5 things I learnt after moving to Pakistan

Published: May 29, 2015

“Do you wear the hijab even in America?” She was shocked when I replied in the affirmative.

When I made the decision to move to the notorious land called Pakistan, because of my husband’s job, there were mixed reactions from the community (to say the least). My non-Pakistani and non-Muslim friends were terrified for my safety and were keen on reminding me of the short list of communities; their concerns involved my husband’s salary, the tough humidity, and the eternal inconvenience of load-shedding

Ignoring all concerns, I decided to take on the adventure and assured my friends that I was happy and ready for anything. Boy did I lie. I was terrified – but very much in love.

I had been living in the American Bubble

As Americans, we value our privacy, our personal space, our neatly scheduled routines and our mood swings. After struggling through some awkward social encounters and unannounced guests coming to my house at midnight for kava (green tea), I soon realised that if I wanted to accumulate the least amount of stress and still be happy, I would have to pop my American bubble. As a new bride, I was treated like a princess. No, seriously; I was a princess. My mother-in-law’s relatives and friends would come to see me and my job was simply to change into gorgeous dresses adorned with gems and embroidery, look flawless and smile. Yes, for a brief five months, I got a small taste of what it feels like in Kate Middleton’s (shoes) sari.

Another struggle was controlling my mood swings. Not only could a nosy neighbour or a sister-in-law come unannounced at any time, they expected the gracious hostess (me) to welcome them with open arms, leave all that I was doing, give them company in the living room and whip up some bangin’ samosas. At one occasion I remember comforting my two-month-old daughter, with my post-partum hormones all over the place. The doorbell rang and relatives surprised us. And I mean really surprised us. When I blamed my hormones to be the cause of the messy house and my dishevelled state, the jolly ‘auntie’ told me that today’s generation blames everything on hormones, PMS and a crying baby.

Code for: I’ll hold the baby; now go make some tea for us.

Would you like a maid with that?

My mother-in-law prides herself in the fact that she raised eight children and worked as an entrepreneur without hiring a maid or housekeeper. My father-in-law remembers it a bit differently. According to him, even though ami (mother) never hired anyone, she had tons of help in the form of her sisters, sisters-in-law and neighbours who took care of babysitting, cooking, cleaning and even being part-time masseuses. So, there are two kinds of help in Pakistan: your paid employees or the help network made up of relatives and friends.

Almost everyone I know has a part-time maid. At first, I found it strange that women could entrust their entire household duties to a stranger as I was raised to be independent in every sense.

Code for: We Americans don’t know how to delegate well or ask for help.

In the past five years, I went through five man-servants until I learned how to train, trust and delegate. Trust me; this is one of the greatest blessings of living in Pakistan. Labour is cheap, which means that you can always find someone to work for you and this is one of the reasons why most middle-class families are able to afford housekeepers. It is also the reason why the women have active social lives and always seem to be enjoying themselves through long Skype chats with friends, hosting kitty parties or simply going shopping.

Pakistani kids are just as much spoiled as American kids

I remember teaching at a private, international school two-years-ago as a Mathematics and Social Studies teacher for grades three, four and five. I was told to speak English slowly as the children were getting confused because of my accent. However, I soon realised that their English was far better than I expected. In fact, their grammar was much better than most Americans. I remember my excitement as I brought in my iPad on the third day expecting them to hover around me in a circle, impressed and intrigued in every way.

But boy was I wrong.

There they sat, their bored faces staring back at me. Thankfully, one of the fifth graders sensed my wonder and enlightened me to the fact that every single child in that room had an iPad at home.

The surprises were not exclusive to private elementary schools. On a visit to my aunt’s house, I found her stressing over her son’s job. He had just graduated college and was looking for his dream job (which might take a while). I suggested that in the meantime, he work as a waiter or become a delivery guy for Pizza Hut. My aunt and my cousin stared at me in disbelief and simply started laughing.  Utterly puzzled, I asked them what was funny. Apparently, it was beneath them to work in such a low level job. My uncle and aunt decided to support their son until a more suitable position opened.

Where did the burqas go?

