The expat dilemma: living abroad

I have spent all of my professional life abroad, living and working in a city I had no family in and knew nothing about. As soon as I got my job offer, I grabbed it with both hands, as one does. LOL. Once I moved and my initial excitement wore off, I realized I missed home more than I had anticipated. But this was home now, or I had to make it one.


I would fly back to Karachi every weekend, then take an early morning flight to Abu Dhabi before starting work on Sunday (Sunday is our Monday in UAE!). On repeat. Almost every weekend for about 2 years.

It took some time to realize that Karachi is home, but its not my home anymore.Β I was the most original version of myself there, but I had changed so much as well.


I was torn- leaving my family behind but looking forward to going home and sleeping in my own bed, driving my own car and slipping back into my own routine. I wanted to stay forever but also craved my life back in Abu Dhabi. One wasn’t better than the other, they were just so different and oh so dear!

Somehow in the process of making another country my home, I grew disconnected from the day to day life back in Pakistan. My sister now has to tell me which new clothing shops have opened up since I last visited and Ami has to remind me where the cutlery goes in her kitchen. There came a point when my desi wardrobe shrunk to a bare minimum (#notbroke), I met more people from other regions of the world than from Pakistan.

Suddenly I realized I no longer knew many mundane details about life in my home country that ironically I did know about my ‘adopted’ country.


You know when you live in a certain place, it slowly starts to take over you. It resonates with your heart, your mind, and your thoughts and somehow nestles deep into your conscience. It becomes synonymous with comfort and warmth. Its daily struggles become your way of life. Going back home reminds me of where I came from and may be eventually, where I will go back to.

Isn’t that the expat dilemma- knowing why you live abroad and knowing when its time to come back home?

Happy independence day Pakistan, my dearest home.


11 thoughts on “The expat dilemma: living abroad

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  1. Girl, you always shock me with your words and thoughts on this blog. Every single expat feeling is so accurately penned I can almost not believe it’s coming from my baby sister.

    Liked by 1 person

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