Home. There’s something refreshingly normal about being home. Within a few seconds of making my way out of the airport in Karachi and into my parents’ warm arms, everything became so very familiar. Sitting in the back of the car as we pulled out of the airport, I had to remind myself that this is not ‘normal’. You’ve waited to be here, Josh. Now enjoy it and appreciate it like you waited for it. But I do enjoy it. I do enjoy being home. I just enjoy the normalcy of it.
Somehow the familiarity of home adds to the enjoyment, or reflects it, at least. If I was constantly reminded how strange it was to be home, it wouldn’t really be home, would it? But instead, it’s in the places where everything is as expected that I often experience the most joy.
I do feel the shock of transition when it comes to driving here, as we slip though the gaps between trucks and cars, with motorcycles flying by on all sides. Driving feels more like a chase scene out of a James Bond movie – the only difference being that here most of it takes place between forty and fifty kilometers an hour. In these cases, speed and excitement do not necessarily correlate. What, in Canada, would be a slow residential speed turns into a breath-taking and white-knuckled death race amongst the streets of Karachi, dodging the potholes, pedestrians, fruit carts and animals.
However, the rest of my time is so very regular – sitting around the dinner table, or being in the kitchen. The smells, the sounds, and the tastes are all so beautifully familiar. Aching sides seems to be a fairly common ailment while with family, as we bring ourselves to tears laughing at each other’s expense, and usually without any real explainable reason. Already I’ve had to rub my sore cheeks from spells of smiling too long. In some ways I’m glad my time here is interspersed with the occasional argument with my brother, just to make sure my angry, frustrated and annoyed facial muscles get some exercise as well. But that’s all quite familiar too. Quite normal.
Home is normal. Normal is home.