Tomorrow I fly to Pakistan with my mother. This will be the first time I have gone without my brothers or father to see our family in Pakistan. I am eager to see my extended family in Pakistan, but being without the rest of my immediate family seems a strange idea.

I guess that in addition to this oddness, I have not really had the time to adjust my mind to going. Although I have told a number of my friends, it seems a distant event (- it’s not! It’s tomorrow! My brain needs to compute this!). We booked the tickets a week and a half ago and then I was promptly dropped into my Romantics Open Exam – by the way: Byron rules ALL.

A number of my friends have no idea of what Pakistan is like, and although this is completely normal and expected, I feel like I need to show them this side of my life. It’s a big part of me, albeit not one I always talk about.

So, here’s what I’m excited about:

– My family – they’re awesome and always lively, especially the young people. It’s very nice and humbling that, despite how long we spend apart, my family always welcomes us back and are so kind to us.

– Seeing my mum with her siblings – they’re a riot when they’re together, seriously, it’s a little odd.

– Rickshaws – ‘nough said.

-MOTORBIKES – I make it my mission to get my uncles to take me on a ride at least once during my trip. It looks hilarious because I have to sit like a man, whereas most of the girls in Pakistan have learnt to sit side-saddle, very elegantly – and not fall off. Naturally, I have no such talent.

And what I’m worried about:

– Long distance plane travel – not exactly a nightmare of mine, but I’ll be in a flying metal tube for approximately ten hours. The intricacies of flight are lost on me, and if I knew of them then I’d probably panic more, so maybe my ignorance is for the best.

– The political situation – hopefully not too bad, but still not exactly comforting.

– My lack of language – after twenty-one years of life, my Urdu is still shamefully bad. I am hoping that two weeks of intense speaking will help me get better, but I do tend to panic when I have to speak to people. Not good.

– Revision – I honestly need to study. I cannot stress how badly I will fail my exams if I do not study adequately over Easter.

From the length of these lists it looks like I’m very worried, but this isn’t true at all. I’m definitely looking forwards to this trip.

I shall also try to find some books/poems of Pakistani origin should anyone be interested (because hey, lit student!). There are lots around, and the ones I’ve read are of a very high standard and are very interesting. To start you off here’s a good one:

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid. This is mostly set in America, but it’s very engaging and highlights the culture shock/ clash that is involved when moving between very different cultures. Also, the use of first person narrative is fantastic! (Please note: the underlying hint of terrorism/ extremism is not an accurate reflection of