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Moving to Pakistan from the US

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(Or any other Western country) 

Has anyone here done so? What was your experience like? I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I was wondering what you guys think. It's not something I'd do say, next week but I think I'd like to someday. I might just be naive and the bubble I've grown up in is protecting me from seeing the reality? I love going to Pakistan (I've stayed in village and city) but I might just like it to the point of a vacation? I want to ask my family to let me go there for longer after graduation so I can experience it. I feel more comfortable in Pakistan being a hijabi than where I've lived for two decades. I never feel comfortable being who I am and looking the way I look here. I'm just waiting for the next day someone harasses me about it. I like the idea of being closer (not too close lol) to family as well, rather than being so far away in times of hardship or loss. Mostly I've always wanted to move there to be able to help people as much as possible in any way I can. I know that can be done anywhere but I want to be completely involved in the process of helping as much as I can. I don't mean to sound too fake but I want to live my life in service of those who haven't been as blessed as I have. However I worry about the level of freedom I'd have if I lived there being a woman. What would working there be like? Could I go out for a coffee on my own whenever I wanted or needed? (I apologize if that sounds, well ignorant but someone from there told me these exact things and said I'd have little freedom) Once again I probably sound very naive but I'd like to know what you all think, especially people who have lived/live in Pakistan. Thank you! 

Edited by eloquence

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1 hour ago, eloquence said:

However I worry about the level of freedom I'd have if I lived there being a woman. What would working there be like? Could I go out for a coffee on my own whenever I wanted or needed? (I apologize if that sounds, well ignorant but someone from there told me these exact things and said I'd have little freedom) Once again I probably sound very naive but I'd like to know what you all think, especially people who have lived/live in Pakistan. Thank you! 

Salam aleykom, 

I can relate to what you're thinking about as I too think about similar things. 

I'm not from Pakistan so I can't tell how it is there. But when I was in Iraq I just went out for a walk to get acquainted with the neighbourhood. When I came back the world was upside down and my family was hysterical and they were just about to report me missing to the police even though I had told my cousin about that I was gonna take a walk. 

My relatives claim that people get kidnapped there and raped or killed and that several people in the neighborhood have been subjected to that.

Personally I feel that they are a bit hysterical, but then again I haven't lived there so I don't know. 

Oh wait, actually one male relative, 15 year old was kidnapped and murdered, so maybe this is why they are so hysterical. 

Anyway, this restriction of freedom is one of the biggest downsides of living in these kinds of societies, especially for us who are used to freedom in the West. 

If you can tolerate that then it shouldn't be that big of a deal. 

Edited by Carlzone

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5 hours ago, Carlzone said:

Salam aleykom, 

Anyway, this restriction of freedom is one of the biggest downsides of living in these kinds of societies, especially for us who are used to freedom in the West. 

If you can tolerate that then it shouldn't be that big of a deal. 

Wa Alaykum Salam

Thank you for your reply 

I'm familiar with that kind of behavior from family there too. However I'm sure it depends on where you live. I don't know about Iraq but there are areas which are obviously safer than others in Pakistan. There's also been a trend of creating gated communities for the more well off people lately so that could be an option. Where I live now (and I'm sure in many many other places) there are areas in which violence is common as well...so I guess it's maybe just a matter of figuring out what areas are safer to live in? 

Edited by eloquence

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4 minutes ago, eloquence said:

Wa Alaykum Salam

Thank you for your reply 

I'm familiar with that kind of behavior from family there too. However I'm sure it depends on where you live. I don't know about Iraq but there are areas which are obviously safer than others in Pakistan. There's also been a trend of creating gated communities for the more well off people lately so that could be an option. Where I live now (and I'm sure in many many other places) there are areas in which violence is common as well...so I guess it's maybe just a matter of figuring out what areas are safer to live in? 

In my case it was in Karbala. 

Well you could of course do that, but make sure that the information you get is truly accurate before you make such a big decision. 

And before you move there go stay there for long periods for instance 2-3 months and see if you can tolerate it. 

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7 minutes ago, eloquence said:

Wa Alaykum Salam

Thank you for your reply 

I'm familiar with that kind of behavior from family there too. However I'm sure it depends on where you live. I don't know about Iraq but there are areas which are obviously safer than others in Pakistan. There's also been a trend of creating gated communities for the more well off people lately so that could be an option. Where I live now (and I'm sure in many many other places) there are areas in which violence is common as well...so I guess it's maybe just a matter of figuring out what areas are safer to live in? 

