The excitement was killing me. My heart was beating faster than the speed of light, I was wearing my best traveling clothes and my suitcase was all packed and ready to go. It was the day…..the day I was going back to U.S.A
It was about 5:30 .My mom was doing some chores while my brother (Hamza, who was 6 years old) and I (who was 8 years old) were watching T.V. Everything was nice and peaceful, until mom’s phone rang. I was running so fast to pick it up for her, but she had already grabbed it from the table. Without any concern of who it was, she accepted the call and put it on speaker.
Hamza and I were trying to listen, but we couldn’t hear anything as the phone’s volume was too low. We tried to tell Mom, but she looked really worried so we didn’t bother much. Hamza was so curious to listen, for he started giving weird hand signals to mom which was really irritating, so I decided to turn it up myself. I saw that Mom was giving us an eerie look after she saw that I was messing with her phone, yet I was so inquisitive to know who it was that I forgot my manners. Anyways, now that everything was in place, I sat down and listened.
“That voice …. I could recognize it from anywhere ……It was my Grandma.”
I was so excited when I heard my grandmother’s voice after such a long time. All I wanted to do is just grab the phone out of my mom’s hands, but I wasn’t so sure if it was the right moment. I knew she would never stop me from talking to grandma! I looked at my Mom, I saw something on her face …….it was worry. Something made me feel anxious, I kept listening to see what was going on.
“I am in very critical condition. The doctors have tried so many medicines and treatments, but it just won’t work. All I need right now is to see my children. Please come and visit me! I really need you.”
At first, the only question that was in my head was about what critical means, but when I saw rivers of tears flowing right out of mom’s eyes, I thought I figured what was happening.
The call ended .Everything was quiet. Not even a single peep came out of anyone’s mouth. It was just mom sniffling and wiping her tears. I felt very sorry for the pain mom was going through. Her mother was so ill and she couldn’t even be with her. If I was in her place, I might have not survived.
Eventually, mom retold us the whole story, as she knew that we might haven’t understood the situation, but we knew what was going on. She said,
“Grandma’s condition is not so good. I have to go to Pakistan quick.”
At first I was worried that she might not take us with her, as she didn’t mention us. She never stayed so far from us before. My body was shaking. I had to ask her if we were going. She said,
“Of course you’re going with me, I know I didn’t tell you but you will have to cooperate with me okay. I have never gone through such a situation.”
“We promise.” Hamza said.
A sudden ease came to my mind.
A couple of days passed by and our tickets were booked to go to Pakistan next week. Everything was going so quickly. Mom sold her boutique, our house was gave on rent, my brother and I had to withdraw from school and my dad bought a R.V to stay in while we were gone. I never expected so many things to happen because of this trip. It felt like there is something I don’t know.
Day to day till our flight, was with the same routine, Pack, eat, and go to bed, every day. It felt like we were leaving in the next century, but eventually, the week was over. It was finally time to go, all of our stuff was packed up and ready to go. I had one hand carry and a suitcase while my mom and brother only had suitcases. It was hard to say goodbye to a lot of things (even though we were going for a little while)my home, my dad (who I was going to meet later), and even my school, but as soon as I got on the airplane, I felt so excited to meet my family after a long time. The last time I met them was 2 years ago, when it was my aunt’s wedding. It wasn’t so long, but I only stayed there for a week during that trip.
While we were on the plane, I watched a lot of movies and took tons of naps. My brother played video games while my mom was praying and reading our Holy book. This was the first time I saw her so worried.
In the fullness of time, we arrived at our first destination. This flight was from Houston to Dubai. It was about 14 hours long. All of us were really exhausted. My legs were all cramped up and so was Hamza’s. Mom said that we should walk around the airport to get a little stretched out. I really didn’t want to, but it was better than doing nothing. As we walked around the airport, I saw a lot of people from different places and cultures. It was very interesting to see and learn a lot of stuff from them. Another thing that I really enjoyed at the airport was the coloring pages corner. Each time they came across I picked up a page, so that I can stay busy while waiting for the next flight. We looked at the bulletin board to see how much longer we had to wait for the next flight. It said we have about 2 hours more of wait.
