Home away from home

I had never thought of any place other than Karachi as my home, but I recently debated about what home really means. Since I was born and raised in Pakistan, it has the label of being my home country. However, I soon realized ‘home’ is more of a feeling, rather than one definite place.

When I went to the US for my bachelors, I eventually became home sick. I often missed various parts of my home country, Pakistan. I was able to find solace in small things which made me feel close to home like the events by International Club or Pakistani food. The Pakistan flag was a must on my dorm room wall. I often made the mistake of referring to my dorm room as home. I figured out it wasn’t really a mistake. 

During my third year, I decided to come to London for a semester abroad, and I am more than happy about my decision. London soon became one of my favourite cities, with few friends and family near me as well. Pakistani cuisine was also quite easy to find, but it did not stop me from feeling home sick. However, I realized that this time it was not Pakistan that I only missed, but a lot of aspects of Knox and Galesburg as well. I often saw pictures of my friends at Knox taking part in some major events of Fall term and wished I was there. It brought back memories of me being there during my first two years of college. Residing here in London, I started to consider Knox to be my home as well.

Roaming around in a London hoodie, exploring new places every week and taking photos everywhere, I still felt like a tourist in London. This feeling changed when I decided to travel during Mid-term break. It was a dream come true and I checked off many things from my bucket list when I went to three different countries in Europe during my break. Rome, Amsterdam and Berlin were all extraordinary cities, with lots to see and do. It seemed as if my picture in front of the Colosseum was photoshopped, rather than actually being there. It felt surreal and unbelievable to actually see one of the wonders of the world, I had always studied about. Swinging over the edge at Adam’s Lookout, while seeing Amsterdam from 100 meters high at night was one of the most thrilling experiences. Lastly, learning more about Germany’s history and seeing some of the bullet holes in the buildings from the war made me feel really sad and more enlightened. Exploring parts of Europe was great but by the eighth day of travelling and being a tourist, I missed London and wanted to go home. Yes, I missed the homely feeling I got in London. After a memorable trip, seeing the South Kensington underground station again and the walk back to Manson Place felt so familiar. It was great to be back home, and being able to sleep in my own bed. 

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