Salam.

I lived in Karachi, Pakistan for a year and one thing I can tell you for sure is that if your family is traditional and follow their culture strictly, the freedoms you get here in the West won’t be given to you in Pakistan. I could never imagine going out there on my own for coffee or even for a walk because people will talk about you a lot and your family over there probably won’t be okay with it either. However, if your family is a little bit more understanding and open-minded to a woman going out on her own, working etc. then it may not be such a big issue for you. It depends where you live. If you live in the village areas, people tend to be more cultural and strict, whereas if you live in the city, people might be somewhat more lenient and not as close-minded.

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Bismehe Ta3ala 

Assalam Alikum 

In Lebanon, Alhamd'Allah rab al 3lameen it is safe.  Not only go out for coffee but argeela too.  Argeela is a huge problem unfortunately, it causes mixed gatherings and I find it poison for all ages, especially the youth.

I go out during all times of the day and night and Alhamd'Allah it is safe.  I am blessed to live in the Dahiya.  We have masajad in every neighborhood, a bustling city, and a dynamic community.

It's not everyone's cup of tea if you are looking for organization, time management, and order but if you love action and a vibrant city, Dahiya is the place to live! :)

M3 Salamah, Fe Amin Allah 

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How about economic troubles? I heard there were riots going on in Iraq lately over food shortages and bad quality of living. A friend of mine told me they're over now but obviously thats an issue in Iraq and Iran as well has an increasingly turbulent economic situation. If you can't find work where are you going to live?

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On 8/1/2018 at 3:45 PM, eloquence said:

(Or any other Western country) 

Has anyone here done so? What was your experience like? I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I was wondering what you guys think. It's not something I'd do say, next week but I think I'd like to someday. I might just be naive and the bubble I've grown up in is protecting me from seeing the reality? I love going to Pakistan (I've stayed in village and city) but I might just like it to the point of a vacation? I want to ask my family to let me go there for longer after graduation so I can experience it. I feel more comfortable in Pakistan being a hijabi than where I've lived for two decades. I never feel comfortable being who I am and looking the way I look here. I'm just waiting for the next day someone harasses me about it. I like the idea of being closer (not too close lol) to family as well, rather than being so far away in times of hardship or loss. Mostly I've always wanted to move there to be able to help people as much as possible in any way I can. I know that can be done anywhere but I want to be completely involved in the process of helping as much as I can. I don't mean to sound too fake but I want to live my life in service of those who haven't been as blessed as I have. However I worry about the level of freedom I'd have if I lived there being a woman. What would working there be like? Could I go out for a coffee on my own whenever I wanted or needed? (I apologize if that sounds, well ignorant but someone from there told me these exact things and said I'd have little freedom) Once again I probably sound very naive but I'd like to know what you all think, especially people who have lived/live in Pakistan. Thank you! 

I was a Canadian-raised teenager when I moved to Pakistan to live with my grandparents many years ago, and I spent a decent amount of time in the country. 

I can't emphasize enough that it is not easy at first for any Westerner. People talk about 'culture shock' a lot, but I think the term is a bit of misnomer. I experienced language shock more than anything else — no matter how good you think your Urdu is, if you don't think, sleep, and eat the language like a native speaker, you'll struggle to communicate with those around you. Surround yourself with as many people like you as possible, whether they be other Westerners who've moved to Pakistan or upper-class Pakistanis who you can hold a conversation with. Fitting in with the poor village cousins we all have is an idyllic picture in theory, but it's never a reality. While I'm not trying to be classist, I can say from experience that if you live exclusively in that setting, you'll lose hope quickly. Without anyone you can befriend, this can quickly turn into the darkest times of your life.

All of that fear-mongering aside, I can also tell you that the 'safety' and 'freedom' concerns diaspora families heap on their kids are so vastly overblown, it's ridiculous. If you know where to go and live (especially in the gated communities you referenced), Pakistan can be more progressive and liberal than any Western nation-state in the world. This is especially true if you're coming from a middle or lower-middle class background in the States, because the type of money you'll be bringing over translates immediately into upper-class Pakistani life. Extramarital sex, parties, alcohol, and drugs are all to be had, but not in a proportion that would be shocking to anyone who was raised in America. Obviously this is comparatively private and muted in order to protect the Islamic Republic's image, but it can sometimes be shocking to realize for Pakistani diaspora kids who've been spoon-fed the image of a conservative society; in a nation of 193 million people and widespread wealth inequality, it's also inevitable.