Let me tell you something; Pakistani women are strong, beautiful and very up-to-date. In fact, wearing a hijab, I’m considered very conservative (and inferior) in many parts of the country. My first time strolling through Islamabad shopping malls, I was baffled. Women and girls of all ages adorned themselves in the latest American and Pakistani fashions, with some even wearing sleeveless dresses. Speaking flawless English, a girl sitting behind me at Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF) – yes, the American restaurant – politely asked me:

“Do you wear the hijab even in America?”

She was shocked when I replied in the affirmative.

Even conservative areas like Kohat and Peshawar have relaxed their cultural customs when it comes to the once-traditional black burqa. In fact, the newer generations deem it old-fashioned and opt for a more modern look based on Dubai-based designers. Women are avid drivers, hold public offices, celebrities, models, have their own morning shows, can be found jogging in the local park, bargaining confidently with shopkeepers, debating fearlessly on college campuses, and even riding motorcycles on Islamabad Highway. I hear Karachi is even more modernised.

It makes me wonder why we ever thought that Malala Yousafzai was the measuring stick for all Pakistani women. Even in the smaller villages, women have countless freedoms and girls are happily and actively pursuing their education. In fact, the list of restrictions seems to be diminishing and I simply wonder why these success stories fail to be heard on a global platform.

They don’t hate us

As a newbie to Pakistan, I was discouraged by many friends and family members to not show open support for Americans. In fact, avoid bringing the topic up at all. Naturally, I was terrified and tried my best to cover up my accent while speaking Urdu. However, as I began to travel and meet more people within the country, I realised something – Pakistani people don’t hate Americans.

In fact, they love our lifestyles, our movies, our cities, our food, and our education systems. Whenever people heard me speaking English in my Jersey accent, they wanted to know everything about my life in New Jersey. To their disappointment, I had never met Angelina Jolie. The women respected me more as a mother and treated me as a perpetual guest in their country. In the conservative towns, even the local religious leaders spoke fondly of Americans and focused on the fact that Americans sent the most aid to Pakistan throughout the year.

As I waited at the American embassy with my husband to get his visit visa, I was shocked to see the crowds in the waiting room, all applying for a chance to visit the States. The one lesson that I learned was that it is the politicians and media that play with our emotions. The public and the common men are eloquently tolerant and united by the eternal bond of humanity and yearning to learn from each other.

So what?

My aim is not to defend Pakistan nor do I have a political agenda. I am simply surprised at the perception the international world has of Pakistanis. When I am away from Pakistan, I am only shown bearded men and women in burqas. Even entertainment such as Homeland focuses on the dark side of Pakistan, never shedding light on the greater good. On the contrary, when I am in Pakistan, I am only shown the vibrant Cherry Blossom festivals of Washington, DC or the ferocious life of Times Square. Never do I see reports of the gun violence, police brutality or Islamophobic campaigns in America.

I encourage you all to travel around the world. Seize those opportunities and make new ones. In these past five years, I have grown in ways I never thought I could and learned that there are two sides to everything and everyone. Our minds can only open when our bodies make the effort.

This post originally appeared here. 

Fatima Asad

Fatima Asad

The author is the founder of "Tutor on the Road" blog and holds a Degree in Human Services. She is an avid writer, freelance journalist, traveler and youth mentor. She tweets as @tutorontheroad

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Amina,Kerala

    Kindly,get over yourself..Recommend

  • kdp ukp

    Glad you moved back home. You do not belong to the melting pot of the USA.Recommend

  • Mehmood UrRehman

    Nice piece of writing. Applause madam. Hats off to you. Recommend

  • http://www.sepia-paper.deviantart.com Muhammed Waqar Younis

    People think I live in a Cave or something here with an AK47 and when I tell them I think samsung is better then apple they go like “why do you know such things?” and I’m like “they same way as you know it…being an human and all that is”Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    I seriously thought this was going to be another feminist bashing Pakistan to please the prejudiced Western audience, but I am surprised. Ever so often, Pakistan girls come up with blatantly phoney stories of woman abuse to satisfy the hate agendas of their Western friends. I have to listen to all that (in real life) and be embarrassed or provide an explanation. Even though I moved to Canada as a teenager, they still expect me to be ashamed of being a Pakistani and face condescending comments. Thank you for being a woman who “thinks” on her own.Recommend

