I come from a traditional, Pakistani-Muslim family. I was raised to speak fluent Urdu, made a few trips to my parents’ homeland, wore traditional clothing, etc. Culturally, I wasn’t allowed to go to too many places. No sleepovers, no frequent mall trips with friends, things of that sort. I attended a college that was in my hometown so I could continue living at home, picking a major that didn’t require me to travel. Life was a bit…boring.
When I got married eight years ago, I was suddenly thrust into a world of freedom. A freedom I didn’t quite know what to do with. I got to know my new family, and settled into a routine with my husband. It was strange that we could really just go anywhere we wanted, when we wanted. Married life, and the new dynamic of a family takes a little while to get used to, and by the time I was enjoying the freedom I had (about a year and a half later), my husband acquired a new job in North Carolina. More change for me! So we packed up our stuff in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and headed to New Bern, North Carolina.
In New Bern, we bought our first house, and a little more then a year later, had our baby girl Maliha. When she was a year old, my husband was transferred to Germany for two years. Again, we packed up our lives, and flew to Deutschland for our European adventure. After two years of traveling to different countries as much as we could with a toddler, we went back to New Bern, but with the intention of going back to Pennsylvania once we got there. And lo and behold, here we are, back to where we started our marriage, with not one, but two beautiful children.
Growing up watching Bollywood films, I believed that people would die for love. Throw themselves in front of a bullet, a train, even a punch, for the person they loved. But reality taught me to CHANGE for love. I was never good with change, even as a child, more so as an adult. But as a married woman who loves her husband, and tries to puts him first, I love him enough to know that I would follow him wherever it would lead me. And this change that I dealt with for the sake of love, changed my life. There were times when I thought, “NO. I can’t handle this change. I’m not equipped to deal with it.” But I fought through the negative feelings, sometimes fighting with my husband, sometimes fighting with myself. But all that battling was not in vain. I know more of what I want now. I saw more of the world, some of it so beautiful, I barely dared to blink. And some of it so heartbreaking, that it still consumes me to this day.
My family has thrived more by moving around, being challenged, seeing the world, and experiencing it. We have all had the opportunity to make friends everywhere we have gone. I’ve taught my daughter the value of lifelong friendships, to be okay with change, to know that stability can be achieved in more ways than just settling down in one place. My son Issah is still a baby, but I look forward to traveling more with him, and teaching him the same lessons as well.
Love, life and family. They all intertwine together in this journey. The things we are willing to do out of love will effectively change our lives, and will also change our family as we all experience personal growth. Living a somewhat nomadic lifestyle has taught me to handle change with grace, and along with my husband, teach our children to also accept change with an open heart. And that with no matter where we go, wherever we are together, is truly home.