This is all on a bit of a tangent, but what I'm trying to say is that the image you have of not being able to go out to a coffee shop on your own is probably not true. Now, I say this theoretically because it also depends heavily on your situational context. As the poster above mentioned, if you just walk out of your conservative family home in the village for a coffee at the local paan shop, all hell will break loose. But on the other hand, if your parent/husband is a bit more open-minded or of a higher class (as I assume they would be for a American-Pakistani), Lahore is teeming with coffee shops that are full of rich, young Pakistani girls surfing their computers or chatting with their girlfriends. Again, this depends 100% on where you are and if you know where to go. The biggest point in your favor is that you look Pakistani, even if you don't sound Pakistani. So as long as you don't open your mouth or do anything drastic, no one'll stare at you for any longer than the five minutes they spend blissfully eyeing every other passerby (seriously, the total lack of Western social decorum between strangers in public'll take some getting used to :grin:).

What will the personal circumstances of your trip be (ie: studying, working, etc.)? Do you know what city you'd be living in? The time I spent in Pakistan was split between a more conservative, rigid house while I was living with my grandparents, and a freer time living in an upper-class gated Lahori community, so I think I can shed light on both if you have more questions. The latter period was a wonderful experience, and I made many friends that I still count as among my closest. If anything ever happens here in Canada, I know I'll always have another social circle to fall back on on the other side of the world.

This type of long-term travelling can be frustrating, trying, scary, and even downright depressive, but the beauty of human beings is that they always find a way to adapt, no matter how long it takes. Over time, you'll find that your Urdu improves, your get closer to your religion (Muharrams and Ramadhans back home are like nothing else), you begin to make friends, and you start feeling like your identity is more Pakistani than Western. If the situation is right and you get assurances from the people you go there with — make the jump. You won't regret it.

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Welcome :verryhappy:

 If you are comparing your freedom with western countries yes you'll find difficulty to set in.. Here finding jobs for girls is more easy than it is for men :D(especially because of rapid growth of educational sectors) One can go out alone (that's a bit risky at night) As for the problems, you'll witness traffic problem for sure (because people don't have to pay for car but for Jeeto Pakistan Jeeto passes only:shifty:)

As for the extreme plus point.. We have some shia colonies,safe and sound. If you are being insecure somewhere then somewhere you'll find the (unbiological) brothers (ready to help you, how can they just pop up when you need, can't solve this mystery yet) 

. So again if you are here by keeping in mind that you'll be same as in west then it will be hard for you!

Which reminds me, there was a boy in our university he was a exchange student from Turkey.. When i saw him i just can't believe it because except his language He totally adjusted in Pakistani style... And He was soo addicted to karak dodh patti chai:D!

We should accept some reasonable limitations of where we wants to  be.

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There's a youtube channel by makemeup89. She was from US, she got married and moved to a VILLAGE in Pakistan. I think she is only liking it because she travels a lot and goes to a lot of restaurants. There was also a model Annie Ali Khan. She lived abroad for seven years and recently moved back to Pakistan. She had become a writer and I guess she was successful. But recently, she committed suicide. 

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@eloquence   Sis, I would advise you to relocate to somewhere else in the US rather than Pakistan if you have never lived in Pakistan. Though life isn't at tough here as some expatriates think, but it certainly takes some time adjusting to things here.You can go out alone for coffee, or shisha or shopping, or aerobics (and I live in a smallish town..errr... close to where your family lives ;) ) You will have a LOT of men staring at you lolz, this is something I haven't been able to come to terms with even though I have lived my whole life here. 

I like your sentiments about helping people but you will have to make connections and develop a social circle to be able to do that. Why don't you do your degree , come and live here for a year to see how to you like it here. 

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On 8/1/2018 at 10:57 PM, Carlzone said:

In my case it was in Karbala. 

Well you could of course do that, but make sure that the information you get is truly accurate before you make such a big decision. 

And before you move there go stay there for long periods for instance 2-3 months and see if you can tolerate it. 

Would you move there if you thought it was safer? Thank you for the advice! :)

On 8/1/2018 at 11:01 PM, NooralHussain said:

Salam.

I lived in Karachi, Pakistan for a year and one thing I can tell you for sure is that if your family is traditional and follow their culture strictly, the freedoms you get here in the West won’t be given to you in Pakistan. I could never imagine going out there on my own for coffee or even for a walk because people will talk about you a lot and your family over there probably won’t be okay with it either. However, if your family is a little bit more understanding and open-minded to a woman going out on her own, working etc. then it may not be such a big issue for you. It depends where you live. If you live in the village areas, people tend to be more cultural and strict, whereas if you live in the city, people might be somewhat more lenient and not as close-minded.