“UHHHHH! Why can’t we just go directly in the plane?” Hamza said
“Be patient!” said mom.
We found a seat that had a lying down place, so we decided to let Hamza lie down while mom and I sat on the chairs. Mom kept in touch with Grandma and the other family with skype. She told me that everything is going fine over there. I saw that she became a little less tense.
“Flight number EM386 ready for boarding!”
It was our flight number! We all got up from our seat, grabbed our luggage and ran towards the boarding area. The air hostess checked our tickets and directed us towards our seats. This flight was from Dubai to Pakistan. I didn’t sleep during this flight at all even if Mom insisted so much, but next to me was Hamza was snoring like a bear during hibernation.
Time flew by so quickly that I barely got time to finish my food. Anyhow, we finally arrived to Pakistan!!
I didn’t know if I should’ve been excited or worried at the moment, but when I saw the look on mom’s face I thought I was a little bit of both.
When we were done with the immigration, Mom said that she was going to call my uncle (who was from Italy)to check if he was here to pick us up, but she didn’t have to because he was standing right next to the baggage claim area , while waving his hand toward us. I was so thrilled to see him after such a long period of time. Without any worry of my luggage, I ran as fast as I could and gave him a huge hug.
After my uncle came to pick us up from the airport, we went to have breakfast. The food was a little different from what I normally ate, but Mom usually made this kind of stuff once in a while. Mom told us,
“You guys have to stay quiet and not fight with each other back at the house. Your grandma needs plenty of rest until she gets better. I should not hear any complaints about you. Understood.”
“Understood.” said Hamza and I.
We were finished with our breakfast and headed towards home. I felt a little nervous when I thought about grandma,
“What if she is too sick to talk to me?”
“What if she won’t spend time with us?”
“Fatima! Wake up! We’re here! We’re here!” Hamza exclaimed.
I opened my eyes and saw Hamza shaking my arm and screaming in my ear. We were here … Finally! I opened my door and got out of the car. I went inside and saw everyone crowded around grandma’s room. Her face …It was so swollen …her eyes….were so red……..
“Grandma!!!! What happened to you?
“Are you okay?”
Everyone around the room was telling me to calm down, but I couldn’t. Tears bursted right out my eyes. This is bad …. This is bad......
Two weeks passed by. I was bonding with the family and having a lot of fun. I know I was freaking out when I saw grandma feeling so ill, but Mom took lots and lots of care of her, for she was now feeling better. Slowly my aunts and uncles were leaving one by one, they really helped out to make grandma feel better. I saw that grandma was right, all she needed was a little love and care from her family to get better. We all were going to miss them a lot. The only thing I wondered was when we were leaving. I mean this was just a few days trip. I went to ask mom, yet she didn’t reply. There was something….something that I wasn’t informed about. I sat down and actually thought about it,
“We gave our house on rent, Hamza and I took a withdrawal from school, Mom sold her boutique….This leads to only one thing”
I ran inside grandma’s room and asked Mom,
“We’re staying here right?”
“I wanted to tell you, but I thought this wasn’t the right time.”
“ Why? I love this place but what about school, our home…
“Your father and I thought you should learn about this place. It’s people, its culture, its traditions. And most important, family.”
This was going to be a big change for me. All my friends, my school, my stuff, my home, the environment, everything will be different. I love learning new things but maybe this is not the exact way I thought I would learn about this country. Parents always make the best decision for us, maybe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. From now on I have a whole new life waiting for me ahead
It was now two years since we were in Pakistan. Everything was just perfect, nothing could be better.
Grandma’s health was perfectly fine, we had our own house, Hamza and I went to a new school, Mom was the main head of administration of our school, I had a lot of friends and I got to know so much about my family. We were perfectly settled in our new life. Every day felt like a new adventure.