  • RFD

    We Americans this,… We Americans that..Culture shock this,.. Green tea that,..
    You sound like a Very Confused American Born Desi. Period.Recommend

  • shaan

    Well Pakistanis hate Americans or rest of the world but want to live like them & want to have what everyone else have without working.Recommend

  • rtnguy

    Do they serve alcohol in TGIF in PaqilandRecommend

  • Umair Abbas

    now here is the realityRecommend

  • anon0912

    “the jolly ‘auntie’ told me that today’s generation blames everything on hormones, PMS and a crying baby”lmao.I know that people get fed certain ideas using the media but come on.It cant be that much of a surprise.Life for people who are well off is the same everywhere.What did you think it was gonna be like ? Some guy in a white shalwar kameez and a turban riding a fancy camel chanting Allah Hu Akbar with an AK-47 in one hand and the leash in the other occasionally stroking his thick black beard who then goes home to tell his wife to get back to the kitchen?Thats just Peshawar,haha.You writing this article just reinforces the American stereotype rather than shattering the Pakistani one.Recommend

  • Commemtator

    it is so much confusing what the lady is trying to tell her readersRecommend

  • Nomi

    She’s very right … Pakistan is shown in all wrong ways, in fact it’s a vibrant , modern country ..Recommend

  • wali

    perhaps you need to now get out of your upper class Pakistani bubble! Not every child has an ipad at home. The school you are teaching at is part of the upper class bubble.Recommend

  • Ranjan

    Do Samsung and Apple manufacture AK47? Whose AK47 is better?Recommend

  • Nurul Hasan

    The bad name Pakistan got was because of Mullahs who issue dirty fatwas now and then. And also killing of innocents under false complaint of blasphemy.Recommend

  • bluelove

    Thanks for sharing!
    In America, Pakistan is only known for its terrorists, and for some reason, people are surprised that “third-world countries” has internet, malls, and good schools!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Enjoyed reading that…….and agree with much of what you say. The animosity that the average Pakistani harbors is towards America and not really the American and much of the blame for this lies with American foreign policy and its agenda.Recommend

  • Ali

    BEcause inferiority complex runs in Pakistan. They are more obsessed with Hollywood than Americans.Recommend

  • Manners please

    please learn to be thankful to America because if it were not for your Jersey accent, your fancy schooling (paid for by American tax payers), fancy college degree (again subsidized by American taxpayers and the American government) and other perks that come with being an American, most likely you would not have been treated as a “princess” by your Pakistani in-laws, you would not get the fancy teaching job you did at an international school, you would not be able to live the life of the elite in Pakistan that you do. In other words you would have been just another nobody and we all know Pakistanis treat its poor, minorities and women terribly. So please learn to be a little thankful to America that have respect and status in life..Recommend

  • Bilal Shahid

    Great Piece of Writing Mam. :)Recommend

  • curious

    I don’t think many Pakistanis understand that there is almost no press coverage concerning Pakistan in the USA — even when the USA was actively engaged in combat in Afghanistan there was very limited coverage. The major exception was OBL demise – even the Pakistan blockage of NATO supply line only warranted front page coverage for a day or two.Recommend

  • Sid

    So the author here is just reflecting how “She” was wrong about Pakistan. Not everybody in USA is silly to think there is no iPad in Pakistan and that everybody lives in cave with AK47. If indeed what this “USA” returned author thinks then I wonder what kind of neighborhood in USA is she from ? And her excuse is that she moved to Pakistan for her husband’s “job” ??? Really ? So there are more high salaried jobs in Pakistan then in USA I guess.
    y dear author your closing paragraph is a beautiful lie. You are indeed trying to defend Pakistan even though you have no political agenda. While there is nothing wrong in defending the image of the nation you love, it is admirable indeed, but it is irritating to take readers as naive enough to not get your “agenda”.
    I live in USA and my neighborhood has Indians and Pakistanis and Non desis. And of all states I have visited and lived barring few southern states, all common americans except red necks do know that Pakistan is not full of bearded men and burqa. They know Pakistan is not Saudi Arabia. So it still surprises me where did you live in USA to build up that false impression ? Or it was just you all along who had negative impression about people of your origin and now you are just trying to blame the shift to waste for that impression. Clap clap.Recommend

