Last week I saw a post on a Facebook group written by someone who was interested in meeting fellow journalists in Karachi. As soon as I saw her name, it seemed so familiar. I ended up finding out that I had been following her on Twitter since several years and we had a few mutual friends from university.
So just like that, I said hello and we hit it off instantly. I met her yesterday for breakfast at Mocca. We were so excited – it honestly felt like I was reuniting with an old friend. The pesto and tomato omelette I devoured was quite good and cooked to perfection. What I really liked about it is how it was so light and fluffy. Usually when I order eggs for breakfast, it fills me up till the evening. Although the coffee we had was weak, our bond definitely wasn’t!
In my last post I mentioned how we find home everywhere we go in some form. When I meet people here in similar situations, it feels extremely comforting. My friend told me how relaxed and at ease she felt when we met. Almost like being in zen mode (well, that is partly due to my extremely slow way of talking).
Home doesn’t have to be a physical object. We can find home in so many different forms. I felt at home when we laughed at the Pakistani way of saying Mocca as ‘Mauka’. I feel at home when passing by Mango and Debenhams, the same stores I would regularly shop at in Riyadh. The smell of oud in a perfume store in Dolmen Mall felt like I was strolling through a mall in Riyadh.
Whenever I meet someone in Karachi who has lived in the Middle East, we instantly connect. It almost feels like a certain force is bringing us together. I think it’s because we have this shared commonality of drifting from one place to another. Being in transient mode all the time can be kind of overwhelming, but it is something you learn to get used to and it becomes a part of life.
When I met a fellow TCK at a workshop last week, she was telling me how even living in Karachi for 10 years didn’t change this feeling of being an ajnabi. Being married and having kids didn’t change her state of mind. But when she met people like me in similar situations, it was a blessing. It made her feel like there was a form of support to lean on.
I think it is because we are so accustomed to a certain way of life that our heads can’t wrap around how things are here. The lack of certain resources and luxuries that we were used to growing up with are suddenly absent.
But once I moved here, I realized that instead of being a complete cynic, I should look at the positive aspects. 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to buy Life cereal or Eggo waffles at the local grocery store. The bagels I would crave at home in Riyadh are just a few minutes drive away from me. The local coffee shop, Espresso, right near my house has better cappuccino than Starbucks. Roger is one of the friendliest and most talented barista’s I have ever met.
There are a multitude of resources available here, we just have to search for them. I was in an incredibly emotionally vulnerable state when I moved here. It was a VERY sudden move and I wasn’t mentally prepared for it at all. I was far from being ready to settle down in Pakistan. It took me the whole year to actually let it sink in that I was here to stay. I had my family and a few friends that I had made (thanks to Facebook groups) as support.
I realized two negatives always make a positive. If you are ever feeling low about moving somewhere new and not being able to adjust, just remember that. It may seem completely bizarre in the beginning. It feels as though you wouldn’t be able to ever possibly fit in. But there will ALWAYS be atleast one person who you will find a connection with. I actually never thought I would end up liking my life in Karachi.
Recently, I had the idea of creating a group of fellow third culture kids living in Karachi. I think it would be absolutely incredible to connect, share ideas, and reflect on our thoughts and observations. If it grows, we can also hold meet ups and discover that we are all in fact in the same boat.
What do you think about this idea? Are you someone who doesn’t feel a sense of belonging are on the path to finding your identity? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!