Excitement, dreams, aspirations, anticipation, apprehension, fear of the unknown, were among the many mixed feelings we had as we entered Sargodha.
Making the decision to take this course (which brought us to Sargodha – the city of Falcons) was one of the biggest decisions we had to take after getting married. On one hand was Alan’s career and on the other hand was his daughter’s medical needs. After refusing twice, we finally took the plunge into the unknown and came here!
Sargodha is a small city with limited medical facilities (to our liking atleast) and no known Autism specific institute. Before coming here my hubby had half-heartedly posted an Ad on an online buying and selling hub OLX for a speech therapist. Getting our daughter’s speech functional is our present short term goal since she was excelling in her previous Autism school. Mainstream schooling was like a far fetched idea , which I didn’t even dream of pursuing – having had one bad experience previously was enough of an eye-opener!
So we landed here with a car overflowing with baggage and kids tired from a long long drive. We got a tiny two-bedroom apartment with spider webs clinging down from every nook and corner, minuscule critters scuttling freely on the mirk covered kitchen counter and no place to stand since there were cartons and furniture every where. That was the month of July, extremely humid and hot. My hubby worked like a horse for the next two days to make the place livable, while I concentrated on scrubbing the kitchen floor, counters and cabinets and made the kitchen functional. This is just a glimpse of Airforce life that plays on repeat with each posting.
Life for the past nine months has been so ultra busy that blogging took a back seat. It has been a life changing experience for me atleast on so many levels. New place, new beginnings!
With Alan completely immersed in a very tough and demanding routine, I found myself completely lost, alone and helpless within the first week here. I found that being a highly dependant and anti-social person with a big ego is a worst thing that could happen to a woman, especially in forces. I had taken driving lessons two years back from a driving school but never took out the car on my own. My kids schooling was about to get started and I had no arrangement for their commute. Having no real friends to guide me, I took a big gulp, got hold of the car keys and drove the damn thing one round around the base. It took me two days and two rounds to realize that driving isn’t that big a deal as I had made it. Since then the journey, my journey, of Independence started.
During our almost nine month stay here, I socialized like never before, made new friends, partied hard, became my kids chauffer, did groceries, learnt many new tips and tricks of military life. In short, I learned my worth.
Yusra found a great speech therapist from that online buying and selling hub OLX who initially gave home sessions spanning an hour which helped Yusra a great deal. She learnt to blow, something which she couldn’t do before. Yusra can now blow a whistle, blow bubbles ; blowing a candle or balloons is still a fiat though, but she will get there sooner or later. Due to us a few other families with special needs children got access to the newly hired speech therapist who was also a qualified special educator and was later on hired on contract for the special school on this base.
The best part of our stay here was Yusra’s mainstream schooling. She got admission in the Base Montessori in playgroup ( because she couldn’t write independently). She got the exposure of a class full of NT kids, some of whom were skeptical of her odd behaviors, a few were indifferent and two or three girls felt it was their responsibility to look after Yusra lol. My daughter participated in the fashion parade, a poem on grand parent’s day, appeared in monthly assessments. Her oral is good since she can read. She even learned to write independently, even though her writing cannot be termed as neat, hehe, but it’s a big achievement nonetheless!! The greatest achievement of the entire tenure is she got promoted to the Senior Montessori. Yayyy!! The happiest moment of my life was to see the words ‘promoted to Senior’ on her result card and I couldn’t control the happy tears rolling down my cheeks. Being a mom of a special needs child, I know that she may not get admission in a new school on another base. The principal there may not be as considerate and the staff not that helpful as they were here , for which I’m extremely grateful. So I just want to preserve this moment forever. My joy at all her little and big achievements cannot be dampened.
As we are packing our bags to leave Sargodha, it’s with a very heavy heart and in the hope that the best is awaiting us on a new base, in the new city. Keeping our fingers crossed!!
P.S. How could I forget to mention the four seasons and four major earthquakes that we experienced here. As I mentioned earlier, it was extremely hot and humid when we came here. We had to keep the air-conditioning on most of the times. We do get plenty of rains here which is a blessing! The winters were not that cold this time around as we heard they usually were in the past years so the kids didn’t fall severely ill as they usually get every winter! Yeah got a few days of fog with only a day or two of zero visibility. I was excited like a child to see such fog lol. The hail storms came announcing the spring season and the city has sprung alive all of a sudden with vibrant colours and a large variety of flowers. I loved it and so did my yusra!
The earthquakes were nightmarish but thankfully no major harm done. I have experienced earthquakes before since I come from a city known for earthquakes but those experiences dont even come close to these soul shaking earthquakes we got now. Maybe when we get old and have kids our perspective about everything change entirely! The summers are arriving as we leave Sargodha for the next course to take our place here. All the best to them! May Sargodha treats them well too!!