They say you cry two times when you go to Pakistan, first when you hear you are being posted to Pakistan & the second when your posting is over & you have to leave Pakistan. Ok! So let me explain the former part ” you cry when you hear you are being posted to Pakistan”.
As Pakistan is among the third world countries so all you can think about is the bumpy roads, unhygienic food, malaria, terrorism ( what you hear from media) and the list goes on. One the contrary roads are good enough, the environment is clean rather you enjoy all the four seasons and Islamabad is quite safe especially for expats. In general, houses are bigger in Pakistan if you compare with Europe. Expats get the accommodation in one of the nicest areas in Islamabad, the villas they are so huge & nice that you would never feel like leaving them.
I was being lucky enough getting married to an expat & enjoyed the privilege of being an expat in my own country. Islamabad is so beautiful & surrounded by Margalla hills. There are a variety of food options in Islamabad but you have to get used to a bit spicy food. My husband never had food poisoning living there for almost 3 years but according to him, he has a bulletproof stomach hahaha! Yes, mangoes are the best in Pakistan & you cannot resist yourself from overeating.
Almost every evening we enjoyed having receptions from different countries national days and other social events like an art gallery opening, National days, carnival, Oktoberfest and etc, so this is a cost cutting if you are expat in Pakistan, you never have to cook dinner hahaha! There is a small community of expats in Islamabad from different countries and you get to know about a different culture and meet people around the world. I met people from Guyana, Cameroon, Senegal in Islamabad and to be honest I never knew about these countries if they existed. There is a forum for international community i.e.Jenny’s list for upcoming events, buy & sell, etc. There are international schools. Hospitals are good, many of the expat’s wives deliver their babies here instead of going back alone to their country only for delivery. For expats, Pakistan is a heaven of fabrics, carpets & handicrafts. Expats enjoy playing golf & polo in Islamabad as its quite cheap there comparing with other countries.
Recently one of my friend in Abu Dhabi asked me that how did you meet your husband in Pakistan? I thought there are no foreigners in Pakistan. Of course, there are a lot of foreigners in Islamabad from UN, International NGOs, Multinational companies & diplomats from the embassies.
There are so many places to visit in Pakistan, the beautiful mountains of northern areas, historical places in Lahore and Taxila, salt mines in Khewra, the beach in Karachi and the list go on.
Islamabad itself has so much to offer like we used to go for hiking and cycling, walk with a beautiful view of margalla hills and greenery around. Our house was quite near to margalla hills so every day we were receiving guests in our garden, guess who?? The Monkeys!!! Oh my god, that is so exciting to have monkeys in your own garden.
People of Pakistan are so hospitable, I am not saying this because I am Pakistani, this is what most of the foreigners say including my husband. My husband loved Pakistan so much that he permanently took a piece of it hahaha! This is what he says and I am flattered.
There is a foreign women association for international ladies in Islamabad who are doing coffee mornings every month. Each country’s embassy or lady is organizing coffee morning offering their local food, culture and many more activities for the housewives of expats. From these activities, the ladies get to socialize with each other.
Expats just love playing Golf here as it is quite affordable as compared to other countries.
Foreigners are being treated as VIPs and local people just adore & respect them, they would like to take a picture with them which gives the feeling of being a celebrity.
Now comes the later part ” you cry when you have to leave this country” after enjoying all the above-mentioned blessings one would never feel like leaving this country. Most of the expats/diplomats say that they can never receive such love, privilege & respect in any other country like in Pakistan. I saw them trying hard to prolong their posting in Pakistan, so here comes the part when you have to bid farewell to the nice people and wonderful country with a heavy heart.
I challenge you to come to Pakistan & enjoy its hospitality. Once you stay in Pakistan all you can think about its beauty and hospitality, not of terrorism. Hopefully, after reading this you will cry only once.
So The Future Expats, Have a great stay in Pakistan. Come and spoil yourself.