Thursday, May 20, 2004

Well, it's official.

I've picked up my ticket today. I'm heading back to Pakistan at the end of May. I won't be Carol-in-a-cheezy-suburb-of-Chicago anymore, I'll be the real carol_in _islamabad again, wandering ex-pat with a eye fine tuned to the absurdities of life abroad.

I'll be returning to the people I love in a land that I am just one step above hating on a typical day and can barely tolerate on a good day.

I've been thinking of what I will miss as I leave my native country for my husband's.

Two things I've realized. One is blue skies. Although Islamabad is an modern, planned tiny,non-industrial city of a few hundred thousand people,it sits smack on the edge of it's ancient, multi-million populated and moderately industrial sister city of Rawalpindi. We Islooits may drink Isloo's cleaner water, but still have to breath 'Pindi's filthy air. In this country of zero environmental protection and diesel fueled truck, cars and busses, the air is a hazy gray except for the occasional burst of bright blueness, often after a heavy rain. So blue skys will be replaced with gray.

This past month I've done a lot of driving as I went to Indiana to visit my relatives, and drive all over to get things done in preparation for my trip. My dentist is a 40 mile drive and you know what, it's 40 miles of pure driving enjoyment. The expressway is fast, but orderly, the suburban and country vistas are delightful. I was nearing my destination the other day and I mentally began to compare this drive to driving in Pakistan. I had just driven 40 miles and no one had done anything reckless, stupid, or disorderly, Okay, to be fair, we all exceeded the speed limit, but the slow traffic kept right and the fast cars were still driving at a safe speed. In short, no one had tried to kill me or himself as I often think is the case when driving in Pakistan. So, my days of driving enjoyment are about to be replaced with days of driving terror. It is only a deep and abiding faith in God's protection that allows me to drive in Pakistan, that and a tape of soothing music to quiet my jangled nerves.

Well, there are costs to every decision in our lives, and that is the cost to be with my husband and daughters. I'm not complaining, (am I?) It's a weird existence I wouldn't wish on anyone, but it's my life and I will live it and laugh about it with God's grace and a sense of humor.

The eye fine tuned to absurdity looks in.