SAD BECAUSE IT WAS SO GOOD

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The adventure in Maastricht has already come to an end and I`m sitting in my same old room in little, cold Norway. Nothing really has changed here, but the owner of the room has changed and has a lot more memories to look through now. At this time last year I was thinking about where I wanted to go on my exchange semester, I was about to apply for the adventure that sadly came to an end on Friday. It`s hard to believe it`s already over.

I`ve just started this post and I can already sense the tears coming. I`m okay, but I`m not okay. Does that make sense? Living a life which is the same but yet different in several ways, and then coming back to the same old… I knew it was going to happen. When you leave your home to study abroad for some time, you know you`ll have to come back one day. However, it`s when that “one day” suddenly arrives you realise that you actually have to leave. And realising that hurts you more when you`re comfortable wherever you`re sitting.

I was comfortable in that chair.

The first day of school is a clear, but blurry memory. I remember how we were divided into groups, and some of those people I now call my friends were in that group but I didn`t know it then. And now I`m back in Norway.

This is going to hurt. Many times. I`m going to complain about being in Norway. About the expensive prices, about having to pay more than 110 Euros for my travel card each month, about the shop who`s too far away. I`m going to complain about having to go back to the university so soon, I`m going to complain about everything that I miss which isn`t so far away but it is so far away. Because that`s the thing: the Netherlands isn`t far away, but it is in a way when you have another life somewhere else. I`m going to be sad, I`m going to miss my friends, the people I met who also were on this crazy and weird journey and who didn`t know what exactly to expect about five months earlier, just like me. And you know what? That should be okay. I wish I had a vacation, but I`m already going back to school tomorrow. I`m sad about that and that`s okay, because I know I`ll be okay one day. Maybe not tomorrow or next week, but I will one day.

Perhaps I`m so sad about the end of this adventure because it was so good.

Thanks for being such a weird but amazing adventure, the Netherlands. I`ve met so many cool people, I`ve seen so many new places of the world and I did something new. And for that I`m forever thankful.

Here`s to another chapter.

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.