Yes, I know what you mean! In certain areas where my family lives its almost impossible to even go out to visit someone in the neighborhood. My husband lived in the city and is more open minded (as well as his family). 

--- 

So sorry I haven't replied in so long everyone! Thank you all so much for reading and/or replying!

Also I'm sorry if I have too many separate replies, I'm trying to put them together but am a little technologically illiterate :blush:

Edited by eloquence

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On 8/1/2018 at 11:39 PM, Laayla said:

It's not everyone's cup of tea if you are looking for organization, time management, and order but if you love action and a vibrant city, Dahiya is the place to live! :)

M3 Salamah, Fe Amin Allah 

That sounds lovely! Maybe somewhere in Pakistan can be just that for me too! (InshaAllah)

On 8/2/2018 at 1:12 AM, Mansur Bakhtiari said:

How about economic troubles? I heard there were riots going on in Iraq lately over food shortages and bad quality of living. A friend of mine told me they're over now but obviously thats an issue in Iraq and Iran as well has an increasingly turbulent economic situation. If you can't find work where are you going to live?

 Yes, this is one of the bigger issues that I was thinking about. Pakistani youth often say they have a hard time finding jobs at all. I feel like I need to move forward in my career before going anywhere just to be secure. (which may take a while :/)

On 8/2/2018 at 1:56 AM, Shaykh Patience101 said:

If the situation is right and you get assurances from the people you go there with — make the jump. You won't regret it.

Thank you so much for your insight! I can almost picture it :P 

I know what you mean about the language barrier (and my first language isn't even Urdu!) I feel anxious speaking to in laws because of it lol. My dream of fitting in with cousins from the village was shattered long ago, haha. As far as how progressive certain classes/ areas of Pakistan are I've learned that myself over the past few years, and yeah was I shocked. But I mean, what do we expect? Especially in this age and time. In laws live in the city so that's a plus. I wonder if the Muharam and Ramadan experience would be similar for a woman? I know the women in my family don't like either there. And I've always loved both here (especially Muharam). To be quite honest the only thing I really do worry about is the safety. Especially being a Shia. You go to ...cast your vote and don't come back alive...

(Sorry that paragraph was completely jumbled lol)

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28 minutes ago, eloquence said:

Would you move there if you thought it was safer? Thank you for the advice! :)

Yes, I know what you mean! In certain areas where my family lives its almost impossible to even go out to visit someone in the neighborhood. My husband has lived in the city most of his life though and he's more open minded (as well as his family). 

--- 

So sorry I haven't replied in so long everyone! Thank you all so much for reading and/or replying!

Also I'm sorry if I have too many separate replies, I'm trying to put them together but am a little technologically illiterate :blush:

Yes I would! :)

I'm technically illiterate too :accident:

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On 8/2/2018 at 2:51 PM, Fakeha said:

We should accept some reasonable limitations of where we wants to  be.

That's interesting, I didn't know that it was easier for women to find jobs. I've actually heard its worse because of the harassment they face. Of course I understand that everything may not be the same as it is in the West but I would still like to have some freedom

On 8/2/2018 at 4:14 PM, rkazmi33 said:

There's a youtube channel by makemeup89. 

I think I've seen her. Maybe its because she has the money to live a comfortable life that she likes it so much?

On 8/6/2018 at 1:52 PM, starlight said:

@eloquence   Sis, I would advise you to relocate to somewhere else in the US rather than Pakistan if you have never lived in Pakistan. Though life isn't at tough here as some expatriates think, but it certainly takes some time adjusting to things here.You can go out alone for coffee, or shisha or shopping, or aerobics (and I live in a smallish town..errr... close to where your family lives ;) ) You will have a LOT of men staring at you lolz, this is something I haven't been able to come to terms with even though I have lived my whole life here. 

I like your sentiments about helping people but you will have to make connections and develop a social circle to be able to do that. Why don't you do your degree , come and live here for a year to see how to you like it here. 

Ugh I know what you mean about the stares! People even stared when me and my husband were together which was even weirder for me lol. But honestly people here stare at me/look at me weird all the time lol. I always feel like an outsider.

That's what I was thinking! I need to be sure I have something to fall back on too, I guess? Do you think a few months would be an okay time?

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