Phi Phi Island, Thailand
27th Oct 2003: I open the curtains and the stunning view leaves me mesmerized. I stare out at the shimmering blue water against the backdrop of a green mountain. Could such beauty really exist? It’s my first trip to the Far East and I’m with my husband who I married a few days ago. It’s the first time we’re together but it doesn’t feel that way. The hesitation I felt in the beginning seems to have melted away.
Security Council, UN HQ, New York
10th May 2004: We are at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. We are standing outside wondering how to get in. My husband sends me forward as he thinks I look less of a Pakistani and therefore less suspicious. I get the details and we enter the building. A few hours and many photos later we stop by a McDonalds for lunch. We are touring the United States and have 3 weeks to see as much as we can. I have discovered that my husband loves seeing new places even though he is not too adventurous.
16th Nov 2005: We have rented a car to tour the small island of Langkawi in Malaysia. We have already been in the cable car and now we’ll see the rest of the sights by car. I ask my husband if I can drive the car too but he makes an excuse. I have learnt that he likes to be in charge and I don’t mind. I’ll just relax and enjoy the ride.
Isle de Brehat, Brittany, France
30th Sept 2006: I’m with my colleagues from Pakistan on training in France. We have a car to ourselves and each weekend we visit a new place. Brittany is incredibly beautiful and peaceful. But every night as I lie down to sleep, my heart aches. 5 weeks away from my husband is the longest separation I have had to bear. So this is what being in love feels like.
View from my hotel room, Cairo, Egypt
6th Nov 2007: I can see the Nile from the terrace of my hotel room. The night view is the most gorgeous I have seen. But my mind is thousands of miles away. I wait for my husband to call me. I want to tell him about the incredible room I’ve got. I know he’ll call exactly when he said he will. I know very well how punctual and organized he is. Having to travel without him is such a headache.
8th Mar 2009: We are holidaying in a mountain resort in Nathiagali in Pakistan. We have bought our first home together and cannot afford to make an international trip. It has been the biggest achievement of our lives. People take all their lives to build their own home. Although I also made a major contribution I have to say that my husband is the most hard-working man I have ever met.
Father and son fast asleep
19th Aug 2012: We are on a plane to Maldives for our first international trip with our son. He is old enough now for us to manage well. I have brought his jigsaw puzzles and his coloring pencils to keep him occupied. But he soon grows bored and wants to go over to his dad. He snuggles up with him and they both fall asleep. I look at the two men in my life and I feel content.
23rd Dec 2013: There is only a day left for me to do our packing. Since we’re going by car I’m not too worried as there are no weight restrictions. But I should make a list of all of my son’s things as they will be the most in number. Toys, clothes, snacks, I really must make a list. I hope it’s not too cold and we can enjoy the beach. I’m sure we’ll have some good family time together. This time of the year is always exciting for me, the end of the year and the start of a new year. A time of hope, reflection and gratitude. It will be the last vacation of the year but God willing there are many more exciting times to come.
Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of Years Past