  • Lost

    Oh how cute, you think you’re all American and have come to a foreign land and obviously your attempts at imposing upon everyone that you’re American led to the girl in tgif being sarcastic I think not baffled… And now you had to write a blog to prove that you’re AmericanRecommend

  • Sid

    Seriously bro ? Are all your “American” contacts just bunch of red necks ? Where do u live or interact ? Pulaski, Tennesse, The birthplace of KKK ? While I agree there are ignorant Americans, my own colleague asked me this in year 2000 whether I had to go to some other country by boat to catch a plane to USA. But most Americans are educated and very well versed about the world and world politics. While they have comprehensive about Pakistani state in general they do realize that Pakistani common people are just victim of the state and international affair vis-a-vis terrorism. They do not think of all Pakistanis as cave men with ak47. But certainly your own people plus the “fair” media gives them enough reason to tend to think so. Stop playing victim and shifting blame. If world has a wrong image of you, fix the image not just blame the world.Recommend

  • fze

    We are very much normal human beings but somehow negative propaganda always wins, taking over the truth.Recommend

  • Muhhamad Javed

    Not every child has an ipod at home in Pakistan this is just limited to elite class only.Recommend

  • Christopher Jury

    Unfortunately, you bind your scope of writing to the mere 2% of Pakistanis whilst ignoring the majority who have to go through the hardships not mentioned in your article.Recommend

  • Waqas

    I like to live in Pak compare to Britain as third rate 2nd citizen workerRecommend

  • Xman

    Enjoy your bubble, while it lasts. Waiting for your next blog in 1 year, “5 reasons why I left Pakistan”Recommend

  • Jor El

    Puhhhhleeeeez … Apple is waaayyyyyy better than Samsung …Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    I seriously thought this was going to be another feminist bashing Pakistan to please the prejudiced Western audience, but I am surprised. Ever so often, Pakistan girls come up with blatantly phoney stories of woman abuse to satisfy the hate agendas of their Western friends. I have to listen to all that (in real life) and be embarrassed or provide an explanation. Even though I moved to Canada as a teenager, they still expect me to be ashamed of being a Pakistani and face condescending comments. Thank you for being a woman who “thinks” on her own.Recommend

  • tribuner

    Ditto. She thinks she is doing us a favour by writing this article, lol Recommend

  • Milind A

    “Ever so often, Pakistan girls come up with blatantly phoney stories of
    woman abuse to satisfy the hate agendas of their Western friends.”

    You sound like your Gen Musharraf, who blamed Mukhtaran Mai for getting raped to get a visa to America…Recommend

  • Milind A

    Please.. don’t blame the Mullahs for everything.. Everybody top to bottom of your society is corrupted with extra religiosity & piety.. The support the talk shows of Liaquat Ali get is an indicator of the same… The killing of innocents under false complaint of blasphemy is done by the ordinary man on the street and he’s not always incited by the mullah… No mullah incited the killer of Salman Taseer, he unilaterally took the decision.Recommend

  • Gul Zaman Ghorgast

    Wow ! What a profound revelation ! God be praised.
    Er…just one or two tiny little observations. Who makes
    makes these US foreign policy decisions? Jinns? Witches?
    Martians? Aliens from another galaxies? Maybe Americans?
    Who were elected on an agenda favored by the 90% of the
    of THEIR electorates. Which translates, roughly, into 90% of the
    population. You might have missed this, but Netanyahu came and
    addressed the US Congress and got standing ovations every 4 or 5
    minutes, by the combined Senators and Congressmen. Literally read
    the US President his rights. And he painted the President as a waffler,
    undecided, meek and mild. Wimpy. Ring a bell?Recommend

  • Zain

    Sad but true. Just give it time.Recommend

  • Najam

    She travelled from one bubble to another. Recommend

  • Syed Bilal Hussain

    Why so much hate?Recommend

  • Arbaz Khan

    Enjoyed Reading, but enjoyed even more the comments, people who dont even want them to be recognized are jumping to express their love or hate for Pakistan or America.
    Wonders of social media. Lets keep it respectable whatever your views are and dont become judges just comment.Recommend

