The Girl From Foreign

I just finished a beautiful book, Sadia Shepard's THE GIRL FROM FOREIGN. She's almost exactly my age, and so much of her story of being half white, half Pakistani, growing up in Boston and traveling to Bombay to research the roots of her once-Jewish-converted-to-Muslim grandmother resonates with me. How she feels "other" yet also an insider in both places, and her recollection of Bombay in the mid-80s (when I lived there) and her description of landing (in a PIA flight, which I recall taking) in Pakistan: "the heady scents of arrival: jasmine flowers, gasoline, burning trash, and cow dung. The heat, even at this early hour, seeped into the cabin almost instantly. On subsequent trips I would come to think of these first sensations of touching down in Pakistan as one united feeling, the pungent smell of difference, the awareness that I had entered a new world, one with a separate set of laws. Nana handed us kurtas to change into, tucking our Western clothes into her carry-on luggage, and our transformation from half-Pakistani American children to half-American Pakistani children was complete." Yes, all this. And I wonder what will be the books in which my children will find their own memories. What are the scents, the sensations, the little details that will make them smile, make them feel as though they know the writer? What are yours?