Moving to Pakistan

September 2016: my in-laws, who are from America, were in Canada and drove 2.5 hours to Kingston to tell Hubby that they wanted him to pursue his PhD. On rare occasions they had visited Toronto but had never actually come to visit us in our home. They encouraged Hubby to choose whichever school he wanted and offered to help with whatever we needed so long as it led to a PhD in his chosen field.

I thought it was a great idea for him to go back to school despite having a toddler and a baby on the way. Hubby had wanted to get a PhD before I met him but for one reason or another never had the chance. Eventually, Hubby decided he wanted to take Islamic Studies in Pakistan. Why there? First of all, the university fees are significantly cheaper in Pakistan, especially because he is a Pakistani citizen. Also, we agreed that his specific program would be better taught in an Islamic society compared to a secular one. Arguably, you can’t explore and fully appreciate the depth of a religious text when it is taught in a secular framework as it takes away from the passion and devotion.

Of course this was not an easy decision. There were many downsides to consider. The most important being that we would be away from my family. I especially felt guilty that my mother would miss out on the baby, toddler, and preschool years of my children. Furthermore, safety was another cause for concern – not just because of bombings, much hyped up by the media, but more so of robberies, harassment, kidnappings, etc. Finally, having to deal with inconveniences such as: adjusting to the climate, food and water, and a new language and culture.

I wanted to tell as many people as possible in person because it was big news for us. My family was mostly sad and a bit worried but I think mostly they were happy for us. Many of our Muslim friends were very happy for us, some maybe a bit jealous. Although they love Canada, I think a part of you will always miss your homeland. I imagine them wishing they could have both worlds as one. It became harder to tell others as I started to receive a lot of negative reactions. Many people were overly concerned and I could see they felt sorry for me as if I didn’t have a choice to move. A distant relative of mine in Canada accused me of putting my children in danger by moving to Pakistan despite the fact that threat to one’s safety also exists in Canada. Many people insinuated that Hubby had an ulterior motive to oppress me with abuse or even separate me from my children. This was the most offensive.

Although we make most decisions together, we both know that we wouldn’t be here if I had said no. I didn’t want to let the fear of what could happen hold us back. Our lives are enriched by the different experiences we have had. I wanted us to experience a new culture, to be humbled by another way of life, and for my children to benefit from embracing their Pakistani heritage. Besides, this is the opportunity of a lifetime!


  • Lilac Prose

    I’m a born and bred Pakistani and although I’ve travelled to several other countries, I’ve lived all my life here. It’s hurtful as it is when the media portrays my homeland as some war-torn nation filled with terrorists and it doesn’t help when people generally also have that perception because I know that’s far from the truth. There are good and bad people everywhere and yes, there are issues here that we deal with as a developing nation but developed nations also have their issues. I mean there are so many gun crimes in U.S. and Pakistanis aren’t behind those. So thank you for deciding to move here regardless of what media or people who have little knowledge of this country have said. May Allah swt make this transition easy for you and I hope you enjoy your stay here (especially the food, the hospitality of Pakistani people and the stunning tourist spots all across the country). All the best!

    • Savvy Sovie

      Sadly I completely understand how you feel. As a Muslim I see so many hateful comments and opinions from various people I’ve known throughout my life. They have no idea who the people are but they’ve been brainwashed by lies and fear mongering. Ironically, studies have shown that actually knowing someone of a different race, faith, etc, actually changes their opinions. As if the cure for bigotry is more diversity. I pray for Pakistan, for its people, and I pray that Allah swt blesses you ♥

  • Fozia S

    I know my husband would love to move back to Pakistan….but I was born in the UK and I just couldn’t do it as they don’t live in the more developed areas.

    But yes it can be an amazing experience. I can understand the negative reactions as Pakistan gets so much bad press!

    • Savvy Sovie

      Fozia, I wish everyone could experience the real Pakistan; surely the beauty of the land and people would change their opinions. Hope you get a chance to visit! All the best ♥

  • Salma Mehajabeen

    Al hamdulilah such a good decision. Leave about the negative comments we can’t satisfy everyone. Live for you!!

    • Savvy Sovie

      Thanks for reading Salma! You’re right, no matter what we do, someone will always disapprove. In the end we leave our faith in Allah swt that whatever is written will be good for us. May He bless you and your family ♥

    • Savvy Sovie

      Thanks for reading Karin! I pray you get the chance to go overseas, even just for a visit. Sometimes leaving home makes you appreciate it all the more. May Allah swt send His blessings on you as well

  • Bint-i-Noor Fatima

    Welcome to my Homeland, which I would ever miss. The idea to do Ph.D. from Pakistan is very good in spite of difficulties. And thanks for understanding that Pakistan and Pakistanis are not what people think about them.

    • Savvy Sovie

      Thanks for reading Bint -i-Noor Fatima. I was fortunate to know many wonderful Pakistani people in Canada. They mentally prepared me for Pakistan; although i found the weather and language barrier the biggest hurdles. After one year, Pakistan is feeling more and more like home. All the best ♥

  • Nikki Flowers

    It’s difficult to move to another country period. Let alone when you receive negative responses from friends and family. I had a similar experience when I moved to Germany. At the end of the day, it’s whats best for your own family regardless of how others feel. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your journey.

    • Savvy Sovie

      Thanks for reading Nikki! I’m surprised you received negative comments about going to Germany, I’ve always wished to visit. You’re right, we can’t make decisions based on others opinions; otherwise, we’d never get to do anything! All the best ♥

  • Marriam Essa-Sayed

    What a fantastic opportunity. I am glad you took this leap, as travelling and living in another part of the World, away from the place you were born, even if for a short time, helps enrich and humble us at the same time. It is just as good for your kids, to be able to experience a new culture. Ignore those that say negative things, It is also our duty as women, to stand firm beside and support our husbands. ENJOY AND BEST WISHES with the move to Pakistan.

    • Savvy Sovie

      Thank you Marriam! This past year had so many struggles: adjusting to a new place but it’s also filled with great memories. These next few years will definitely have a big impact on our whole family. May Allah swt bless you and your family ♥

  • Aleeza S

    Oh I can imagine it must be so intimidating for you right but inshaAllah the transition goes easy for you. It’s never easy adjusting in a new environment but I hope you come to like it. May Allah put immense barakah in it for you since your intentions are for Him. I long to go back to Pakistan. Yes you are right there is always that longing for your homeland. I hope you cherish your stay there. Best wishes ❤

    • Savvy Sovie

      Walaykum Asalaam, the transition so far has been tough. Alhamdulilah my children adjusted very quickly, probably because they are young. I pray you get to go back to Pakistan, even if just for a visit . All the best! ♥

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