How do you celebrate an anniversary with a country? It certainly feels like a serious relationship that I am currently in with Pakistan, so reaching our one-year mark felt like something to acknowledge with a nice dinner. The answer was to go to the Treehouse, a new-ish Italian restaurant up on the hill overlooking all of Islamabad. I went with a group of close friends; we ordered fancy pasta dishes, molten chocolate cake, and two different shisha pipes to enjoy after dessert (double apple and strawberry mint).

In the cool breeze, with all the twinkling lights, in the company of good friends and good food, it was hard to look down at the city below with anything but a feeling of peace. It was hard in that moment to remember all the different stressful high points of the last twelve months: the crazy work environment, a steady stream of people leaving or getting fired, projects shutting down, going to the hospital for dehydration, my first bomb blast experience in Kabul, lizards on the walls and roaches on the floor, no salad for six months, etc.

That’s what anniversaries are all about, I suppose. Remembering the good stuff, skipping lightly over the bad, and eating cake. I’m looking forward to Year #2, Pakistan. If I make it to our next anniversary, I want champagne.