“Bohat Shukriya Pakistan” said Alexandra when she left Pakistan. Alexandra Gruninger is a German Language teacher who has taught German at different institutes across the world including Peru and Pakistan.
The world looks at us through the eyes of the media, media chooses to portray what it wants to portray. Some of it is just too exaggerated and some holds no truth at all. You can’t really know the truth until you see the things how they are for yourself. Pakistan is portrayed as a scary place throughout the world, security problems, target killing, terrorism, bomb blasts, women oppression, child labor and what not. Even though all of this happens in many parts of Pakistan, but this is not all that Pakistan stands for. Pakistan is a land of mesmerizing beauty and truly hospitable and kind people.
When a foreigner visits Pakistan for the first time, they take a huge leap of faith. That leap of faith rarely ends in dismay. Like many others, Alexandra visited Pakistan scared, but once she did, she fell in love with it. She did mention that there is a lot of women right problems in Pakistan but she also said:
It is also a country with the probably most hospitable people I have ever met in my life.
From a lot of kind gestures that she experienced here, she mentioned a few.
She stopped a taxi, told driver the direction she wanted to go and she was driven there. Only after reaching her destination and asking what the fare was, the person tells her that he is not even a taxi driver, he just drove her to her hotel because she wanted to get there.
She was invited to a family wedding by a woman on a bus to Lahore that she had only talked to for five minutes. On the wedding she received apparently more gifts than the bride and groom did because she was the guest in the country.
She was given a private tour by the manager of Public Library himself when she wanted to visit it.
A receptionist at some random hotel helped her find a taxi when she got lost in the city, but not only did he help her find a taxi, he also gave her a phone number to inform when you get back, or if you face any other problems.
She visited a post office to get post cards, where the manager hosted her in his office, took over half an hour to talk to her and serve her tea, even though they had no post cards.
She forgot her purse with money, bank and credit cards in a restaurant which was handed to her the moment she returned there, untouched. The staff even refused to take any money for this.
She was invited to a lunch where they prepared a complete vegetarian lunch for her and for their entire family, even though people do not usually have vegetarian meals.
Her students didn’t let her pay for a bottle of water she bought at the school cafeteria.
She says this is just a small list of all the kindness she was shown by so many Pakistanis. With an absolute love for Lahore, there is one thing she is excited more about than visiting Pakistan again. She is excited for her students to visit Germany and tell people how amazing Pakistanis really are, for a change not through the media’s eyes. She thanked Pakistan for her kindness, her hotel staff for becoming a family, and to the students who taught her the reality of the amazing Pakistan. She thanked everyone for making Pakistan special and for wiping off the negative image.
We hope to see you visit Pakistan again Alexandra, and visit all the beautiful places you missed last time. May it be more magical the next time.
By Aayesha Arif for yumtoyikes