which and how my experiences have shaped me
I am my father's vintage brown leather suitcase traveling around different corners of the world, from the Rhodope mountains in Eastern Europe to the tropical beaches of South East Asia. Wherever he goes I was right there with him attending conferences, meeting Heads of States and experiencing cross-cultural environments. However, having this joy was mixed with the reality of belonging to a family salaried.
I saw my world change when my father was appointed the Ambassador of Pakistan to Bulgaria. I entered an entirely different world compared to the life I had back home aesthetically and culturally; evident on my first of many drives to my new school in Sofia. I felt like an alien before I even stepped onto the bus being forced to adjust to life in Eastern Europe but it was a world I was eager to be accustomed to. I initially struggled to regain friendships that I left behind being a timid and shy boy. I had to reconstruct a new identity in a society that was foreign to me. however, I assimilated to the school's culture fairly quickly by putting on a facade in the eyes of my friends. I thought during that time that I had to put on a certain persona to hide my insecurities while appealing to my friends who came from families from lavish backgrounds. The idea of being equal amongst my peers was rather important for me and this opportunity availed itself through athletics. My athletic background allowed me to establish myself among my peers and showcase my abilities. Participating in an array of sports and activities from soccer, cross country, volleyball, and basketball My coaches were able to use my raw potential and translate that to winning medals.
The competitive nature of the school from athletics, as well as academics, really made me self-driven and I felt that was the only way I could truly show my true colors by proving myself to everyone. Although this allowed to grow individually as I integrated into Bulgarian culture with the help of my friend Vladimir. I experienced that I was losing my true roots. Unfortunately, reality hit me as my father's career as a diplomat demanded him to retire at age 60 and return to Pakistan. This came as a real shock as we were expecting an extension within my first few months of freshmen year. I struggled to adjust back to a world I left behind and to a new type of schooling system that was not familiar with. Once again I have torn away from the world I wanted to belong. My confidence slowly waned as my peers judged me for not being able to speak my own mother tongue fluently which I grew insecure about. I could not appreciate the world around me being spoilt by the life I use to have and I didn't know what I want. The tipping point was when I got into a car accident in which I had broken my nose, lost my front 5 teeth and a metal beam went straight the flesh of my bone.
Despite the pain and agony during recovery memories had a flash of the series of events that occurred where the local people around me that I didn't have any commonalities with still helped me out off the car with blood drench on my clothes (human concept). The opportunities they had and the life they were living. It impacted the outlook I had on my life. It was the moment I truly realized that I was too naive to think about the opportunities waiting for me. Thinking about the people who were not able to have the liberties or life I could possibly have. This experience would inspire me and divert my attention to setting new goals and building a new found confidence.Even though I could not apply my athletic capabilities being in a wheelchair for 4 months in school in Pakistan. I was able to shed my insecurities and blossom by pushing myself in the classroom achieving more than I ever could think possible academically and when I recovered fully in one years time. I started on making a volleyball team as it was something I feel was lacking in Pakistan. However, that tragic experience allowed me to also recognize the privileges I had and inspired me to help out community around who aided me during a time when I needed them the most by taking time out exploring new ways in figuring out alleviate poverty. I wanted to find a platform to help the marginalized earn a living and possibly get out of the cycle of poverty. I made a point to use the varied perspectives that I carried and apply to life in Pakistan. Although I still had a language barrier not being able to speak native Punjabi. I am able to use my varied experiences as a platform to link unique perspectives. For instance, my aunt was looking in new ways to expand her aid to the foundation she works at which was my opportunity to showcase my varied perspective. During a discussion, I introduced the idea of Microfinance as a means to allow the impoverished to get opportunities they wouldn't be able to have otherwise. I was able to foster an agreement with the board of the organization and start a new project. Although it has not been as successful as would imagine. I continue to strive to fight poverty in the area.
That mere experience had allowed me to realize that I am able to broaden my horizon to the realm of my own possibilities as well as accept myself for who actually I am and not cast a facade to be someone I am not. These experiences I have guided me into foraging the independent and knows what I want persona that would continue to shape the person that I am still becoming.