Memories of Home – A Guest Post


Murree Christian School
P.O. Jhika Gali,

Murree Hills,

Pakistan

I can picture the scene as if it was yesterday.  I am lying on the top bunk in my dormitory. The louvered windows allow a mountain breeze to come through and the sun shines brightly through pine trees.  It is springtime in Murree and I am seven years old.  In the distance I hear the sound of musical scales in major and minor keys being played on old pianos, slightly tinny and out of tune. The players are disciplined, but clearly young with limited skills. Pungent smells waft through windows from the large kitchen two floors below alerting me that today our lunch will be curry and rice. The sounds of Urdu, Punjabi, and English meld together, a kaleidoscope of diversity unrealized until I am older. As the memory returns, I close my eyes and I am completely content.

Two distinct places come to mind when I think of the place and concept of ‘home.’ The first is that of several different cities where my parents lived in Pakistan during my childhood. The second place is the more constant: My boarding school near the town of Jhika Gali, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan range of mountains in the country of Pakistan.

My memories are strong of the place that shaped me, that formed me into who I am today. I was six years old when I first went to boarding school. I could barely tie my shoelaces; much less navigate the sometimes cruel environment of an institutional setting. But it was in the institutional halls of boarding school where I encountered the God who I would grow to love.

You can read the rest of the piece at Jen Pollock Michel’s blog by clicking here

Jen’s book, Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home will be available in May. 

One thought on “Memories of Home – A Guest Post

  1. I remember the start of boarding each year when MCS still had a full elementary school. Did you know that the whole staff prayed earnestly for each child to settle and adjust and not struggle too much with homesickness? I always tried to hug the little ones a lot, and about cried myself at some reports of houseparents about first graders and new kids crying at night. We all knew it was hard–it was hard for me my first year there, too, and I was 40! I cried buckets my first year, until I learned what I needed to do to help me feel at home. Turned out I needed a small bottle of Heinz ketchup, some cheese, and hot water to wash my hands, and I could cope with everything else much better. But it took long months to realize that a few small things would make a big difference! As a child, I would not have been able to figure out what I needed, nor be able to effect the changes. But I always felt for the kids leaving home and coming into boarding.

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