  • SBFarooq

    ASUS… DuhRecommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/ ather khan

    one of the best article written in tribune blog. i am surprised to see the indian centric editors of tribune allowed it to publish. despite having some fanatic terrorists, our society is one of the most modern in the world. we are far liberal than india or any south asian country. but negative propaganda along with tactical attacks by indian funded terrorists ruin our reputation.Recommend

  • Sidra

    Yes, in fact a piece of confused writing. In her article she is pretending to be shocked by what she found in Pakistan and pleasantly surprised, while her tone is clearly condescending and supercilious.Recommend

  • Thinker

    At first I thot she Wud write something negative but as I continued,only one thing struck my mind that not every place on earth is hell or heaven, it’s how u see n accept it. Coming to her 5 year span of living in Pakistan I don’t think dats lesser by any means especially wen u coming from a country like America . Coming on iPad I don’t think every American or Indian has an iPad at their home so when she’s talking about dat mere 2% of Pakistanis who hav ipad, she’s not wrong at all.. Like I said u will c ups n downs everywhere, in every part of d worldRecommend

  • Abdul Majid

    Samsung is the worst in the Droid world.Recommend

  • Muhammad Belal Asad

    Saddened by the comments over here. Surprisingly Rude. Recommend

  • http://www.sepia-paper.deviantart.com Muhammed Waqar Younis

    No Dell is better then Asus…Recommend

  • http://www.sepia-paper.deviantart.com Muhammed Waqar Younis

    Dude, We don’t care what the people think about us, we just care about being Human and that is all.Recommend

  • Abbas Bilgrami

    Fatima please dont stop your blog.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Such judgemental comments by so many. Such nastiness.

    Give the writer some respect and let her say her piece. If you have something to say why not set up your own blog and rant or bitch away.

    Pakistan may not be the perfect place to live, but for many of us it is our home. Recommend

  • Khawaja Haris

    Majority of these comments by Pakistani names which target writer approach are indians

    I agree with what author has written…

    *Gprs mobile internet is common in villages
    *Chinese 15-20$ tablet available in Pakistan n it is in everyone buying power
    *Galaxy S6 Edge screen protector was available 3 week ago in public in lahore than Abu Dhabi
    *Google liberty market lahore images or MM alam road lahore or anarkali u will find pakistani women random pics
    *Lums, PU lahore , LSE Lahore, and see students there….u will find much more beautiful, well groomed and handsome student than you…hope u understand whom i addressed

    In Pakistan , groups of few 100’s do terrorist activities out of 180000000+ living beings n every blames goes to whole nation and even those who did are trained by RAW india but time is over now.
    Pakistan Army ZindabadRecommend

  • kurikamaal

    Haters will hate. I like your article. Keep it up.

  • seismann

    They are giving her lessons on real PakistanRecommend

  • seismann

    And still you would rather stay in Canada than move to a “hate-free Pakistan”.Recommend

  • seismann

    Good.Western societies including Britain would appreciate that.Recommend

  • seismann

    It was vibrant until mullahs took it over.Recommend

  • seismann

    Can’t do much about inferiority complex.Is “Pakistani” stamped on your forehead?Recommend

  • Sid

    Then what was the point of your comment my brother ? Its good and in fact more important to be good human, that was what religion was suppose to make us. And I wish more of us in India and Pakistan realize it. Salaam and Peace bro.Recommend

  • Sid

    I second that :) … Huge apple fan here…..Recommend

  • Sid

    Macbook yaar…..macbook rocks.Recommend

  • Sid

    Have you been to Somalia ? Even they have Internet and malls, may not be that great schools. Does that make them peaceful, forward thinking and progressive nation ? While recognizing country only for terrorism is harsh, but lets not just paint rosy picture either, because by doing that we settle for what we have instead of looking fwd to improvise.Recommend

  • SBFarooq

    Dude… Haven’t you seen the awesome piece of work called the zenfone 2? Search for” lb s zenfone 2″ on YouTube and be prepared to have your mind polwed..Recommend

  • Fatima

    Spot on! Nailed it :’DRecommend

  • Maidah Arshad

    This is a brilliant piece of work; Fatima, you’ve managed to show an unbiased picture.
    You must join the Young Women Writers’ Forum; send in a request , the admin shall approve you then.
    Keep writing, and inspiring.
    Much love xo Recommend

