The concept of home means something different for everybody. For me, the concept of home was always a murky one. As an Afghan-Canadian, I had spent the majority of my life in Canada. I was very integrated and immersed in Afghan culture as a result of my upbringing but I didn't get the chance to visit my homeland until I was twelve.
I had many misconceptions about Afghanistan before travelling there, misconceptions that are still extremely common for people who have never had a chance to visit Afghanistan. As a result of being a country that has been at war for decades, the only thing that comes to mind for people who think about Afghanistan is war, soldiers, violence, guns, and terror.
However, it was a totally different story when I actually visited. The trip I took to Afghanistan was about 12 years ago, but that was the first time I really felt a sense of belonging, a sense of what home looked like.
The people of Afghanistan were the kindest people I had ever come across. Perhaps that was the reason I felt so comfortable being amongst my people. Afghan people are some of the most resilient and brave people you could meet, not because they choose to be, but because life has conditioned them to be. Despite living through decades of war, there was the only talk of aspirations, dreams and optimism. They never gave up the fire of hope that burned within them. The same is still true today.
I was lucky enough to visit many provinces when I was there. The scenery is absolutely stunning, I can confidently say that Afghanistan is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever laid eyes upon. There are rivers in every backyard, gardens filled with fruits and flowers, majestic mountains surrounding each area as if they are looking over the people. Not to mention the unique taste of the fruits, vegetables and especially the cuisine! While I have grown up in Canada as a person that has remained connected to my heritage, it's a completely different experience to witness the culture in Afghanistan. I'm still in love with Afghan dresses and jewelry to this day and wear them at any chance I get.
I hope that the perception of Afghanistan eventually changes. While it's a country that has gone through a lot of violence, I hope that someday it can be defined by its kind-hearted people, unbelievable landscapes and culture. Despite not being able to visit my homeland often, I have always been and I always will be extremely proud to call myself an Afghan!
Guest post written by Ghazal you can read more from here at https://travellingafghan.com/.