There was only one thing. Just recently, my other grandma died. She was my dad’s mother. I became really close to her during this time she lived us. She always guided us towards the right thing and was a great support when my dad wasn’t here. It was a great loss for us. Dad lived in Houston to take care of his transportation business. He only visited Pakistan in summer to stay with us. Grandma died in winter, but that wasn’t the problem. He tried to come to his mother’s funeral but he wasn’t able to because he didn’t find a flight during that time. It was a very sad moment.
I was now 11 years old and was in 6th grade while Hamza was 8 years old and was in 3rd grade. We just gave our final exams for the whole school year and summer was right around the corner. We were so excited to meet dad after 4 months, but a little sad for him too. He always met his mother when he came but this time he won’t.
Mom called us to talk to dad on Skype, I was always thrilled to talk to dad, and however this time I felt a little depressed. Dad told us that he booked his ticket to come to Pakistan next week. I wondered if I should say YAY or BOOHOO. I saw that mom was giving eye signals to Dad, yet I didn’t know what it was about. Dad gave a big sigh and said,
“I am coming to bring you guys with me.”
“What! We just got settled here. We can’t leave!” I said
“It’s just a one year trip. I promise we will come back.”
“I can’t let you guys live alone. First you used to live with my mom but now she died. We will work on the business a little more and then shut it down. Then, I will always stay with you guys.”
I was feeling a little lonely without dad here, so I thought if we sacrificed for this one year, our family will always stay together.
Today was the day dad was coming. Mom told me that we will only stay here for one more month. During that time, we will pack all our stuff up and close the house. I remembered the last time mom said that same dialogue, when we were coming to Pakistan, but now everything is happening all over again. I took a deep breath and thought about the way my life has been going,
“First America, Then Pakistan, and once again America”
It was all like a merry – go –round that never stops...
We enjoyed a lot with dad in Pakistan. We went to our favorite places and ate different kinds of food from favored restaurants.
The first few days were really tough for dad as he was feeling sorrow for his mother’s death, but he started feeling better when he realized that it was all just the cycle of life. I never saw Dad with such pain in his heart.
Mom was always rushing us to pack our stuff and throw all the un-needed stuff in the trash. This time I packed every single thing of mine so I won’t have to worry about it later. Hamza barely packed anything. He said he was going to buy new stuff from America, but Mom wasn’t going to let that happen. Dad didn’t have to do any packing, as all his stuff was already in his suitcase. It was just mom and I that had to do the work.
Throughout the last week before we left, all our relatives came to our house to say goodbye. It was really good to see them before we left. The person I was going to miss the most was my Grandma. She was the one who took us to a whole new adventure in our lives.
The excitement was killing me. My heart was beating faster than the speed of light, I was wearing my best traveling clothes and my suitcase was all packed and ready to go. It was the day…the day I was going back to U.S.A
Everything was done. We met all our relatives, packed our luggage, and closed the house. I had the same feeling in me as I had the day we left Houston; excitement.
Mom had booked a van to take us to the airport as, we couldn’t fit all our luggage in on car. Once we arrived there, my body started shivering. All I wondering was where my life takes me next. There was so much traveling, but we just didn’t settle in one place.
I asked Dad about some of the problems we might have to face when we go back to Houston, but he said that he already worked them out. I saw that everyone besides me was completely relaxed, I was taking this thing to tough. Mom told me to calm down and take a quick nap before we land, but I couldn’t I was worried and excited at the same time. As I heard this harmonious music, I found myself feeling doozy. The next thing you know I was asleep.
“Thank you for flying with American Airlines, We hope you enjoyed the flight. You have now arrived to Houston” said the air hostess standing in front of me. I got up from my seat and grabbed my luggage.
“We’re finally here! Said Hamza.
After we got off the plane, dad got a taxi for us to go home.
As we got off the taxi, we opened the door and got in the house. It felt so good to finally step in the house from where our journey began.
I am now living in Houston Texas with my family. I used to be this girl who was sick of too much traveling, but I realized that adventures are the best way to learn new things. No matter how short your journey is, it always teaches you a whole new lesson. I don’t know where I’ll end up next, but I’m sure that I’ll discover a lot. Always remember, your journey never ends.