I'm at a crossroads - I ponder, quite often, where I will be next. I don't mean where I will travel to, although that does come into it. But what I mean is where in the world, does someone like me consider home? I'm really drawn to do something positive for my people - so I would like to make a positive impact in the Pashtoon heartlands. But I'm a British oddity and I think of things like career and schooling for the children. I'm also very affected by the security situation and the availability of basics such as electricity and clean water. Where exactly, can I find my bit of spiritually - to whence do I belong?
The places that I wanted to travel to this summer - Swat and Afghanistan - I am now being warned against going to. With the war, I am affected again. I had hoped to spend time in the villages in Lower Swat, to take in the environment, to give my children the opportunity to keep up with their Pashto and to look, interact and learn. Of course, the same can happen elsewhere, but this was going to be different.
This summer is something of an open-book. The Swat refugee crisis created something of an emergency so the wedding that we had intended to attend in the valley was brought forward and took place in Karachi last week. My wife and daughter flew there for a couple of days - it was her brother's wedding after all. I still intend to travel to Pakistan, and our initial plan is to stay in the family home in Karachi. I'm still keen on going to Afghanistan, but will need to judge the mood. In any case, very shortly we will be travelling to Toronto, Canada where I intend to "land" as an immigrant.
... InshAllah, a whole new chapter awaits to be written ...