It was a risk
It was a risk. Many suggested that I should not take it while very few supported my decision. And it was a very personal decision. So in case of failure, there will be no one to share the blame with… It was a life changing direction, which could lead me anywhere from getting successful and growing as a person to failing drastically and losing what I already had.
It was not easy to leave family, quit job, say goodbye to the culture and customs, pack my bags and move to an entirely different continent. HOLD ON!! What to pack bags with?? All my life, I wore shalwar kameez (traditional Pakistani dress) and nothing else. That meant abandoning my wardrobe completely and making a new one. Thanks to lifetime Hollywood watching, the task was managed decently.
Now, looking back, after spending 2 years in Germany, I finally realize that it wasn’t just a risk that I was taking… I was gambling. It was either win or lose. No in between. Only black or white. No grays. I wasn’t just donning jeans instead of shalwar. I was shedding layers upon layers of culture and customs, languages and norm of life and then putting on a new façade. But is it easy to do so? Not at all!!! There was a constant fear of losing my personal, cultural and religious identity and that fear is a loyal companion, not leaving my side, even in tiniest of moments. So, I suppose it’s not an easy task to balance between the new and the old world. That could be the reason why some completely get rid of old and embrace the new one while some cling on dearly to the old one to such an extent as to alienate themselves in the new world. I juggle everyday between the two.
What it meant to step out of my comfort zone and drag myself along with the suitcases into a new world?? Well it felt like cold harsh wind hit me and it did because October wind was something, I wasn’t used to, back home. In the beginning everything seemed cold, hard and sharp like a needle .but I needed this shot just like tetanus shot I had in childhood. No matter how much I wanted to avoid it, it was for my own good.
So, this journey started from Karachi, Pakistan to Pfarrkirchen, Germany in first week of October 2016. It was a blow!! Moving from a metropolitan city to a serene, remote area. Second blow came when I went to buy detergent powder on Sunday morning to find that everything was closed and came back home wondering if there was a curfew in the area. I admit my fault for not researching enough but even if I knew about the lifeless Sundays, I would have carried on with my decision. That’s what strong heads do.
Was it all worth it? I question myself. And my answer is yes! I see myself to have grown so immensely in these 2 years with all kinds of experiences. But I try not to linger around bad experiences except learning for good. What makes me proud of myself is how far I have come out from my small world to recognize and respect other cultures,races,customs and most important of all, People. It amazes me how easy it is to mingle with fellow humans with totally different mindsets. But I do so, in the knowledge that we are one humankind. The kind of freedom that I have, both on personal and social level is liberating. But freedom always comes at a cost and my cost just like most international students and immigrants is loneliness.