I had other plans for this summer, but life happened. Who thought all that would happen? On top of it one decision I made has so much to say. It`s shocking to think about it, but everyone`s on their way back home now and the world doesn`t stop for anyone. This chapter is already over and all we can do now is look forward to another one. After all, my grandfather want us all to be happy and to always stay together.