So many new experiences, so little time to report them. I’ll do my best with a few bullet points for now. After four days in Pakistan, this is what I’ve learned:

  • I wanted a challenging, exciting job that would stretch and engage me intellectually, and I got it. I also got ten-hour workdays. (When am I going to have time to blog?) For some reason I am totally okay with these hours right now.
  • It is a myth that there is no salad in Pakistan! True, there’s no lettuce, but what else can we call that little pile of artfully carved and zigzagged carrots and cucumbers dressed in oil and vinegar that comes with every meal? I am ecstatic to see my old friend – vegetables.
  • Coffee = Nescafe. When’s the last time you poured a heaping teaspoonful of flavor crystals into hot water to get your caffeine fix…like 1980? Welcome to the time machine.
  • I can pull any wrinkled item of clothing out of my overstuffed suitcase and get it ironed, just about any time of the day, for 40 rupees (about .50 cents). It is always men who do the ironing. This is not what I expected.
  • My new favorite thing to do at four o’clock is to have tea and homemade macaroons.
  • I don’t like having a driver on call as much as I thought I would. I miss driving, and I’m itching to try out one of those tiny little cars on the wrong side of the road.
  • The US Embassy in Islamabad reminds me of Disneyland. Equal parts Jungle Cruise ride and those flower beds in the shape of Mickey Mouse at the Main Gate.
  • I think there will come a day when the daily call to prayer at 5:00 am will not wake me up out of a sound sleep. This day cannot come soon enough.
  • The hats on the staff at the Marriott Hotel are fantastic!! Yes, they all really wear that.
  • I keep waiting for the culture shock to start happening. It is crazy to be here, and everything is different, but it feels oddly normal too, as if I’ve been here sometime before and my body remembers it. This is by far the biggest surprise of all.
Thanks so much for all the emails, travel and good luck wishes you’ve all been sending my way. It is so great to hear from everyone! Honestly, if you ever want to feel loved and appreciated, just move to Pakistan for a year. Foolproof.

More soon…