  • Maidah Arshad

    I second you. Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    Obligations and ambition bind people, but out of curosity, what are you doing here mr nazi?Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    Are you the same Fatima who wrote this article?Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    Its strange how you highlight the tiniest shortcomings of anyone who isn’t white yet get furious when shown your massive shortcomings.Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    The girl is only trying to show a different image of Pakistan and it seems to have made you really angry. Would you have been happier if she had demonized the country? For the most part, the media has portrayed Pakistan as a country full of terrorists who rape women, you don;t seem to have a problem with that. I know plenty of Pakistani-Americans living in non-Southern states who repeatedly complain of discrimination and harassment. So what is the writers political agenda? is it to stop bullying Pakistanis because they are not all as evil as you think? I am curious, what her agenda really is?….If there is an agenda, its probably yours. if you are pretending to be of Pakistani origin, least you can do is change your id from SId to Syed.Recommend

  • Sane

    Excellent piece of narration and putting facts in limelight.Recommend

  • Sane

    I am amazed to see the mindset and intellect of some of the commentators here. They are talking about cell phone, social media and technology. While topic is far away than this.Recommend

  • thriftysmurf

    And you obviously think you are superior, giving your condescending comments for non-whites and your inability to take criticism of your own kind.Recommend

  • Grace

    I don’t get what you are trying to say. She has penned an informative article and I appreciated it. There is a lot of negative press against Muslim nations. Maybe Pakistan is better off than most Muslim countries because we have less violence and terrorism than Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Afghanistan but sometimes people do say things about travel there which is negative. It may not apply to safe places like Punjab but you cannot deny that there is negative reporting for cities such as Karachi. Pakistanis are warm and the country is beautiful. It’s great that others can debunk some of the media hype. I spent a few weeks in Lahore, Gujranwala and Faisalabad this March and it was great. Ms. Asad – Haters can hate whether in Pakistan or in the US but do what is right and keep writing!Recommend

  • Oats

    I have never been to Somalia but if you think malls and internet coverage there is comparable to Pakistan, you obviously have never been to Islamabad or Lahore! Lahore is peaceful, progressing and developing like many other cities in Pakistan. There is probably more terrorism and violence in any US city than Lahore.Recommend

  • Sami Shubalili

    Ignorance is

    So let me get this straight.

    You are named Fatima Asad and you are acting as if you are coming to some far flung unknown land. With a Muslim (and likely, Pakistani) heritage to begin with your experiences are nowhere similar to a typical American girl whose family has been in the US for generations if they would come to Pakistan. (Read a white American girl of whom there are quite a few in Pak too) Considering you are from Jersey which is Desi Central in the US, the culture shock would have been minimal for most cases.

    Now lets get to the rest of the actual article for what its worth. Your experience is that of a person from a well to do family. So it is hardly unique but definitely not comparable to what 90% of the country has to go through. And what were you honestly expecting in the malls of Pakistan and among the well to do kids. Did you think Pakistan is in the Stone Age that kids wouldn’t know about IPads and Miss America would introduce it to them. Similar with the girls in sleeveless shirts. May I tell you that the elite of Pakistan is likely to be educated considering the strength if Pakistani student bodies in Oxford, Yale, Harvard etc. They are also financially well off

    I find it particularly laughable when you say how they did not have hate for you and Americans. First of all due to not looking like the typical American you wouldn’t get the reaction you would think you were supposed to get. People will just look at your skin tone and name and the last thing they would think you are is an American. Secondly what were you expecting. Did you think that everyone in Pakistan is a savage and would show hate towards every American and American culture just because of their disapproval of American policies?

