When I was leaving College Park for my winter break, I had four long weeks ahead of me. That should be good enough, right? I thought so too. But I guess when you are having fun assuming this might be the last really long break of your life, you would always come back wanting for more. I cannot agree more with the quote, “No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one”. This break was spent across three different regions of the world, America, South Asia and Middle East. For the first few days I kept drifting between Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Boston, before leaving for Pakistan right after the Christmas and a major snow storm in New York. Now weather forecasts cannot be trusted upon during these times, but what is even worse; the airlines schedules in such a weather. The airlines punish you, maybe, for not owning one of them and give you enough hope for flying out soon to keep you at the airport but no commitment at all. To cut the long story short, I was lucky to fly off the JFK airport after only 6 hours of wait.
Though I have always been expressing my wish at home to be treated like a prince, this was the closest I could ever get to. I had to stay away from home for about a year to have that kind of attention. It was really great to catch some time off with friends and family (no…not on facebook). I did not realize until I got there how much I missed everything. And that made me cherish even the little things to the fullest. The things that were a routine for me before seemed such a joy now. I enjoyed driving on the streets of Islamabad where I grew up. I enjoyed playing cricket and tennis with my old friends. I enjoyed listening to the adhan in the middle of the day reminding me to offer my prayers. I enjoyed having late breakfast outside in the lawn while enjoying the warmth of the sun on a winter day. I enjoyed sitting around the heater with my family while having peanuts. I enjoyed eating samosas, pakoras and roll parathas from the roadside vendors. And I enjoyed messing with my mother just for fun.
The third leg of my break was spent in Dubai with my friend. Dubai has lately emerged as a global city and a crucial business hub. Tourism is on the rise for shopping and other modern attractions. The culture primarily revolves around Islamic, Arab and Bedouin traditions, with diversity added by almost 3/4th foreign born population and increasing Western trends. The skyline is enriched with tall buildings with various architectural styles, including modern interpretations of Islamic architecture. And though I may not seem like a food person, but I love Arab cuisine. I could not spend as much time in Dubai as I would have liked to, but it was a trip that will take me back there someday for sure.
Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest building at 828 m (2,716 feet) and is designed on the patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture. The view from the top is simply breath taking.
Palm: An architectural wonder! The Palm is a man-made island extending into the Persian Gulf and created by using sand and tons of rock.
I know I had planned a lot to do over the break but mostly I just had fun. Now I am back to School…and with 13 credits that I am taking this semester, along with the added contact hours for job search, I have enough on my plate. But I have been there before, No worries!