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All of you must have heard the abbreviation, NRI (Non-resident Indian.) So, here comes NRP (Non-resident Pakistani.)
I just recently moved to the USA from Pakistan on March, 2nd. I feel quite lucky to arrive in a country with a motherload of opportunities. Though I surely miss Pakistan when it comes to our diverse cultural and religious events, our food and of course, HAMARI DESI JUGGATEIN.
I’m breathing dreams like air since I arrived and people often ask me how it feels to be here in the states. To be honest, the only answer I have is, “it’s pretty good, so far.”
Among the FAQs are questions like “where did you learn English from and how are you doing so well with this language?” People here have a notion that Pakistanis are somewhat orthodox and live in deserts. HAHAHAHA.
Usually, I tell them that I’ve completed my education from Pakistan and the curriculum there was primarily in English. Hence, we have a pretty good understanding of the English language. However, the only problem seems to be with our fluency since it isn’t our mother language.
Back when I was in Pakistan, I never realized that language is a living being. It is organic. It breathes and it moves from one place to another with a person to whom it belongs. A dialect is not only a cultural manifestation, but it is also an entire identity.
There’s truly no other place like home!
This one time, I told one of my colleagues the truth about how I really feel when communicating with them in English. I feel as if I’m someone else. Someone involved in a fake and pseudo conversation. It just feels so artificial, you know? The humor seems deceptive and the whole conversation looks scripted. It is only when I go back home and talk to my family in Urdu that I genuinely feel like Shazia, like ME. Everything just feels so refreshing; the real laughs, the candid jokes and, nonetheless, the incredibly direct tone.
Of course, people here are very good. They are very truthful and honest. They never make commitments that they’ll end up not fulfilling, unlike what we’ve always witnessed in Pakistan; kuch samajh nahi araha toh jhoot bol do ya bahana laga do. They appreciate talent and never mislead.
Fortunately, the women here are incredibly strong. They work day in and night out, barely getting tired. What we need to understand is that a self-sufficient and independent woman isn’t necessarily one who hates men and portrays forged feminism.
As of recently, I got my driving license and according to one of the Uber drivers, a driver’s license bears great importance in this country, even more than a permanent residence and citizenship. It is extremely essential for you to have this card if you wish to survive in the States.
Furthermore, the rules here are VERY tough with car insurance premiums, traffic laws and whatnot. Even a minor mistake that you make may lead you to a misdemeanor and even ultimate suspension of your license! Everything is completely different from what is practiced in Pakistan as the consequences here are pretty strict and long term. Nonetheless, there is no clemency here and absolutely no way of getting yourself out if you break a law.
You don’t always get everything on a silver platter!
Every day, I have to give my all and struggle in order to earn something that could help me live an average lifestyle. A lot of people that I meet regularly tell me that I am blessed to be a part of the United States and that in order to gain something worth having, I need to work very hard.
Back in Pakistan, I would often pray for this day to come but I guess I failed to realize that life isn’t a bed of roses. We have to be extremely diligent if we want to reap the benefits of our efforts.
We really underestimate the amount of time it takes to get acclimatized with the norms, practices and traditions of another country. It takes a while to get the hang of their ways of living, their currency or even their road safety rules.
The United States of America is undoubtedly the biggest economy in the world as well as one of the largest democracies. A free country loaded with grand, life-changing opportunities. In my time here, I have witnessed people working for hours without complaining. There are some elderly colleagues as well, at work, with the birth year of 1930 and, to my surprise, their sufficient energy enables them to wrap up even my task after they’ve completed theirs!
A message to all the Pakistanis out there!
What I truly want is my dear homeland, Pakistan, to respect women, admire the power of the hidden, care for minorities, acknowledge talent, recognize brilliance and value sacrifices. THIS is what we need to practice in order to become a great country instead of wasting our time carrying out useless rallies.
The thing that I really admire about the United States is that every individual is required to put in the effort and work hard, even if someone is 80 years old and doesn’t own an old-age income plan. The culture here teaches everyone that they won’t get a single penny in life by sitting uselessly at home.
My struggle has just begun and I have a long way ahead of me. I really hope that, someday, I return to my homeland with a good piece of money and a bunch of experiences to do something good for the soil where I was raised.
Do you have something to add to this? Let us know in the comments section below!