    Were you surprised to find ice cream and internet in the country as another confused desi I know was surprised when she found out that such things are available in Pakistan. Condescension doesn’t help either. Pakistan was the same and surviving before your earth shattering post and will be the same after.Recommend

  • Golnath Agarwal

    Don’t learn anymore things. Five is enough.Recommend

  • Grace

    Most Americans don’t know very much about Pakistan but the countries which are demonized most are Arab countries and Iran. In California, I made a point of telling people that we are Pakistani and not Arabs or Iranians because they are the ones that get the worst press coverage. Educated Americans know that Pakistan is more stable and open minded than other Muslim countries. Maybe the author’s family didn’t teach her about her background or heritage but that’s not her fault that she only identifies with New Jersey. Most people in New Jersey would probably not identify with someone with a hijab or in the author’s case even covering her face. Some of the Italians I know would downright curse someone in Jersey with a head covering.Recommend

  • Uzmaa

    I feel the same. I have been here for almost 2 years now and i am surprised to see how our culture and beliefs are displayed on the Media, they always show the extreme side of our religion and culture, though, now , the extreme side of our culture is not the Abaya/hijjab , its the modernization, the brands, the way u walk/talk and so much more- i think people in US are way more simple and decent (less show off) when compared to lifestyle in Pakistan-



  • Faraz Faheem

    Whatever you say.. I like my people :)..Recommend

  • Faraz

    Getting a hang of English grammar would be a great starting point in terms of evaluating articles and pronouncing them to one of the best ever published on the tribune website.Recommend

  • rationalist

    As part of a wealthy family what you saw of Pakistan is through the eyes of the elites who lead a “protected” and privileged life that is far away from the real Pakistan that is filled with poverty, ignorance, social backwardness, religious intolerance, extremism and intolerance.

    In other words, you are now living in a bubble of privilege and exclusivity in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Momina jamil

    I appreciate what you hae written ,I know you are teying to degend Pkaistan,but you are not doing it the right way.I wear hijab,every girl I know does,well there are some girls who like to adopt american fashion but some.And trust me no one here has eight kids not even five.If you talk about servants then,I think its good that we can trust any Pakistani.
    You have done qui a well job but undirectly you are encouraging girls to leave hijabs so that you americans can like them.Just to show attitude they will start to hate americans.

  • Waseem Khan Kakar

    You were staying in Islamabad that s why you felt the similarities b/w pak and us,, come one more time ,we will take you to waziristan , balochistan, sindh and then you can decideRecommend

  • tungi

    sorry girl but ur blog luks like its written by a gora explorer who just found a new land and its native people, and is surprised to find how much similar they look like you. its not the 1920s..puheeeezRecommend

  • tungi

    how is the USa any more safer than pakistan, please anyone enlighten me! the population there is teeming with violenceRecommend

  • BaiG

    This is a good article keep it up. I have observed on this forum if you would talk about a good Pakistan you have to face criticism and some bad language as well and if you would talk about dark side of Pakistan (As every country and society has dark sides) you will get appreciation.

    Most of the readers will share negative thoughts about Pakistan even though they are Pakistani. What is the reason behind their views, I dont know. I think they just wanted to get attention by defacing Pakistan for their fame as media will pay attention if you would talk against the Pakistan.

    I am quoting this line from a below comment as I liked it” Pakistan may not be the perfect place to live, but for many of us it is our home”.Recommend

  • Jessica

    Saddening, yes. Surprising? No.Recommend

  • Fatima Baneen

    Thank you very much for giving our country PakistanRecommend

  • Tahir Jamil

    iPads, TGIF, American Fashion and American accent = Not a backward nation.
    Malala Yousufzai = Backward Pakistan.
    You’re extremely superficial like all ABCDs. Go back.
    Trust me the real Americans are not superficial.Recommend

  • Hassan

    Windows Mobile is the best…..Recommend

  • kasa

    okay she is just showing people outside the country pakistan is a great place. Okay i am sorry but face your own media (like geo news) makes pakistan look like a call of duty map. She never said anything against hijabs or people she was saying what she obversed. plus if your saying not everyone has 8 kids but servants do just know your logic servants make up the poverty class and the poverty class makes up majority of pakistan and thats that. stop twisting her words for no reason.Recommend

  • Zed Rabari

    must be IndiansRecommend

  • Zed Rabari

    Great article, enjoy your stay in Pakistan…..ignore the “elites”, they will be the only pesky people there, everyone else is great.Recommend

  • Tom Pinion

    The author beautifully illustrates the benefits of travel and how it leads to an open mind. You should never judge a people or a country based on what you see and hear on the news or t.v. Having been a world traveler myself for my entire life and being fearless in going to remote corners of the world has taught me that people are basically good wherever you go. There is a big beautiful world out there just waiting to be explored!Recommend