Since deciding to move to Pakistan I’ve received a myriad of responses. It occurred to me yesterday to start cataloging them, you know, just for interest’s sake. I have heard everything from outright concern to outright support and finally to outright ignorance coupled with some serious religious discrimination. The larger question for me is not how other people respond but how do I respond to their responses; a tightrope dance of listening openly and answering truthfully.
“Beautiful place. I’ve been thinking of moving there with my family, or maybe to Afganistan as well.”
“How adventurous! You’ll have to let me know what your experiences are like there…I’ve never known anyone who has been to Pakistan.”
“Why Pakistan? Go anywhere but Pakistan! I have no respect for Pakistani’s, unless they’re not living in Pakistan. You’ll probably have to wear one of those head covering thingies. There are so many better places to go. You’re a fool to go there.”
“Pakistan! (Face darkening) I hate Pakistan! Oh well I don’t hate Pakistani’s it’s just…they’re our rivals in cricket.”
“Pakistan? Is it safe there…”
To be honest, no it’s not safe there, but anyone who reads the news knows that full well. In the same stroke, I’m more likely to be hurt in a car accident than in any kind of militant violence; I take my life in my hands every time I get into a taxi or cross the street in Dalian! But that doesn’t dispel the fact that there is serious unrest and instability in Pakistan. I’m not playing the blissfully ignorant card, but I am going to trust that I will be safe there. If your someone who cars about me (if your not then I question who you are and why your reading my blog?:) I would like to kindly request that you put out the same trust; that I will be as safe in Pakistan as I would be anywhere else. Worry is an emotion I don’t want wasted on me, especially when it achieves the exact opposite of its initial intentions. I promise I will extend you the same courtesy of trusting support should you and when you’ll need it.
The experience of juggling others responses to my life decisions has reminded me of something important: When you don’t understand something or have no background in it, be open-minded, ask questions but don’t under any circumstances act like you have the answers. It makes you sound like a careless and ignorant bigot at best. Hence the title “Get your head out of your ass, Rick”.