I can’t help getting nervous before a big trip!

There’s worrying about the physical toll the travel will have on me! (I’m not getting any younger!)

And then when I arrive, it’s only natural that I’m worried a little about my safety.

Just a few weeks ago there was an attack in the North western part of the country.

I’m not going there, but still…

And yet part of me is super excited!

The Canadian High Commission is sponsoring the trip.

It feels really cool to get travel papers with the Canadian High Commission’s logo at the top, with the crest and the coat of arms and all that, looking all official!

And then there’s the fact that it’s a melding of my birth country and my home country both kind of recognizing me. That’s really cool!

I hope the kids and teachers understand English.

I was contacted by a teacher from a school in Karachi asking me to do a skype session ahead of the festival. When I told her my rate (and they’re not even that much!) she backed out saying that they never paid for skype sessions from authors.

I wasn’t surprised.

I’ve taken a lot of precautions in terms of health: vaccines including typhoid. I’ve already been inoculated against Hepatitis A and B. And then there’s the malaria tablets I’ll have to start taking two days before I leave and a week after I get back.

I was born in Lahore, but this trip I won’t be going there. I’ll be in Karachi and Islamabad, two cities I’ve never seen before.

Last time I went, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan was winding down. It was the winter of 1991-1992. My goodness a LOT has happened since then!

I got ideas for: The Roses in My Carpets, Silly Chicken, Ruler of the Courtyard, King of the Skies, King for a Day, Wanting Mor, and some of the stories in Muslim Child. Who knows what will happen this time around?

It should be very exciting!

The trip is being covered by the Canada Arts Council.

Subhan Allah, I’m so fortunate!

I leave on February 13th, which looks to be the coldest day of this winter. And return on February 28th insha Allah.

I plan to blog while there. So stay tuned…